Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Exhale

It's hard to show your enduring love with celery sticks. Picture this: the warm glow of candles, soft mood music, you gazing deeply in your lover's eyes, whispering sweet nothings over a plate of celery and low-calorie ranch dressing.

See? It doesn't work.

Romance is all about excess: scrumptious food, lavish gifts, spending money you took from his wallet while he was asleep. The whole point is to lull the object of your affection/unwitting victim into complacency. And once your lives are impossibly entangled, through cohabitation, vows of commitment or blackmail, you reveal your true self.

The good news is that this ritual only lasts about six months. The bad news is that in six months, you could find yourself twenty pounds heavier, no longer the size fourteen (the size zero of drag queens) you once were. It creeps up on you, this weight, like a cold sore or megalomania.

I think you can pick out the truly committed relationships. They have a glow about them that comes from mutual trust, mutual support and mutual funds with a double-digit annual growth. They are the people who have eschewed the superficial; they don't live on a strict diet of celery and tomato soup to keep their abs rock hard.

The elastic waistband is an ally, a defiant fashion statement. These people are the shining beacons of the highest potential of humans. If you see them walking down the street--stop them--see if you can learn something from them, like the directions to a decent all-you-can-eat buffet in the Chicago area. Really, I would like to know. Please send this to me via e-mail.

My waist is slipping from me. My boyfriend is complicit in this. We eat lavishly, then neglect to go to the gym. This past Thanksgiving is just the gravy on the mashed potatoes. I ate all that. And the morning after, I stole into the refrigerator and ate some more.

But you can't really lie about your waistline. The signs give you away: your inseam, that fabric that should lie flat on top of your zipper, puckers open like a botched lipo scar. Your belly fat floats on top of your waistband like an inner tube in a swimming pool.

It's like for years and years and years of being 30, I found myself shopping for 32-inch jeans. I could no longer lie to myself or anybody else. That's not true. I may be a 33, 34, but I refuse to even consider that. No no no no no no way.

I wish this was like lying about my age, which I can perpetuate as long as photoshop and myspace exists. I'm quite popular on myspace. I just got an "add" this morning, which now makes my grand total of friends to four. It would've been five, but my mom refused to add me as friend. I'm so popular that as soon as I signed up, some dude named Tom wanted desperately to be my friend.


Saturday night, a rare stint at the bars. It's crowded. Gay men and women are slowly decompressing from their deep dive into the homestead, imbibing alcohol to fend off the bends.

I am standing among the perfect, the pretty. I am holding in my stomach, holding in my breath.

I had to do this, to squeeze into my jeans. You know the dance: a quick intake of air, then jumping about on hot coals. The inch from the button to the buttonhole, a marathon route; my navel caught between scylla and charybdis.

Even then, my stomach bulges out like foam threatening to spill over a piping hot latte. I hold it in to keep it flat, drawing only short breaths. When I talk, it's amazing I don't sound like Spongebob. Or Meg Tilly.

I've been here forty-five minutes and already I want to go home. I can't wait to get out of these clothes, these jeans.

And to exhale.

-----
Posts about the food in my life:

Starvation - The long way home is paved with very little food.
Fake Plastic Food - The airplane food finally arrives.
Discharged! - An obstruction in my bowels lands me in the hospital.
Rock Bottom - An Oreo Story. When you've fished food out of the trash, then you know you've hit rock bottom.

Girl, Interrupted - The story of a lost girl and the media uproar.
Love On An Empty Stomach - Food lulls you into falling in love.
Comfort Food - $1.50 for a bowl of rice is insane.
Bagel Sandwich - I could've been a millionaire but for a bagel sandwich.



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