9.11.2003

I am a hero! With no ass!

The frantic fish loves me. She has a clean, refurbished tank and lots of food. Now I can adopt out her and her apparatus without feeling guilty about the griminess of it all. Takers?

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Good news: JT is coming to stay with us next weekend. She is currently in Dallas with her sister, but the larger scope is that she's visiting from Ghana (where we were university roommates) for three weeks, and is taking a side trip just for us. Rah!

JT hasn't visited since Seymour and I got hitched in '95. We've missed her. Don't know if you know any Ghanaians, but they are wonderfully frank. She came with us on a post-rehearsal-dinner trip to The Pleasure Chest, took one look at the rows of sex toys, turned to best man Gouda and said (and you must imagine a musical Ghanaian accent here), "G, what is the difference between a dildo and a vibrator?" Son-of-sex-therapist Gouda had no problem explaining the various uses of such items. JT then knit her brow and exclaimed "But why don't they just get a man?"

I am sure Ghana is a very different place in the twelve years since I lived and ten years since I traveled there, but way back then JT and her friends used to tell us American exchange students that they were jealous; they wanted to be fat like us. (For me, that was a stone or so ago, so she is sure to be extra-jealous this time.)

For context, my exchange year in Ghana followed three years at UCLA, where eating disorder support groups are de rigeur. And I was born and bred in the LA area--a particularly fucked-up place for a girl to develop her body image--so, under previous circumstances JT's fatness envy would have had all 115 lbs of me sobbing in the corner.

However, by the time JT and co made the comments, I'd been in Ghana for a while. My friends and I had been guilelessly wandering through all corners of Accra, and so had already been smacked upside the head by the reality of poverty (and guess what: polio and leprosy are not extinct). We'd become friends with students who owned two shirts (one on the back, one on the clothesline), and who would get woozy in the afternoons because all they'd had for breakfast and lunch was tea with sugar. We saw what real food issues were. By the time JT and friends called us fat, we laughed with them and knew we were lucky.

I frequently tell my mom friends that I don't have time for people with food issues or body image problems, and it's true. After watching people fight over the right to lick the grease and crumbs off my just-tossed food wrapper, after months of encountering kids with bellies swollen by rickets, I don't want to hear anyone whine about being fat. Poor you, you have enought to eat. If you're going to bitch about it you'd best get a fucking life that doesn't intersect with mine.

That's not to say the topic of weight and weight loss is forbidden in my presence. If you can talk about your fat ass with humor, are bitter about being on the receiving end of a genetic backhand, or take care of the matter without making the rest of us suffer, then you can still sit next to me. If, however, you make googly-eyes at the dessert and then go on with the theatrical sighs about how you CAN'T eat such-and-such because you're on a DIET, there's a good chance I'll kill you. That dessert is a privilege, you git.

Personally, I've got a pretty funny body. Wide shoulders, explosive bosom, no waist or ass to speak of, and toothpick legs. That's the way it is. Thanks, Mom, thanks Dad. Not much I can do except avoid horizontal stripes. And if I ever want my waist back, I am fully aware that I need to start riding my lovely, dusty bike or take advantage of the hiking trails outside my front door. I am not going to blame my access to obscene amounts of food.

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