Interesting one, this. At the nightclub on Saturday I was pleased to see the return of an old regular who'd not been in for a while. As it was early and quiet and I'd just put on a song and got the next one cued up, I nipped down to where she was standing and gave her a hug to welcome her back.
I asked where she'd been.
"Not felt like it, because I've got fat."
The instant reaction of a man when a woman says she's fat - and when it isn't immediately obvious that she is indeed dodging salad like there's no tomorrow - is to have a look, even though it isn't especially subtle. So I did.
"Oh, don't!", she said, mock-awkwardly but with a smile, half-heartedly trying to pull her unbuttoned jacket across.
My instant reaction was to reassure her. She wasn't fat at all. I told her, in as uncontroversial a manner as I could (bearing in mind the final chorus of Sunny had just started and I was running out of time) that she looked fabulous. Which she did.
She wasn't having it.
She used to come with her sister, who'd not been in for even longer. I asked why.
"Oh, she's got fat too. She's just like me."
These sisters were late 30s or early 40s and in their prime. They looked great to me. I hurried back to the CD players, confused and a little disappointed.
Now, to me, there are four types of women on the weight issue. There are women who clearly are rather on the beefy side and won't/can't/daren't do anything about it. There are similarly sized women who are comfortable with it. There are women who maybe have a pound or two extra but look fine for it, which this regular of mine fits into. And there are women who are not fat enough - skinny to the point of dangerous but more than happy with it as being emaciated is supposedly a lesser evil than being stocked up.
I've always believed that women lose weight because they believe men like skinny girls. Maybe I'm flattering mankind generally here, as on reflection they may do it to make unskinny girls jealous. Most men I know will always prefer a woman with hips, a discernible waist, a proper bosom and a sunny disposition to go with the figure. Skinny means worried, paranoid, competitive and almost certainly bitchy.
This club regular doesn't need or want my approval, but sometimes I wish women would let men do the reassuring and listen to them, even if they sense an ulterior motive. She's single and looking, and she's more likely to stay that way if she continues to believe she's fat and needs to shed it.
I really hope she doesn't lose weight, and gets her sister back on the dancefloor with her soon. I'll even make sure I don't play the Weather Girls when they turn up.