Got Bread? Got Back?

This past weekend I had the distinct privilege of participating in two different events that each clearly illustrated the amazing dynamics with respect to women, food, and their bodies.

I spent Friday working with my good friend, Danna K Johnston, on her foundation’s annual benefit auction. Danna provided a lovely lunch buffet for her volunteers. Yet when she announced that there was food available, many of the women hesitated – checking in with each other about whether or not they should go get food. It appeared that any sense of their own hunger was irrelevant – they were looking for permission from the other women to eat.

But permission to eat didn’t seem to be enough. Once we were down in the dining room, in her own way, every single woman apologized for eating!

Woman One: “Yes, that’s mayo on my plate. I was going to be good and not eat the bread but then at the last minute I caved. I know it’s bad.”

Woman Two: “Wow! I didn’t realize I’d made such a big sandwich. It didn’t look that big. Here, I should just take off one of these pieces of bread and make it a half.”

Woman Three: “I wish I had a knife. I’m making a mess here,” as she picked at her food.

Would these women have had these same thoughts had they been eating alone – without any witnesses? It’s hard to say. I know from my own long and sordid history with all of this drama, that I would have had judgmental thoughts regardless of whether or not I was eating alone. But it saddens me to think that some women might only feel this way about their food choices when they are in the company of other women.

The company of other women brings with it very interesting dynamics. I would have loved to observe these women from Friday’s event in the context of Saturday’s affair – the dueling piano show.

I spent Saturday evening filming my husband’s performance at one of the local dueling piano clubs. A “dueling piano” show simply means that there are two pianos and two performers on stage at a time. The players alternate and play songs that are requested by the audience – and there are some songs that get requested every show.

One such song is Sir Mix-a-Lot’s Baby Got Back. When my husband began to play this song, he wasn’t three measures into its beat before nearly every woman in the club – from the twenty-somethings to the sixty-somethings, the rail thin to the plus size curvy – was up dancing – on the dance floor, on the stage, on the pianos – shaking her booty.

And this isn’t unusual behavior – I see this every time I go to a show (and I’ve been to a lot of shows). It’s as if this song is an instantly recognizable anthem that, for 3 ½ minutes, gives women permission to have the body they have.

So why can’t we bring the energy of Baby Got Back back into the dining room of the Sorrento Hotel – or to any other place in which women break bread? At the end of the day, it’s the company of women – not Cosmo – that really has our back.