Do you remember the rest of that series on attractiveness, body image, and beauty that I promised you ages ago? Well, this is part two.
In the Western world, one hears a lot about the disadvantages of being fat. (It’s possible that one hears a lot about it in the Eastern world, as well, but as I have never experienced the Eastern world, I can only speak for the West). Fat will give you heart disease and diabetes, dementia and poor self esteem, ruin your sex life and in general, fill your every waking moment (and probably your sleeping ones too) with misery, loneliness, and despair. While the debate of those assertions I leave for another post, I thought that I would address some of the things that you rarely hear about: the good parts of being fat. I think this is an important topic not just because no one ever talks about the advantages of fat, but also because a great deal of people do not like their fat. If you, like me, find yourself in this position and wish to divest yourself of your fat, you find that the de-fatting process is long and arduous. It is important to keep one’s spirits up during the process, and to do that I find it is helpful to look on the bright side. After all, you may not be able to keep up with your super fit friends yet, but you can float like no one’s business.
This was an advantage of being fat that I did not discover until I spent a brief period as a slim person. When you are fat, you can sit on tile floors for hours and hours. You can sleep on concrete.Your body is its own cushion. When my hindquarters become less ample, my bones cut off circulation to my legs, which reward me with irritating pins and needles feelings. But when I am fat, I can sit through lectures without needing to constantly adjust my position to keep my hiney happy.
Tired of those construction workers wolf-whistling when you go past? Don’t get mace: get fat! But seriously. Being short, fat, and generally unremarkable is a great way to blend. When I was skinny and hot and living in Berlin, I was hassled constantly, generally by middle-aged Middle Eastern men. Since reacquainting myself with my fat, I am generally left alone. I discuss something similar to this at length in the previous post Hey, Good Lookin’, but basically it boils down to the fact that my lack of traditional attractiveness means that I get to choose when I draw attention to myself. Further, because of all of the assumptions made about fat people in Western culture, when I do draw attention to myself, people are often pleasantly surprised!
Fat, being less dense than bone, muscle, or organ tissue, floats brilliantly. I have never been afraid of drowning (with one or two notable exceptions that I have mentioned in the past), really, because I’m quite terrible at sinking. While this does make it more difficult to have tea parties on the bottom of the pool, it also makes me a great swimmer. (And really, who like water-logged scones, anyway?) At the pool I see all of these folks struggling with their pool buoys to establish proper crawl form, and I chuckle. Because you know what, bitches? My butt is my pool buoy. Booyahkasha.
This is one of my favorite advantages of being fat. Much like a walrus, I am well equipped for cold weather. This was demonstrated brilliantly while we were in Ireland. We went to the beach and, like the crazy people we were, stripped down to our bathing suits while everyone else was wearing coats and long trousers. We ran shrieking into the North Atlantic, where after 15 seconds the slimmest among us bolted from the frigid surf. My companions vanished from the water in order of increasing percentage of body fat. I, being the best insulated, could easily have stayed in the water for another half hour. But this principle works not just with water! I can generally get away with fewer layers of clothing than my compatriots, and seem to stay a more constant temperature in general, saving me from constantly stripping off and putting on new layers.
Caveat: The insulation is not an advantage in warm weather.
So the next time you’re feeling down about your pudge, remember that it is not all bleak. Even fat has its upsides!