11/09/2014
...poked you!

On my side of the world, everybody is talking about Big Hero 6.

Rainy and I were in line (or whatever amounts to it) for Interstellar yesterday afternoon - the IMAX screening, just because, never mind the ticket lady telling us that it's "just" in 2D, as if we want to watch anything in 3D, what with our collective dizzy fits and all. Anyway, we were probably the only people queuing to watch Interstellar; the rest were there to watch this cartoon about an inflatable something (and other superheroes, apparently, but you wouldn't know that if you didn't dig deep enough).

Granted, it was a Saturday. Family day. Kids get their weekend and they will want to watch cartoons, because they still can't tell the difference between mature animated things and not-so-mature ones. I mean, a cartoon is a cartoon is a cartoon if you're a kid. You won't be able to grasp the nuances of, say, WALL-E's sly conservationist slant; it's just a cartoon about two robots in love. So, yes, the animated film will get the longer lines on a Saturday. Or it will seem that way, because kids love to run around cinema lobbies while waiting for their chance to have a photograph alongside the Bibendum, err, I mean, Disney's version of Baymax.

And, it seems, my friends can't get enough of Disney's version of Baymax, too. All day today I've seen photos of them with standees of Disney's version of Baymax. (Is there a shorter way to put that? I mean, I'm no comic book geek, but I feel obligated to point out that Baymax is not a balloon in the original comic books.) You know, standing pretty, doing those selfie poses, and in more than one occasion, them holding the inflatable balloon belly of, you know, Disney's this and that of this and that.

So, yes, big bellies are cute... if you're a balloon. If you're a cartoon character. If you're me, well, good luck.

If you're human, even. If you're human and you have a big belly, you will have to deal with society collectively telling you to get a gym membership or risk dying a sad, early death. Rainy does think it's cute - it's become a major plank of our system of terms of endearment - but one time she just had to ask the question. "Would you consider getting a gym membership?" she once asked over lunch, and I pretty much said no, because, let's be honest, what do I get from it? Apart from less money and less time. I mean, I believe in commitments, but not every commitment, no.

I'm not saying I prefer to be fat. I am also looking to lose weight, but I don't want to be pressured into it. "Ang laki-laki ng tiyan mo!" they'd say, and they'll feign amusement but they're actually being all judgy. You are fat. You are freaking fat. And it's worse if you only have a big belly, because, well, it just does not look natural.

But then there are times when people are genuinely amused at your belly. I don't know what's worse: the pressure to lose it, or the feeling when people pretty much find it cute. I was at Rainy's place a couple of months back - her nephew, who we all call Pig, turned a year old. I stood there as the birthday candles were blown and the food was distributed, and there she was, Rainy's younger sister, who I always seem to miss in previous visits, either asleep or out of the house. There she was, Rainy's sister, grinning at me momentarily, before poking my belly with her index finger.

Weird, but, well, if everything goes well she would be my sister-in-law, but, well, weird. But it could be weirder. I could be standing there as the dinner table buzzes with activity, some leaving to return to the buffet tables, others returning with sushi or laksa. I could be standing there, pacing myself, knowing that buffets are the enemy, and so is my tendency to eat a lot. "I'm taking a break," I would say, before someone who I've only met a few days prior grins at me momentarily before poking my belly with her index finger.

She was a work colleague, and this did happen.

And your responses...

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