December 17, 2004

Vanity Pounds

Holiday weight gain that is delicious

By Al Carlos Hernandez

There is one thing that irrespective of race, gender, or political affiliation we as Americans have in common. We all gain weight during the Christmas holidays.

Ever since mid-November my pants started becoming a little too snug, the Sunday suits shrank, and could barely lace up the Stacy Adams, so I went to the plan B slip on’s, but that is not the point. I’m getting fatter.

Different people handle the battle of the bulge differently. My wife’s gay friends used to stroll into her shop and announce quite sincerely to other males stylists. “Girl, they are having a sale at Pretty and Plump and the cashiers on commission were asking for you honey…”

I have never had a weight problem, always thin, usually anxious, inattentive to the luxury of food, and just don’t have the big bone body type. I’ve grown for no particular reason a little pot belly thing, almost like a lard-filled skin covered fanny pack, just above the waistline.

What I have, according to I don’t know what you call them, Pork-ologists, is considered ‘vanity pounds.’ VP is not only a useless political appendage, it is extra and unwanted weight that somehow detracts from visceral or atheistic cuteness. Men suffer from this the most, this is why our shoes seldom matches the outfits, because during middle age often times you can’t see the patas in action.

Given my apparent pot ponch, I have three options; Watch what I eat, and during tamale, See’s Candy, and home made cookie season is not going to happen. Two, work out by doing brisk five mile walks in the cold which makes me even hungrier when I come back, this time forcing me to down a few sugar filled sodas, or my tradition: forget about it and it will go away sometime in February, or during a career crisis while working on a feature film project.

Women deal with weight gain different then men, before they eat something delightfully high in calories, say things like: I really shouldn’t, then hate themselves when they get home. Guys on the other hand could care less, and simply buy bigger clothes. In all fairness there are men who work out, watch their diets and keep a very trim six pack waistline. These men are called single. Married men who pick up a single man’s body image and work out regime are hoping to become single.

I have only two responses when asked if someone is gaining weight. If a woman asks, the answer is always no, no matter what. If asked by a man, I am forced to call him a Dork, unless he is gay then I say yes, then they accuse me of being a breeder.

My brother in law’s revelation about his change in girth came as quite a surprise. It seems he was at a fancy resort hotel and just jumped out of the shower, in one of those huge marble glass and mirrored bathroom spas. As he was drying himself he caught a glimpse of a huge white buffalo-like posterior and it scared him. He roiled up a towel and was ready to attack the beast with, a time tested high school prank whip snap technique. He stalked the bathroom like a crazed Indiana Jones on to discover that the beast was a true reflection of his ample seating capacity.

Smile and turn red if that has ever happened to you…

My belt seems to be a chronological and linear yardstick given my ever changing size of emotional well being and belly weight, sometimes back two or three notches, sometimes one notch from the end. One holiday season I loaned my belt to one of my sons, lost my identity, but started all over with a new larger belt and felt good about myself again.

Looking back on my rail thin, big haired days, I realized that the reason I never put on extra weight was because I was type A ambitious, anxious worrier, who would burn off more calories than I took in, fretting about things that would never happen, obsessed about making it.

In middle age, I have discovered that making it isn’t anything, and not making it isn’t anything, it’s all about having a good ride along the way.

“There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice”.

-John Calvin

Al Carlos is starting another Feature Film project in January. Reprinted from

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