The least butch thing that I do in “real life” is to go to Weight Watchers. I’ve been going for eight months. I do it stealth. I am embarrassed to tell anyone that I joined. The weekly meetings are my nightmare of a straight suburban housewife’s Tupperware party. They even give out stickers for minor victories (Bravo!) and keychain/bracelet charms for major accomplishments. It is a relentlessly cheerful heteronormative environment. It is enough to raise the lint on the back of my flannel shirt.
I have been pudgy since I was old enough to reach the cookie jar. I ate to stuff down my feelings. I denied the correlation between the volume of food and alcohol I ingested and my size. I hid my sex behind a layer of fat.
I never tried theme or fad diets. I subscribed to the feminist anti-diet approach, which works great if you don’t care how much you weigh. I attended some eating awareness groups run by the Women’s Therapy Center Institute; they helped me cut down on bingeing. I read Geneen Roth’s books on compulsive eating. I could blame my inability to make the connection between being chubby and not wanting to be a girl on the exclusion of transgender/butch/lesbian issues from the material covered, but I know I am good as avoiding what I don’t want to see. I don’t want to see a girl in the mirror. Or an elephant.