6.19.2007

You Gonna Eat That?

It's taken me a couple of weeks now to formulate in mind my thoughts on "FAT PIG", the Neil LaBute play that recently closed at the Geffen Playhouse. I went to see it with GF Michele after dinner at NineThirty at the W Hotel. Oh that dinner. NVG - but v expensive! But this isn't a restaurant review, now is it? I think I'm saving most of those for NYC anyway.

I was pretty excited to see FP, as I thought the topic, a thin man dating a large woman and the reactions he gets from coworkers, was, I mean is, very relevant in today's society. This is especially true in Los Angeles where I have often said that it is more acceptable for men to date kleptos, psychos or druggies than a woman with a little weight on her. How can that be? I mean, dude, she's steals, lies, sleeps with the diseased, but hey, she's skinny! People, people, please! In addition, Scott Wolf was taking the role originated by Jeremy Piven on Broadway. I thought his good looks would add a new dimension to the play particularly apt for LA (again) - is my city dysfunctional or what? I scoured the Net for reviews, but only found one of the LA staging, in the LA Times. It didn't tell me much, but I felt the subject matter was important enough for me to forgo what some snooty critic thought anyway.


When we arrived, we were confronted by the announcement that Tom would be played by Scott Wolfe's understudy, whatever his name was. I guess you can tell by the fact that I cannot recall the actor's name, I wasn't v impressed by his performance. But I'm still unsure if some of his distance and mannerisms were not as staged. Was it him? Or was it the play? I still can't tell.

After many moments contemplating the play, the performances, the sets, the costumes, the fact that Tom Kavanagh slipped me the eye, even though he was with his very short (okay, so he's tall) girlfriend. I was feeling pretty good at that point, almost willing to stand up and ask the audience (well, the male audience), if anyone there wanted a date with a fat chick; even if Tom wanted to dump that waif of a girlfriend and come where the real action was - between these cappuccino thighs? I didn't work up the nerve, even to the cutie who sat down next to me, but did sit and wonder how we, as a society got to the point where every single woman in the US spends ten minutes out of every hour of her life thinking about her body - how much she hates her shape...how she can change her shape...what she's going to eat...not going to eat...how much of it she's going to eat...is it the right combination...how many carbs are in it...does it have enough vitamins and minerals...will it totally wreck her diet...or, she should start a diet...that steak is going to go straight to her thighs...and our bellies...those crunches really don't work, do they...men only like thin women; everybody else is single and celibate...but, the average size for women in the US is a 14...which men are fucking the cows bigger than 14 and what are their phone numbers...do all of the women smaller than a 14 have a man..when will the designers start making stylish clothes for women larger than a size 8...oh, gawd, I'm a cow!

I have come to the conclusion that Neil LaBute fucked up his chance to make a big statement about our society, our judgmental nature and love. He also could have said something about lack of fashion for big-boned folk (our girl, while charming, witty and very nice - was costumed like there's no such thing as Macy's Woman or Lane Bryant; heck, most popular clothes lines have figured out that there's money to be made on womanly women) and workplace attitude towards them (men and women). He did say something about shallowness, lack of conviction and maturity. Even the bad understudy conveyed, at the very minimum, Tom's lack of ability to say how he feels (how many women are nodding their heads in agreement with this about their man or men they've known?). That's the last thing a woman of normal US proportions needs - a man who can't face up and say that he likes meat on her bones! I know that LaBute has looked at some of the baser inner thoughts usually left unsaid in his works, "The Company of Men", "The Shape of Things" & "Friends & Neighbors", but we're in a weight crisis in this country. Screw the inner monster and let's take on the public one!

In the end, I wasn't quite satisfied by Fat Pig. I went to the meal, but left hungry. But, I want to go to the restaurant again; same main, different side.

Joy puts it in perspective: http://youtube.com/watch?v=yUTJQIBI1oA

17 comments:

Phoenix_Sun said...

I have not seen Fat Pig but I know of the play. I saw The Shape of Things in Montreal back in 2003. Yes, he does explore the underbelly of human relationships. I feel he doesn't take that extra step and simply revels in the despicableness of his characters.

