Me as a super-sized toddler.

I’m nearly 6 feet tall and shall we say “big-boned.” Always have been.  I was pushing 5’10 by age 15 and towered over nearly everyone at school.  One of my sisters who was petite and cute as a button used to jokingly refer to me as “Big Mare” growing up, which she later shortened to the universal acronym for going #2 – “B.M.”  That did wonders for my fragile self-esteem.  Anyway, I digress.  Despite my considerable heft, I was a reasonably attractive lass who was crazy tall and had a great head of hair and big blue eyes so all was not lost.

On several occasions during my youth, well-meaning old ladies from church or around town would stop me and say, “Marilyn, bless your heart, you should be a model.”  As my head swelled and I prepared to feign my humble gratitude, the old bats would usually add something like “really, honey, you’d make a great PLUS SIZE model.”   Feigned humility quickly devolved into righteous indignation.  “What?!  Moi, a plus size model?  Bite me, ladiesYou must have cataracts.”  I mean, seriously, I didn’t even wear plus size clothes.  I was like a 12 and well within the weight range for my height, thank you very much.  Plus size.  Blech.

Twenty-five years and 50 pounds later, I have developed a new admiration for plus size models.  As I passed 30 in the rear-view mirror and settled into my cush-but-sedentary legal career, my big bones just kept on getting bigger.  In fact, they got downright huge when I had my daughter at the not-so-tender age of 36.  Unlike other women, who start out as a size 6 and have to work their way into the “Women’s” department, it was just a hop, skip, and a jump for this Amazon to go from shopping in the “normal” section into the land of elasticized waistbands and freedom fabric.  To this day, when I’m asked to help one of the fantasically rotund shoppers grab an item off the top shelf or find myself grabbing for the same sweater as a Richard Simmons devotee driving a Little Rascal, I say to myself, “But I’m so tall.  I shouldn’t be here.”

Plus size in Paris, on my honeymoon. May 2012.

Despite my chagrin over my expanding bones, I am now a bona fide plus size woman.  It may have taken a couple decades, a baby, and a large arse to gain perspective, but I realize that being compared to a plus size model is a major compliment.  Not only are plus size models beautiful, I think they put their Skeletor counterparts to shame.   Don’t believe me?  Let me present my case using some examples from my favorite clothing store, Talbots.

Exhibit A:

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Exhibit B:

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EXHIBIT C:

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In case you didn’t notice, these models are wearing the exact same outfits.  In what universe do the emaciated “regular” models look better than the plus-size models?  Different maybe, but better?  Also, where does Talbots get off labeling concentration-camp-chic as “regular” and calling these perfectly fit models (who I can assure you don’t even shop in the Women’s department) “plus size.”  What a crock.  I rest my case.

I wish I could go back in time, retract the snarky responses and dirty looks I gave to those sweet old ladies, and just accept their compliment.  Me?  A plus size model?  I wish!

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