“You monsters are people,” I said a little too softly over Brittany Howard wailing her thoughts about not making it to 22-years-old playing through some speaker across the Tea Lounge in Brooklyn. The monsters stared back through contact lenses they didn’t need for eyes they’d only use to judge.
Their conversation was about bodies that didn’t quite fit into television’s sexy box, but still got the men those in the box feel they deserve more. It was about Khadijah James and Hannah Horvath and Becky (Gabourey Sidibe in Empire) and those men on those shows and those men in real life who choose “The Fat Chick.”
I inserted myself into the conversation, but I had no clue what to say to keep myself there. I went with, “these men shop at Goodwill, not because they find it trendy and full of attention-grabbing vintage Karl Kani vests and those sweatshirts Boss made with the gold placards, but because they gave up attempting to please the public eye after so many failed attempts.” One monster let “shade” come out under her breath, thinking I didn’t hear her.
Wasn’t a part of childhood and college, according to some environments, supposed to be used, by handsome men like myself at least, for the sole purpose of getting your numbers up, with consent of course, no matter the face or shape that accompanied that spike? “Blind, cripple or crazy. 18 or 80,” we’d boldly state, justifying our decision to leave the club with the women society found undesirable in the daytime. Isn’t adulthood about connecting with those who brought something more to the table than wet panties, bubblegum, and hookups at the doors of clubs that charge covers?
“Perhaps,” I told them, “The Fat Chick found men who made better decisions in life.” Those men who find women with perfect bodies typically find women who are ashamed of those perfections, and women with pretty faces steer clear of mirrors when blemishes arise. Perhaps, and this may be a stretch, men are finding themselves more attracted to women who have no second thoughts about their blemishes and what others would call “flaws.” These women have no problems removing their second hand pants and shirts to show their men what the first hand shoppers tell them they should be ashamed of.
After all, Khadijah, Becky, and Hannah were winning. I remember the HBO Go & Chill night when me and my date ran across Girls, and “The Fat Chick’s” latest conquest was the attractive doctor with the house that reminded her of Something’s Gotta Give or What Women Want. She found a man who begged for her company, and made use of every inch of what she was offering on every inch of his ping-pong table and kitchen island. Then picked her brain and fed her.
The monsters are these women who feel they’re the true representations of beauty. The monsters won’t allow The Fat Chick’s body to go gentle into the goodnight with the men the monster feel they deserve over the Fat Chick. The monsters have spoken, and the gasps were loudly replayed over and over, over Alabama Shakes’ first album, and I’d rather listen to Brittany tell me she’d be my ticket home than listen to a woman with a body she’ll only show in the dark and a brain that’s never seen light explain that “women with fucked up shapes on television never deserve the man interested in them.” I laugh as she belts out, “I deserve them. That would never happen in real life.”
And me, staring at her with disgust in my eyes, chai tea latte in my big mug, and handsome stretched across my face, would certainly prop The Fat Chick on the edge of this partially broken couch with unmatched pillows that should have been discarded years ago, and take everything she’s giving as though redefining beauty depends on us.