When I first moved to Mexico I was immediately taken back by the way women dress. It seemed that either nobody owned a mirror or that clothing at least two sizes too small was the IN style. Women run around here with not just muffin top but with their muffin tops bared for the world to SEE! I liked to go to the park, sit on a bench and just stare at the people walking by and soak up their obliviousness to fashion or size. I loved it.
Coming from the U.S. where size is so SO huge a deal and where every little lump, bump or yes, muffin is a huge discrace, it was shocking and all of a sudden liberating to be in a new world where people just don't seem to give a flying monkey about it all. I wasn't able to join the forces of spare-tire-bare-er-alls but I felt comfortable in my skin for just about the first time in my adult life.
Fast forward 2.5 years and two babies later and I'm wishing I could re-capture some of that initial new-found zest for my bodys extra curves. It's three weeks post birth and my husband is all of a sudden begging me to wear tight clothes again. Tight? Eeeek! The only clothes I own that fit me right now are a couple of shorts a pair of jeans and some t-shirts that are all blessedly NOT tight. I'm desperately dieting and trying to exercise so that I can fit back into my pants that seem SOOO far away from me and he's bugging me to wear tight clothes. God bless him but I just can't seem to get on the ban-wagon.
I tried to explain that my stomach is all out of whack and not fit for being showcased by a tight shirt and do you KNOW what the man does???!! This is Mexican culture at it's best yall. He walks over to me, grabs an oversized handful of someones *ahem* spare tire and says "What? Jew don like my lonjas? (spare tire) I don't care, dey're mine." He squeezes the spare over-inflated-tire holds onto it for a while and even leans down to give me a kiss. And then laughs at me!
In the U.S. I'd have divorced his ass right then and there but this is Mexico and he doesn't mean even the slightest thing bad by it. In the U.S. a husband shows his love for his plump wife by ignoring or pretending that her spare tires don't exist "NO those pants don't make your butt look big!" but in Mexico they show their love by bringing your extra parts to attention, calling you "Mi Gorda" (my fatty) and making light of the whole thing. They're not raised to care about it in a negative way like we are in the U.S. In fact, they just don't care AT ALL.
I'll never forget the first time my husbands family were all together and the women decided to show off their bellies to the family so everyone could laugh. It went sort of like.... "Look at Diana, she looks like she's 4 months pregnant! Haahahahaha" At which point Diana proudly lifted her shrit, grasped her generous midsection in both hands and began dancing the whole thing about and having a good ole time laughing about it. '
All the other cousins and aunts joined in doing the same thing and I sat there having a heart attack thinking "OH MY GAWD THEY'RE SHOWING THEIR BARE STOMACHS! PEOPLE CAN SEEEE!!" There were stretch marks and tires and belly-buttons gone bad, everybody was laughing and having a great time and the women showcased couldn't have cared less. Their husbands sat next to them and proudly laughed along throwing in little comments of their own and I gave a silent prayer of thanks that nobody asked me to lift MY shirt.
Over the almost three years spent here my husband has tried calling me HIS "Gorda" or "Gordita" (Fatty, little fatty) but I've informed him time and time again that I'll never be THAT Mexican-an-ized. He backs off before trying again a few months later and in the mean time is placated by the fact that I allow him to call me his "Vieja" (his old lady.) In the U.S. it's ok for a hillbilly to say "Yeah, me and my ole-lady...." but not so much to say "Yeah, me and my ole-fatty..." Just no. Not so much gonna happen bucko.
I can't quite embrace my extra-ness and to the wonder and head-shakes of my husbands family I'll be dieting and exercising like a psycho until it's brought back under control again - BUT - I'll at least feel a wee bit OK about myself in the time that it takes to get there. In the U.S. I wouldn't have had that luxury and I'd like to take a moment to be thankful for it.