Monday, February 8, 2010

Cartoon Break

We women bust our asses, in a never ending attempt, to achieve the ideal figure – everything will be perfect then; then I can get my life together, then I’ll be worthy of love, we tell ourselves. We live in a culture where 80 year old ladies all over North America are still obsessed with the size of their “tummies”.

The premise of the cartoon was: what if some gorgeous (inside and out) guy really, really loved you for who you were and how you looked, and you were very far from the cultural ideal of thinness or beauty – would you believe it.

So, as often happens when I’m drawing a cartoon, with query in mind, I put it to the page, let the characters emerge and watch the story unfold. As the couple in question took form, I realized that they both were totally smitten with each other to the exclusion of everything around them. She was confident and proud of her body and he adored her and saw her as beautiful.

The real question that arose then was: what if some gorgeous (inside and out) guy really, really loved a fat, plain woman – could we, the viewing public believe it. Could we rise above our conditioning and accept the idea of beauty loving the beast?

At the time I was going out with a physically beautiful, 6’4” tall guy who dressed in the manner of a GQ cover guy. He looked like George Peppard in his Breakfast at Tiffany’s stage (not the A-team guy). I am 4’10” with an unremarkable appearance, and a tendency to casual attire - the type that gets lost in a crowd.

We had a great time in each other’s company. But, the looks we’d get from others radioed to me, “He’s going out with her?!! Surely he can do better than that!” When we went out to a restaurant I would have to command the waitresses’ attention, so taken were they by his attractiveness it was as if I was invisible.

The relationship didn’t last (thank God – he was absolutely not the guy for me for many other reasons) but for a while we had a lot of fun despite, or maybe even because of, the reactions of others.

As I write this I wonder about such a couple. Would they, over time, succumb to pervasive, subconscious, scrutiny and judgment? I’d like to think not.

So, I revisited these 2 characters in the panel and found that they got married shortly after they introduced themselves to me. They have 2 teenaged children and have faced many challenges, as does any couple married for over 23 years, but their commitment to each other has been, and continues to be, unwavering, as is their love which has grown and matured. He’s aged well, as they say and she is still fat, and plain but not to his adoring eyes – they remain as deeply infatuated with each other as when they first met.

“A fantasy,” you say.
“What makes you say that?” I ask.
For those of you who got on to my site earlier today you'd have seen a different commentary. I realized, after discussing the post matter with someone shortly afterwards, that I didn't really express myself very well and that I, and my characters, had more to say.
Cartoon copyright Nance Thacker '86.

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