A$$es and $eat$

meowser-48.jpg posted by meowser

What can I tell you? Recently my mom, who hasn’t gotten to visit with me in multiple Tisha B’avs, made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. She would fly me to New York, where she’s now living, and put me up and feed me and all the rest for five entire days. So I went last week. Alas, I missed Kate and Marianne’s Re/Dress shindig by a few days; I couldn’t logistically make everything fit so that I’d be there in time for that event, because I also had to schedule my trip so I could squeeze in a visit with my dad, who’s now moving down to Florida and would only be in New York very briefly before going back down south again. Bummer. So I’ve mostly been off the grid all week and for most of the week before that, in case anyone was wondering.

It was a nice trip, and I’ll probably go into more detail about it later. For now, what I’m going to talk about is the logistics of accommodating my mountainous tush on both the airplane and in other places where my butt took up occupancy on this trip. Like I said, what with the airlines and their you-must-pay-extra-for-not-controlling-your-greedy-appetite-fatass policies making the news of late, I have been more than a little reluctant to fly. We’re talking about a cross-country flight, which isn’t cheap, and even if my mom would agree to pay extra for tush shipment, which I’m sure she would if she had to, I would hate to put her out like that. And me, too. But I remembered that not only did Jet Blue have direct flights between PDX and JFK, but their seats were an entire 17.8″ inches across, which is a little bigger than most of the other airlines are offering these days. So I asked her to book me with them if she possibly could, and she did.

My flight out was a red-eye, which was okay with me since I normally keep vampire’s hours and I knew I’d have to do something pretty radical right off the bat to reset my body clock to Eastern Daylight Time. To my utter amazement, about a third of the plane was unoccupied; yeah, I know it was a red-eye, but I’ve taken this very same flight a couple of times before in the last couple of years, and it was ass to ass. Not now; in fact, the seat between my aisle seat and the window was unoccupied. Would there have been a problem if it wasn’t? Well, let’s put it this way; at about a size 20, I got on my seatbelt with no extender, no prob, but putting down that armrest? Owie. I could physically do it, but not by much. I actually had mine resting lightly on my left leg for takeoff with my elbow on top of it, and nobody said anything. If they had I’d have crunched it down, but I was very happy not to have to, believe me. And with the armrest all the way down, there would definitely have been thigh squooshage into the adjoining seat. So, bullet dodged, at least for the outbound flight.

The return flight was not a red-eye; in fact, it was scheduled for departure at 7:40 PM local time on Saturday, and sat there on the tarmac for two stinkin’ hours because the bumblefucks who did the scheduling didn’t realize that every international flight in the galaxy would be taking off at around the same time, duhhhh. I expected more tushes on this flight; not only was I wrong about that, but the plane was even emptier than the inbound one. In fact, it was so empty that before they bolted us into our seats for the tarmac wait, they encouraged people to move to a completely unoccupied row if we saw one that looked good to us. Unoccupied rows? What is going on here? Are people just not flying anymore unless they absolutely must? No wonder they all want to charge fatasses double; if they could get away with it, they’d charge everyone double. Triple, even. Wearing heavy wool socks? That’ll be $15 extra! I will note that on neither flight did I see anyone fatter than myself, and I don’t, in fact, remember seeing anyone else who was Officially Fat on the plane at all. What that actually means, I can only guess.

Now, since I am a Metsochist, while I was in New York, I just had to go to a game at the Mets’ new digs, Citi Field. I’d been hearing all kinds of great things about the park — better food, improved sightlines, nifty historical stuff, and one of the things that had been ballyhooed in the media was “bigger seats!” Only, I didn’t realize that they only meant “bigger seats” in the expensive parts of the ballpark, not the upper deck where I bought my ticket (on StubHub). It only took one extremely painful attempt to wedge my hips all the way back into my chair to realize that a 19″ seat in a stadium was a much different deal from a 17.8″ seat on an airplane; that 19″ is the entirety of your real estate, there is no squooshing out under the armrests. The lower deck seats, I found out later, top out at 24″ (although I don’t know for sure if they’re all that width, it’s not at all clear from the seating chart or any other information I was able to find online).

So if you ever go to a game or a concert at this facility and you are a wide load, be forewarned. Fortunately, as is the case with pretty much all the newer ballparks (built from 1992 onwards), you are not stuck in your seat if you want to see the game; with the open structure of the grandstands, you can take a walk around the concourse, even on the lower levels if you like, and not miss anything. You can even watch from different angles in different parts of the park, although I’m not sure if the same rules would apply during a concert.

Still, it kind of burnt my toast that none of the stories or publicly available info about this ballpark ever mentioned this little, um, quirk with the seats for those of us wearing bigger than size 12 bloomers. For whatever it’s worth, I saw plenty of fat guys with big bellies at this game, and they, natcherly, had no trouble fitting in the seats. I don’t remember seeing a single fat chick. Of course not! Fat chicks prefer to watch the game at home! Riiiiight…and my great-grandparents settled on the Lower East Side when they came to America because they thought Central Park West wasn’t good enough for them. Uh-HUH.

The food is really good, though. Gotta give them that.

I also rode Metro-North and the subway while I was there. God, all those stairs on the subway, just stairs and stairs and stairs and stairs. I can walk on flat land for days, no problem, but those stairs in Birkenstocks were killing my knees, going up or down. Also, what’s up with those seat dividers when there are all those seats in a row bench-style? What’s the point? Is it to keep the phantom schlong dudes from spreading their legs out to MX-missile width? Because if it is, then it’s not working, any better than it’s working to keep my ass from measuring more than 16″ across. You might as well just have a bench, just a flat old bench, and let people arrange themselves however.

