A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from June 02, 2019
Love Handle (fat at the waist)

"Love handles” are the rolls of fat that one can pinch around one’s waist; the fat is less euphemistically called a “tire” or a “muffin top.” Many exercise programs attempt to remove the “love handles.”

American actress and singer Debbie Reynolds (1932-2016) said in a Herb Caen column in the San Francisco (CA) Chronicle on September 22, 1960:

“My mother is—well—rather plump, but my dad likes her that way. He calls the excess ‘love handles.’ As a matter of fact, he’s always saying to me, ‘The trouble with you, Debbie, is you’ve got no love handles.’”

Reynolds said in the Daily News (New York, NY) on November 9, 1964:

“Daddy says a woman should have curves, which he calls, in the idiom of the Southwest, love handles. Isn’t that sweet, love handles?”

Debbie Reynolds’ father, Raymond Francis “Ray” Reynolds, was a carpenter who worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad, and she was born in El Paso, Texas. The “love handles” term became popular in the 1970s, but Reynolds’ father has not been credited.


Wikipedia: Debbie Reynolds
Mary Frances “Debbie” Reynolds (April 1, 1932 – December 28, 2016) was an American actress, singer and businesswoman. Her career spanned almost 70 years. She was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer for her portrayal of Helen Kane in the 1950 film Three Little Words, and her breakout role was her first leading role, as Kathy Selden in Singin’ in the Rain (1952).
(...)
Early life
Mary Frances Reynolds was born on April 1, 1932, in El Paso, Texas, to Maxene “Minnie” (née Harman) and Raymond Francis “Ray” Reynolds, a carpenter who worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
love handle n. slang (orig. U.S.) (usually in plural) excess or unwanted fat at the waist.
1970 Current Slang (Univ. S. Dakota) 4 iii.–iv. 20 Love handles, the fat on one’s sides.
1989 T. Clancy Clear & Present Danger xiii. 306 No longer a young man.., love handles at his waist, much of his hair gone.

22 September 1960, San Francisco (CA) Chronicle, Herb Caen column, second sec., pg. 25, col. 1:
FAMILY NOTE: Debbie Reynolds, I’m happy to discover, is also Frank and Earnest. While she was in town the other day to plug her new dress line, somebody asked her: “Is everybody in your family as slim as you?” “Not at all,” said Miss Debbie, right out. “My mother is—well—rather plump, but my dad likes her that way. He calls the excess ‘love handles.’ As a matter of fact, he’s always saying to me, ‘The trouble with you, Debbie, is you’ve got no love handles.’” So saying, she slipped off, tittering prettily.

9 November 1964, Daily News (New York, NY), “Hollywood Visitor: The Unsinkable Debbie” by Wanda Hale, pg. C24, col. 2:
“Another thing on my program when I get home is taking off five pounds I’ve gained, right here,” she (Debbie Reynolds—ed.) said, placing a hand on each hip. “But I get no encouragement from my two men. Daddy says a woman should have curves, which he calls, in the idiom of the Southwest, love handles. Isn’t that sweet, love handles? Harry, too, likes curves. He says a skinny girl looks like a frame upon which a woman should be built.”

21 November 1967, Atlanta (GA) Constitution, “Club 15 Helps Teenage Girls Physically as Well as Mentally” by Celestine Sibley, pg. 5, col. 3:
With today’s miniskirts hundreds of young girls yearn for firm thighs and hundreds of young girls have saggy thighs and wads of fat around the midriff, which Muriel learned they now call “love handles.”

3 May 1970, Press Register (Mobile, AL), “Reflections of a News Hen” by Maryon Allen, pg. 16-D, col. 3:
The exercise wheel is one of the few things on earth that will help you get rid of your “love handles”...you know, they are those things that hang over a man’s belt and over a girl’s girdle top. If you want to be unromantic you can call them rubber tires or just plain flab.

8 September 1970, The Sun (Baltimore, MD), “Rock ‘n Roll: Group Surprises Audience With Gutsy Tunes” by Bob Grover, pg. B6, cols. 3-4:
As he introduced the members of the band, McLemore made repeated references to Ron Townson’s ample proportions. “They’re ‘love handles,’” Townson said, gripping the flesh at his sides.

Google Books
Balanced Body:
The Body Center workout program for men

By Donald Charles Richardson
New York, NY: Harmony Books
1985
Pg. 73:
Excess weight around this area, or love handles, can often be found on men regardless of whether they are overweight. Even if your love handles cannot be eliminated, this area can be strengthened and tightened.

Google Books
Contemporary American Slang
By Richard A. Spears
Lincolnwood, IL: National Textbook Co.
1991
Pg. 130:
love handles n. a roll of fat around the waist.

OCLC WorldCat record
Lose the love handles : 30 days to an arrow-straight waist
Author: Dave Kuehls
Publisher: New York : Crown Trade Paperbacks, ©1996.
Edition/Format: Print book : English : 1st ed

OCLC WorldCat record
Lose your love handles : a 3-step program to streamline your waist in 30 days
Author: Mackie Shilstone
Publisher: New York : Perigee, ©2001.
Edition/Format: Print book : English : 1st ed
Summary:
A professional performance enhancement expert offers a three-step program to help men streamline their waists that consists of an aerobic walking plan, a diet low on the glycemic index, and spot-specific toning and firming exercises.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityExercise/Running/Health Clubs • Sunday, June 02, 2019 • Permalink