Tuesday, January 22, 2013
I felt very proud of myself and a teency bit less self-conscious than usual as I went through the checkout at the supermarket today. I admired the vibrant colour and lack of packaging as I piled my healthy bounty onto the conveyer belt. I’d even gone with a list… yup I know super organised right (well to a point) I accidently left it in the car, doh! But I had written one at least.
It never ceases to amaze me how perfect strangers (usually of the narcissistic variety) feel it acceptable …wait… feel it their duty to inform me that I’m fat. What’s more is they usually know why I’m the size I am and get this, have such simple solutions to my “problem” to so generously share with me.
Really? What? I’m overweight? I had no idea?
Strangers browse my trolley like... well the shelfs of a supermarket, sometimes they’ll just make a face that says “really, should you be eating that” (like they’ve read the same parenting book my father did) and sometimes they actually say it.
Once I ran into a guy I’d dated a couple of times in the past, he glanced in my trolley, grimaced slightly, raised his eyebrows and said, “Good choices” and not in the “way to go, that looks delicious” kind of way either.
I wanted to grab a tin of creamed corn off the shelf and hurl it at his face. I refrained and instead turned a bright shade of tomato and looked for a giant display of toilet paper to hide behind.
Now I’m not discriminating here, such behaviour is not exclusively practiced at the supermarket, it can also be found in other frequented public areas. Actually I can recall so many encounters you’d think I’d no longer be surprised by such appalling manners, either that or have just stopped going out altogether. Yet I do and I am still shocked by the actions of some people.
The most significant of these incidents was when I was 21. I’d lost around 20kg’s on a “diet of the moment” and was walking up the street with my “sort of” boyfriend, (“sort of” because we’d never defined our relationship and when I finally asked, he declared we were in fact not a couple due to my ever increasing weight), anyway let’s just set that aside as that’s a whole other disturbing story.
So here we were Sortof and I standing on Lygon St, a popular and trendy strip in the city, waiting for the little green man to flash and let us cross the intersection. We were in deep conversation when the noise of the traffic indicator went off and together we blindly walked out into the street. It wasn’t until we noticed the oncoming traffic that we realised the mistake we’d made, that the signal was actually for the other crossing, oops!! We quickly skipped across the road to avoid the onset of beeping vehicles.
When I got to the other side I was taken aback when a lady in her 50’s, well dressed (pearls and all) reached out and tugged the cuff of my top. I stopped and she said...
“A girl as big as you should know better than to cross against the lights, you deserve to be hit just for your size“.
Needless to say I was speechless, I was not prepared for such confrontation and I had no words, nothing, nada. Instead I turned, mouth wide open and it wasn’t until I was half way up the road that I fully registered what she said and burst into tears.
My incredibly sensitive (note the hint of sarcasm) Sortof, rolled his eyes and groaned “that’s it now isn’t it, you’re just gonna cry about that all day now aren’t you”. What he failed to understand was that I’d worked really hard to prove how much I wanted to be with him; in my mind that lady had just highlighted and pointed out why he shouldn’t be.
I’d been enduring comments such as these since I was a teen and here I was having lost a decent amount of weight, starting to feel better about myself and this lady felt she had the right to wish me injured if not DEAD just for looking the way I did. I mean you’ve gotta be kidding me imagine if we’d met before I lost the 20kg… imagine if we met now!
Needless to say I ate myself into a carb fuelled coma and it wasn’t long until I reconnected with those 20kg and then some.
Not all comments have been so blatantly cruel, a few months ago I went into a plus size shop, tried on and then bought a couple of size 14 long sleeve undershirts, you know, the kind you need to be really tight so you can layer it under your regular clothes for extra warmth but you’d never wear on its own because it shows every donut you ever ate.
I went to the register and the woman looked at the tag of the first one and then the second, she said “Do you realise these are size 14?”
Now granted I’m usually a 20 in this shop but like I said I needed them to be tight and the 16’s were sold out. I replied “Yep”, then she looked me up and down and said “Are you sure you’ve got the right size?”
Seriously? What was this woman thinking? I couldn’t believe what she was saying, who was she to judge? How did she know I wasn’t buying for someone else? I suppose a couple of plain black undershirts make for a pretty sh*t gift, but she didn’t know I wasn’t a sh*tty gift giver. I meekly replied “Yes”, handed over my card and avoided eye contact for the rest of the transaction.
These days I still find myself prematurely explaining to the check-out chick (who hasn’t asked) that I’m having a party, or I’m buying this top for my sister. Justifying my purchases before anyone asks is almost as ridiculous as my overwhelming need to explain to new people I haven’t always been “this” big, like it might sway their decisions to befriend me or not.
Today though was not one of those days, today I was happy to own the items on that conveyer belt and only a hint of paranoia was present as I’m sure the lady next in line was thinking, “Sure that’s what you really eat” :)
So what about you? Have you ever had a perfect stranger make an uninvited comment about your weight?