When you’ve found the person you can stay up for hours with watching inane YouTube videos, the one who insists you look beautiful when you are in the hideous make-up-less stage of a hangover, the one who will love you even if you gain a few pounds…oh, well, apparently not. It’s rare that I read an article that frustrates me enough to write a direct retaliation to it, but MSN’s Is your boyfriend making you fat? annoyed me to such an extent that I batted away the cream-filled doughnut that my boyfriend was force-feeding me and ran to my laptop.
The basic theme of the aforementioned article is that having a boyfriend is akin to being hooked up to a drip that constantly feeds you naughty, bad, calorie-filled, heaven forbid – delicious – foods. Takeaways, man-sized portions, candle-lit dinners in restaurants, time spent with your other half rather than in the gym – oh my! Msn.com’s advice is to go to the gym with your partner as a ‘fun’ activity, and suggests sharing a dessert as well as opting for less starchy main courses. I struggle to imagine any healthy, thriving relationship that is based on mutual punishment, sweaty clothes and being one of those incredibly annoying people that frets over the calories in salad dressing.
Quite frankly, who gives a chocolate roulade if being happy means you put on a bit of weight? The article even admits that losing weight is easier if you have a “slightly negative and cautious outlook.” Given the choice between having to go up a jeans size but enjoying an Indian takeaway snuggled on the sofa, or fitting into that corseted dress but desperately searching for someone that you can go up a jeans size with, surely the answer is mind-numbingly obvious.
Women can’t win in the magazine industry. Everywhere we are constantly bombarded with self-improving commandments, get fit for summer, lose weight whilst having sex, eat Special K and you’ll drop a dress size, all whilst hypocritically and confusingly claiming to love curves, happily damning a celebrity for being too thin, whilst next month making snide comments about the cellulite on her thighs. If you love food, you love food. I’m sure most women would rather put on a few pounds than deny themselves the delicious melt-in-the-mouth crumbly shortbread, but we’re scared. We’ve been conditioned to think that food is evil, our boyfriends are evil for encouraging us to eat this wicked, wicked food, and that we can only be happy if we can fit into a size 6 dress.
If made to choose between a svelte goddess who sits and eyes her boyfriend’s pizza jealously or a girl who has a few lumps and bumps but happily tucks into her meal and will discuss the merits of hot jalapeno peppers, most decent men would choose a normal, healthy girl. Christina Hendricks, recently voted the world’s sexiest woman, is a size 14 with curves in all the right places. If having a boyfriend, being in love, being happy is making me fat, then by all means, I’m fat. And I’m bloody loving it.
Originally published on The Yorker 13th September 2010