2006-10-12 / Sam Bari

You can't beat a system you can't understand

Handles Muffins & 'Shrooms
By Sam Bari

Back in the days of exceptionally cool sleazy fashion, low-rise jeans were called hip-huggers. Worn exclusively by in-shape, slender girls with flat, taut tummies who had the panache to flash a little belly flesh, the revealing design succeeded in mesmerizing the world population of male Homo sapiens. The hip-hugger never actually lost popularity, but the fashion industry, in their undying effort to increase profits, made it a must for every woman in the civilized world to buy an entire new wardrobe every year lest they appear passé. Consequently, the hip-hugger was declared "un-hip," much to the delight of the chubby little pork bellies who couldn't wear them with any sense of style.

Nonetheless, the hip-hugger resurrected as low-riders, hipsters, or low-risers to the denim denizens at the turn of the 21st century, allowing the male population to again suffer from eyestrain with impunity. Unfortunately, the new century also brought a few undesirable conditions to the forefront of the computer-oriented, sedentary, couch-potato lifestyle. The diet industry blossomed due to the burgeoning bellies of the massively unfit - which brings us to today's topic. And today's topic is (insert drum roll here): Love handles, Muffin-tops, and the 'Shroom fit.

Girls who were a bit too fleshy to wear hip-huggers back in the '60s and '70s worried about their "love handles." This was a little area of flesh somewhere around the waistline that was considered sexy as long as no more than an inch of unwanted chubbiness could be pinched. Then, when the low-riser, hipsters returned to the fashion world as haute couture, a Netizen (Internet Citizen) named Dyske Suematsu, coined a new compound noun that he registered with the Internet pseudo dictionary that won approval in May of 2003. The term referred to the unsightly roll of flesh that spills over the waist of a pair of too-tight pants as the "muffin-top." The term was heralded by renowned word wizard William Safire of the New York Times and was brought to the forefront of the general public in a New York Daily News article by Mark Ellwood called, "Muffin-Top Mayhem!"

Unfortunately, the muffin-top term is not adequate to accurately describe the latest in truly disgusting lack of fashion statements. A new term is needed to refer to the extremely unsightly roll of pulsating, jiggling, gelatinous flab that hangs over the waistband of much too tight low-riders, so much so that the belt loops are totally obscured. To make matters worse, the compressed flesh makes the bellybutton look like an empty swollen eye socket after losing a pugilistic battle.

I believe the term "shroom-fit," fills the bill because it resembles a mushroom or toadstool that hangs over the top of its stem. In the case of the shroom-fit, or maybe the "portabelly-fit" would be more accurate, the flab hangs over two legs resembling stems because one leg would be less than adequate to support the weight.

The portabelly syndrome was discovered by Thelma Snortfussle when she heard the distinct sound of large furniture being slammed into the second-story floor of her Cowthistle, Iowa home. The banging caused the entire house to reverberate violently and sent her scurrying up the stairs to see what was causing the commotion. In her teenage daughter's room she found two girls jumping up and down and repeatedly flopping around on the floor as they attempted to stuff their 160-pound, five-foot-twoinch frames into low-rider jeans designed for 115-pound bodies. They succeeded in closing the zippers by pulling them up with a pair of pliers. Their success marked the birth of the portabelly-fit of low-rise jeans. The quivering fat spilled over the tops and easily covered the beltloops.

The denim industry is being credited with a scientific breakthrough for manufacturing a superior material that can withstand enormous pressure without exploding. Boeing Aircraft is considering its use in low-cost, lightweight jetliners requiring pressurized cabins.

The fashion industry claims that the need to fulfill a lexical void by coining terms like muffintop, 'shroom or portabelly would not exist if women would just buy the correct size of jeans to fit their portly bodies. Too many insist on stuffing themselves into a smaller size, "no matter what." Before anyone accuses me of being sexist, it is true that some men are guilty of the same behavior, but not many. Statistics reveal that most men would rather be comfortable and will succumb to wearing the correct size before experiencing pain. Women who are willing to put themselves through the agony of flaunting their fat by looking like 160-pounds of ugly flab in a 115- pound bag live in a part of that system I will never understand.

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