Thursday, December 26, 2013

The golden age of the paunch

This is how I feel after a season filled with holiday merriment and jollification! The 18th Century was the golden age of the paunch. If a gentleman had one—his tight waistcoat barely buttoned up over his expanding belly—then he proudly showed it off. Having yourself immortalized with a paunch in a portrait painting announced to the world in grand fashion that you were wealthy and held high office, that you lived a lavish lifestyle and ate well—enough to acquire a pudgy paunch—and that you, under no circumstances, ever lifted your finger for any manor of manual labor, but instead were waited upon. A power paunch was quite simply a coveted physical attribute. Of course, these days a paunch means it's time for a Dr. Oz intervention, a kale juice fast and a gym membership. So in honor of the glorious, paunch—and with those righteous New Year's resolutions rapidly approaching—I've put together this collection of paunches from classical paintings. Click on it to, um... enlarge!

paunch (noun
late 14c., from Old French pance 
(Old North French panche) "belly, stomach,"
 from Latin panticem (nominative pantex) "belly, bowels" 
(cf. Spanish panza, Italian pancia); 
possibly related to panus "swelling" 

Click here to see an entire Pinterest 
board dedicated to the power panch.

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