There was also -- I'm not going to say -- never mind, I'm not going to say it because all I'm going to do is make women mad, don't want to do that, making women mad is going to send -- all right, I'm going to say it, but I'm going to stop doing this in the future. After the first part of the debate, standing up there at those podiums and then they took a commercial break, and Blitzer came back and they were all sitting in chairs. I'm going to pay for this. See, this is the kind of thing that you're not supposed to say, that when you say this, all it does is drive people to Hillary, women especially. (sigh) But see, I'm not going to tease you, it's really unfair to say I'm going to say something and then not say it. So I'm going to say it now. She was the only one sitting there who could not cross her legs.At this point, he takes a break and then comes back doing a voice that the transcript calls his "new castrati impression." That is, he affects an effeminate male voice — and he doesn't mind seeming homophobic or not knowing how the singular and plural are formed in Italian. He doesn't care about the pedantic distinction between a podium and a lectern either, we just saw.
Anyway, in that voice, he's all:
"That's just horrible, Mr. Limbaugh! I can't believe you said that. That's just horrible. Why do you even notice things like that, Mr. Limbaugh? I can't believe you!"Back to the regular voice:
It's very simple, ladies and gentlemen. I'm a leg man. I'm jealous. I can't do it either. I can't cross my legs sitting in a chair like that. I'm jealous of people who can and I'm jealous of other people who don't, and it makes me feel better about myself, okay? I can't do it, either.So, Rush is fat, and everyone knows it, and some people say it in the most mocking way. And maybe that makes him think he's got license to call other people fat — especially if they're liberals.
Of course, he's being rude for some evil fun. But he's also ignorant, because there is a whole big thing about women not crossing their legs. It's both a health issue and a point of etiquette:
1. Crossing your legs at the knee is reputed to cause varicose veins and hip problems in women.
2. Women — at least women of a certain age — have been taught as a matter of etiquette to cross their legs at the ankles when they sit, and that is exactly what Hillary Clinton was doing at the debate.
I noticed the leg positions at the debate myself, because each of the 3 candidates were sitting differently:
1. Hillary had her legs exactly the way any good image consultant would advise any woman to sit. (It has nothing to do with chubbiness.)
2. Barack Obama — at the point when I noticed — had his legs crossed with the left ankle on the right knee, a position that would look insane if taken by a woman in any remotely serious situation, even if she is wearing pants. It's very casual. Arguably, it was rude for Obama to have his foot way up there with the sole aimed at Hillary.
3. John Edwards was sitting with his legs apart and feet planted on the floor — what you might call a "wide stance." This too would look awful on a woman, even if she were wearing pants. It too seems casual, and many men look crude in that position, which in some situations — such as on a subway car — is inconsiderate because it hogs extra space.
Bonus: Scholarship! "World Distribution of Certain Postural Habits."
IN THE COMMENTS: People are saying it's not about fat at all. It's about testicles. Why did he say "I'm jealous of people who can" cross their legs then? But it is funnier that way.
ADDED: And here I am, the one with the reputation for being the first one to notice when the subject is genitalia. Anyway, as the Althouse Blog Historian Ruth Anne Adams points out in the comments, the photographic record is clear that females my age were taught to cross our legs at the ankles:
I'm the one in the white eyelet lace skirt following all the rules. (Enlarge.)