Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

My Body, My Self 

Food issues and a bad self-image led our columnist to undergo weight-loss surgery. She's still a mess, but a better-looking one.

Wednesday, Jan 2 2008
Comments

Page 3 of 5

It became apparent to me that no matter how much progress was made in my therapy, self-image, and strength, I would constantly be put up against the rest of the world, who could see none of my spiritual growth. Damn, it was hard to be fat. Also, no matter how "happy" I was, I still wouldn't fit in airplane seats or restaurant booths, or be able to have a healthy pregnancy someday. At this point I was the music editor at the East Bay Express, and I would always dread meeting bands; I didn't want them to know I was fat. I didn't want anyone to know that Katy St. Clair was morbidly obese.

Yet I also knew that losing weight and keeping it off would be next to impossible. Statistically speaking, somewhere between 2 and 5 percent of people who lose weight keep it off, and the stats were worse for obese people. I would probably gain it all back and then some. So, it seemed my only options were to soldier on and accept myself the way I was.

I became part of the large 'n' lovely go-go girls' crew at Stinky's Peep Show in the city, a club with punk bands and fat dancers, where I could dress sexy and meet guys — lots of guys — who were into bigger girls. What is there to say about chubby chasers? They objectify fat women, and after eight years of no action, this ho was ready to be objectified. Everything that might disgust you about your body — your hanging belly, your cottage-cheese butt, your floppy, massive titties — got these men harder than concrete.

When I wasn't meeting guys at Stinky's, I was meeting them online. The Internet is a fat-girls-and-the-men-who-love-them paradise. There were, of course, some nut jobs. First there was the guy with the Willy Wonka fetish, who found the scene in the movie where Violet Beauregard turns into a blueberry to be the most erotic three minutes of film in existence. I would wear blue clothing while we had sex and then puff my cheeks up right before he came, pretending to "blow up." I enjoyed this and thought it was cute — a turn-on, even. But I was also just glad to be gettin' some. I was hungry for not only love, but also, Jesus Christ, sex ... please?

On the Internet I came across a guy who was conventionally handsome in his picture. He wasn't really the sort of man the thin me would go for — too square — but compared to all the other gnomes out there who liked superbig girls, he was a catch. I instant-messaged him with a picture of myself. He asked for my phone number, and for some stupid reason I gave it to him.

Small talk ensued. I said I was a writer, and he told me he was an actor currently playing Tony in Tony and Tina's Wedding in a Philly dinner theater. He instantly got very pushy about my going there to meet him. "I just feel something between us, you know?" he said. "Like, girls like you are hard to come by. That woman 'Tina' in my play, she's like this Barbie doll, totally what most men would want. She disgusts me. I like fat girls."

"Okaaaaayyyy," I responded, alarm bells going off.

He wanted to fly me out to see his show, and insisted that I would come backstage after his performance: "Yeah!" His voice was picking up in pace and he seemed, er, a bit more herky-jerky.

"You will come backstage! And I will introduce you to Tina!"

"Yeah?" I said. "I dunno ..."

"Yes! You will meet Tina, and ... and ... and then I want you to ... squish her."

He said the "squish her" part with a breathlessness that belied the release that I feared was coming.

"Squish her??!"

"Yeah! Press your big fat body into her! Press her into the floor! Ohhhhhhhh!"

Click.

I think it was at this point that I began to really consider weight-loss surgery.

Before your surgery, at least if you have a reputable surgeon, you have to take classes. At the place where I had mine, ValleyCare Medical Center in Pleasanton, you have to take more than a dozen.

There are two kinds of classes. In the first batch, you are taught how to deal with your postsurgery body: what vitamins to take and when to take them, what foods to avoid for fear that they will harm or stretch your new stomach pouch, how to eat for those first few months when your tummy is the size of a fingerling potato. The other classes are about psychological stuff, the "What's eating you?" crap that people who "understand" fat people trot out. It's not that I think that stuff is total bullshit; not at all. It's just that I had already spent eight years answering that question in therapy. Some of the people at the medical center had been grappling with this stuff for only four weeks. There was no way they could conquer their food demons that quickly. They just wanted to race through their classes so that they could get a surgery date. They saw the procedure as some sort of magic bullet. "My sister had it done and she looks fabulous," was the sort of thing I would hear from them.

About The Author

Katy St. Clair

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"