I am utterly SICK, sick sick sick of fake-orexics! Or fanorexics, I can’t decide which meme to engender yet. I am as SICK of fanorexics as they are sick all over themselves. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to disparage those proper anorexics out there, you know, the frightening skeletal ones that you see wheeling suitcases around the underground and fear for their lives. Obviously this is a crippling disease which is depressingly endemic amongst young girls, and a symptom of untold external and internal pressures in this hideous thing we call society. But really, credit where credit’s due – if you’re going to go around telling everyone about your terrible eating disorder, you’re going to have to be really, exceptionally thin, that is if you don’t want to look like a complete idiot.
I’m not just talking out of the air: this is something I noticed just last night when I went to a canapes and nibbles reception with my ladyfriends, Melody Wittgenstein and Lara Buckerton.
It was the usual thing, glam literary types, authors, feminists like me and the girls – or so I thought! They were more than happy to swig at the free wine (very fattening, so I’ve heard), but everything fell apart when I moved swiftly towards the buffet.
‘Munch munch munch’, went Posie, eating her mini-quiche like a PROPER WOMAN. ‘This is species being!’ cried I, ‘this is liberation’. And down went another eight or nine mini-quiches (honestly the things were the size of chocolate buttons, it was like eating a packet of chocolate buttons). But not so for Melody and Lara.
First there were disapproving looks. Then there were raised eyebrows. Finally, they turned to one another and began the most heart-wrenching, attention destroying conversation I have ever heard in my life. Melody has very low self-esteem. She is very, very depressed. She thinks she’s fat and skips meals. If she ate a mini-quiche, even just the one (may I remind you they were the size of chocolate buttons) she would just hate herself. And, it turns out, Lara is bulemic. Buleeemic? She could have fooled me. Oh sure, everyone was bulemic in school (we went to school together, the usual thing: boarding, tartan, lax pitch, orchard) but then there was precious little else to DO. But now? Honestly, can anyone be that bored?
The problem with women like that is it’s never enough to be quietly, humbly pathological. It always has to become a public annoucement. This also includes getting a female friend drunk, waiting until she is good and drunk, and then boring her half to tears with emotional renditions of how you’re bodily dismorphed and instead of seeing a gorgeous, 20-something year old supermodel (that’s you Melody, Lara not so much) you see a big fat trout. This is especially unacceptable when the friend in whom you’re confiding a) is less attractive than you b) less thin than you and c) isn’t nearly as idiotic and vain as you are.
Being a bit depressed is fine, it can be extremely creative. When I was in hospital over the summer for self-harm with a bic disposable razor (shh, don’t tell Terry Blackteeth! I don’t want him to think I’m a psychopath – it’s our little secret) I was at my creative peak – writing the first 20 chapters of my novel Sally: An Independent Woman; A Fiction in only 2 months! Do you think Coleridge wasn’t depressed when he wrote the Prelude? Do you not think Blake was a little on the blue side of the mind when he wrote those funny little poems of his? How about Van Gogh? You see what I mean.
But unless you’re going to sublimate your melancholy into great works of art like me, which, let's face it, most of you aren’t, you really owe it to humanity to accept your position of utterly unearnt and undeserved social priviledge and opportunity and use it to do something useful. Talking about your ‘issues’ a) incessantly b) as if it hurt you to do so and c) as if there was something beautifully poignant about them only makes you look chronically self-obsessed and, yes I’m GOING to say it, vain.
So, here are my requests, oh women of the extra pound!: Don’t you make me valorise your vanity, and don’t you dare try to make me identify with you. I don’t. You are what is ruining women. I can’t remember the last time a manfriend (and admittedly I don’t have very many) commented negatively on a woman’s body. Most of them are utterly astonished if a woman so much as looks at them, and are far too grateful to concern themselves with whether said woman has ‘muffin tops’, flappy arms or thick ankles. ‘I don’t like flabby women’ says the chauvinist. ‘We don’t like you!’ the flabby woman should reply. Instead she cries, skips a meal, faints, cries, writes a blog post, tells her friends, reads Slyvia Plath, cries, wanders around in a stupor, etc ad nausea. If she can fit in time to binge-eat a pizza then vom it up, well that’s all to the good.
Or she sees a picture of a very pretty women. ‘Why is that not me?’ she asks. Because it is a picture. Of someone else. Not you. You may as well ask, ‘Why is that picture of a chair not me?’ Because it is not you. It is a chair. It is a discrete object. There are lots of discrete objects in the world. Not all of them can be you. Only one of them is you. You are it. Google Ontology. Have a read. Grow up.
And how, how have I have managed to keep my head, when all about me are loosing there’s? How have I managed to stay sane in a crazy mixed up world? How have I managed to keep slim and trim without skulking around gyms like a paedophile round a playground, complusive self-starvation or vomiting up my soup? Worthy questions, sisters. I’ll tell you: a positive mental attitude, a healthy, varied diet and a very fast metabolism. Those are the kinds of things that money can’t buy. Neither can shame.
(Some names have been kept the same in order to NAME AND SHAME)