The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: In the Pink Corner - There Can Be No Dispute - Hips Don't Lie

There can be no dispute: hips don't lie

When I was in school and for several years after I left I was a quite portable size zero. Enter love, marriage and a baby carriage and I now look like the woman who ate Angela.

People think it is from my wonderful marital cooking, but it is probably from peace of mind and more time spent snuggling. The one thing I have disliked about weight gain is losing some of my favourite clothes.

I had to give away most of the wardrobe, but I held on to a few items which I gaze upon occasionally with nostalgic sighs. I like to pretend I might magically shrink one day and fit into that size 6 business suit I used to rock - even though I no longer have a corporate office to wear it to. I must admit it is slightly harder to dress this frame.

There was a time - shortly after I realised that when I looked down I could not immediately see my toes - when I would have given a chunky arm and leg to be a super high metaboliser.

I envied those skinny people who can eat up a storm but never seem to show it in any way. I think it would be pretty convenient if doctors could come up with some kind of fat-sharing mechanism. If I want to lose one of my love handles, I can deposit it at the fat bank so that the one who needs that extra bit of backside can find it there.

(I recall a highly amusing incident where a young lady bought some bum padding, but it was uneven, so instead of achieving a sexier rounded look, it appeared as though her buttocks were having a heated argument and one cheek was attempting to push the other off her body. It made for scintillating cocktail conversation that day).

I even tried a vegetarian diet for a very limited period. I soon realised that I was prone to beef withdrawal syndrome. It made me cranky and disoriented and unable to focus on anything. I am a meat-eating, ice cream-slurping girl who is cured from minor ailments by the mere smell of bacon. The day I give that up is the day I lie down and die.

The weight gain does come with perks. Now when I go to the market, the vendors call me 'mama', offer me the best produce and carry my bags to the car for me.

The thinner Angela 1.0 always got ripped off; this version has the confidence to haggle (and the bulk is useful for pushing through a crowded market).

Being bigger has also saved me from the leering semi-employed masses in the big city - you know, the ones who hang around the taxi parks and street corners doing God-knows-what.

When I was thinner and I walked through those parts of town, there were catcalls, the occasional lewd comment and even some attempt at grabbing. Now I am 'mama' even to them, and I do not have to endure their silly comments any more.

Hubby likes to joke about how he married me for my child bearing hips, and he may have a point. Apparently, that idle groups of researchers has found that big-hipped women have higher IQs, a longer life expectancy and smarter kids.

There are some details about waist-to-hip ratios and the omega-3 fatty acids we carry in our hips that makes all the difference. Of course, this is not an excuse for overeating and obesity, but for someone like me, who is essentially lazy at heart, it is good news. I was very athletic in school, but for some reason Angela 3.0 does not like exercise. I am mostly forced to move around by our son.

Anyone who has parented a boy knows that they can keep you on your toes. Mine requires being pushed on a bicycle, carried on my head and collected from trees which he climbs, but like a silly cat, cannot find his way out of. Between him, housework and field trips, I move around plenty.

I am hanging on to my hips; even though I can't shake them like Shakira, they do not lie. Hubby can sit at the city gates with the elders and be proud that he is keeping his woman well fed.

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