Monday, November 19, 2007

I like to Keep it Real

Euphemisms have always been a pet peeve of mine. Why say "passed away," or "making love" when what you mean is "died" or "sex"? I am not a fan of glossing over the truths of life, which may be why I am a writer. But the latest and most egregious use of euphemism is the word "curvy," when what people really mean is fat. Queen Latifah, while lovely and newly svelte (comparitively) is most certainly not "curvy," lest they mean the curves that come from excess skin in the stomach region.

Perhaps I take issue with this particular fallacy because I am, indeed, curvy. Every since I blossomed from a frighteningly skinny 12-year-old, I have sported an hourglass shape--large breasts, smallish waist, wider hips. But I was not/am not fat, at least not since college when I thought eating a quart of Edy's Ice Cream was a proper dessert. I took pride in being voluptuous, in being "curvy" if you will. But now I feel like the word has been usurped.

Take the other day for example. I was talking to my friend Calvin (names have been changed to protect the innocent) who told me that he is doing some online dating. He sent a couple profiles, which I checked out and analyzed for him. "She's out," he said. "She calls herself 'curvy.'"

"Wait, isn't curvy a good thing?" I asked, innocently, remembering that 99.9 percent of straight males choose figures like Marilyn Monroe and Laetitita Casta over Twiggy and Gwyneth.

"Nope," he explained. "In online code speak, that means fat." He proceeded to send me 30 online profiles, all of which said "curvy." And sure enough, they also all made reference to such gems as "more cushion for the pushin'" and "more of me to love." Crassness aside, I was astounded. Since when was curvy code for any of those other BBW battle cries?

I am not knocking the BBW ladies. Seriously. Rock your shape. Have pride. Do your thing. But don't usurp my word! Angelina Jolie (pre-Anorexia)=curvy. Jessica Simpson=Curvy. Pavarotti? Not so much.

I was astounded and told Calvin this. He laughed.

"Well what am I then?" I asked. Good question, he told me. He had no answer.

But then I wondered, what would my online profile say? If not curvy then what? Slender? That does not seem right. I am not "slender." Am I "athletic"? Well, kind of. Parts of me are, but mostly I am CURVY, which is why the whole thing bothers me. I have no way to describe myself now that would not tell some Maxim obsessed man the equivalent of "she has a great personality."

Ok, so I am married. Why does this matter, one might ask. And I will tell you: it matters because of honesty. Because I really do not think that people should have to weed through euphemisms and pretty cover-ups to get down to the truth of the matter. Let's call a spade a spade. Sex is sex. Dead is dead. And overweight (not that there is anything wrong with that) is just that.


Melissa R. Garrett said...

I dare say that not many women would check the "overweight" box. "Curvy" just sounds much nicer. To a guy, it probably means more boobs, more butt. When you say someone is overweight, that's just a polite way of saying she's fat. (at least that's how I perceive it).

Kristi of Interrupted Wanderlust sent me your link. Congrats on getting published! I can't wait to read more of your posts. :-)

Kristi said...

I think it's all about the connotation of certain words. "Fat" calls to mind Kirstie Alley pre-Jenny. Curvy calls to mind Marilyn. But I agree with you. I've never liked euphemisms either.

Your post has me thinking...I wonder what I would be called. I think we share a similar body type. Curvy-lite? ;)