BODY shaming was on-trend when I was a kid. It’s fair to say it’s not now.
However, I was in a semi-popular fairly cheap clothes outlet recently in which the sale section was being fingered by three members of the same rather large family.
The son, aged around 30, looked around in some despair and said: “I’m the wrong size for any of this stuff.”
It was a fair enough observation, but his father quickly spun his lad’s dejection into a positive. “It’s not you that’s the wrong size, it’s the bloody things these companies make that are too small,” he offered to a series of nods.
There is an argument for that in some cases, but on this occasion dad’s words weren’t really going to help.
When I was at school there seemed to be some sort of arrangement which allowed just one fat person per class. It also seemed compulsory that they be given a nickname befitting of their status. The two I can remember from my school were “Flab Thornton” and “Fatty Hardcastle”, whose moniker made him sound like a character from the Beano.
Both seemed to feel the need to regularly remove their shirts and run around the playground displaying their sizeable bellies as if proud of their size. Maybe they were, which is fair enough, but I rather think they were trying to fit in, to be accepted by adhering to some old-fashioned stereotype.
The reason there weren’t many overweight children back then was because there really wasn’t that much to get overweight on. Yes, crisps, chocolates, cakes, biscuits, all the usual stuff were consumed, but we didn’t have take-aways (except for the chippy) and there were no double or extra-large portions, packets of crisps were 30g (they are now quite often 55g), pizzas were all 12 inches, now they are often 14 or more and ordered with garlic break plus a choice of sides big enough for a main meal.
Drinks are mostly fizzy and so-called energy drinks packed with sugar are consumed by the litre.
It’s a combination of marketing and science that wins the day for unhealthy products, the addiction to sugars and the need for carbohydrates forming a lethal combination with stuck in front of computers kids who don’t race around playing games like they used to. Who needs to run after a ball or chase a friend with a pretend gun when they can just do it on a screen while scoffing crisps and sweets?
Only a few of those kids slipped through the net years ago and I can remember both Flab and Fatty Hardcastle (before anyone says anything, I got called names for the opposite reason) played football, cricket and joined in games, but both were undoubtedly only using up the bad energy they had consumed.
The lad in the clothes shop the other day will never find anything that will fit him because, like everyone these days, he’s playing the blame game. Every failure is someone else’s fault.
Also, his father was wrong, the place was full of XXL-size clothes on the sale rack.