"I always think because I'm heavy people make fun of me," said the 33-year-old Ridgewood resident who declined to give her last name. "It doesn't bother me as much now because I have different friends now - thanks to Nancy. Nancy changed me a lot." She was referring to Nancy Goddess, founder of Goddesses, a Ridgewood-based circuit for "big, beautiful women and men and their admirers." The Ridgewood resident and self-acceptance maven has been helping women like Christine love themselves for nearly two decades. Every week she and her son throw dance parties for the big and beautiful in Manhattan and host an informal gathering Thursday nights at Annunzia's Restaurant at 58-55 Catalpa Ave."Not all of us are made to be thin," said Goddess, a saucy 50-year-old who tips the scale at 247 pounds. "Some people are not happy in their skin. That's why I'm here - to (help you) be comfortable with who you are."Which is hard considering America's not-so-thinly veiled apartheid against obesity.People leer, Goddess said, moving away when she takes a seat on the train. Her son, Joey, 36, was relegated to a special cart on the roller coaster at Great Adventure. "I had to get in the fat seat," which was wider than the others, he said. "You wouldn't know how it feels unless you're a big person and you're made fun of," his mother added. Back in 1984, she discovered an antidote to her problems as a big girl. It was simple revelation: Society was wrong, not her. "Being fat is not having a disease," she said during a recent Thursday meeting at Annunzia's. So she organized a weekly gathering of girlfriends at a Queens restaurant. The group grew and she started throwing weekend parties, stumbling on another surprising revelation: There is a substantial cluster of regular-sized men who love heavy women. Harvey Parker, a bony, 62-year-old City Island resident, is among the hundreds who flock to her bashes at Croton Reservoir Tavern in Manhattan. "I like women that are broad and thick and not particularly large in the stomach," he said. "They're purely sensual." The evenings can get pretty bawdy, Goddess said, with lingerie shows and an annual wet T-shirt contest. Her Web site - www.goddessbbw.com (which has clocked nearly 30,000 hits) - features dozens of photos of big busty girls out on the town in slinky skirts and strapless dresses. "We wear miniskirts, spandex," Goddess said. "We feel good about our bodies."Realizing that not everyone is into the club scene, she started the pizza gathering at Annunzia's about six months ago. There is no pressure and nobody judges. People flirt, play games and sometimes sing karaoke. Most patrons are from the neighborhood. Goddess waved Christina in one day when she was passing on the street. The woman said she is hoping to meet a man. Others, like a woman named Marie, just come for the company. "My husband passed away last August," said Marie, who declined to give her last name or age. "I just come here to socialize." For more information about Goddesses call 718-456-9119 or visit their web site. Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2005 Community News Group
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