Why Can’t It Be, ‘American Women Don’t Get Fat’?

Girl on bicycleI’m reading French Women Don’t Get Fat.

Honestly, I never thought I would. Call it pride (or embarrassment), but I always felt a pang of something deep inside when picking up that book. We’re in the midst of an obesity epidemic and the title has a bit of an arrogant flair to it I feel. Are the French better than us since they can keep the size of their butts to one seat while we as a nation are growing rounder? And besides, haven’t our relations on a countrywide level been that of a love/hate thing throughout the last few centuries? Can I trust them? Will I be forever indebted to them if I pick up this book and spread its message? These are the things I think about. Looking for answers from friendly-ish nations can stir up hurtful opinions and harsh realities and quite honestly, I prefer the friendly confines of ignorance.

It’s undeniable though. The truth is that French women eat chocolate cake and enjoy wine with dinner each night. And they’re all freaking skinny. (How do they do that?)

So curiosity got the best of me and I bought the book. I’m now knee-deep in poetic scenes of French culture and tales of snobby (I mean skinny.. skinny) French women who do not want their secrets revealed. (Seriously. The author said so.) I’m a whole ten pages in though, so I can’t really comment on the book just yet and how it’s altered my life. I’ll have to report back on that at a later date.

The reason I actually mentioned the book at all is because as I was looking out the window wondering what to write about today, I caught sight of a woman trying to squeeze her massive SUV into this teeny-tiny spot (the kind that’s made when some donut parks diagonally in a space thus throwing off everyone’s trajectory which inevitably creates that one spot that from a distance looks big enough, but up close you’d be lucky to get a tricycle in there.) Well that’s what we’re working with here. And after an angle analysis, a pull-in, a reverse, another pull-in, another analysis, a mathematic probability equation and a final pull-in, she did it.

Impressed as I was, my initial thought here was why couldn’t she have parked five spots down where there are about 20 open spots? Then I thought, well that’s the American way. Get in, get out, don’t lollygag, park as close as you can, walk as little as you can, eat as much as you can. (That last part just came out.) Which led me to think about said French book and all those skinny French women who probably ride bikes when they run errands and walk when it’s nice out so they can smell the fresh summer air, happiness abound at every turn. Well maybe it’s not that poetic, but it don’t think it’s that far off.

So my question is, did that woman really have to park that close to the entrance? Was it going to ruin her day to have to walk an extra 50 steps? In the time it took her to maneuver into that spot like Houdini, she could have parked, walked inside and said hello to three people. Are we really that opposed to exerting ourselves?

I hope not. I hope that after reading this, (and realizing that if that woman sounds like you, you now know there is always someone watching and probably blogging about you), that one person out there decides that they don’t have to always get the closest spot, that they can be thankful they have the ability to walk a longer distance without it being a physical burden on them, and that they will take a few more steps each day, burn a few more calories and work on helping this nation become a skinnier nation so that we may say to the French, American Women Don’t Get Fat Either! Ha!

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About the Author: Anne Marie Constanzo