Perhaps I should start by introducing myself.
My name is James, I’m a 43yo and I’m overweight. I thought it was important to start with that, although it is by no means the most important part of my identity or most prominent thought in my mind, but it it the reason why I started Curves Events.
I’m a graphic designer and a business owner and in most things I do, I get by pretty well, I love my job (even if it is a bit stressful sometimes), have a great family, a wife, son and 2 dogs.. pretty normal right? I thought so until last year when I was confronted by one element of my life that was not “normal”. Normal for me, but the rest of the world seemed to think differently. What was the event?
My wife’s uncle died, it was a complete shock and we were devastated. He was a good bloke and someone my wife looked upto a lot, we live in England and the funeral was in Glasgow, where we are from originally (and why we chose to host our first event there). We went to Glasgow for the funeral, I didn’t own a black suit, I’m a graphic designer and tend to live my life in jeans and a hoodie, although I own some smart clothes, I didn’t have a black suit. This is where the “drama” began
I am a big man, but by no means huge, I’m 5″9 was around 20st at the time and had a 52″ chest and a 44″ waist, when we started looking for a suit I thought I’d be able to find something, not in one of the bargain stores, their idea of a 2XL is laughable at times.. but surely in somewhere like M&S or one of the department stores. Sounded easy, well it wasn’t. It was a nightmare… I spent the day going from store to store, feeling more and more annoyed at myself for being overweight and at the stores I was in for stopping their ranges at a 48″ chest. By the end of the week I was almost in tears several times, had had about five fights with my wife and felt thoroughly ashamed of myself for being so fat that I wasn’t going to get a suit despite having money to spend.
I got a suit in the end, but I had to go to a specialist menswear store and the range was very limited, Whilst I was there, I also got a strong vibe that the assistant looking after me, who was 6ft tall and probably had around a 30″ waist was taking pity on me. I wasn’t overly chuffed about that, as I not a person to be pitied, but I got to go to the funeral in a black suit and see him off properly.. Why is this relevant? well it was the start of an idea, a feeling that it wasn’t fair that I had to feel uncomfortable being me, I felt marginalised and it wasn’t a nice feeling.
I couldn’t do much about the availability of plus-size mens suits but I thought I could do something about that feeling of being marginalised of feeling pitied or picked on that this incident reminded me of. I was always the “fat kid” I actually had a teacher call me “fat and slow” in front of a class full of kids when I was younger, I’ve been bullied about my weight and been on more diets than I care to count in the past, but I am at ease with myself and my weight.. so I made a decision I was gonna do something to create a place where plus size people didn’t need to worry about being marginalised, where we just got to be ourselves in a body positive, inclusive and fun environment – I can’t make suits but I can throw a party! so that’s what we do, at that moment Curves Events was born.
What’s important to me about Curves Events parties is that everyone feels comfortable, regardless of their size, shape or weight, you get to socialise, make friends or strut your stuff knowing that you can just be you. The other thing I wanted to make sure was that the parties were not held in dingy back street venues, only the best would, so that’s exactly what we did.
My plan for this blog is for myself and the team behind Curves Events to post their thoughts, relevant finds and also updates and info on our parties and events.