“Yes, I love that! Go for it,” she wrote back.
Um, I thought she was going to say I looked great. She didn’t.
My boyfriend and I used to be skinny.
Okay, fine. That’s a lie. I was never skinny. Maybe once, when I was going through a particularly depressive phase in college, I could have been considered skinny. But I’ve always been a curvy girl. Even in sixth grade, when all my classmates started to compare each other, and Dana had the best hair and Liz had the best smile, I was told I had the best body of all the 12 year old girls in Mr. Crukeshank’s homeroom. In middle school terms: I had curves.
But I never minded my curves too much. I’m not the sort of girl who enjoys working out, but I’ve maintained a nice hourglass figure. My metabolism has been forgiving enough to bounce back quickly in the event that I succumb to an all-you-can-eat buffet. I have been able to gain five pounds just as easily as I have been able to lose them.
So it should have come as no surprise to me that I put on a little weight. Since I met my boyfriend, we started eating out. We stayed clear of my roommate by forgoing homecooked meals for expensive dinners and late-night desserts. Of course I was rounding out my curves.
There were certainly warning signs.
I had started wearing dresses nearly every day. My skinny jeans felt too just-out-of-the-dryer tight, and most of my pants looked beat up. Instead, I opted for loose, comfortable frocks paired with stretched-out stockings.
I began to think my mirror–the one that had been glued to my door for two years–was turning into what women refer to as a “fat mirror.” After all, it was in direct line with the sunlight streaming through my window. It must have warped from the heat, I told myself, sucking in my belly as I eyed myself in it one morning.
I made up excuses not to step on the scale. The mornings were no good: I retained water. The evenings were worse, because I had eaten all day.
After two months went by without checking in, I finally stepped on the scale only after I had gone through this spring’s stomach flu. I felt confident that two days of puking would result in a number I wouldn’t need to rationalize. But even then–even after a few days hugging the toilet, expelling what felt like everything I’d ingested since I had started dating my boyfriend in December–I was still shocked by the number.
I had never been this heavy. I was clocking in at three digits that would only be cool if I was four months pregnant which, thank god, I definitely was not.
It’s not that I’m fat, per se. I’m not. And not that there’s anything wrong about fat, in general. There’s not. But I -feel- fat. I feel lumpy and chunky and round instead of curvy and sexy and proud.
Guilty admission: I’m writing this column from Betsy’s Pancake House on Canal Street in New Orleans. I just ate an entire plate of pigs and blankets (sausages rolled up in pancakes, covered in syrup) and a bowl of buttered grits. My boyfriend just plowed through a platter of pecan pancakes soaked in powered sugar and margarine.
We’re on vacation.
When we travel, we like to eat. We discover little diners, hidden pubs and greasy spoons that have no information on Google. We order local specialties and gorge ourselves on rich desserts. So when we found Betsy’s down in Louisiana today, we had to have the pancakes. We had to have the butter-drenched grits. We had to pour sweet cream in our coffee.
I realize, as I write this column, as my baggy dress cinches awkwardly around my hips, we eat like this when we’re home in New York, too. Maybe we skip the grits, but the two of us are forever holing up in small, side street gems. We ditch the brunch lines in the East Village and trek to Gramercy to grab a table at a diner that serves what we consider the greatest omelets in lower Manhattan.
The thing is, every day with him feels like vacation. I know that sounds cheesy. But what can I say? Hanging out–and eating out–with a guy you adore is cheesy as hell. And do you know how many calories are in that much cheese? Enough to keep me off my bathroom scale for at least another two, happy months. And then I’m going on a diet.