It’s said that the Eskimo have 29 words for snow to be able to convey the nuances needed to describe exactly what kind of precipitation they mean. It stands to reason that they would need such an expressive set of words, since in the frozen winter wonderland, snow of every conceivable type is pretty much all they see.
A recent article in the New York Times gave me pause, because it detailed the emerging new nuances in our own language for fat.
While a few descriptive fat-phrases have been with us for quite some time: turkey wattle (the double chin) and love handles (the fat at the waist) and pones (the fat on the upper outer hip/thigh area) the origin of this newly-emergent shading of the meaning of a pretty straightforward word–fat–derives from the world of liposuction surgery. According to the NY Times piece, apparantly a need has arisen on the part of plastic surgery patients, young women mainly, to specifically describe the particular offending pooch they want a doctor to suck out.
No longer is it sufficient to say “Doc, get rid of this excess fat on my belly or thighs.” One now must specify the banana fold (fat roll under the buttocks above the thigh) or the wings (the stuff that pooches out over the bra, under the arm) or the doughnut (pooch of fat around the belly button) as well as a whole list of other descriptors detailed in the article. My favorite, occasioned by the recent trend in wearing crack-exposing, hip-hugger jeans: the muffin-top, which by any measure is, indeed, a perfect description of the fat that bulges out over the low-riding tops of jeans, which, if I were in charge, would only, only, only ever be sported by young women with body fat percentages under 20. All others would be cited and fined–or as I often put it, ticketed and towed.
Of course, I’m not in charge, thus the current state of fashion affairs and the reason I spent an entire otherwise lovely dining experience recently staring at the purple thong, crack, tatoo, and rather large muffin top exposed above the “waist” band (archaic term) of a pair of jeans worn by a young woman who really shouldn’t have.
If the Eskimo needed 29 words for what was all around them, what does this spate of ways to describe fat mean for us? Clearly, that we’re a nation awash in a landscape of fat, which isn’t news.
Since for most of us, liposuction to sculpt these areas is out of the financial question (and should be out of the question on grounds, in my mind at least, of medical appropriateness of therapy, since it is not without sequelae, but that’s another blog entirely) perhaps we might be better served to harken back to what it is that makes us develop these unsightly pooches that inspired a legion of new words for fat. Hello out there! It’s what we eat!
Never doubt it: Muffins* beget muffin-tops.
*Traditional high-carb muffin, made with lots of flour and sugar, not to be confused with a low-carb Power Muffin, made with almond meal and artificially sweetened, as detailed in The Low Carb CookwoRx Cookbook or found among the recipes on our lowcarbcookworx.com website.