I was watching a burlesque video of a Chicago style jazz performance and realized suddenly, how strange I am. I had no trouble at all picturing myself as the star of the show, slowly swinging her tush from side to side wearing shiny tight pants and a glittering sequinned black bra top. No trouble seamlessly morphing myself in place of the sexy seductress on screen even though in real life I am more than twice her size. And if I did go on stage in those clothes, the flubber will most certainly pour out of my rhinoceros sized pants.
Here’s the video…in case you’re wondering…!
I live therefore in a strange holographic space where I send myself and everyone around me a 3 D version of myself that sloughs off exactly half of me. This impression is so deeply embedded in my psyche that faced with a full-length mirror while in the shower; I turn the psyched-up hologram me on, look in the mirror and exclaim – `Fuck me…is that hot or is that hot!’
But getting to this psycho-photo-shopping-myself space is an art, perfected over three decades of playing hide and seek with me. By the time I was twenty-three, and in a gym for the first time, I had no idea I had been doing this to myself for a decade; until I met a rather plump, frumpy girl on an adjoining treadmill. United in sweat and the battle with the bulge, the girl remarked – “Revati, can I ask you something…”
“Of course,” I said, making a mental note of how I was much larger than her but still hoping my hologram was in place to fool the world and myself into believing I was way too sexy to care.
“Well, you seem like someone who has no trouble with men…or with taking your clothes off…are you ever embarrassed when you know…”
And in answering her with much huffing and puffing, bravado and pretence I suddenly saw – that in fact, I have been hiding inside my giant beached whale like body for so long that I imagined the men I had been with also don’t see the sagging boobs propped up on a large plateau of stomach fat on which you could lay out a feast for eleven.
Since that one shattering and bewildering moment of self-reflection, I have begun to see what I do, each time I meet a new face, rub up against new flesh. Sometimes it works, and I have to admit, in my forty-fourth year, and therefore much less brash avatar; at other times, it does not.
On good days, I focus on my face, look at the large stretch marks across my belly like they are bold, burlesque rods of lightning left on me by some Renoir-style impressionist painter. Then I tell myself a burlesque story. I am in the 13th century. In a Turkish bath. These are deliciously cruel times. So I have six love slaves slobbering over me at the point of death. Do or die! As they perform for me in continuum, lover X – the face of the person I am going out with at the time appears as a desperate and pleading seventh. Waiting at the edge of the bath, ordered to look but not touch! He is in agony and that pained face transports me to instant ecstasy.
I get out of my real bath carefully avoiding a side profile, so I don’t see the many feet forward that my stomach extends or how it loops over my underpants like a large, droopy hill. I focus instead on the full frontal. My breasts, sagging but propped up by some beautiful lacy underwire, they look like decent, appetizing melons. I blow dry my hair. This is a new low by the way. To compensate for abominable gluttony. A slightly less flabby me would toss a shirt on over wet hair and saunter out of the house. Not anymore. If I haven’t cared to work-out, then I had better at least put out. But now that I have sexed myself, I can bask in the glory of that fantasy until I meet the man in question in the evening. Where I tell myself, again and again – he bloody well likes me for my sassiness. And for the brave face with which I cover up all the fat.
The date begins. And voila, it seems to work!
But then, of course, there are the bad days. The hologram is suddenly corrupted by grotesque images of someone I barely know. On those days, I do not dare date. Because what I see is most definitely what man X will be forced to contend with. And then there it shall be – a disembodied belly the size of a basket ball, wobbling between us. I check fat-porn online and turn myself on again.
And then there are lazy days. Neither good nor bad. The hologram is somewhere on the horizon, like a McAfee Virus protection that I haven’t updated. I seek protective cover in the arms of a comfortable lover, and we fiddle with each other’s pants with our clothes still partially on. The twin hand-job makes me right back in the double burlesque in which I star. Sequins are shining. And, baby, the sex is grand!