Round and Round

     About an eon and a half ago, there was a one woman show in Chicago in which a plumpish wallflower mused on a romantic misadventure with a man who was leading her on just to make her look ridiculous.  I am afraid I have forgotten the name of the actress AND the play, as well as, fortunately, the name of the reviewer who absolutely trashed the play for having an unbelievable premise.  Since no obese woman could  be considered attractive, even by herself, the play was absurd from its very outset.

     I hope the actress went on to great success and I hope the critic has grown older and wiser, and has gained at least eighty pounds.  In any case, as we have studied the phenomenon of Round People on postcards, we have had hints that our ancestors did NOT automatically exempt fat folk from romance.  Why, they seem to have felt, should the pleasures of the flesh be denied those who had so much of it?

     We will primarily consider postcards featuring Round Women, as men seem to have gotten involved in a catchphrase of the day which I haven’t quite been able to extract from history.  The “Nobody loves a Fat Man” gag is a bit shadowy, despite the massive number of cards issued to prove or disprove the assertion.

     The slender woman and the postcard came into fashion at roughly the same time, as the hobble skirt trimmed down the ideal figure.  Yet even in the Forties, there was an appreciation of women who did not fit the pattern.

     This young lady’s hat pretty much tells the story here and, by the way, I hope you don’t think she’s writing to her father.  (If you don’t know what a “sugar daddy” is, you have been culturally deprived.)

     This farmer seems to be pleased by this summer’s crop of tourists.

     And this young lady, if you can read the shipping labels on her trunk, has been around, as she notes.

     But perhaps this is all a hoax.  Perhaps the lady above is so large simply so the artist can put more jokes on her labels, and perhaps that size is merely something for us to laugh at.  After all, the picture of two Round People in love strikes some artists as hilarious.

     If you toss in a line about flying, you make it even more ridiculous, of course.  (Hey, see what’s in the sky?  Blimps were flying more than airplanes were at that point in history.  What’s the big fat joke?  Let me rephrase that.) 

     And yet, there are plenty of cards to suggest that even if it is funny, the people involved are enjoying the joke, as well as enjoying their round lives.

     I know there are people out there who regard such figures, and such ways of life with loathing, and yet, should we argue with happiness?

     And there are dozens of variations on this gag, which is  meant to represent the people who bought and mailed the postcard.  At the very least, this suggests that the Round Figure could be laughed with, and not just at.

     The vacations of Round People were just as open to romantic adventure (expensive though that might be) as those of people with slimmer physiques.

     Perhaps the message here is that the state of your mind is more important to your joie de vivre than the state of your body.  Or perhaps that’s all part of the joke: that Round People don’t realize how awful they are.  They can only really attract each other and that’s….

     But just you wait until Friday’s blog.

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