Picture over: Club Bounce in Long Beach, California. The club is specifically aimed at attracting overweight individuals
American nightclubs catering specifically for fat people are proving a hit with plus-sized partygoers looking for acceptance. Venues like Club Bounce and The Butterfly Lounge in California are aimed at people who may be made to feel unwelcome at certain fashionable nightspots because of their size. Such clubs are a relatively new development, with a handful scattered across California, mainly in coastal cities such as San Diego and San Francisco.
Lisa Marie Garbo, who opened Club Bounce five years ago, said she did it for herself and others who were tired of being “the only fat girl at the local nightclub”. She said: “I don’t think fat is a bad word any more. I think a lot of people embrace it now. “I’m not a gain-weight advocate or anything like that. My message to people is live your life no matter what size you are.”
Club Bounce, with a capacity of 400, attracts relatively equal numbers of men and women. However, while about three-quarters of the women tend to be heavy, only a quarter of the men are. The existence of such venues has raised health questions in a country where, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of adults are already obese.
But Lynn McAfe, of the Council On Size and Weight Discrimination, said: “It’s nice to have a place to go where you can do a little flirting and maybe bring your thin sister or somebody from work who isn’t fat, and they’ll be in your world for a while.” “That’s an amazing experience for a lot of people who aren’t fat, to spend a day or night in a world of fat people.”
Vanessa Gray, a Club Bounce customer, added: “When you’re not what they consider ideal and you’re out there trying to get your dance on at those other places, you get the looks, the stares. But not here. Everything’s accepted here.”