America is getting bigger and bigger. I’m not talking about population growth or elected officials’ egos, but America is swelling, and manufacturers have been adjusting to keep up.
A couple of years ago, my husband and I left our teenagers and traveled to London for the first time. We were in hot pursuit to sample every bottle of gin and every fried fish in this fair city. (We don’t get out much.) During this quest, we walked several full marathons to experience he city’s magnificent castles, plentiful museums and everything else a tourist does when in London.
We already knew from reading and the History Channel that hundreds of years ago, people were smaller. Not only thinner, but shorter. However, we never spent much time analyzing it. What surprised us more was even in the present era, outside of the U.S., people were the same height as us, but much more fit. How did we to come to this hypothesis? The European hotel beds gave it away.
If you’ve never traveled to any European country, you must go. Of course, those countries won’t let us in at the moment due to our virus-ey citizens, but some day our antibodies will come and I highly recommend this adventure.
In our American home, my husband and I sleep in a king-sized bed. We do, however, fit in a standard queen-size bed, but have found as the years go on, we stretch out more. I’m sure it has nothing to do with our circumferences increasing. In our country, it’s reasonable to get a king bed in most hotels, so it’s never been an issue. And if they wouldn’t have a king, they surely would have a queen. But in London, they have double beds.
I hunted online for weeks prior to our trip, searching various travel agencies and social platforms, but oversized beds are not common across the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, first world problems, I know, but problematic at the time. I even considered it might be a “lost in translation” problem. Perhaps the British were calling their queen-sized beds double beds, so as to not offend their queen. It wasn’t that.
The majority of hotels have been standing for hundreds of years, so since the people were smaller, so are the rooms. It’s a far cry from a Four Seasons hotel in the U.S.. Cramming tourists into larger beds in such small rooms couldn’t happen unless they knocked out some interior walls and that doesn’t make sense. Needless to say, we were so tired from all of the walking and gin drinking, we didn’t care about bed size when it was time for sleep.
So, when we returned stateside, I needed to stockpile supplies at Target. As I cruised up and down every aisle, I wondered, “What was Making America Great-Sized Again?” My first thought was we definitely don’t walk everywhere like the British, unless you forget something on the other side of Target and have to back track, or live in New York City. In NYC you can afford to eat a bagel or slice every once in a while. My second idea came to me in the toilet paper aisle. For several years now, I’ve been irritated by the TP companies for make super-duper, extra-large rolls. You know the kind that don’t fit in the traditional roll holder? They used to fit, but so did my pants, and we won’t be discussing this at all.
This is my interpretation: most Americans want more and more to prove their success. Who decided that bigger is better? (Definitely not my pants, but I definitely won’t be talking about that.) Bigger houses and trucks are preferred. You can ask most men if bigger televisions are better, and you’ll get a rousing “heck yeah!” The closet space for bigger homes is outrageous. I do fancy my walk-in closet, but I don’t need to dance Swan Lake in it. Apparently, others do.
More hot dogs in a package than buns in a package. Decades of super-sized drinks and french fries. Do you remember the little paper envelope of fries you’d get at popular fast-food franchises in the 1970s? Now you need a forklift to carry out a large size of fries. Or what about those restaurant offering never-ending fries? Really? The marketers who come up with our advertising are turning us into a bloated society.
So maybe if our country wants to be healthier and not have to make changes in all of our products, I would like to suggest the “bigger is better” philosophy needs to stop. Except with my large Diet Coke size. That should remain the same.
Stacey Hatton is proud to have shared her sleeping arrangement with strangers. And to discuss further, she can be reached at [email protected].