'He always liked fat girls!' my ex-girlfriend hissed at me, understandably enough, when she found out I was sleeping with her brother. We're still together sixteen years later, so she was right, as well as spiteful. Though I wasn't even that fat at the time - a size 14, I think, which admittedly to my size 8 sister-in-law must've seemed verging on the Blimp-like. But these days, I would struggle to get into an 18. When I married my first husband, I too was a size 8. But then, I was also a teenager. When I married my second husband I was in my mid-twenties and a size 12. Right now, I'm starting to think the sky's the limit. But frankly, I'm too happily married to care. So I wasn't at all surprised to read of a new American survey which proves conclusively that marriage makes women fat.
There's many reasons why I've gone from sylph to Space-Hopper over the decades. I like to have fun. I come from the British working-class, the women of which are generally not neurotic enough to want to fit into their daughters clothing. I was a good-looking girl but having been there, done that and been temporarily trapped in two miserable marriages during my pretty years, I had very little attachment to my looks. But most of all, marriage makes me feel relaxed. And being relaxed, in all areas of behaviour, makes for a happy marriage. It's the opposite of a vicious circle - a big fat old circle, yes, but a very pleasant one.
Of course, you can get yourself a woman who watches every calorie she consumes - but chances are that unless she's some sort of surrendered half-wit, she'll keep you on an equally tight rein. Or you can pay heed to what the wise Edwardian actress Mrs Patrick Campbell said of marriage - 'The deep, deep peace of the double-bed after the hurly-burly of the chaise-lounge.' Of course, my old man - who is thirteen years younger than me - could turn around tomorrow and run off with a thin girl. But equally, I could waddle away with a cute chubby-chaser, of which there are lots these days, since fat became sinful and thus exciting. All this being true, though, I sense that sooner or later something WILL shock me enough to make me want to lose weight. One sad, sunny day not long from now, I won't be allowed on the rides at one of my beloved water parks; more than a decade ago I saw a big woman at Bahamas Atlantis with her bum stuck in an oversize float-tyre, unable to get out of it while two attendants pushed/pulled, and that vision haunts me still. Or I won't be able to fasten the seat-belt on of my numerous holiday flights. And I will be mortified.
But until I reach rock bottom, I'm going to make the best of my fat and feckless years. 'Don't eat anything you can't lift', Miss Piggy once said, but what kind of defeatist attitude is THAT? Bring it on!