June 13, 2021

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


“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?”


“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 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


“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)



“Sirs: Outside every thin Canadian, there's a fat American, screaming to get in.”
       A letter to the editor published in National Lampoon, June 1964, attributed to Canadian reader Chris Kelly, but probably written by the editors


“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.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Questions? Email me or post them on my Famous Quotations Facebook page.

Related reading…

Copyrights, Disclaimers & Privacy Policy

Creative Commons License
Copyright © Subtropic Productions LLC

The Quote/Counterquote blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Any duplicative or remixed use of the original text written for this blog and any exact duplications the specific sets of quotations collected for the posts shown here must include an attribution to QuoteCounterquote.com and, if online, a link to http://www.quotecounterquote.com/

To the best of our knowledge, the non-original content posted here is used in a way that is allowed under the fair use doctrine. If you own the copyright to something we've posted and think we may have violated fair use standards, please let me know.

Subtropic Productions LLC and QuoteCounterquote.com are committed to protecting your privacy. We will not sell your email address, etc. For more details, read this blog's full Privacy Policy.