Get All Worked Up about the Price of Beauty


Speaking of past columns…

A couple of years ago, I spent some time talking about my Lovely Wife’s physique. In my column entitled, “All Worked Up About BBWs,” I expounded on what sorts of terms might accurately describe my Lovely Wife’s figure: voluptuous, curvy, zaftig, Rubenesque, that sort of thing. I even invented a new term: “BLQL. Built Like Queen Latifah.” That one hasn’t caught on yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

Most of the responses I got to that column were overwhelmingly positive. Women everywhere expressed gratitude and appreciation that someone was supporting the position that you don’t have to look like a swimsuit model to be a hot ‘n sexy lust machine. Some of them even sent photos of themselves (UNSOLICITED photos, I might add) to demonstrate that they’re not afraid of showing off their voluptuous, tasty-looking bodies.

However, not all the responses I received were supportive. One email, from a woman I’ll call Laura, actually berated me about my position on my Lovely Wife’s physique. Laura went to great pains to outline the health risks that overweight women face, not the least of which are greater risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, circulatory issues, sleep apnia, and liver and other types of cancer. Laura seemed to believe that by thinking my Lovely Wife is hot just the way she is, I’m somehow enabling her to perpetuate what Laura called a “sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle.” In Laura’s opinion, both my Lovely Wife and I would be much happier, healthier, and better off if I spent less time accepting my Lovely Wife’s present physical condition and pushed her to go to Bally’s 24 Hour Fitness Center a little more often.

“You’re living in denial,” said Laura, “if you think your attitude doesn’t have consequences for the future. If you truly love your wife (and I think you do) you need to help her take the steps she needs to make sure she’s around as long as possible. You can’t appreciate her body if she’s dead.”

While I appreciated Laura’s willingness to write, I honestly found her concern and her willingness to share her opinions on the health issues of a woman she’s never met, (UNSOLICITED opinions, I might add), a perfect example of how we’re all better off if we simply abide by my credo and say, “Laura, Mind Your Own Fucking Business.”

While I’m sure she meant well and was earnest in her concern for my Lovely Wife, it would be no more appropriate for her to draw conclusions about my Lovely Wife’s health than it would be for me to assume that Laura is one of those obsessive-compulsive fitness junkies who spends half her day on a treadmill or exercise bike, knows her cholesterol count like other people know their ATM PIN numbers, and whose lunch consists of celery, unbuttered popcorn, mineral water, and a finger down the throat.

Yes, assumptions are dangerous and wildly inappropriate. That hasn’t stopped Laura, however. Apparently, in Laura’s eyes my Lovely Wife has nothing on her daily agenda except to lie around on the couch, eating bon-bons and pork rinds, drinking Red Bull and watching TV all day long.

So, even though it’s no one else’s business, let me clear up a few misconceptions. My Lovely Wife works a full-time job, successfully manages a house full of four children and one emotionally immature adult (yours truly), strives to maintain as healthy a diet as possible, and in fact has the blood pressure and cholesterol count that much younger, much slimmer women would kill to have. She avoids red meat, eats lots of vegetables and hasn’t been inside a McDonald’s restaurant in four years. Her sex drive has improved with age, (woo-hoo!) and her family history is long on octogenarians and short on diabetes, cancer, and heart problems. In short, my Lovely Wife’s health is just fine, thank you very much, and it should remain so for a long time. The only real health issue my Lovely Wife has is that other people seem to think that because she’s BLQL, she must have health issues.

Why am I bringing all this up now?

My Lovely Wife and I had an interesting conversation the other day. She’d been invited to a jewelry party by a mutual friend of ours, whom I’ll call Shirley. Shirley’s another lady BLQL, and she’s quite charming. In fact, I’ve always found her kinda sexy.

Anyway, when my Lovely Wife came home from the party and I asked her to fill me in on the evening, my Lovely Wife said, “It went okay, but Shirley looked different.”

“How so,” I asked.

