When you’re losing weight, there is a long, long period of
time where you think you are trapped in a bubble of your own fat, surrounded by
walls that are perfectly opaque while inside you are withering away, where no
one can see you and no one cares and you think that you will be all alone, for
all time, and then probably die, alone. I mean, everyone dies alone, anyway.
But your death will be the most spectacularly alone of all deaths, and the most
tragic of all tragedies, and you will look so
hot in your coffin, you skinny little thing.
You feel very sorry for yourself when you’re doing so well,
and being so brave and perfect and plugging along like a chubby little engine
that totally could, and no one notices at all. You look at your body and you
think you see the changes and you think you see a difference, and you wonder if
you’re completely crazy and out of your mind and maybe you are being
ridiculous, imagining that you could look any different or make any difference
at all, and every time you get on the scale, it’s some kind of a cruel joke
perpetrated by cruel people with a lot of time on their hands. But then things
Things change with a quickness. One day, you are round, and the next day, your
body has remolded itself around your bones and tendons, has reshaped and
shifted like you are some kind of bizarre mutant creature, and suddenly,
everything you’ve done for all those months bravely in silence and personal
fortitude come screamingly, roaringly into the spotlight and everyone notices.
Everyone in the world notices. Your postman and your handyman, your dry
cleaner, the guy at the corner store, the boyfriend of your neighbor, the dude
on the corner who wears his pants backwards–they all notice, and in a chorus of
voices, they descend upon you, and it is overwhelming and crazy and
out-of-control, and awesome, and maybe you kind of wish they’d all shut the
These are the ways people–practical strangers, good friends,
co-workers, bartenders and bus drivers–have noticed I’ve lost weight.
"Holy Jesus Christ in hell, woman! What the fuck!"
"Whoa! Whoa, whoa whoa! I mean, I knew you lost weight,
"So are you going to join the lacrosse team now?"
"You are wee! You are tiny, and wee. I could pick you
up with one hand."
"You’re looking…" Long, long pause. "Good!
Really, really good!" Pause. "I mean, really good!" Pause.
"So good! Did I tell you that?"
you? Are you doing okay?"
"You’re looking very shapely, Anne."
"Hey hey hey! Look at the skinny young thing!"
"Can I ask? How much have you lost? No, really. Really? Wow.
A discussion between three friends, at a bar. As if I
weren’t even there:
"Wowie Zowie, Captain Maui!"
"What the fuck does that mean?"
"She looks like a hula girl?"
"You’ve got to have been lifting weights or something,
"I was looking at you today, and I was thinking you just went boom! Just,
boom! Like that! You know?"
"You weigh, like, 150, 160 now,
right? 170? There’s no way you weigh more than that…seriously?
Leaning in very, very close, in a conspiratorial whisper:
"I have to tell you. You look fantastic."
"You’re looking so trim and fit!"
"What the hell have you done to yourself? No,
"At least you’ve still got your ass. I mean, look at
Suddenly, everyone is commenting on my body, and I am
wondering why I ever wanted anyone to notice my body, or think about my body,
or have an opinion about the current state of my body and the previous, clearly
inferior state of my body. What was I thinking, and how fucking weird was that
to want? It was so weird. Please stop examining my tits. I feel suddenly
public, and you have to know that it is, in so many ways, extremely enjoyable–I
mean, who doesn’t want to be told how awesome you look? I don’t want to be told
how awesome I look. And of course, when it stops–because eventually it will–I
will miss it. There is no happy medium.