Fat man

Hey, yo Fatman, you got some business in the front room, dude wants to buy a ride.

Is that right? Tell him I said I'm eating a sandwich.

Man, what's it's gonna be? Me or the ham and Swiss?

You gonna miss your sale fat man, you gonna miss your sale you fat whale.

 Those are the lyrics of one of my favourite songs of the 90s, the relentlessly offensive "Fatman" by Philadelphia hip hop act G. Love and Special Sauce.

The socially-accepted ridicule of those words came back to me last month as I watched a hugely overweight woman buying a drink at one of my local bars.

She was squeezed into a bordering-on pornographic spandex dress that did absolutely everything to reveal her enormous bottom and vast, white dimpled thighs.

G. Love sang it thus:

I bet your face it has pocks like chicken croquettes.

Your jowls are like rotten red tomatoes.

I nodded towards the woman, asking my oldest friend in the world who I was drinking with, "Whattaya reckon's going on there?"

And so began one of the finer dressing-downs I've experienced.

Said my friend, Eliza: "What she's saying is 'I'm a sexual being, I'm a soul sister and if you don't get it, f--- off, you're too superficial, you miss out'."

I put my beer down, blushing a little as she continued.

"She is amazing. She chose that dress on purpose. I could never wear that dress because I'm not that confident. She's accepting of her entire body. That is so rare," said Eliza.

I glanced around the bar, populated with beautiful people who looked like they'd never eaten cheese and reasoned if you combined the hours we'd worried about how our bodies "looked", you could stretch them back to the Big Bang.

I've often argued you can't help who you're attracted to - that men are just as big a dupes of the constant cultural Morse that you must be slender ... must be toned ... must be hot ... or you're somehow worth less than people who are.

And if that cultural pressure is enough to goad women into starving themselves or spending their lunch break in spin classes, then surely we can recognise it's also ample to shape what men do and do not find attractive?

This got me thinking about another one of my favourite American wordsmiths, the tragically-late David Foster Wallace who wrote there's no such thing as atheism in modern life because we all choose to worship something.

"If you worship money and things - if they are where you tap real meaning in life - then you will never have enough.

"Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they plant you."

Now, you might argue the fat woman I saw in that bar was also worshipping her own allure - be it one at odds with the dictates of our culture.

The more I thought about it, however, her choice to let it all hang out struck me as the worship of what is, not what could or should or will be when I lose ten kilos or acquire A, B, C or marry he or she.

When I said this to my friend, Eliza, she patted me on the hand and said "that's why I love you. You're slow, but you get there eventually."

Then we ordered a cheese plate.

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