Not that big

by Sam Romano

So I admit it. I'm fat. And not in the "ph" sort of way. Fat enough where I can't even claim to be chubby anymore. Fat enough where the pockets on my pants bulge out in unsightly ways. Fat enough where now I've scored a triple in the chin department. Guess I'll need to start doing something about that. All in due time...

I'm not quite sure when I crossed the fine line between pleasingly plump and straight-on fat. I think it was after the end of my ill-fated Greco-Roman romance. But I always had my pudge on, even as a little kid.

Oh, how my rolls used to torment me. At the ripe old age of four, I remember my crazy old uncle grabbing at my love handles and twisting them saying, "Who's got a spare tire????" Umm...wait...lemme think about this...wait,'s coming to me...oh hey, it's me! And I have the blackmail picture to prove it! Of course, this was well before I learned the fine art of sucking it in, not that THAT helps in any way...

So by the ripe old age of five, I was fully entrenched in my fat complex. My doctor would tell my mom, "She should lose 10 pounds." But mom, of course, already knew I was having some fat issues when I tried convincing her to let me go on the Slimfast diet so I'd be slim for my first day of kindergarten. "You're not that big! It's just baby fat!" she exclaimed completely exasperated. "But I'm not a baby!" I cried. "I'm a big girl!" And in more ways than one.

Ah, Catholic grade school. A time of torment for everyone, especially us big girls who were subjected to the hideousness of our pleated grade-school jumper. When adorned in this coolest of fashions, I really knew I was hitting the big time. While every other girl's jumper was completely flat, mine bulged out in the most unflattering way in the midsection. Try as I might, that bulge wouldn't go away. I tugged and pulled and sucked it in (did I mention that THAT really doesn't help???), but still, my bulge remained. Eventually, I tore part of the skirt off due to my constant tugging. As my annoyed mother sewed it back together, she reminded me that pulling at it didn't make the bulge go away. Thanks, Mom! Hadn't noticed...

Sitting down to an autobiography exercise in the third grade, we were instructed to fill in the blanks. Date of Birth, Hometown, Family Members, Pets...uh oh. Height and Weight. I nervously glanced around at the other girls' papers and saw to my horror that I was a full 30 pounds heavier than all of them. Never mind the fact that I was a full foot taller than most of them. But I couldn't let them see how much more I weighed! Hell, no! So I did what any self-respecting weight-conscious girl does. I lied.

Height: 5'0"

Weight: 49 pounds

Proud of my newfound and miraculously easy anorexia, I turned my sheet in. "That's not correct, dear," Ms. Kemblowski, my teacher, reminded me. "I think you've reversed the numbers." Much sniggering ensued from the skinny girls at my table. "I'm not that big!" I exclaimed, nervously trying to cover my paper. "It's a sin to lie, Samantha..." was her retort. Dejected, I returned to my desk to change the numbers and fully prepared myself to go into starvation mode. Yeah, it didn't happen for a while.

Fast forward five years, and still the pudge was there. Even playing any number of sports didn't make it go away. I was a wiz at basketball since I was still at least a half a foot taller than most of the girls. And the extra weight came in handy when I needed to mow down a pesky forward or set an immovable pick for a teammate. But soon enough, when a misfired ball landed me in the ER with a broken finger, I was again faced with a dreaded fill-in-the-blank. So I did what any self-respecting weight-conscious girl does. I lied.

Height: 5'8"

Weight: 110 pounds

Proud of my second round of "anorexia," I turned my paperwork in. The nurse looked it over and then glared at me, stating in no uncertain terms, "I think your numbers are a bit off. It's most important that we have accurate information." Ho bag. What did she know anyway? I'm not that big. So I nudged it up a bit. Not enough to be accurate, but who would know other than the scale, which she promptly put me on. Bitch.

The following day, I returned to school, index finger all swollen and blue, and went to turn in my paperwork for missing last period. My "note" was nothing more than my release papers, which plainly stated my height and my weight. And not the made-up kind. The kid who sat next to me, Smelly Doug, snatched the papers away as I waited to turn them in. "No way!" he cried out loudly. "Look at how much she weighs!!!! She weighs more than me!!!!" he gleefully exclaimed as he began showing it to everyone in the vicinity. Never mind the fact that I was a full foot taller than him.

