Christmas is only a few days away, and today marks the second day in a row that I’ve messed up at work because I was daydreaming about my family’s upcoming Christmas Eve feast. Once December 20 rolls around, I’ve got pierogi on the brain and virtually nothing else. Having come from an obscenely large Polish family, I’ve always cherished our obscenely large Wigilia tradition where we all laugh, share oplatki and gorge ourselves. When I was younger I used to compete with my cousins to see who could eat the most pierogi in one sitting, but have since stopped after one too many Christmas mornings spent painfully digesting in regret.
After my annual viewing of Love, Actually, I have to say, I’m pretty grateful I reside stateside during my holiday binge fest. Because holy hell, they REALLY do not like fat people in that movie. I realize the entire philosophy of the film is, allegedly, that Christmas is when you tell the truth, but does that really have to include commenting on all of your friends, family members and coworkers weights? Can’t Christmas be the time when we’re all spared the constant fat shaming that floods our daily lives?
Throughout the movie we are constantly reminded that the prime minister’s secretary, Natalie, is apparently horrifically obese. A woman who, just guessing, probably weighs within ten pounds of me, so thanks guys. In an almost reflexive manner, someone takes it upon themselves to remind the prime minister that she is the token porker of the office whenever he mentions her. Natalie herself informs us that her ex boyfriend left her because of her offensive size. Presumably this was for his own safety, so as to avoid being crushed to death during coitus, but sadly theirs is the only love story not included in the film. Even Natalie’s father lovingly refers to her as “Plumpy”, just in case you weren’t aware which of his children he wants to emotionally scar. (Personally I would’ve gone with “Fatalie”, but I suppose I will never truly understand the nuances of a father’s love.)
Then there’s Karen, an overstressed mother just trying to balance her marriage with all of her holiday duties. This primarily involves the overwhelming task of creating papier mache lobster costumes for her childrens’ nativity pageant . I don’t quite understand Christmas in England, but I acknowledge that it’s bigger than all of us. Apparently Karen’s not great at balancing her marriage or her diet, because her frightening fatness has driven her husband into the arms of another woman. And you guessed it, she’s not only very thin, but very young. And a Christmas devil, because of some old English tradition, maybe? But at least Karen is aware of this, admitting her state of ever increasing mass to her husband after witnessing him (rightfully) dancing with the Christmas devil (because England!). Bless these women for having some amount of accountability for their disgusting bodies.
Men don’t escape this trap either, as we learn with Billy Mack’s big fat monster of a manager. For five weeks, Billy Mack has been competing to get his Christmas record to the top of the charts, and astonishingly his tub of lard manager was able to drag his ass off the couch long enough to stand by his man for support. Truly, love was all around them. After a media blitz and the promise of a nude performance, Mack’s record reaches number one. Probably realizing that his manager doesn’t have much longer before he chokes on a biscuit, Mack heroically leaves a party at Elton John’s celebrating him so that he can spend Christmas with him. We should all be so lucky to have someone who will get pissed and watch porn with us, no matter how tubby we get.
Poor Aurelia won’t eat any cookies because she’s afraid of gaining weight and ending up like her sister. Her sister, who their father lovingly refers to as “Miss Dunkin Donuts,” because Christmas is also about giving your daughters body complexes. When Jamie comes to their house asking to marry one of the sisters, their father is so eager to marry off MDD that he offers to pay Jamie to take her. Skinny Aurelia won out in the end, with a marriage proposal from Jamie, on whatever conditions she wishes (as long as she remains within a certain weight range, I assume).
Look, this will be my 24th Christmas, and at this point, I’m no longer sure what I’m supposed to think about any of it. I thought it was all about gift giving, tons of food, tons of family and an absurd number of feel good movies that you’ve seen so many times you know exactly when to mock them and when to shut up. Maybe I’m wrong? But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let all of this anti fat bias nonsense ruin my annual tradition of stuffing my face full of pierogi until I can only drag myself into bed. And I strongly suggest you all do the same, with whatever delicacy your family favors. It’s a time for enjoyment, good feelings and knowing that you are loved. And I dare you to resolve to not detox or lose your holiday weight in the new year. Because to me, you are perfect.
Molly Regan is an improviser and writer in Baltimore. She likes chicken pot pie, Adam Scott’s butt and riot grrl.