“She went on this crash diet. Nothing but protein shakes.”

“Really. How’s it working out for her?”

“She’s lost forty pounds in four months.”


“She’s lots thinner than she was, but she looks like hell.”


“These protein shakes her doctor put her on had no carbohydrates in them at all. No sugar, no starches, nothing but protein. And Shirley wouldn’t eat anything else. Essentially, she’s been malnourishing herself and a couple of weeks ago she got so sick she had to have surgery to remove her gallbladder. She just got out of the hospital.”

“Why’d she go on such a crazy diet?”

“Why else,” said my Lovely Wife. “She wanted to be thinner and she was willing to take desperate measures.”

That reminded me of another mutual acquaintance who’d recently tried a radical weight-reduction technique. I asked my Lovely Wife, “Didn’t your friend Janet try that stomach-stapling surgery last year?”

“Yep. It’s called a gastric bypass.”

“How’s she doing?”

“Terrible. She’s been in and out of the hospital ever since. She contracted three separate infections, has had to have two more surgeries, one to remove her gallbladder, and she’s got a gaping four-inch hole in her abdomen. She’s on painkillers and intravenous anti-biotic treatments and she wants to die. But she did lose sixty pounds.”

Now, as I said before, I’ve always found Shirley to be kinda hot, and while Janet’s not my type, I know for a fact Janet’s husband Tom finds women who are BLQL a big turn-on. (I know this because Tom once hit on my Lovely Wife. As a joke, he says, but I know the spells she can cast on men’s loins.)

So what the hell’s going on, here?

I’m not saying Shirley’s and Janet’s horror stories are the norm, but I did a little fact-checking on the internet and I learned there are a whole host of risks associated with radical weight-loss schemes. Crash/Fad diets often lead to depression, diabetes, kidney failure, liver failure, and many other ailments. A study published in 2003 of gastric bypass surgeries performed at University Hospitals of Cleveland concluded that about twenty percent—one fifth—of all gastric bypass surgeries resulted in post-surgery complications, including multiple infections, leaks and ruptures of the staples, pneumonia, and even death.

The news gets even darker. It’s not enough that indulging in the urge to improve on nature can make one slim but sick. Last month, the Annals of Plastic Surgery published a report concluding that women who have breast enhancements are three times as likely to commit suicide as are women in the general population. The study speculated that the surgery itself isn’t the greatest risk factor, but that women who have the surgery are more likely to suffer from behavioral, self-esteem or body-image disorders, disorders which aren’t cured by the “quick-fix” provided by boob jobs.

Society’s obsessive compulsion to not only be thin, but to get thin quick, is outrageously well-documented. In fact, the mania’s become a sick joke. Stand in the checkout aisle at the supermarket and you’ll see one magazine’s cover story screaming the headline that “Chubby Britney Can’t Lose That Baby Weight,” another magazine shouting, “Is Nicole Anorexic,” and a third touting the fact that “Kirstie Lost 60 Pounds, You Can Too!”

So what’s to be done? How can we save people from the grief and suffering that seems to come with trying to improve upon what nature gave us?

I keep coming back to when Janet’s husband Tom hit on my Lovely Wife and got busted for it. He begged her not to tell Janet, and my Lovely Wife agreed, but what if she hadn’t? What if Janet knew her husband lusted after voluptuous women as a matter of course? Maybe she wouldn’t have so readily gone under the knife to change. Maybe Shirley wouldn’t have tried that quack diet if she knew I found her sexy before she lost forty pounds and her gallbladder.

Maybe it’s just a matter of launching a campaign where men walk up to strange women on the street and saying, Hi. If you’re thinking of liposuction, gastric bypass, a boob job or one of those crazy crash diets, don’t! You don’t know me, but I think you’re hot just the way you are.”

Admissions of lust from total strangers.

It’s worth a shot.

J.T. Benjamin
September 2007

“All Worked Up” © 2007 J.T. Benjamin. All rights reserved.

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