By the way. . .

Once upon a time, not too long ago*, my flatmate had a birthday and invitations included those of us who lived in said apartment, as well as some people we didn’t know. We went to a restaurant. I wasn’t enchanted with the menu and ended up ordering an appetiser for dinner. I do that a lot, I’m pickier than I’d like to admit, but that’s okay. I also had water to drink. I wish I were one of those people who were concerned about her weight and drinks soda, but I’m not, so I have nothing so simple to cut out.

The birthday girl and her out-of-town friends split a giant appetiser platter four ways plus one more appetiser. They also ordered a main course. I have no issue with any of this. Instead of getting dessert there, we went to Cold Stone.

At Cold Stone I decided that, you know what, I’m going to go for a small with one mix-in and a dipped waffle bowl ’cause I never do the waffle bowl (and when I do, I remember that it’s because I need to do a mix-in OR a waffle bowl or it’s too much). Other, non-birthday flatmate decided to down like, six lactaids** and get a medium signature. Two of the out-of-town friends split a small with one mix-in.

Now, I know probably no one cares exactly what I or anyone else ate that night, but this is where it starts to matter. One of the skinny, out of town, ice cream-splitting friends comes over to me and other flatmate and says something like “Wow,you guys are so brave, I could never eat that much ice cream.” But everything but the words themselves said “No wonder you guys are so fat.” I want to make it clear that other flatmate has a really good shape, but still the kind a bitchy, very slim person can feel smug about not being.

Other flatmate laughed it off and said something like “I figured if I was going to take a lactaide anyway I might as well make it worth it.” I don’t know if she heard the translation. I think she must have, but I hope she didn’t. And she handled it without blinking. I, on the other hand smiled fakely and said in the same tone of voice “Well, it’s not like I do this often.” As a retort it wasn’t much, but I didn’t want to offend birthday flatmate and I wanted skinny, out of town, ice cream splitting girl to know, yes, I heard what she said.

Now, normally I’d be mildly off-put about something like this because bitch, you can’t tell me why I’m fat just from one ice cream outing. And no selective evidence by ignoring what I ate at dinner. And I wonder why I usually don’t eat in front of people I barely know. But this bothered me for a whole lot more reasons. First of all, other flatmate. She’s awesome and she doesn’t have a body worth fat shaming. Genetics also dealt her a terrible hand; if anyone can say “back off, you don’t know what you’re talking about” it’s her. Secondly, birthday flatmate. Birthday flatmate also struggles with her weight. Now, there’s been psych (anthro?) studies that say groups of friends have a very narrow range of attractiveness. I feel like this sometimes applies to weight as well and in my head I call it “fat flocking”. But I feel like skinny-bitch’s remarks was based on at least one of the following 1. She couldn’t put down birthday flatmate because it being her birthday 2. She was indirectly putting down birthday flatmate by calling us, her friends, fat overeaters or 3. She is so insecure about her own (slim and pretty) body that she needs to assert she’s in fact better than someone. It could have been all three. I have a hard time accepting meanness as a cover for insecurity though, without any other signs. Mean is easy and mean can be powerful. I know mean is not always a cover.

So basically, I’m retroactively saying “Bitch, shut up and mind your own business.” I’m also saying that simple comments like that aren’t always simple. They stick. And it hurts. Not just the judgement but the fact that she’s probably forgotten by now and I will carry it with me for a long time.

*It took a lot of will power not to bust out into “99 Problems”
**I have no idea how to spell the lactose-intolerant helper pills.

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February 23, 2010. Tags: , . Reflection.

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