How ironic we are obsessed with our bodies yet we're suffering from obesity, which is very different than being merely overweight. I'll never a be a single size, I am naturally big at 5'9 1/2. I have always had a flat stomach and long toned arms with a big lower body: long legs and very wide hips that is pure bone (no amount of diet and exercise will melt that). No matter how much weight I have gained (and I'm in the process of losing all the stress weight I've gained ). I have always maintained healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. I also could always do the advanced step aerobics and outlast all the skinny girls in class. I think the pathological importance placed on girls' and women's physical appearance is definitely not helping the situation. This really is a form of social control and this control has nothing to do with the health concerns of being grossly overweight. Trying to weed out the truth in this whole mess is exhausting.

Ndelible said...

phoenix_sun said:
"How ironic we are obsessed with our bodies yet we're suffering from obesity, which is very different than being merely overweight. I'll never a be a single size, I am naturally big at 5'9 1/2."

Exactly! Penn & Teller did a great show on dieting a season or two ago. They talked about the diet industry having a vested interest in failure -- their "diets" can't be successful or else they'd put themselves out of business. They also stressed the role that genes play in how our bodies turn out. I have my mother's body for sure - large breasts, big stomach, wide hips and great legs. My dad used to say, "you're alright from the neck up and the knees down!" Ouch, but true. I will have to work really, really hard (unnaturally hard) get rid of the natural + baby belly.

"I think the pathological importance placed on girls' and women's physical appearance is definitely not helping the situation. This really is a form of social control and this control has nothing to do with the health concerns of being grossly overweight. Trying to weed out the truth in this whole mess is exhausting."

I couldn't agree with you more. On one level, I would love to be thinner (and have been; several times) and wear boss-ass clothes and have all kinds of men chasing me. But then, a voice squeaks out that any man who loves me, should love me at 200 lbs. or 150 lbs. - he shouldn't just love me at 140 lbs. It's like a fight I'm having with myself, but with a side of bon bons.

Rae L. said...

I know what you mean Ndel. The same thoughts go through my mind when I think it would be much easier to attract guys if I could flaunt a smaller figure and cute little clothes, but then what happens if I gain some weight? Would my guy run in the other direction? lol I struggle with my weight on and off and am currently just trying to keep healthy above all.

The diet industry LOVES the attention its getting because it truly is a multi-billion dollar industry. I think that's a big part of why it continues to perpetuate the obessession for weight especially in women and girls because the target is easier. It's really sad. I notice even men are starting to feel the affects as well as their body images are attacked.

It's all completely headache inducing.

Oh, and Neil Labute is a crazy writer/director. He seems to take a "in your face' approach with his films and I imagine his play was no different. It's just that his characters to me always seem so cold and unrelatable.

Ndelible said...

The diet industry LOVES the attention its getting because it rae l. said

"truly is a multi-billion dollar industry. I think that's a big part of why it continues to perpetuate the obessession for weight especially in women and girls because the target is easier. It's really sad. I notice even men are starting to feel the affects as well as their body images are attacked."

I certainly hope so! Women seem to be at the mercy of men in this instance. Men's weight is a bigger deal in the gay community, but that's probably because they are trying to attract men!!!!!!

Phoenix_Sun said...

The gay community can be rough. I went with my gay friend to a gym here in New York City that is predominately filled with gay guys. I could sense the competition and pecking order in the weight room. Men were checking each other out, not only for possible cruising, but to see whose body looked better. I noticed men regardless of sexual orientation do this.

The best reason for one to lose excess weight is to do it for your overall health. If the primary motivation for losing weight and toning up is to catch a "good" man then you will be a woman who constantly walks on eggshells. IMO-losing weight to catch a man is the worst possible reason to become physically fit. I think attracting potential mates due to physical fitness is a fringe benefit, a secondary gain, but is should never be the primary one. With an attitude like that you'll most likely regain the weight because you did it for the wrong reasons. rae, I is right. What happens when your body starts changing, will you be so frightened that you may not be loved by your partner as much because of it? That's just way too stressful.

