April 21, 2008

"I'd stuff my face with anything around - any old rubbish, burgers, chocolate, crisps, fish and chips, loads of it - till I felt sick."

"Then there'd be a weird kind of pleasure in vomiting and feeling relieved."

I don't think I want to hear about anybody's eating disorder, but isn't there something especially untoward about a man admitting he's bulimic.
It was associated with stress. I was working too hard....

The only break I took was to eat. Work, and then quickly eat something. It became my main pleasure, having access to my comfort food.
Lame effort to make the problem seem manly.
I could sup a whole tin of Carnation condensed milk, just for the taste, stupid things like that.
Marks & Spencer trifles, I still love them. I can eat them for ever....
Sup a whole tin of.... trifles... Yeah, our bulimiman is English — the former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

Sympathy gushes forth:
[H]is fellow bulimia sufferer William Leith says: "Poor John Prescott. I feel for him. More importantly, though, I feel for the society he lives in."

Uri Geller, another self-confessed bulimic, praises Prescott's "courage" in admitting his condition.

"No one expects a man, especially a successful one, to have an eating disorder," he writes in the Telegraph. "It seems such a weakness. But addiction isn't weak: it's as powerful as a landslide, and it was burying me alive."

Such sentiments are echoed online by bulimia experts. "It is good that man in such a high-powered position has finally come out and said he was a sufferer of this insidious disorder," William Webster writes on the Bulimia Anorexia Blog.

Even the often acerbic Tory blogger Iain Dale feels sorry for Prescott.

"In some ways, his bulimia partly explains his affair with Tracey Temple, and no doubt others," Dale writes. "We all think of politicians as supremely confident and outgoing people who wouldn't recognise shyness and self doubt if they hit them in the face. Many politicians are far from confident."
Partly explains his affair... I await the day when an American politician caught doing something stupid tries to use bulimia as an excuse.


ricpic said...

If there's anything in the house...I eat it. The only way for me to diet is to keep the fridge empty. This has nothing to do with evil society. It's weakness plain and simple. The upside is that when my pants get tight the solution is simple: eat all meals out and have nothing to nosh on at home.

Pogo said...

I have it even worse.

I want to ease my suffering using bulimia, but fear vomiting, so I just keep it down. But to avoid gaining weight, I eat less.

I am anorexobulimophobic.

And also plus, I am afraid of getting in the checkout line when the clerk is male because I know the line will go slower than the one next to me.

Finally, I have a recurring dream that I wake up and get dressed, and go to work, and every day is pretty much like the rest. But then I do wake up, get dressed, and go to work, and every day is pretty much like the rest. Wild!

My life is full of sorrow and pain.

J. Gravelle said...

Now there's something unusual: a British guy with a trait most Americans might consider effeminate.

Howzabout that? Wonder what other stories are coming down the pike? Ill-Tempered Frenchman Heard Criticizing America... German Guy Discloses His Anti-Semitism... "Whiskey's mah weakness" Reveals Irishman...



Windbag said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Windbag said...

I could sup a whole tin of Carnation condensed milk, just for the taste, stupid things like that.

That's a problem? I thought it was just one of those ain't-life-grand? moments when I did that. Do I need to lie down on a couch and talk about my childhood?

MadisonMan said...

I am trying to care about this story.

I'm failing.

Maguro said...

Hmmm...Prescott "downed whole bottles of vodka at work."

Maybe it was all that vodka, not bulimia, that was making him throw up. Just a thought.

Trooper York said...

I just saw a picture of Amy Winehouse naked and I have been puking ever since. Maybe that's his problem.

amba said...

Uri Geller? His will is strong enough to bend keys, but not to close the refrigerator?

Sir Archy said...

To Professor Althouse.


As the Ghost of a Gentleman dead these 250 years and more, I may tell you that I have seen many a Glutton.  That Excess should be now giv'n the Character of a Distemper is not perhaps new to this Age; but Modern Cant has reach'd a new Pitch of Perfection when a Member of Parliament and a mature Gentleman of no little Standing may be said to have a Disease, should he act like the Roman Emperor Nero reclining at Table.

'Tis said of Diogenes, that upon meeting a Man who was going to a Feast, he took him up in the Street and carried him home to his Friends, as one who was running into imminent Danger, had he not been arrested.  What would that Philosopher have said, had he been present at the Gluttony of a Modern Meal?  Would not he have thought the Host of the Meal mad, have begg'd the Guests to tie down his Hands, had he seen him devour Fowl, Fish, and Flesh; swallow Oyl & Vinegar, Wines & Spices; throw down Sallads of twenty different Herbs, Sauces of an hundred Ingredients, Confections & Fruits of numberless Sweets & Flavours?

What unnatural Motions and Counterferments must such a Medley of Intemperance produce in the Body?  For my Part, when I behold a fashionable Table set out in all its Magnificence, I fancy that I see Gouts & Dropsies, Feavers & Lethargies, with other innmuerable Distempers lying in Ambuscade among the Dishes.

That a Man may chuse to kill himself has been count'd as a great Sin; yet I have heard grave Clergymen excuse it, because a Suicide must of needs be mad, and in no wise Responsible for his Actions.  Thus may a Man with ev'ry Knowledge of the deadly Assaults upon his Body awaiting their Appointment with his Mouth, continue to kill Himself by Degrees, still not be thought a Suicide?  Should this still be a Sin?