Amongst the sniggering masses was my lifelong crush, Joey D. Thankfully Joey D., who had a bit of a pudge problem of his own, put Smelly Doug in his place: "At least the fat has given her a nice set of tits. They're like Mount Everest!" Right on, Joey D.! That was a compliment, right? Well, only because I love you to this day, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and continue believing that it was.

Ah, at last...public high school. No more unflattering Catholic-school uniforms. I could pick and choose my clothes, carefully concealing any bulge. Well, at least until I was forced into mandatory swim class. I scoured the stores for a flattering suit, which is no small feat. I finally settled on one, though it didn't suck things in quite the way I would have liked. Nothing short of a corset could have done that. But I didn't look that big, so it would have to do. And I was at least consoled by other girls in the class who were bigger, so at least I wasn't that big by comparison. [sigh]

It hadn't been as bad as I expected. I could easily cover up with a towel when not in the pool, so no one had to see my full-fledged gut or my jiggly butt. In fact, I rather enjoyed the experience. I walked back into the locker room one day, not even caring anymore if I jiggled when I wiggled. Barefoot, I entered the slippery locker room only to have something incredibly sharp jab me in the foot. Down I went with a thunderous BOOM!!! right in front of the entire class and some girls from other classes. They all feigned concern, and one even helped me to my feet. I walked back to my locker, more than a little embarrassed at my clumsiness. "Damn!" sniggered Tara, one of the skinny girls. "I think she started an earthquake!" Ha ha ha. Heard that bitch is in prison now.

By college, I had my pudge firmly under control. My ill-fated Greco-Roman romance demanded it. While my stomach was hardly flat and my butt still was a little jiggly, I didn't lie when I said my weight was 120. Never mind the fact that I'd go days without eating and spent hours in the gym every day. It's all details...

But oh, the end of my ill-fated Greco-Roman romance put a damper on my skinny. No more did I starve myself to make him happy. No more did I toil away at the gym to achieve that perfectly flat stomach that always eluded me. What did it matter? He wasn't going to give me a firm poke in the belly and say, "Ewww..." anymore. What did I care????

No. Having tried it for real this time, I realized the anorexic life was indeed not for me. Instead, Ben & Jerry became my new best friends. And when they were busy, Chester Cheetah was a nice substitute. Little Debbie was always kind, and Wendy never failed to give me a sympathetic double cheeseburger to cry on.

So by the time I hit grad school, I packed on a full 30 pounds in a four-month period. It was my own little science experiment. How much weight could one gain in a week? Oddly enough, friends from my skinny period thought I looked so much healthier. "The fuck???" I thought to myself. If I look better like this, I must keep up the good work!

So here I am, nearly 10 years and about 70 pounds later (and no, I'm not lying about that), reaching the conclusion that I am fat. With every pound that's crept on and every size I've crept up, I'd wonder, "Am I getting fat???"'s just water retention. Must be from the pill. Couldn't be from Lady Godiva, who kept me company last night.

When I was starting to feel really rotund and generally unattractive, I met this guy, PP, who didn't seem to mind the flab. In fact, he seemed to like it. Good times! So after we'd been dating for a while, he finally introduced me to his friends, and what a bunch they are! And I don't mean that in a good way either. ZZ Top, PP's best friend, exclaimed, "'ve got yourself a big girl!"

PP dutifully reported this comment to me first thing in the morning. "WHAT!?!?!" I cried, both hurt and annoyed that someone who willingly dresses like a homeless person would have the audacity to comment on my size. "Don't worry," PP said, "I told him to shut up because you're not that big."

Nice. "Not that big." What does that mean exactly??? "Not that big" like I'm not yet a beached whale though I'm quite possibly on my way there? "Not that big" like my ass may not feed a third-world country, just Texas? "Not that big" like I don't yet need to purchase two seats on an airplane but can still fit quite comfortably into one? "Oh, no..." PP reassured me. "He just meant that you're tall..." I'm so sure.

No, I won't be "not that big" anymore. I will get my not-that-big ass to the gym regularly. I won't put fattening foods in my not-that-big mouth. I'm resolute. I will lose this weight and will really be not that big anymore.

Not that big indeed. Hmph. There's a reason why PP and I are not together anymore. He wasn't that big either.