Sunday, January 30, 2011

Love in the Time of Calories

Love is something between everything and nothing, which is perhaps the reason why it takes some people a lifetime before they realize that it has been there all along. Some others simply look in all the wrong places under all the wrong instances. And, somehow, they still end up right. But let's cut the cheese right there and go straight to the money shot. To make our lives easier, let's assume we're fat.

These are times when loveless romantics chastise themselves by eating anorexia for breakfast, bulimia for lunch, and a slice of Nicole Richie for dinner. They want to lose weight because Valentine's Day is drawing near and it's not the best time of the year to grow a double chin just to prove the point that they have a job. They are serious with finding a date and they are equally serious with burning their fat, at least just in time before summer. They want to justify everything by looking back at history, to no avail. Renaissance was a time when being "fat" by contemporary standards—not obese, still judging by contemporary standards—was beautiful and admired, even worshiped. But the Renaissance lost its magic hundreds of years before Sir Tim Berners-Lee gave birth to the internet in 1990. Apparently, Tim does not even have a vagina to begin with but that's beside the point. Today, skinny is praised as the new sexy and fashion magazines are willing to shove that idea down your throat. Fat on the other hand has remained more or less the same—it's still called "fat" in the dictionary. You will have to deal with it, or it will have to deal with you. With an extra rice and another extra rice, love in the time of calories has never been quite a drag.

But all is not lost. As one parish priest puts it: "never underestimate the power of a woman's cleavage." Well, I don't recall now if it was a priest who said it, but what the hell. Even the French call it décolletage and we don't really care either. Other than that, there's another parallel, which is this: a dog is to a man as a cleavage is to a woman. You might mistake that mammary cleft for just another crevice on a woman's body that is as harmless as an erection during Sunday mass. If you do, you can't get any more wrong. It's a woman's best ally in the toughest of times, and it can make some men change their minds and others change their girlfriends—some others capable of doing both at the same time, notwithstanding frequently. That is true especially if a woman wears her cleavage like massive plate tectonics that look as though they're waiting for a vein to pop. Besides, you don't have to be thin to have a chest tunnel. In fact, you'll hardly have that precious chasm if you barely have the meat to back it all up. And who needs a bra if your bra can't get jiggy with it?

Others say, too, that you don't even have to be a woman to have one, but that's just not our cup of tea. If it's from a man, technically, it's not a cleavage. It's most likely a gene anomaly which biologists have yet to name because nomenclature is a tricky business.

As for us, fat guys, searching for love in the time of calories, I don't know but let's think of something.

Either we have to be a "rap" star or a random schmuck who wears large shirts and large pants, all dressed-up like a rack of clothes and nowhere to go except beside our car's shiny rims. Come to think of it, there's no real difference between the two. Only imagined.

Or you can try Facebook. Try to post a sad love quote for your status update, "like" it, post a comment on it, and "like" your comment. Take a nap and wake-up after two hours. Check if a female friend did the same thing—which is that she posted another sad love quote, "liked" her post, posted a comment on it, and "liked" her comment. If you do happen to find one, you may well be in luck. Congratulate yourself by watching porn for thirty minutes for you might just have found your soul mate. Maybe a lost soul. Or maybe a potential mate. But who cares? The point is you're both lonely and thrilled at poking each other at Facebook. Never mind what happened to your original post. There's a good chance that nobody gives a shit about it anyway.

I really don't know. But what I do know is that Gabriel García Márquez' Love in the Time of Cholera is a gem of inspired madness it's unmistakably genius.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Women Studies

The night was young and I was hungry. I went to the usual place where I take my dinner—it's a brief walk from where I live and the price of every meal meets my daily budget so long as I refuse to eat more than what I can chow—and sat near the corner spot where the chair was still vacant. The place was big enough to accommodate tens of people and it was almost crowded that evening. But it was nothing really new. What was new, at least in my recent history, is this: there were two ladies sitting comfortably by the next table and I can't help but overhear their conversation, what with their inviting voices taking the form of rapid and rabid bursts of words which did not quite seem to mind those whose ears are highly receptive. Through the years, I've developed this habit of involuntarily listening to conversations. I do not know for certain if it's a useful vice or a worthless virtue, but the ladies made me realize it's not as bad as I thought it can be. I've learned something.

The three of us did not get to talk together—and I was thankful we did not—but all along I felt like I was an uninvited guest, one who was not permitted by the female species to intrude but was allowed to listen to the whole experience anyway, preferably from beyond an invisible electric fence. Judging by the way one of the two ladies talked, who was also the one more assertive, she seized every phrase like an angry protester standing against an even angrier mob. If only words have necks, she could have effortlessly twinged them by her tender hands, and the vowels and consonants would have instantly died from suffocation. The other girl was less assertive but also not fairly reserved with her demeanor. She mostly played the role of the apprentice or one who is like a pimple waiting to burst open with rage—two ways of saying the same thing—raising her falsetto voice whenever the star of the show gave the cue, and shrieking to her heart's content for no apparent reason. The ordeal went for about thirty minutes and they talked about their boss who was, for all intents and purposes, the apple of their eyes.

I finished my meal way ahead of them. By the time I left, they were still trying to figure out how to nail their boss, whatever that means. If only I was watching them as if I was watching a film, I could have brought a bag of baloney with me and enjoyed the blockbuster without having to pay for it.

Before, I've had the chance to ponder upon the question of how much girl talk is too much. More than two years have already passed since the day the riddle first crossed my mind and I still haven't found the answer. I guess I've been starting off with the wrong premise all along. Maybe there really is no answer. Or maybe there isn't any question in the first place. Perhaps, a "girl talk" is just what it is—a girl talk. It could well be the reason why the ladies weren't so wary about the diners around them in the first place. For the two ladies, there was nothing to hide and be ashamed of. On the contrary, there was everything to show and be proud of. As the assertive one said, "having a good job with a nice pay is just icing on the cake—but having a hot boss, now that's priceless." She said it as if she struck gold in a mining pit for the first time in a very long time. Of course, there's absolutely not a single intention to allude to a gold digger there. Trust me.

Many things have already been said about the distinction between the male and female sexes. Women are from Venus and men are from somewhere else. We don't really quite know where, but it has to be somewhere, perhaps between Patrick Dempsey's crotch or thereabouts. Which partly explains why we can never be as good-looking as the Grey's Anatomy phenom. But the world isn't about men. I think it's more about women than Justin Bieber—and Bieber isn't even a boy to begin with. The reason why it's more about women is that there really is no reason why it should be more about men. Nobody wants a sausage fest.

But seriously, there's something about women that I can't thoroughly explain. Either that, or I've missed the package with the memo. If there's such a subject in college as Women Studies, no one will ever graduate a summa cum laude for reasons that are too plain to state here.

I learned that I still need to learn more.