Historically, all kinds of societies have held a number of different numbers to be mystical, magical, or otherwise esoterically significant.
It seems to me that as a society here in 2012 on the one hand we publicly scoff at the idea that a number is inherently special, while privately holding some numbers closely secret, which gives them immense importance. I speak, of course, of the 2 numbers-that-must-not-be-named, your salary and your weight. I wonder if the 2 aren’t in some way connected.
On the one hand, we’ve decided, as a society, that we will not overtly judge you by how much you have (at least within certain standards which are completely arbitrary). What you *have* does not measure your importance or value. (I know this is arguable, but work with me for a minute.) On the other hand, we’ve decided, also arbitrarily as a society, that how much you are, that is, how big you are, has all sorts of inherent meaning. If you are tall and muscular, then you are steady and probably not all that bright. If you are tall and willowy then you are hard working and dedicated. If you are short and fat, then you are lazy and have no self control, and you probably smell bad to boot.
Being fat has become a VERY BAD THING. It used to be a good thing. It showed you were prosperous and was equated with being affluent. No one seems to know exactly when or where that change started.
By hiding the magic number of weight, I wonder if people who can ‘pass’, that is, people who look fine to the casual viewer, are hiding their magic number because they think it isn’t good enough and by letting go of the mystery then suddenly people will know they aren’t really thin after all?
As people, when asked, are much more likely to give a straight answer on salary than weight, I’ll just ignore that question for now.