Embracing Obesity

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A surfeit of the sweetest things,

The deepest loathing to the stomach brings.

— Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, II, 2


In other words, ‘What sweet nanny goat going to run him belly’, as the old Jamaican proverb goes. Let’s face it, fat is in. No longer are people, women mostly, ashamed of their size, of being big, overweight, obese, rotund, portly, plump, or as we say in Jamaica, wagga wagga. Yes, wagga wagga is a term used to describe obese people, and I even heard a legislator refer to himself as such.

“The most that you can say about me is that I’m big and wagga wagga, but nothing else,” said the portly parliamentarian. Clearly people are embracing their obesity and have no negative feeling about being overweight. It seems that many are proud of the poundage.

This was thrust in my face when I witnessed some ladies decked out in their carnival costumes a few weeks ago. I could not believe what I was seeing, as women who were more than a little portly somehow managed to squeeze their large frames into the tiniest of costumes.

It was like placing a tiny handkerchief on top of a hippo and then encouraging it to dance. Nothing was left to the imagination, as the blobs of blubber jiggled as they wiggled, jumped as they gyrated, and rolled as they writhed in the streets.

No longer is there shame in being overweight, as these women embraced their obesity. We’ll see how they rolled, right after these responses to ‘Rio De Janeiro Blues’.


Hi Tony,

The con man, confidence trickster, chiseler, defrauder, grifter, scammer, swindler, gouger, a person who swindles you by means of deception or fraud by gaining the confidence of the victim has been around for a very long time, and may be the world’s second-oldest profession. The con artist of the past would meet the victim face to face. Today, many cons are carried out over the Internet, with the con artist sending pictures of someone else who is very attractive, and bilks the victims for all they can get.



Dear Tony,

It’s difficult to believe that people can be fooled in such ways, but the sad reality is, it’s more the norm than the exception. It makes you wonder if people are stupid, gullible, desperate, or just plain fool-fool. Even so-called educated people are conned every day, which proves two things — idiots still exist, and these con artists are very good at what they do. They could never catch me, though.



There was a time when it was the utmost indignity to be called fat. In fact, there is a term called ‘fat shaming’, and women have been known to commit suicide because of it. Imagine killing yourself because you were called fat. The only persons who were allowed to be fat were babies, hence the term, ‘baby fat’. It was expected and encouraged that babies be round and cuddly, as that extra fat was supposed to be a buffer against illness. “Baby muss be fat, for when sickness tek dem they have something to draw on.”

After that short period though, that fat was expected to be shed, or else. “Is time she lose the baby fat now, she getting older.” Fat was frowned upon, and people who were overweight were not looked on with kindness or sympathy. “ He has eaten me out of house and home; he hath put all my abundance into that fat belly of his.” — Shakespeare.

In fact, there was a time in medieval England when children were encouraged to ridicule and stone obese people in the streets. Back in the day, all types of unkind epithets were hurled at overweight people: Fat bwoy, wanga gut, slabba slabba, blabba, mampy, thunder thighs, hippo hips, with even the Spanish interpretation of vaca gorda meaning fat cow. It wasn’t cool to be overweight.

Many years ago I knew this Cuban lady who was referred to by her friends as Maria la gorda (fat Maria, in English), in order to differentiate her from the other Marias. Curiously, she was not offended and answered cheerfully to that moniker. People from all over could be so unkind to persons who had extra poundage on their frame.

Speaking of frame, some overweight people often try to make the excuse that they are big boned. Good luck with that one. Make no bones about it, all bones are the same size as I’ve never seen a fat skeleton.

Back in my high school days at KC there weren’t many obese boys. They were so few that even now I can remember them — Fat Willie, Blabba Pennicook, and Piggy Bennett spring to mind.

Back then we ate patty and coco bread, bun and cheese, sugar bun and bulla washed down with Pepsi or Coca-Cola, or box drink. That was included in our daily diet and nobody consumed sugar like us, yet we never became overweight. Now there’s a call for less sugar in the diet of children.

That’s only a part of the equation, as there should also be a call for children to be more active. The emphasis now should be not for less sugar, but for children to get up off their fat butts and be more active. Exercise is key. Plus, sugar alone does not contribute to weight gain, as fat and starches also play their part. Research has shown that rice has almost as much sugar as soft drinks. Check it for yourself. But I digress.

Many women nowadays are embracing their obesity, proud of their poundage, revelling in their rotundity, loving their lard, cherishing their chunkiness. Gone are the days of only slim models traipsing up and down the catwalk in fancy clothes, as the catwalk has morphed into the jumbo runway for the rotund.

Enter the fat…er, big…er, obese…um, overweight…no no no, the plus size model. Yes, big is in, and many women once deemed to be huge back in the day are now raking in huge amounts of money as top flight, plus size models. Women now embrace obesity, even if they can’t be embraced in one go unless you have very long arms.

I see women put profile pictures of themselves on social media that make me wonder if they really like how they look. But clearly they do, for a profile picture is supposed to be your most attractive image. I’m told that I’m to get with the programme, for obesity is in. So, they say it loud — I’m big and I’m proud.

There was a time when women would try to cover their belly fat, or mask the folds that flopped behind and below their arms and above their hips. Now, they choose to show off these fatributes, and they let it all hang out. Muffin tops are marvellous.

I’m not being unkind, but those embracing obesity do seem to have a gender leaning, as so many women are parading around in the skimpiest of clothing even though their bodies are ill-equipped to wear them.

There was a time when women would nervously ask their spouses, “Does this dress make me look fat?” He would be even more nervous with his reply. “Er, no dear…ah, of course not.” Nowadays there is no nervousness as they seem to prefer if their clothes make them appear even bigger than they are.

I refer again to carnival, where we all saw the herds of hippos, scantily clad corpulence, jumping and gyrating to the soca music. Remember that I said it’s a female thing, as I see many netball teams and even dancers with lard-laden ladies.

There’s this Jamaican male cricketer who, I’m told, has the best batting and bowling average in the region, yet the selectors refuse to pick him for the team because of his obesity. The view is that his size is an embarrassment, especially when the games are broadcast on television worldwide. “OMG, watch de fat man waddle and tumble down trying to catch de ball.” So, clearly, obesity is not embraced in those quarters.

Somehow many women no longer have a problem with obesity and no plumpness on their part can ever embarrass them. They even have endearing terms for it — such as fluffy, plus size, chubby. It’s a new dawn, a new day, a new time, and I’m feeling good as I embrace my obesity. So they say.

More time.



Footnote: Obesity is no laughing matter, and you can embrace it all you want but it can have dire consequences. Obesity can lead to heart disease, diabetes, fatigue, loss of libido — yes, it can cut yu nature, and a host of other lifestyle ailments. I encourage people to try to achieve an optimum weight, as too many of our young people fall prey to the fallacy that it’s cool to be obese. Fluffy is not cute and every effort should be made to curtail those kilos. Parents, insist that your children are active, run up and down, buss a sweat, do something other than sit before that smartphone or other device. And don’t nyam so much.

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