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Poor Fat Woman magazine promises to "keep it real"

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2008-11-06


Since Iím trying to watch my money (and doing a poor job of it, thank you very much) Iíve restricted my magazine reading to the checkout lines at the grocery store and places where I have to sit and wait, such as car-care places and doctorís offices. I exhausted the supply of Newsweek and skimmed through the Womanís Day at a local tire repair joint, so I reluctantly picked up the November issue of Money magazine. It proved to me that I live in an alternate universe, but then, so does everyone else who lives in Fort Wayne.

What I mean by that is the cost of living. There are Fort Wayne prices and there are ďreal worldĒ prices. I always marvel when I pick up a magazine on how to find a cool outfit for less than $300. $300? I could get a summer or winter wardrobe for that! Or when I see ďmoderatelyĒ priced makeup, with an eye shadow going for say, $20. This is cheap? Apparently so. Itís always funny to take a Fort Wayne native to a big city and watch their jaws drop when they see the prices they have to pay for parking at a major event.

So the Money magazine issue on the current meltdown and what to do was sort of amusing, but sort of eye-opening. It appears Iím not just poor, Iím WAY poor. Because image is everything, Money advised sporting a cheap suit, but accessorizing the hell out of it. They said a $50 to $100 accessories splurge would go a long way in making a suit by H&M look as good as one by Prada. My interview outfit this summer was a pair of black hip-hugger slacks and a white fitted blouse, both from Old Navy. I canít remember what I paid for this, but both pants and blouse are years old. I thought I looked okay in it; it looked professional but simple. I wanted to stay away from dowdy, and considering I was too fat to fit into my Casual Corner suit, my blouse and slacks were probably my best bet. I didnít want to look homeless, but looking too prosperous can backfire too. I didnít want potential employers to wonder why, if I were wearing a Prada suit (as if anyone around here knows what one looks like) I wanted to work at Taco Bell. Money magazine also suggested saving cash by getting a $300 watch instead of a high-end one. Excuse me? I guess Moneyís definition of ďcheapĒ and my definition of cheap are just a tad bit different. They also suggested the ladies might want to invest in a designer bag and listed a website where they might do just that. I like designer bags as well as the next woman, but the only Coach purses I have are small wallets, two of which were gifts. And again, if I go to interviews draped in designer decadence, employers might wonder how I can afford it if Iím looking for a job.

Looking through the rag was sort of like looking through Cosmopolitan. Thatís an alternate universe too. Money is for people who have it; Cosmo is for women whose sole purpose in life is to get a man and keep him happy. Neither publication appeals to me. I long for the days of Spy magazine, which poked fun at celebrities, and The Nose, a Spy-clone out of San Francisco. I guess I could always start my own publication: Poor Fat Woman. I could write sarcastic articles about really cheap dates: go over to your boyfriendís house to watch YouTube videos, but be sure to have him pick you up so you donít have to use your own gas. A health article may focus on the benefits of walking and looking for aluminum cans for recycling. Not only are you getting your exercise, but youíre helping the environment and putting some cash in your pocket! How to save on makeup? Donít wear any, except for special occasions. I used to be someone who wouldnít step out of the house unless I had the adequate amount of foundation, blusher and eyeliner on. I think I got into this habit in high school. I had just woken up and I was on my way to the bathroom. My mother was alarmed at my appearance and asked me if I was sick. I said, no, I was just tired. Iím still tired, but I no longer care. I may eventually get to the point where I can drop $20 on eye shadow and not, pardon the pun, blink. But even if I do, Iíll be guilty and think of all the other things I could have bought with that $20: a cute purse (or purses) at the dollar store, a DVD, a few fast food meals, or even a couple of magazines, like Star or the Enquirer. Sure, itís trash, but reading about Ed McMahonís foreclosure woes or some celebrityís supposed financial/emotional breakdown is fun. Money magazine just rubs it in further that Iím poor and will most likely stay that way. Cosmo will remind me that Iím not just fat, Iím profoundly morbidly obese and my independent thinking wonít help me keep a man, because men want their women dependent and clingy. And skinny.

Years ago, my eye doctor seemed to have nothing but Field and Stream in her waiting room. Based on an observation of her patients, AARP might have been a better choice. Or maybe Ancient and Fragile. But in a way, magazines are kind of like television programs and movies: they make life look better and funnier than it actually is. I would like a ďSex and the City type of existence; instead I watch the movie and hope for that kind of life. Poor Fat Woman, should it ever hit the racks, might be a hit, but might fail miserably, because no one aspires to that. Remember that the next time you head to the unemployment office or apply for food stamps. Put on that makeup and tote that Marc Jacobs bag. Or bust out the Cole Haan loafers. Because image is everything, and at this point, it may be all you have left.

Until you sell it on eBay.

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