Okay, so I’m a little late in jumping on the Eat, Pray, Love bandwagon. I watched the movie via Netflix the other night. Especially loved the Italian scenes with Julia Roberts eating her way through Rome and Naples. I mean, really, what is more delicious than Rome, and pizza, and Julia Roberts? Exactly. And, of course, the food is filmed in such a way as to bring Pavlovian saliva to our jowls. I had to stop the movie mid-Italy just to go to my kitchen and heat up a can of Chef Boyardee (a poor substitute, but still).
Anyway, Julia and her movie friend visit Naples for a weekend and eat at the world’s most famous pizza parlor where pizza was invented or something to that effect. While Julia is chowing down on her full pizza, the friend simply stares at the pie in front of her. Julia asks why she isn’t eating. Is she okay? Now, both of these women are Hollywood thin, without a finger-full to pinch between them. But the friend has to say (and I’m paraphrasing here), “I can’t eat. I’ve been gaining so much weight; I have to watch my calories.” Now, you know this makes me feel great since I’ve just inhaled an entire bowl of Chef Boyardee, wasting at least a week’s worth of calories and carbs on this mediocre can of processed chemicals. And this skinny bitch won’t eat even a bite of her Napals original pizza pie?
Quickly, Julia comes to the rescue of American women everywhere. She says (again, I’m paraphrasing), “Look I have a muffin top too. But has any guy ever turned you away from his bed? No, he realizes he just won the lottery! Now, eat. We’ll go buy new clothes after this.” They do buy new clothes, which are still smaller than anything I’ve been able to wear since 1982. So, in short, this particular Eat, Pray, Love scene is inspiring and depressing all at once.
One last thing, on the subject of muffin tops (those expansions in our bellies that bulge above the waistbands of our pants)… When I started gaining weight in the early 1990s, I noticed the bulging from my waistline (though, at the time, the phrase “muffin top” had yet to be coined). I wasn’t obsessed with it (I definitely would have eaten every bite of my Naples pizza), but I knew I was putting on some pounds in my early 30s. One Saturday afternoon, I rushed to an appointment with my hairdresser, just throwing on an old T-shirt and some sweatpants. As the assistant brought me to the sinks to wash my hair, he exclaimed, “Congratulations!” “Oh what?” I asked. “The baby,” he said, looking at my muffin top. “I’m not pregnant,” I said. “Oh, I’m so sorry,” he said, confused (I guess they don’t get many muffin tops at hair salons in Hollywood). As he silently washed my hair, I wondered, Was I that fat? Or, perhaps, was it the T-shirt I was wearing from U2’s concert of the day, “Achtung Baby”? That’s what my T-shirt read, in bold, tie-dyed letters, “Achtung Baby,” which means “Attention Baby.” Was I “reading” (as we say in Hollywood casting) pregnant because of my belly or because of my T-shirt? Probably because of both. Well, I’ll tell you one thing: I’d still eat the damn pizza.