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May 8, 2012

“Inside every fat man there is a thin man trying to get out.”


CYRIL’S PRECURSOR TO THE FAMOUS SAYING:

“Imprisoned in every fat man a thin one is wildly signalling to be let out.”
       Cyril Connolly (1903-1974)
       English writer, editor and critic 
       An oft-cited line from Connolly’s book The Unquiet Grave, pt. 2 (first published in 1944) 
       Cyril Connolly
is frequently credited as the originator of the modern proverbial saying “Inside every fat man there is a thin man trying to get out,” also heard with the ending “…struggling to get out.” Some sources trace it to an earlier quote by English author George Orwell. In fact, neither of the commonly-used versions of the quip are what Connolly or Orwell actually wrote.  
       Connolly’s line in his book of essays The Unquiet Grave is: “Imprisoned in every fat man a thin one is wildly signalling to be let out.”
       Orwell’s earlier quote mentions the idea of a thin man inside a fat one, but says nothing about the thin man signaling (to use the modern American spelling) or
struggling to get out. In his 1939 novel Coming Up For Air the central character, George Bowling, says: “I’m fat, but I’m thin inside. Has it ever struck you that there’s a thin man inside every fat man, just as they say there’s a statue inside every block of stone?”


KINGSLEY’S COROLLARY:

“Outside every fat man there was an even fatter man trying to close in.” 
       Kingsley Amis (1922-1995)
       English novelist, critic and poet
       In his novel One Fat Englishman (1963)


THE BELLY WISDOM THEOREM:

“The old saying is wrong: It’s not that ‘Inside every fat woman there's a thin woman screaming to get out.’ The reality is that inside EVERY woman, there's a FAT woman trying to get out and breathe, relax her belly center, undo her pants, let her thighs roar with thunder, and her breasts feel the breeze!”
       Bell Pine Art Farm
       From the company’s description of its “Belly Wisdom” statuette


THE RUPAUL RULE:

“Inside every gay man, there is a big, soulful, divalicious black woman vying to get out.”
       From a post on The Way I See It Theatre Blog (Aug. 26, 2011)


THE OLD AGE AXIOM:

“Inside every old person is a young person wondering what the hell happened.”
       Modern proverbial saying and t-shirt slogan, sometimes attributed to American gospel singer Cora Harvey Armstrong and sometimes to the British fantasy and science fiction novelist Terry Pratchett.

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