The Beautiful and the Damned

Halloween is coming, hurrah! And that means the Last Tuesday Society (them again) will be holding another ball this Friday. Of course, Yr. Humble Chronicler will be in attendance.

This time, though, I have an extra motivation for going. This isn’t really a “personal” blog, so I don’t like to get too emotional on ya (though that doesn’t stop me from inserting my own opinions and crap jokes into every entry). But this is kind of important for me, so please forgive the general sappiness upcoming. You may want to skip a couple of paragraphs.

You see, for a very long time, I’ve been overweight. I mean, we’re talking twenty years here. We are talking at school. I’m not trying to paint myself as some kind of victim here, nobody forced the chocolate down my throat, but it isn’t exactly fun to be a fat guy. You get an awful lot of jokes made at your expense, and if you actually say “Hold on, guys, I have enough trouble getting trousers that fit without you prodding my belly and demanding that I chuckle like the Pillsbury Doughboy,” then you’re seen as a bit of a spoilsport. In my case, it became a sort of vicious circle. The only way I could feel good was to eat more, which of course made me feel worse in the long run. I’ve actually heard armchair psychiatrists suggest that it should be okay to ridicule fat people, because it might encourage us to do something about it – anybody who’s struggled with their weight knows what a lot of bollocks this is.

What got me to actually work on shifting the poundage was a number of factors. First of all, vanity. I was having real difficulty finding clothes that fitted. Nice ones, anyway. Secondly, health concerns. Hell of a lot of diabetes in my family, and I realised how much crap I was eating. And thirdly, bloody-mindedness. I read that only 2% of diets work, so the stubborn bastard within me thought, “Oh yeah? We’ll see about that!

The method was simple – I don’t believe in miracles, and whatever method I chose had to be sustainable. Therefore, I started thinking long-term about food. In other words, “This cake is nice right now, but if I don’t eat it, I can be thinner in the future. I will enjoy the cake for a few minutes, but I can enjoy being thin forever.”  The food I did eat had to be nourishing and well-balanced, and in the last couple of months I began a strenuous twice-daily exercise regime.

The end result was that, upon measuring myself yesterday, I discovered that I am, in fact, now a healthy weight. Given that the exercise programme was designed to build up muscle as well as burn fat, simple weigh-ins weren’t going to be a reliable indicator of progress. So, as with so many things that are important to a man, I decided to measure my progress in inches. Men should be aiming for a waist-hip ratio of 0.95, I’m now 0.93. There’s still work to do, but I’m feeling better about my body than I have in years.

That is my additional reason for looking forward to this ball – at last, I can work it without looking ridiculous.

A lowered budget has forced me to be creative about my costume. The theme for the ball is “The Beautiful and the Damned.” I’m going with something inspired by the excellent Poe story, ‘The Masque of the Red Death,’ which features people who are both beautiful and damned. Fortunately, I had most of what I needed in my wardrobe already, and what I didn’t have I was able to obtain inexpensively. I don’t want to show you the whole thing just yet, but here’s part of it.

In accordance with the style of the Last Tuesday Society, I’m going for something Victorian-esque, but a bit more bohemian than the standard top hat and tails. The real bitch was finding a mask I could wear comfortably over my glasses and customise to my design. I suspect I’ll be making adjustments right up to zero-hour.

I’ll let you know how the night goes. If there’s time – I’m also going to a party on Saturday and another Sunday, so basically I’ll be dead by next week. Appropriately for the occasion.



Filed under 19th century, Arts, Clubbing, Current events, Fashion and trends, Food, london bridge, Only loosely about London, Rambling on and on, Shopping

6 responses to “The Beautiful and the Damned

  1. niq

    You should take control of your body shape. Don’t let the fashionistas get you down, but rather make a virtue of your body’s natural shape!

    Wear your paunch with pride!

    • TGW

      This is a good point – I’m kinda resigned to the fact that I’m never going to be a Hollywood hunk. At the risk of getting all over-PC, I’ve noticed there’s no equivalent of the Campaign for Real Beauty or How to Look Good Naked for men.

  2. opheliajasmin

    I hope you’re going AS the Red Death.
    But I seem to recall he cast kind of a pall over the proceedings – whereas it sounds like you need to celebrate.

    • TGW

      Well, more-or-less. Sort of 1890s Red Death. I’ve been looking at a lot of danse macabre imagery and mementoes mori (is that the correct plural? Damned if I know) for inspiration.
      I was originally going to go as the Tell-Tale Heart, but there’s only so much raw beef you can staple to yourself.

  3. Jim Birch

    Congratulations. Keep it up. Loosing weight and keeping it off – whilst maintaining equanimity – is a serious task but well worth the effort. Looking good is ok, but the real benefit is health – vigour, slower aging and a big drop in risk for just about every disease.

    My advice: Eat well but eat small. Aim to usually choose the active alternative, for example, between lift and stairs.

    • TGW

      I’d definitely agree with that advice. The great advantage of doing things that way is that it’s not so much of a shock to your body, and so it’s easier to sustain.

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