Category Archives: corpulence

On slatterns

Slatterns, writes Dalrymple,

tend to be fat and to have let themselves go.

‘Butterflies one day, slatterns the next’; ‘His wife a shrew and slattern.’

I am very corpulent. It’s not my fault

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 08.12.19Like my hoarding disorder, my penetration disorder, my caffeine-induced sleep disorder, my sex addiction, my impulse-control disorder, my sexual aversion disorder, my anorexia, my social phobia, my oppositional defiant disorder, my lepidopterophobia, my depression, my hypoactive sexual desire disorder and my gambling disorder, my adiposity is a disease. I blame

  • the food manufacturers
  • my childhood
  • chemical imbalance
  • restaurants. Portions are too big
  • brain scans
  • genes
  • evolution
  • neurochemistry
  • my parents. I hate my parents, don’t you?

A doctor writes

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Dalrymple is available to answer any questions you may have about corpulence, intemperance, liverishness, lunacy, narcosis, senility, hemp, alimentation, misopædia, inoculation, etc., etc.

‘Vomiting quietly in the corner’

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A Merry Christmas to readers of this blog, who I hope will end up as merry — indeed, as hog-whimpering drunk — as I have happily become this festive season. This is a reproduction of De koning drinkt (1638; Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels). Jacob Jordaens is known, Dalrymple points out, ‘for his acres of canvas covered with depictions of unattractive fat flesh and Bacchanalian drinking scenes. These usually include someone vomiting quietly in the corner while an obese, grog-blossomed king wassails away in the middle of the picture’

Jordaens’ representation of spewing is very human, but the best part is the woman wiping the child’s fundament, presumably bemerded, though no trace of ordure is shown — unlike in, for instance, Dalí:

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Salvador Dalí, Jeu Lugubre (detail), 1929, private collection

Pessimists, despair not!

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 13.26.38Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, AIDS and the Ebola virus have proved disappointing and dementia rates are falling but

there are grounds for thinking that improvement may not last. The increase in obesity and type II diabetes may reverse the trend. The fatties of today will be the dements of tomorrow. That is, of course, if no treatment is discovered in the meantime that cures type II diabetes or prevents its deleterious effects, so that people will be able to have their cake and not suffer the consequences.

The corpulence of the English

An English rose

An English rose

Arriving in his home country by air recently, Dalrymple is struck by how fat and poorly accoutred Britishers are.

Not just pleasantly plump, but enormously obese, so that their adiposity seemed almost to suffocate them and made locomotion laborious.

They were all very badly dressed,

showing themselves to maximum disadvantage. It is possible for fat women to dress with dignity, but those at the airport had all squeezed themselves into the tightest and scantiest clothes.