Ndelible said...

phoenix_sun: "What happens when your body starts changing, will you be so frightened that you may not be loved by your partner as much because of it? That's just way too stressful."

Several girlfriends have mentioned this; some haven driven themselves sick by becoming obsessed with what they eat. Of course, they aren't any skinnier, but they always have hope!

Ndelible said...

phoenix_sun: "What happens when your body starts changing, will you be so frightened that you may not be loved by your partner as much because of it? That's just way too stressful."

Several girlfriends have mentioned this; some haven driven themselves sick by becoming obsessed with what they eat. Of course, they aren't any skinnier, but they always have hope!

Anonymous said...

"I couldn't agree with you more. On one level, I would love to be thinner (and have been; several times) and wear boss-ass clothes and have all kinds of men chasing me. But then, a voice squeaks out that any man who loves me, should love me at 200 lbs. or 150 lbs. - he shouldn't just love me at 140 lbs. It's like a fight I'm having with myself, but with a side of bon bons."

I used to be heavy too.

If you were truly comfortable at your present weight, that little dialogue wouldn't be going on in your head. You sound like a woman who is insecure and always wanting a man to prove that he loves her, he really really loves her.

Not caring for your body shows that you don't really love yourself. A man will only love you as much as you love yourself. If you don't love yourself enough to push away from the table before you're stuffed and exercise enough to what you consider your best weight, why do you expect a man to love you at your lazy weight?

Ndelible said...

Anonymous said:

"Not caring for your body shows that you don't really love yourself. A man will only love you as much as you love yourself. If you don't love yourself enough to push away from the table before you're stuffed and exercise enough to what you consider your best weight, why do you expect a man to love you at your lazy weight?"

But then again, isn't weight a societal construct? In some societies and even in ours, several years ago, being larger was a good thing. I can see the point, for sure, if this is my lazy weight, why would a man love me? Perhaps because I am the same person thin or larger - and who does he fall in love with? I think that's what keeps some women questioning. Of course, there are men who do like bigger women; they seem to have to keep it under cover, for this society, it is better to be with a junkie or worse than a fat woman. Now, who loves themself more, the junkie or the fattie?

Anonymous said...

Ndel, societal construct is not where it's at. You're educated and wise enough to know that in the fat loving societies of yesteryears, fat served a purpose: storage for famines. Also, in poor society where food is a luxury, fat is a measure of health, as opposed to malnutrition and starvation which happen to be the main causes of death in those poor societies. However, in our surplus societies, where food, especially bad food is prevalent, fat does not serve a purpose. We are not threatened with famines, and obesity, not starvation, is the main cause of health problems.

"But then, a voice squeaks out that any man who loves me, should love me at 200 lbs. or 150 lbs. - he shouldn't just love me at 140 lbs."

Why stop at 200 lbs? How about 400 lbs? Do you think a man should love you at 400 lbs? There are women who weight 400 lbs. Are they less deserving of love than a woman who weight 200 lbs? Obviously, the answer is no, because the issue truly is not about love, but about desirability. A man may love you at 400 or 200 lbs, but he may not fancy you sexually. I don't expect my SO to be attracted to me if I balloon up to 300 lbs. That's unrealistic.

Ndelible said...

Anonymous said:

"A man may love you at 400 or 200 lbs, but he may not fancy you sexually. I don't expect my SO to be attracted to me if I balloon up to 300 lbs. That's unrealistic."

No, I don't think a lot of men would be attracted to me at 300 lbs., but I find it offensive that a man is more accepted by society if he is with a skinny heroin addict or thief, or pathological liar if she is skinny. Is it correct that fat people are discriminated against more vehemently than societal leeches and users? It's almost as if society is saying "anything but fat".

How different is that from facial features - can't do anything about that? Well, you can have plastic surgery now. How about bad skin? Large feet? There are so many physical features that can be ugly, but we're told to look inside and see the real person. But not so much with fatness.

I don't care how small or how big I ever become, I hope I never forget it is my character that rules me; that defines me, not my physical appearance.

