Written by Melissa Mazza, a Fattitude Intern
As fate would have it, I saw a post online a few months ago that Thunder From Down Under would be performing at a local theater just a few days before my 31st birthday. Believe me, to a young and single girl like me, the idea of watching smoking hot dancers wearing little clothing sounded like the best way to celebrate my birthday. I even rallied up my friend Rachel to go with me (which didn’t take much rallying!)
While buying the tickets though, I felt a twinge of guilt. As a new member to the body positive movement via my internship with Fattitude, I wondered if seeing a male strip show made me the worst hypocrite ever. That little angel on my shoulder just wouldn’t shut up, “isn’t it wrong to ogle those muscular, tanned bodies like pieces of meat, Melissa?” I hastily swatted her aside and ordered the tickets.
Even worse, my focus soon shifted to my own body. Would the men see me and laugh? Would they call me out or make a joke about my size? Would the other ladies in the crowd be catty?
More and more I so clearly see that my own natural thought flow exhibits just how pervasive diet culture and beauty ideals are. Sometimes it surprises me just how tightly those old recordings and patterns are lodged into my psyche. Even though I am so passionate about the work I’m doing with #Fattitude and my new belief system, those toxic fat shaming thoughts still cling on for dear life. I guess that is the hardest part of this journey for me.
So, to get to the good part – on the night of the performance my friend Rachel and I took our seats second row from the stage (if I am going to repent for ogling, I may as well get a good eyeful, right?) The show starts and these Adonis-hard-bodied-Australian gods took the stage. I won’t spoil the glorious details, should you go see the show for yourself (highly recommended!!), but I thoroughly enjoyed the performances! Besides being sexy as f*ck, these men are super talented, high-energy entertainers and athletes, completing incredible choreographed dance numbers and routines. It was super impressive!
Throughout the show, the thong-wearing gentlemen run off stage into the audience to bring various women back on stage with them. Being keenly aware of these sorts of things, I really appreciated that I saw a diverse group of women on stage; varying races, ages, sizes and shapes, all getting the same attention from their escort and rounds of applause from the audience. I felt an odd sense of empowerment and female solidarity within the crowd.
After the show, audience members can purchase a posed photograph with the thunder studs. Of course I had to grab that bull by the horn, even though it was intimidating to walk across that big stage to meet them. They seemed to make all of the ladies feel comfortable; all too happy to smile, wink and address them with an endearing pet name. Each of them were respectful, incredibly sweet and good-natured and seemed to really enjoy their jobs.
I figured that I would just sneak into group, snap the photo and exit stage right. Nope. I smiled wide with excitement as I approached, and one lovely fellow actually picked me up to straddle his lap. What the what? After the picture was taken, he stood from his seat with me in his arms, my thighs tightly clasped around his waist, and he set me down with a kiss on the cheek. For just a moment that wave of body loathing and shame swept in…would I crush him? would he would slip a disc? would we fall over and tumble to the ground, everyone laughing at me? I took a breath, banished those thoughts and let myself enjoy the experience.
The hunk picked up the fat girl and the world didn’t come crashing down.
I drove home on Cloud Nine, not because I was manhandled by a hunk (although that didn’t hurt), but because in that moment I let go of self-hate. I let go of shame and fear of humiliation. I’ve come to learn that each new experience in life is an opportunity to make a choice, take a new path and try a better way. That night I embraced my fat body with positivity and love, and it felt great.
*This blog post is the opinion of a particular Fattitude intern or guest blogger – and does not necessarily reflect the position of Fattitude, Inc.