…as though that were any different than half the offensive shit I say here on a regular basis.
Before I start, I will hopefully quantify the statements following and reduce the amount of people who want to crucify me by saying this;
I am overweight. Far more than I should be, thanks to a medication I had no business taking, depression and emotional eating. The previous three things are not excuses by the way; much of my weight gain is my own fault for seeking unhealthy ways to deal with the things I don’t always wish to confront.
I wasn’t always overweight. I have been healthy-skinny (eating right, working out regularly, etc) and I have been what-probably-should-have-been-diagnosed-as-a-complex-eating-disorder-skinny (weird eating habits, 6 to 8 hours of exercise, a torrid love affair with diet pills that made me feel like I was dying). I admit all of those things to say, I have been on all sides of the weight issue.
Last night a friend called me, complaining about her love life or lack thereof. She whined for about 30 minutes (during which time I watched “HawthoRNe” on low and muttered, “Mmhmm,” during the commercial breaks) while she went on and on about how shallow men are and how all men are dogs (anyone who knows me knows that any gross generalization, especially of the “Men are dogs” variety will be met with a blank stare of epic proportions) and finally she came to her thesis…
“I think men just don’t like me because I am fat.”
In the interest of transparency, I will admit that my dating life has changed as I have gained weight, but it certainly isn’t nonexistent unless I choose it to be. Plenty of men still approach me; sometimes I even like them. I go out on dates and I have by NO means been celibate.
To be clear.
At this point I am torn; I know that no good will come of this situation if I tell her that it is not her waistline that is likely keeping men away or turning them off. Rather it is likely because she gives off twenty feet of Eau de Desperate to Have a Man and bathes regularly in Clinique Clingy.
But I guess in her world, those things are neither here nor there.
I tried, as delicately as I could, to say that maybe her assumption was incorrect, but I am pretty sure she got off the phone with the same singular thought as before. But really, I needed to catch the last 30 of HawthoRNe so I didn’t care to try to explain it.
I have heard it often among some of my friends who are overweight; somehow ALL their problems with work and men and friends and health must be tied to the number on the scale. (Maybe the health part is valid.) It somehow becomes a scapegoat for all their issues and cloaks all their destructive behaviors. That might be more dangerous to me than the weight they are carrying.
I mean, what if they lose the weight and the issues are still there? What if they haven’t channeled those bad habits into healthy things or natural growth and progression? What happens then?
For me, I recognize how I have contributed to the deterioration of my own health. I can look in the mirror and see how I have been, quite literally, carrying around the misery of the last few years. But I am also very clear about the fact that whether I was skinny or fat, it was hardly the source of any of my issues. Rather, it was usually just an outward indicator of what was going on inside. It was the symptom; not the sickness.
And now, I will say the thing I am not supposed to say because we live in a world of happy and rainbows and glitter…
Let’s be honest; there are some men that will immediately discount a woman based on her size. That doesn’t make them terrible, low down, shallow amoebae that live under moist rocks. It makes them human. Just like I have seen women turn down a perfectly handsome, funny man because he is a garden gnome who comes equipped with his own booster seat, both women AND men often dismiss a perfectly nice person because of their weight. Have I had less men approach me since I gained weight? Sure. But I also used to have an abundance of men cat call my sizeable rack before. I am not missing much. Come on; no one approaches someone across a bar because they seem like they have a sparkling wit and shining personality.
I understand the emotional, hot button nature of the conversation about being overweight, especially with America being the fattest country in the world. But I don’t think that any person, on either side of the scale, can afford to demonize someone else based on their ill informed assumptions about someone else’s motives.
My friend will go on thinking that men hate her for her size, not because she mentally moves into their place the first time she visits. That is her journey, I suppose. And there will be tons of overweight men and women who will sneer at the potential suitors they perceive have slighted them because of their weight and recite the mantra that anyone who loves them will love them for exactly who they are.
Which is true, to an extent.
But the only thing I know for sure is this; I want a life fit for myself to live. Not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well. And I know that I will never be perfect, but I believe I can be better. And that is the person I want people to fall in love with.