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Fear of Chairs with Arms

Is there a word for “fear of chairs with arms”? If I’d taken Latin I could hobble together a word ending in “phobia” for it, but alas I took Spanish which I’ve never used because I am an American and we make everyone speak English to us.

I went to the movies the other night and I realized I am still surprised that I can fit in the seat between cup-holders and not feel smushed. When I was really, really, fat (as apposed to just being pretty fat as I am now) one of my biggest enemies, besides short seatbelts, was chairs with arms. You just never know if the width between those arms is going to be big enough to fit your ass. It was especially bad if I was seeing a show at on older theatre in town where the seats were built before the populace started getting so fat. At least at the newer places they typically have larger chairs.

I have lived in fear of armed chairs for so long that I wonder if I will ever not be apprehensive around them. I’m at a point now where it’s mostly not an issue, but every time I have to sit in a chair with arms or slide into a restaurant booth I get a little scared. I have post-traumatic armchair stress!

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Manny • January 12, 2006 at 3:12 pm

Just found your blog and I love it. I find your writing style fascinating. I am 5″11 and lost 60 lbs. from 215 to 155. I did Weight Watchers. I started in your archives and am about a third of the way through. Keep it up!


M. • January 12, 2006 at 8:13 pm

most OF, I meant


PastaQueen • January 12, 2006 at 10:20 pm

Manny – Thanks :) “Fascinating.” Now there’s a new adjective. I like it!

M – That etymology site is awesome. Though I don’t know Greek either, so I still can’t make up a word.


M. • January 13, 2006 at 1:11 am

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen “My big fat Greek wedding”, when he was trying to prove that all words are derived from Greek, heh. “Kimono? well that comes from the Greek word…”


Kirsten • January 13, 2006 at 5:16 am

My mother and I took some conversational Greek classes and were amused to find how many words do derive. Oxymoron – literally, “a sharp fool”. A metaphor is something that gets an idea from one place to another: in Greece, moving vans (and luggage trolleys) are “metafora”.

I can’t, however, remember the word for “hotel”, although the teacher told us it literally meant “container for foreigners”. Which I thought was hilarious. Xeno-something, no doubt.


Kirsten • January 13, 2006 at 5:18 am

Oh, and “Galaxy” means “milk”, because it’s derived from the legend about the Milky Way being Hera’s spilled breast-milk. Which also explains why there’s a brand of chocolate in Britain called “Galaxy”. (Cadbury’s is nicer, though.)


Manny • January 13, 2006 at 10:33 am

Where’d my huge comment go?


PastaQueen • January 13, 2006 at 10:46 am

Manny, your comment is on another post over here. I was just getting ready to reply to it.


Manny • January 13, 2006 at 11:36 am

Pasta Queen, I will say this – never before have I gotten so much insight into what obese people go through mentally and physically. Hence, I find this fascinating. I’ve sent a link to all my friends.


Emily • January 13, 2006 at 6:04 pm

Pasta Queen, You are doing such a great job! Keep it up! I was on an airplane on Thursday and had this strange realization in the middle of the flight that my thigh was not touching the lady next to me. I have gone from 255 to 164 and I can also walk down the aisle of the plane to the bathroom without walking sideways! It is awesome! It was right after I got under 200 lbs that suddenly I crossed into the realm of “normal” and people began treating me much differently. You are almost there! I will be using you as my inspiration to lose the last 15-20 pounds (the most difficult, i might add).


Andrea • January 13, 2006 at 7:13 pm

Hey there pastaqueen- I am a chocoholic and have a body that reflects it. I had a baby 6 months ago and am struggling to lose the 50lbs or so that I gained. I joined ediets but I find it hard to look at it somedays when the scale does not reflect my hard work. I want to give a huge*CONGRATS* to you b/c of your efforts to lose weight. I love your sarcasm and wit and will be checking your blog often. Keep up the great work and all the best.


hilly • January 13, 2006 at 11:10 pm

So I totally hated that too…and airplane seatbelts….I used to put the blanket over the belt to pretend that I could actuall buckle the damned thing. Wow, my pride won over my safety.


Tracy • February 12, 2007 at 6:15 am

Like many before me I have discovered your blog. To say that it rocks is the understatement of the century. The combination of what you have accomplished, how you have “put it out there” and your humor/talent…What can I say? Absolutely Fabulous!

By the way, the “container for foreigners” is indeed a xenodoheio. And yes, I DO speak Greek.

I won’t wish you good luck, because as all of us on this journey know…luck has nothing to do with it honey.


Nau-Dee • March 3, 2007 at 7:25 pm

chairs with arms, restaurant booths, seat belts, narrow doorways, plastic lawn chairs, and cheep folding chairs are all things that I’m scared of. I try VERY hard to avoid them as they only bring more attention to the fact I’m morbidly obese and an accident just waiting to happen.

I often use jackets, blankets, or anything in hand to try to “cover up” my over hanging belly and not be obvious. I know it doesn’t work but somehow I can’t help myself do it….


Pudge • August 9, 2008 at 7:49 pm

I live in fear of booths, armchairs, movie theaters, any sort of arena or auditorium seating, and seat-belts. Oh, how I would love to be free of this constant anxiety. I hope I can someday succeed as you have. You are my hero.


Chris • March 22, 2011 at 2:16 pm

My BMI right now is “only” 34 (6’2” at 266 pounds) and I STILL had to wiggle by butt back and forth at the dollar theater nearby: I couldn’t imagine being morbidly obese trying to fit into those things! Then again, the butt is quite good at fitting all sorts of shapes…it’s just not very comfortable!


Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog at JennetteFulda.com.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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