On the way into work this morning, E and I were talking about the club we got dragged to on Friday night–three floors of ladies with enormous, mostly naked breasts and thighs, shiny and juicy just like rotisserie chicken, and the frat boys in polo shirts who enjoy their fresh meat. “I was totally invisible!” I said. I had been wearing a three-quarter-length sleeved T-shirt and jeans and was showing so little skin I might as well have not even existed. It was cool, I told E. It was nice to just sit and watch the meat market and drink my drink and not be hassled.
Whatever, E said. That guy in line was hitting on you. And then the guy on the dance floor was watching you shake your butt. And don’t lie. You liked it.
I kind of liked it, I said. I did. You’d be stupid not to at least sort of enjoy the fact that someone appreciate what you look like, right? But it also made me mad.
Why? E said. Why should it make you mad?
Well, I said. Let’s say they
weren’t just crazy drunk and seeing double, right? That they liked how
I look. Those guys probably wouldn’t have looked at me 20 pounds
ago, or 30 or 40 or 50 pounds ago. A hundred pounds ago they
would have made fun of me. They would have laughed at me and mocked me,
and that idea makes me really angry. It pisses me off, because now I’m
acceptable, and I’m supposed to just enjoy that. It makes me feel like
a hypocrite, if I like getting attention, you know?
That’s not fair, E said.
Wait, what? I said.
How do you know that? he
said. You don’t know that that guy would have made fun of you.
the easiest thing in the world, I said, to make fun of a woman for her
body. The easiest way to grind her down, right?
Sure, he said. That’s
where people are really vulnerable. But that doesn’t mean he would have
done that. Maybe he wouldn’t have noticed you. But it’s not fair to say
that he would have mocked you for your weight. I’m sure it’s happened
It has, I said. And I’m sure it stung like hell, he said. It’s awful.
It’s cruel. But it’s not fair to suggest that this guy doesn’t like fat
girls because he’s hitting on someone who’s not fat.
I think that was one of the hardest things, I said, when I was bigger.
The idea that maybe no one was going to say anything, but that they
could. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. I felt like I was cringing
all the time. Just cringing. Hunching up my shoulders like someone was
about to hit me at any second.
That’s the thing, E said. It’s not your size. It’s not your weight.
I’ve seen hot girls on the dance floor, and they’re big girls. Maybe
they’ve got the booty, or a belly. They’ve got the meaty thighs, and
they’re rocking it, right? They’re confident in their bodies and
they’re showing them off, not sitting in the corner waiting for someone
to say something nasty. And I’ve seen those girls get swarmed by guys
who want them. I’ve wanted those girls. There’s nothing
sexier–seriously. There’s nothing sexier than someone who knows what
she’s got, and knows it’s hot. That’s sexy. You can’t say that you
didn’t get looked at twice because you were fat and all guys are
shallow. That’s way too easy.
It happens, though, I said. And some men, some people, they are
shallow. And they are just offended by the existence of fat people.
Some people just wait for the chance to tell someone that they’re
disgusting and that you are an offense against nature and it’s horrible
and it hurts.
It happens, E said, I know it does. But fuck them. And
okay, how often does it happen? Did it? How could you have lived your
life just waiting for it to happen? That’s what really upsets me. That
you were always afraid.
I was, I said. I was always afraid. And you know what’s weird? It’s so
hard to not be afraid. That’s my default. To stay hunched down and
quiet. Maybe that’s why I get mad when someone hits on me.
keep thinking like that, E said. It’s going to make you crazy. No one
should think like that.
I wish someone had told me that a long time
ago, I said. I mean, it’s not, like, a magical cure. But–
He squeezed my hand. We were quiet, for a moment. So you liked it, he said. Right?