So the June 2001 issue of Marie Claire has the results of some survey in which readers were asked how much money would induce them to do things like cheat on their partners or have a one-night stand or gain ten pounds permanently. For the ten-pound propostition, women could name a price of $100, $1000, $600,000 or state “no amount is enough,” and for each option the article ran a quote by a woman who explained her choice. The fact that more than half the women surveyed went for the last choice–no amount is enough–strikes me as depressing and yet kind of intriguing, and I’m sure there are all sorts of interesting reasons why so many women wouldn’t go for gaining ten pounds in exchange for, um, financial freedom. But all the magazine could come up with was this quote by “Shari, 34, nurse,” who says:
“I’m comfortable with my body, so adding ten pounds to it would take an unthinkably large amount of money–more than any lottery. The extra weight would bring me up a size and probably show more in my face and hips.”
All right, so I really don’t see any problem with that first part. It sounds like a matter of being at a certain comfort level and not wanting to change things. That kind of makes sense. But then Shari, 34, doesn’t shut up. She blathers on:
“I’ve always been a size 2, and I’m lucky not to have to diet, or go to the gym. Though I don’t flaunt my figure, I think I look good in almost all clothing styles. The ten extra pounds wouldn’t pose a health risk, but it would be noticeable to others–and that would bother me. When you’re thin, people offer flattering compliments like, ‘Oh, you are so lucky to be that skinny.’ If I gained weight, the positive feedback from others might disappear–and that could chip away at my self-esteem.”
This has to be one of the most dumbassed things I’ve ever read. Especially that last sentence. “Chip away at her self-esteem,” as if her sense of self-worth was some kind of Franklin Mint collectible she’d ordered.
She says that if she gained ten pounds permanently the compliments might disappear. If she was a size FOUR. And that this could adversely affect her belief in herself so profoundly that six hundred thousand dollars or more would not be worth the chance that perhaps friends and strangers would no longer fawn over her completely fabulous metabolism, because then if that happened she’d most likely spiral irreversibly downward into an existential wretchedness, and she’d shuffle along with her ponderous size 4 hips, forsaken, with no other choice whatsoever but to frequent trashy bars, drinking grain alcohol and slurring profanities and desperately climbing onto the laps of strange men and crazily dry-humping them and offering them hand jobs or whatever–not for money, of course, because she’d have six hundred grand socked away–but for the attention.
Because even with six hundred grand, a little therapy for this self-esteem problem is apparently not an option. And apparently also trying to gain a sense of self-worth from other things–such as, you know, being a NURSE and helping sick people–is also not an option. Because Nurse Shari probably spends all her time sashaying through the critical care wards wriggling her teeny butt and fishing for compliments from all the paraplegics and burn victims and amputees and chemotherapy patients. “How do I look today? Yeah, uh-huh, I’m totally naturally a size two! People tell me I’m lucky. Do you think I’m lucky? Oh, and it’s time for your dialysis. Anyway, my thighs in these jeans . . .” It just pisses me off that her inane quote was published in a national magazine where anyone could just pick it up and read it. And that any guy could read it and laugh his baseball cap off because OF COURSE he’d gain ten pounds for a few thousand bucks, no problem; he’d just take the money and buy amateur porn.
And I guess Shari is too stupid to consider that in a few years her body might change and gain ten extra pounds anyway, and when that happens I hope she thinks about how much interest that money could have accrued and how it would have come in handy when her kids needed to be bailed out of jail after getting caught imitating stunts they saw on Jackass, because they’re stupid; stupid by virtue of being raised by Shari, who is stupid. I hate Shari.
(And I hate that those Marie Claire bitches totally set me up to get all pissed off. They probably went through hundreds of surveys before they came across Shari’s and they snickered until they nearly peed on their Jimmy Choo mules and decided to run her quote as if it was something a reasonable person would say. I mean, I hope that’s what happened.)
But I think I would take the $600,000. I think, actually, I would just take the highest amount of money offered, provided it was at least enough to change my standard of living. Although I have to say I’ve been a total whore for compliments lately. Maybe I want to hear this stuff because I’ve actually done something. I’ve been going around for months and months stomping around on the floors of aerobics classes and slinking around Cub Foods looking at all the food labels and trying to memorize the point value for everything like an idiot savant, so I need my props.
I suppose if I gained the ten pounds and got paid six hundred grand, I could go around saying, “Hey! I got paid an assload of money to stop losing weight!” and friends would say “That’s fantastic! And you know, you still look great.” But maybe they’d say that just so I’d pay for their drinks. Also, I couldn’t really take credit for anything except just being lucky enough to have $600,000 offered to me, which would then make me as annoying as Shari.
Taking the money might make me a bitch; would it make me a whore? Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a reason not to care about my weight, and a huge amount of money would be a big reason. Maybe it’s a matter of what’s being sold. I have to think about what that would be.