The Comfort of Size:
Why I find Larger People to be Reassuring

by Green Onions


I've noticed that I find some people of size `comforting' in a subtle fashion which strikes me as more primary or fundamental than raw sexual desire. I'd like to describe this in a whimsical manner in the hopes of catalyzing others' similar thoughts. I hope you'll hear me out before you assume I'm totally off-topic.

This notion hit me especially hard recently when watching the movie `Monsignor Quixote' (MQ) for the third time in three days. I was even seriously considering the prospect of plunking down $60 to buy the video (a huge amount of dough--by my standards--for something nonessential).

If you haven't seen the film, I suppose I'd be remiss in concealing the fact that Graham Greene wrote the novel of the same name on which the movie is based. I know he's a controversial figure in some respects, but I would prefer not to discuss him as such.

Never heard of the author, the book, or the movie? That's okay; you might have seen the character actor Leo McKern in `Rumpole of the Bailey.' If not, let me just describe him as a borderline-obese, unapologetically-gruff curmudgeon (around 5'6"?) in his late 50s/early 60s. He's reserved-but-eccentric in the classically British sense, tho' he can also be emotionally expressive when he chooses, and amazingly persuasive. Perhaps some of us (including me) would seriously ruminate for a second or two in the unlikely event that we were to hear him smugly assert that the earth was flat, merely on the strength of his charisma. Both Rumpole and Sancho Panza (in MQ) enjoy eating and drinking in a healthily un-American fashion: they don't seem to be thinking about their expected lifespans with every sip or bite. However the character in MQ is several shades warmer, more affectionate, and substantially less pleased with himself than the rumpled Rumpole--an intellectual version of someone with the candor of John Goodman and the assertiveness of Tip O'Neil.

If you have seen MQ, you may be curious to know that the scene which really pulled my forelock on this issue appears towards the end of the movie in which Alec Guinness (Monsignor Quixote) is telling McKern (Sancho Panza) how ``safe'' he feels with his car and his friend. This is the last time you see them driving through the mountains, and occurs just after the priest discovers that he is no longer allowed to say mass. McKern mentions his Portuguese friends in the Communist party and lays out the possibility of a new life for both of them on the other side of the border. (Caveat: maybe you have to be male to really enjoy it--my wife found both the scene and the movie rather tiresome tho' she also ungrudgingly acknowledged the artistic quality. For her it was a stylish European version of a Good Ole Boy Bonding-Banality, courtesy of the misogynist Christianty-promoting Graham Greene. She astutely observed that neither character has or seems to desire a strong emotional tie to a woman, nor were there any female characters of any significance. IMHO her perspective has some merit, but that doesn't change my emotional response.)

It was while watching that scene for the zillionth time that I realized that in addition to being a FA, I have a significant number of very dear friends of size of both sexes, probably more than one might expect given the general population averages. A similar (statistical) anomaly holds for my past lovers, and my wife is a B., B.-in-every-way W. BTW none of these people I have known personally remind me of any of the characters/personalities I've discussed so far.

Naturally I wondered about the `causes' of this phenomenon, even as I cautioned myself about the small sample size involved.

One possibility is that I have a disproportionate number of male friends of size _merely_ because I find people of size _sexually_ attractive. This seems difficult to reconcile with my sexual orientation. Based on some limited experiments with gay sex in my late teens, I am quite convinced (nearly two decades later) that I am completely straight. Men just don't turn me on. BTW I've refrained from discussing my female friends or actresses such as Ricki Lake (before she lost weight) or Marianne Sagebrecht (`Bagdad Cafe') to keep this distinction clear.

A father-figure complex? Perhaps, except that I greatly admire my (slender) father who did not resemble any of the people I've mentioned in terms of manner, ethnicity, personality, philosophy-of-life or other typical criteria often deemed relevant. (On a related note, my mother was also slender and bore little resemblance to most of the women of size I have found appealing as friends and/or lovers.)

Maybe we can combine the above two issues (sexual attraction and a parental-figure complex) in the notion of being sexually or otherwise submissive. Sorry folks: that's not me. I don't enjoy taking orders (or giving them to adults), and rarely do either in the absence of a compelling rationale. I like being an adult and prefer relationships of equality in which persuasion, not authority, constitutes the primary medium of exchange.

Perhaps it is jealousy. Males are supposed to be large in the obsessively violent John Wayne/Ronald Reagan culture that I was raised in. Nearly all American men my age and presumably most others both older and younger have learned to `put up their attitudinal dukes' in opposition to the Evil Empires of Other Males Who Get Too Physically Threatening. This task is doable but sometimes tricky with my 6'/150 height/weight combination (I'd probably weigh 10 lb.s less if I didn't lift weights; my body isn't fond of accumulating mass). So, maybe I'm merely experiencing residual envy from my childhood days when such bluffs were nearly always called and/or the few instances in my adult life in which they (mercifully) were not.

But then again, I wasn't very happy as a fat `Piggy'-like little kid straight out of `Lord of the Flies,' and none of the people of size I seem to like appear particularly dangerous. Overall--aside from the extremely rare inconvenience of dealing with potential physical violence--I am completely satisfied with my body type.

So I presently believe that the issue involved here is not confined to sex _per se_, parental or D&s complexes, or body size envy. Instead, I think that in my case there seems to be a deep-seated, arational and compelling sense of comfort and security that I have found in the company of some people of size which seems even more fundamental than sexual desire.

If it matters, I also like large vehicles of all kinds, musical instruments with low `voices' (especially winds and strings), mountains, skyscrapers, etc.

And yes, to some extent it may also explain my sexual status as an FA--I can't have sex with someone I am not comfortable with, tho' it is certainly not the case that I want to have sex with someone _merely_ because I am comfortable with them. (Just for the record: there are plenty of slender people with whom I feel comfortable and/or find sexually attractive, just as there are lots of people of size that I loathe. We're talking about a difference of degree here, not a litmus test.)

I apologize if my comments seem hopelessly self-absorbed or tiresomely introspective. But I am not a psychologist or anthropologist and have no hence business speculating about human beings other than myself.

However I do wonder how many other subscribers have similar attitudes regarding what I am calling ``The comfort of size.''

Green Onions ;)



Dimensions Library