One of our favorite old jokes, which unfortunately does not bear repeating in this family-friendly publication, concerns a government agency so anxious to spend the entirety of its budget before the end of the fiscal year that it commissions an expensive scientific inquiry into an amusing question which we must also demur to repeat. To our embarrassment we always recall the risqué punchline whenever reading the frequent stories we encounter about the arcane research being funded by the taxpayers’ dime, such as the one at the invaluable Washington Free Beacon about the National Institutes of Health’s nearly half-million dollar study of why obese women tend to get fewer dates than thinner women.
For half that parsimonious-by-government-standards amount we will gladly write a report to the National Institutes of Health speculating that the average man finds thinner women more physically attractive, and that physical attractiveness is the average man’s foremost consideration when deciding which women he will attempt to date, a hypothesis for which we already have such ample anecdotal evidence that we’re sick of hearing it, but the big brains at the NIH seem more intrigued by the alternative theory that there might be some hitherto unknown link between obesity and deficient social skills. This is contrary to our ample anecdotal evidence, which includes countless acquaintances with obese women who seemed quite socially skillful, as well as some who seemed bitter and withdrawn, with the former getting seeming to get more action than the latter, just as we’ve known some very thin and attractive women who were seemingly well-adjusted to society and others who were dangerously psychotic, with both sorts seeming to have the same overwhelming appeal to the average man, so we’re skeptical of the theory that obese women don’t have the great personality always promised by those trying to set them up on blind dates.
Should modern science somehow prove a link between obesity and lack of social skills, we expect the reason will be the inherent sexism of our patriarchal society. If not, the NIH will have to explain to the feminist lobby why they’re spending nearly half a million dollars for the social science equivalent of one of those “No Fat Chicks” signs with the red circle and red diagonal line. The First Lady can devote herself to molding overweight girls into her own mannish image without invoking the ire of the left, but any pasty-faced male in a white lab coat who runs afoul of the obese woman voting bloc is asking for more than a half-million dollars’ worth of trouble. If the root cause of obese women having dating difficulties is proved to be sexism, on the other hand, a Nobel Prize might well be in the offing.
Such a scientifically-proved social inequality might even provoke a political revolution. Armed with evidence that obese women have been rendered socially deficient and therefor can’t get their constitutionally guaranteed share of shrimp cocktails and apple-tinis and flattering conversation in between text messages on Saturday nights, along with the rest of the tawdry rewards of the contemporary dating scene, the progressive movement will have no trouble persuading the government to institute a new regulatory regime. Achieving dating equality will require the random matching of couples, of course, lest one’s racist or sexist or heterosexist or weightist prejudices give offense, but surely that’s a small price to pay for social justice. This arrangement improves that odds that the gal with great personality winds up at Cannes with that buff Hollywood hunk that’s actually a jerk according to all the tabloids, and it’s pretty much our only shot of scoring a date with one of those slinky movie starlets, so it seems worthy of society’s consideration.
In any case, we’re eagerly anticipating the NIH’s final report on the matter. Nearly a half-million bucks’ worth of social science should make for fascinating reading, and we’ll be especially intrigued to see how the methodology accounted for such variables as the spectrum from stuck-to-the-toilet-seat fat to pleasantly plump to downright zaftig, and how they manage to couch in terms that won’t offend feminine sensibilities.
— Bud Norman