I should perhaps forbear to Moralize too greatly upon the Subject, and consider Temperance only as it is a Means to Health.  It should be a matter of sober Reflection, however, that we are responsible for our Bodies; and to excuse our Neglect, and to expect Physick to put into Repair what our own Hand hath set awry, is to endanger and disrespect the precious Gift of Life that God has giv'n to us.

Not having yet heard that Death delays the Fatal Hour upon an Excuse,

I remain,


Your humble & obt. Servant,

Sir Archy

Chip Ahoy said...

Bulimia; no comprendo.

I made the best fish and chips today. Catfish instead of Cod, was closer to tempura. So delicate it melted in my mouth. Filet cut into small chunks coated with batter flavored with lemon rind and lemon juice. Whipped up an Asian sauce. (soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, ginger powder, garlic powder) Total fusion. Or perhaps just a bastardization. My British grandmother would be appled. I mean appalled. So would Sueko, our onetime Japanese housekeeper who showed me such things. Wanna see my chips? They positively defy all things Asian and British.

Blair said...

I am disgusted at the reaction of all here to what is a genuine psychological disorder and illness.

Sure, it's an unusual problem for a middle aged man to have, but it's a problem nonetheless, and making fun of someone for having this condition, no matter who they are, is not acceptable.

Trooper York said...

So very sorry Tony old chap, don't want to make fun of a friend of yours. We will just ignore it as well as his bloating and pms. Hope retirement is working out for you.
Cheerio old pip.

PatCA said...

Evidence once more that our civilization is running out of steam (running out of masculine virtues).

Sir Archy said...

To Mr. Blair.


Guttony hath ever been a Sin upon which much Sport has been made, for its Effects may be all too visible.  That its Cause be count'd a Species of Sickness is a Novelty upon which sensible & rational Persons may disagree.

For my part, I have kept an attitude of sober Neutrality upon the Sinfulness of Gluttony, whilst maintaining that we cannot escape Responsibility by accounting our Actions a Distemper in want of Physick.

We may not know when Disease may strike or Death may come, but Indulgence & Gluttony may certainly be account'd among the Prophets of Sickness, and the Harbingers of our individual Doom.

Whether it be more efficacious for the Cure of a Glutton to be diagnos'd with a Distemper, or remind'd of his Responsibility, I cannot say;  but I should repeat what I said before:  Death will be delay'd by no Excuse; nor will calling Moral Failure a Species of Sickness, make the ill Effects upon the Body any less.  We are, in the End, responsible for Ourselves, and whether we chuse to believe pretty Tales of our own Innocence by way of a Disease; or whether we face the Matter squarely, the corporeal Life of our Bodies continues, ignorant of either Innocence or Responsibility, but sustain'd or hamper'd by the Food, Drink & Excercise of which we may partake.

Unwilling to dress Matters of Life & Death in Costumes as if for a Masquerade,

I am,


Your humble & obt. Servant,

Sir Archy

vbspurs said...

Shouldn't Ralph be replying on this thread?


sfletcher99 said...


but isn't there something especially untoward about a man admitting he's bulimic.

Wow! And, I do mean WOW!!

Which is it?

1)Men can't be "manly" if they ever have an 'eating disorder'?--- or,

2)Men aren't "manly" if they ever admit that they have had an 'eating disorder'?

In either case, this is nothing but abject 'sexism'.

Remember, you are the same blogger who was reduced to tears when confronted with a libertarian discussing the Equal Rights Act of 1964 who didn't 'pre-emptively' soothe your psyche about her "racial beliefs" with numerous 'disclaimers'!

Prof Althouse, I would suggest you examine the "beam" in your eye before ever again attempting a discussion of a 'libertarian' "mote"...

Ann Althouse said...

My objection to the libertarian was her cold smugness about the exclusion of black people from restaurants. It was the commitment to an idea at all costs, which I consider evil.

I also think it is absolutely appropriate to make fun of this candyass ex-Deputy Prime Minister who is going public to claim the banner of a disease to flaunt his sinful gluttony. I don't think women should do it either, but, like a dress, it looks particularly bad on a man.

Sarah said...

I don't think women should do it either, but, like a dress, it looks particularly bad on a man.

You don't think women should do what, exactly? Have eating disorders? Or talk about them in public?

Sir Archy said...

To Professor Althouse.


You have put the Matter very plainly, in your best blunt Modern Manner.

Not to belabour the Point, but for my part, I would not Moralize too much, lest the World think me devoid of Christian Charity.  When a Man has been guilty of any Vice or Folly, I think the best Attonement he can make for it is to warn others not to fall into the like.  That Mr. Prescott should have done this, it were to his Credit.  His Warnings have too much the Character of a Complaint, however, for him to be allow'd much Gratitude for his Example.

As one always grateful for your Example,

I remain, Madam,

Your humble & obt. Servant,

Sir Archy

Ann Althouse said...

"You don't think women should do what, exactly? Have eating disorders? Or talk about them in public?"

Publicly wrap themselves in the language of pathology instead of dealing with their personal problems discreetly and with a dignified acceptance of personal responsibility for excessive and wasteful behavior.

Sarah said...

Thank you for the clarification. I sincerely hope that no one you care about ever struggles with an eating disorder.