Hey, quick question.
If you had a friend/relative/ acquaintance with say…one leg, and you met him/her once a year or so, what is the first thing you would say to him? “Hey, man, you have ONE leg!!!”? OR, something like “So how have you been?”
I know most people will say the latter, of course, and who ever says the first one? Then my next question would be “Why the hell do you have to point out to FAT people that they’re fat every freaking time you meet them???”
I travel around quite a bit, it’s one of my few indulgences…apart from food. And on my travels I invariably meet up with old friends or relations who I, in my optimism, think it would be nice to spend some time with. You know -- reminisce about the good old days, share a great meal and a laugh with.
Unfortunately for me, what has always transpired for the last 5 years (ever since I gained weight in my early 20s) is very different. These long awaited meetings, often the result of great effort and expense for both parties, start out in the same abhorrent way. They’ll look at me in amazement for a second or two, and then declare with satisfaction, “but you’ve gained sooooo much weight!” Never mind that I've weighed exactly the same the last five years and the last five times I met them. It’s always the same reaction.
For some reason, they fix in their minds how you looked when you were 18 and thin (weren’t we all?) and conveniently forget how you looked ever since. So every time they see you these amnesiacs will go through the same routine of outrage, then hilarity, followed by a totally unasked for earnest lecture on how to lose weight. Every. Time.
Never mind that there’s plenty wrong with them and you just itch to give them a few newsflashes about THEIR appearance.
So instead of reminiscing about the good old days, sharing a good meal and a laugh; it invariably ends up this way: they reminisce about how wonderful I looked half a decade ago (pity that they forgot to tell me that then), they tuck in very heartily but eye me knowingly if I so much as look at anything other than a glass of water ( as if to say, ‘no wonder you look like a beached whale!), and the laugh, of course, is always on me.
And these are the people who like me.
My point is this. I don’t think there is doubt in anybody’s mind that calling someone fat is not the first thing a long-lost friend or relative likes to hear. It mars the atmosphere somewhat.
Second, you know for the last 5 years that I’m fat because you have commented on it for the last five years…ergo, there is no need to do the whole ‘I’m so surprised’ routine every year. (Maybe we can decide to do it every alternate year just so you can get it out of your system.)
Third, as long as I’m not in any danger of dropping dead of a heart attack as we converse, or if I’m not setting myself up for a bitter disappointment at the swimsuit round of the Miss Universe pageant, I don’t see how you’re doing me a favour by telling me I’m fat.
Fourth, I’m fat, not blind…so I probably know it already without you hounding me about it, thank you very much.
So in future, if you and I have taken the trouble of traveling to some distant corner of the Universe to meet up, and have plans of having a great time, restrain your baser instincts.
A nice, polite “So how have you been? It’s been such a long time!” will be more in keeping with the holiday spirit.