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CULTURAL OVEREATING (PART 2)

He's been lying on the bed reading a spy yarn and is about to eat 103 more calories. (Weight Watchers ice cream sandwiches have 103 calories.) If he's having the guys over for the monthly poker game, I wouldn't think of not having food and beer in the house and virtually laying it at their feet . . . this is my notion of what the hostess should do—even if it means killing the guests with kindness and calories.

There has been some research recently on the secret eating patterns of women—women who eat small-to-moderate meals in family and social situations and then, in private, binge on any number of outlandish foods, all representing warmth, comfort, love, reassurance, or whatever is needed that day. This is primarily a female syndrome, probably because men don't have to be shy about it. Society respects those "hearty" appetites; we stuff our men in front of everyone and condone their overeating as a masculine virtue. And then we cry at their funerals.

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