meets Great Dane...
reaction to weight is all part of the adventure, though, and
for some reason it sticks in my mind like a corny joke and
much more than any sunset, pristine beach, or multi-layered
rice field. For me, travel is all about meeting people and
sharing their jokes, even if I am the cause of them. The cramped
condition of local transport takes on a new slant when I travel
by myself. It presents hopeful boys--they never seem to be
old or big enough to be called men--an opportunity to practice
their English and, well, to see if they can get lucky.
Take, for example, my
experience in the small, idyllic islands west of Bali, where
the gigolo industry is firmly in place and hopeful young men
trawl the beaches looking for Western women. Preparing to
leave one of those islands on a local boat, I charter a taxi
to the wharf. We've gone only a few hundred yards when the
car stops to pick up a host of "cousins" who pile in to chat
up the Westerner. Sitting between two boys who claim 25 years
each (and whose legs are half mine in length and width), I
wonder what I've gotten myself into. "Do you have a boyfriend?"
"Yes, I do. He is
very tall," my hands stretch above my head, "and very strong,"
hands stretched wide, extending my shoulders.
"Well, you could
get an Indonesian boyfriend."
"Well, we might be
small, but we are strong and hot like chili." I have a new
respect for that boy. He would have to have a strong imagination
indeed to be able to picture us together. Poodle meets Great
Tongans and Samoans are
famous for their enthusiasm towards large women. "Gordita"
is a term of affection in Mexico and throughout the Latin
world. In India, women proudly display their stomach rolls.
And Western doctors are pitied in Africa for their skinny
European wives. Only in the West do we find starvation attractive.
Pablo Neruda once described
the sensuous legs of a Brazilian girl "whose ripeness begs
to be nibbled by the eyes." A small meal indeed, if she were
classic Kate Moss.
Ed. note: This story
was originally published in Passionfruit: A Women's Travel
Ladies of Size...
Some statistics to consider:
"Fat people are no
longer trapped in the polyester double-knit prison that suffocated
us for so long, thanks to an incredible boom in the market
for fat fashion. The large-size clothing market for women
has grown from $2 billion in the eighties to more than $10
billion in the nineties. Back in 1978, there were just 100
makers of clothing for fat women. Now there are more than
1,200 companies that cater to us. Forty percent of American
women wear a size 14 or larger. All of this means that fashion
designers are looking at women of size with new respect--for
our money, and, increasingly for our beauty."
(Source--Marilyn Wann, Author of Fat!So? Because You Don't
Have to Apologize for Your Size.)
Ed. note: While there
are many shops in North America that sell larger sizes, we'd
love to locate other interesting plus-sized shopping 'round
the world. Please send your favorite shopping tips to: firstname.lastname@example.org
and flab...ulous book...
Based on the popular
underground 'zine of the same name, FAT!SO?, published by
Ten Speed Press tackles the last great American taboo--fat.
This book is ripe with sassy quotes, eye-opening facts, hilarious
comebacks, essays, quizzes, statistics, and a ton of fantastic
ways to celebrate the joy of being fat. The author Marilyn
Wann is a fat-proud activist with a penchant for stirring
up controversy and changing the way people think and feel
about fat. Always a strong advocate for staying fit, Marilyn
also promotes healthy eating and exercise over just plain
hostelling and packpacking goodies to enjoy