Chapter 10: Hooks and Gimmicks

Almost nothing in American culture tells us to get bigger. Every explicit weight-loss ad, every photo of a model or starlet implicitly tells us to put down that fork, drop that doughnut, get skinny. Not Terrance Hayes, though. He’s the one exception among the millions of spokespersons out there telling us that there’s something wrong with us if we are not seriously underweight. He says it’s okay to be a big guy, only that’s not what he’s saying. No, Hayes is telling us to be big in spirit—as the last line says (not once but three times), big in heart. Anybody can embrace a cliché. Turn the cliché on its head, though, and you’re looking at a profound truth.