The dance.

I joined Weight Watchers about four months ago, and lost a total of 13 pounds before┬ deciding my points journal made an awesome coaster for my afternoon pop. Those were 13 long hard pounds, and it was pissing in the┬ ocean when you consider that I have 100+ pounds to shed. I think this is one of the reasons it’s so hard for big people like me to lose weight — the mountain is so high, so unclimbable. It’s like cutting the grass on a football field┬ with a nail clippers.

The feeling I get before I binge is what I can only imagine is the same ravenous, consuming┬ desperation that a junkie feels before shooting up. It’s like the whole world melts away, and the only thing┬ I see in my crosshairs is food. Snickers. Ding Dongs. French fries. Before I can finish my timesheet, before I can┬ concept that print ad, I must┬ soothe the beast. It won’t┬ loosen its┬ unrepentant grip until it has been fed.

And so I eat. And eat. And eat some more, until the food expands, stretches and strains my gut.┬ I feel guilty, powerless, low. Yet I am calm. I’ll be damned if I don’t┬ feel┬ at peace.┬ I am fulfilled and complete. I lie in┬ the wake,┬ a bit dazed by the frenzy that has come to pass.┬

This is the torment that washes over my brain once, sometimes twice, a day. But┬ I must function,┬ I must put up the front. I must┬ bury┬ these thoughts in a hastily dug trench, along with┬ my awkwardness and my shame. For when you are fat, or obese as they say, you must be smarter, funnier and more pulled together than┬ everyone else in the room. You cannot risk appearing slovenly or gluttonous, because that is what they expect of you.┬

If I starch a crisp line into my khakis and maintain a perfect french manicure, will┬ you not notice how my thighs billow out from the steely borders of the conference room chairs?┬ How could you not. I see the┬ disgust in your eyes as they sweep up and down me. And so I dance, hoping my jazz hands will divert your attention from the dark storyline unfolding behind the curtain. The show must go on.┬

Natural selection.

Where I work, the women’s bathroom has three stalls. As I enter the bathroom, the question always arises — which stall shall I choose? I could take the oversized handicapped stall,┬ which gets marks┬ for its thoughtful leg room and comfy arm rests. Or, shall I be┬ considerate and┬ opt for the smaller stall on the right? I can’t help but think that the middle stall (also smallish) is the way to go, for its seat sees only a modicum of assage. I say this, because I have spent an embarassing amount of time logicizing it. I deduce that the middle stall would be the cleanest, for no one would┬ use it, unless the others were full. Taking it would mean that at any given time, you could sitting mere inches away from someone else with their pants at their ankles. It would be akin to entering an elevator and standing right next to one other person in there.

I wonder if everyone else goes through this littany of questions as they enter the bathroom. I have issues with public bathrooms — I have had them since childhood. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, untitledmother takes great pleasure in recounting the time when I held my poop for five days when I was a kid,┬ because I┬ didn’t want to┬ unload in someone else’s toilet while we were on vacation.

As I’ve grown older, I have become accustomed to pooping in public restrooms. But you can be damn well sure that I have the common decency to hold it until no one else is in the room. I don’t care if my brow is sweating and my o-ring is quivering like a whore in church. I simply do not poop in the company of others. I mean, what if I happen to unleash holy hell from my nether regions, and┬ the sound┬ of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” comes chortling out of my blowhole? You just know that┬ my stallmates would look under the dividers, compelled by that same shameful curiousity that keeps┬ one watching the horseplay addicts on HBO’s “Real Sex” series, and see my shoes there. Oh, the horror.

Thank god not everyone┬ is like this. Take untitledbrother-in-law, for example. He would gladly drive 20 miles┬ out of his┬ way just to┬ poop in our toilet. And if he’s able to clog it or god forbid, leave behind some racing stripes, well then, all the better. I’m not sure if this is an exercise in┬ demarkation, or if┬ there is some strange magnetic force surrounding our home that┬ pushes the poop out of him like a sausage press. I just find it odd that whenever he is here, it happens. He probably has no idea that I’m taking mental notes. But given my history with toilets, I notice these things. Does this make me strange? Probably no stranger than untitledhusband, who gets hard from the mere smell of electronics and the sensation of the Tivo remote in his hand.