And then, I'm very happpy that it takes different strokes to float the boat of different folks. There are men who do like 300 lbs; yes, they are few, but they are there. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that there would be many more if not for the frowns that they get from the public at large.

Anonymous said...

"No, I don't think a lot of men would be attracted to me at 300 lbs., but I find it offensive that a man is more accepted by society if he is with a skinny heroin addict or thief, or pathological liar if she is skinny. Is it correct that fat people are discriminated against more vehemently than societal leeches and users? It's almost as if society is saying "anything but fat".

The choice is not between fat and drugs, or fat and theft. This is not the real issue. Why compare yourself to a drug addict or a thief? Most of the "good" men I know wouldn't touch one with a six-foot pole. If you're around men who prefer this type of women, then you need to move. Don't use this as a justification for remaining at a weight that does not satisfy you.

On the other hand, if you're truly okay with your weight and feels no need or desire to change, it's fine, it's your body, don't let other people's opinions interfere with yours. There are indeed men who love women with the proverbial meat on their bones, and there is no need to wage war against the culture of thinness.

By the way, I checked your pictures, and you don't appear overweight to me. Yes, you could stand to lose pounds to fit the accepted weight standard of LA, but I don't see that you're at a weight that is medically problematic. Of course, there is the tendency to put on more weight as one ages, so this is something that you might need to watch out for. Sorry for giving unsolicited advice.

Ndelible said...

"On the other hand, if you're truly okay with your weight and feels no need or desire to change, it's fine, it's your body, don't let other people's opinions interfere with yours. There are indeed men who love women with the proverbial meat on their bones, and there is no need to wage war against the culture of thinness."

No need to wage war on the culture of thinness? With five year olds on diets? Our society and the race to be thin is causing us to be fatter! We've got some real problems. I don't think it's unfair to say that it is more acceptable to be a junkie than a fatty. The only area for comparison is that one is more okay to date. That's wrong. It's sick. That's what I'm talking about. It's not just about me and my weight; it's about us as a society.

Anonymous said...

Do you really believe the race to be thin is causing us to be fatter? If that was so, white women and asian women would be fatter than black women who have been historically the least eager to get thin and it's actually the other way around.

And also, to whom is it more acceptable to be a junkie than a fatty? To the fashion editorialists, fashion and celebrities obsessed people, maybe, but they don't determine your life, unless you're trying to be a model or actress. It's really about you and your weight. If you remove yourself from your preoccupations of what society thinks about your weight, and concentrate on what YOU really want for your weight, you'll be fine.

I think always bringing up drug addiction as the opposite of fatness sets you up in a false dichotomy. You don't have to be one or the other, you only have to be you and stop comparing yourself.

Ndelible said...

"It's really about you and your weight. If you remove yourself from your preoccupations of what society thinks about your weight, and concentrate on what YOU really want for your weight, you'll be fine."

I don't disagree with you that weight is about the person. However, there are societal pressures and expectations and it is foolishness to dismiss how strong those currents can be. I don't compare myself to drug addicts, but I do see that for whatever sickness that pervades our culture, that person can be more acceptable than a fat person. That is wrong; I have no reservations about saying or thinking that.

Anonymous said...

I agree that there are societal pressures and expectations and I am not dismissing them. I am saying that as a grown-up, it is important to learn to distinguish the societal wants from what you really want for yourself, and to spend more time focusing on the latter than on the former.

If you (not you specifically NDel) are unslim and spends time slamming the skinny culture, it's a waste of time because people think you're doing it out of spite and frustrations at your own inability to be slim. Kind of sour grapes. What you focus on expands. Instead, be happy, feel and dress sexy, luxuriate in your body, and you'll send the message that you are a woman who may not fit the expectations but is happy and living a full life nonetheless. That would be more attractive.

Ndelible said...

Just as I would find any other discrimination unsavory, so I find so for larger people. I have no sour grapes. I hate to exercise, I can admit that. Again, this is not about me. It's about society and ultimately that's what the play was about, not one woman's weight problem.