At least they’re not talking about making fatties pay double on the subway or commuter train just yet. I guess it would cost them more to enforce that rule than they’d actually make from the deal.

Posted in etc.. 12 Comments »

12 Responses to “A$$es and $eat$”

  1. Meems Says:

    Just a comment – My aunt is around a size 16 and regularly attends Mets games. She’s a rabid fan (transferred from the Orioles when she and my uncle moved the family up to Brooklyn in the late 80s) as is my cousin. I’ve never heard her complain about the seats, either at Shea or at the new Citi Field, but I doubt it’s something she’d talk about with me. Either way, I just wanted to reassure you that there are other plus size women out there who prefer watching the games in person 🙂

  2. catgal Says:

    The dividers on the bench seats are to keep homeless people from using them to sleep on. Yes it’s annoying, and no by butt is not comfortable sitting down on them as a result. I just think it’s a necessary evil.

  3. Godless Heathen Says:

    Well, this isn’t encouraging. I wear a 24 on the bottom. I was hoping I’d still be able to pass for the amount of time that the armrests had to be down, but I can see I’m totally screwed. My computer chair at home had to be at least 20″ across when I bought my new one just so I could scoot forward enough to avoid the arms digging into my thighs. (Or it had to lack arms, fat chance there!) Now I’m convinced that I won’t be able to fly at all.

    You know the sad thing? I fit into a $1.50 bus seat with no problems. The bus system is actually invested in accommodating more bodies and levels of mobility than the airline industry, and they make a much smaller profit margin!

    • shell524 Says:

      I’ve flown at a size 24/26 (in bottoms), and I’m rather hip and thigh heavy. I had to use a seat belt extender at my largest, and squishing the armrest down was difficult, but doable. It dug into my leg. Really, the window seats are the best because you can shift left/right (depending on side of the aircraft) and get a little extra room. Also, despite being terrified of being singled out every time I fly, I never have been.

  4. brilliantmindbrokenbody Says:

    The whole thing with arms on chairs is one I’m often torn on.

    As someone with back and shoulder problems, if I’m seated for a long time, I need some support under my elbows/forearms. On the other hand, there’s the issue of people who can’t comfortably fit in the seats!

    I would offer the solution that we should have some plain benches and some places with armrests. Having mixed seating increases the likelihood of meeting everyone’s needs – though I think I would put in a lot more plain benches than places with armrests, as I recognize that people like me who need armrests are the exception not the rule.


  5. shell524 Says:

    Which subway line were you on? The 2, 4/5/6, N, sometimes E, F, and W all have newer trains with blue plain bench seats. They’re a lot nicer than the older trains where you have the little hump between “seats” digging into one butt-cheek or the other. And, unbelievably, you get used to the stairs. (As long as you’re actually able to use them, that is.)

  6. buttercup Says:

    PNC park in Pittsburgh also has wee seats. They have larger seating, yes, if you’re willing to pay over $100 to watch the Farm Team for the Rest of the League play. The consolation is that it’s a beautiful ball park and you can also walk around and watch the game from the concourses if you want to-and if you don’t mind standing. And of course, being in Pittsburgh, the food is excellent. 🙂

    Bummer on the plane thing. I am getting more and more sure I’ll never fly again.

  7. the fat nutritionist Says:

    The seat dividers on subway benches annoy the shit out of me. There is absolutely no reason for them, except, I guess, to discourage people from laying down or putting their feet up. But, honestly, it basically rules out two fat people sitting side-by-side comfortably on a bench, since it’s divided into three tiny portions. Totally bizarre.

    And, every time I fly, I basically have the armrest resting on top of my thigh, as you described. I crunch it down if necessary, but my leg manages to ooze around it eventually. I generally just lift the damn thing up and grin sheepishly at the person sitting next to me. That thing HURTS.

  8. Tante Terri Says:

    Funny – I wear a size 32 – but I usually can get the arm rest down – if I must – not comfy, but possible. However, because I want to be able to be comfy, and because given my druthers, I want to be able to spread into more than one seat, I do usually buy an extra seat (I always tell the airline – it’s one for each cheek) – what I don’t want is someone telling me I MUST by the extra seat. Particularly, when the person in front of me is allowed to put their seat back to the point where if I sneeze they’ll get some unwanted hair product, and yet, they aren’t charged for intruding into my space! That grinds my garters.

  9. meowser Says:

    If there are a lot of empty seats, as was the case on my flights, I can’t imagine you’ll get dinged. That’s what I’m trying to determine: Were my two third-to-half-empty flights a fluke, or is this how it is now?

    But yeah, a big reason I’m contemplating a move east is so that I don’t have to worry about such things any more just to visit my family. (I’d still have to get down to Florida to see my dad, but that’s possible to do by car or train from there.) I’m getting the feeling that it’s not just the recession that makes people reluctant to buy plane tickets, it’s the fact that for the last 8 to 10 years they’ve made it about as pleasant as dental implants, even for thin people.

  10. DaisyDeadhead Says:


    Never heard this term before–HAHAAHAHAHAA!!!!! 😀

  11. Constance Says:

    This is the main reason I haven’t been to Citizens Bank Park to see the Phillies. Used to go to games at Vets Stadium but I was smaller then and had no trouble fitting into the seats. Will have to ask my niece (season ticket holder) what the seats are like.

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