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Ayoon Wa Azan ( Any Woman Who Tells Me Yes ).

Byline: Jihad El-Khazen

I was with the beautiful anchorwoman Dima Izzeddine, while she was presenting the morning show on BBC Arabic; as we finished examining and commenting on the political news, I moved to a humorous news story about how slimness can kill, and that it is as bad to one's health as is obesity.

I said that thinness is not a common thing in our countries, and that it is rather reserved to the fashion models in the West. However, I do not find a 180 cm tall woman who weighs 30 kilograms to be attractive, or sexy as they say; rather, my mind would wander to thinking about food, since it would occur to me that she is so slim, she would make an excellent ingredient for "bones soup": when we were little, we used to eat this soup which is made of meat stock, or bones that have been stripped of most of their meat.

The difference between an Arab wife and a foreign wife is 40 kilograms; we all thus believe in what the Egyptians often say, that "the best chickens are those that have the most fat". Also, and since I was a student of literature and poetry, I can say with utmost certainty that I do not remember any poems praising thin women; instead, our ancestors used to praise the women that we describe today as being "curvy". Has anyone amongst us ever seen a slim belly dancer, except in the sense of Rafi'a [Ar. Slim] Hanem and her size, or unless it was a Russian dancer who is intrusive to the art of shaking her buttocks and everything else?

While my sense of Arab belonging was shaken by continuous Arab failure and surrender to foreigners, it is, when it comes to matters of thinness and fatness, firm and unshakable. If I and the reader were given the choice, we would have chosen someone with moderate weight that is proportional to their height; however, the second best choice for me is a beautiful woman who is closer to being fat, without being so, instead of a beautiful woman who is close to being thin, and then me hearing the cracks of her bones should we take a walk along the beach one evening, with the breeze caressing her hair.

A day before I appeared on the television show, I received a report about the world's 10 fattest countries; for the first time in all the indices that I have been following, from freedom to corruption and education and so on, I found Arab countries to be amongst the top ten countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that one in every three adults in the world is overweight, and that one in ten adults is obese. The WHO also estimates that the number of overweight individuals will soar to 2.3 billion people by 2015, or the equivalent of the populations of China, Europe and the United States combined.

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of the body's size, and is based on the ratio of the weight to the height. However, we do not need algebra and trigonometry to tell the difference between a thin person and an overweight person, and the woman who looks as though she is pregnant after eating a grape is, no doubt, thin. As for the man who would block your vision should he stand in front of you like the fog in Dahr al-Baydar, he is, no doubt, overweight.

The first country in the obesity index is the American Samoa islands, where 93.5 percent of the population is overweight. Samoa is then followed by Kiribati, a country that I know from attending the sessions of the UN General Assembly each year, and which is a country made of 33 islands in the Pacific. 81.5 percent of Kiribati's population is overweight; the third country is the Unites States with 66.7 percent, followed by German at 66.5 percent, the Egypt at 66 percent, and then respectively, Bosnia and Herzegovina, New Zealand, Israel, Croatia and the United Kingdom.

As Qatar and the United Arab Emirates succeeded in beating Israel in the corruption index, Egypt beat the latter in the obesity index; all what's left for us then is to beat Israel at a war, should Israel choose not to take the path of peace.

I know that obesity is "no joke" at all, and that it kills just like anorexia nervosa does. But what can I do when the solution is not in my hands? When I searched for solutions, I found that exercise is the cure, but then I found out that the body that was promoting exercise is a company that owns gyms, and which cited a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that said that being obese leads to a host of diseases and illnesses. However, we all know this; also, I personally doubt anything that originates in America. For instance, only in the United States do they have the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a lethal combination especially if a man should start drinking, then found to have a gun or explosives in his hands; I thus believe that combining all of this under one roof is provocation, or playing with fire at best.

I know an overweight man who has enough fat that if this fat were liquefied, it would light Paris for months; I also know an overweight woman, who gets out of bed one move at a time. In any rate, the issue which I began with, with the clever young anchorwoman, was slimness, not fatness, but then I was overwhelmed by my sense of national belonging.

Dima asked me whether I prefer thin or plump women, and I said that I am not in a position to be choosing, since "beggars cannot be choosers"; for this reason, I choose any woman who tells me yes.

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Publication:Dar Al Hayat, International ed. (Beirut, Lebanon)
Article Type:Column
Date:Dec 11, 2009
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