Traveling the Multiverse

Aka Ironyca Stood in the Fire – gaming blog

What Sort of Conversation Did She Expect Us to Have?

Another random, but this time angry, personal post – so consider yourself warned.

Today at work… 

Today at work (I work at a university library) I was in a good mood, the podcast I was listening to was entertaining, everyone had been nice.

I was bringing a book cart up to the 1st floor, when one of the librarians walked past me as I pushed the button to the elevator. She threw a wide smile at me, and I returned it, assuming she was mighty happy as well today. Before she opened to door to the office area, she turned around and said “I’ve always wanted to ask you this…

(Picture by isi-on-guitar on Deviant Art)

She was still smiling, and in this split second my head automatically finished the sentence for her: “What are you studying?” and conjured up a good answer “Oh I….” But I was wrong.

…What is your fighting weight?” she said while still looking bright.

“sorry?”

fighting weight

“I don’t own a scale, so I don’t know, but probably not much…” I answered.

…yeah” she concluded and proceeded through the door.

My elevator came up and I rolled the cart in while trying to process what had just happened. It felt like a slap in the face.

I am skinny, always has been. I’ve had people, friends, family approach me numerous times, often with curiosity towards why on earth I am this thin. One friend insisted that I could confess in her that I was anorexic.

The issue just is – I’m not anorexic nor bulimic. I don’t consider myself fat, I don’t starve myself, I don’t purge. I am not obsessed by dieting, I try to eat reasonably healthily. I love cake – If replacing one daily meal with cake didn’t have any repercussions in terms of health, I’d do it. Food has never had an effect on my weight, in fact, it’s been unfluctuatingly low since I became a teenager. But carrying the stigma of some eating disorder surely brings out the inquisitively insensitive sides of people.

I’ve seen this librarian around, I’ve greeted her, but we’ve never had a personal conversation, I don’t even know her name. Why was it any of her business what I weigh? And what sort of conversation did she expect us to have?

These are the best approximations I could come up with:

  • “Well, I’m asking your fighting weight because I like having my own normalcy relfected in deviant others, and… wanna fight?”
  • “I’ve heard your bones rattling around, could you count the protruding ones for me please?”
  • “Did you just walk out of a freak show and into the library? …I mean, haha, we already have a enough local weirdos hanging out in here”
  •  “Oh, so you weight X amount of kilos, I see …that’s the same as my left boob”
  • “Heeeey, I talk to all kinds of people, I’m open and tolerant like that. As long as I smile while being rude, I’m not only rude any longer, I’m also suspiciously psycho!”
  • “I’m genuinely interested in the state of your body, I note it down in my small brown book. Now we’re at it, how many times have you farted the last 24 hours?”
  • “Don’t mind me asking, I’m just this old grey haired, pear shaped woman who herself would be insistently offended if you asked me the same”
  • “Well, I want to know your weight so I can police you. Didn’t you know bodies with both upper and lower BMI’s are denied access to the public space? Of course unless you let us ridicule you, BEANPOLE!!!”
  • “Let’s measure the difference in centimeters between my waist and yours and multiply with how much I suck and then add the number of times you’ve been approached by rude people asking you this kind of shit”

Like.. what the fuck?

…I’m grapes by the way.

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5 comments on “What Sort of Conversation Did She Expect Us to Have?

  1. Cassierose
    April 16, 2011

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this. I have people come up to me all the time and ask all kinds of questions or make stupid comments about my weight. You can’t weigh more then 90 lbs soaking wet. Hope a breeze doesn’t come along, might blow you away. You need to eat more, gotta get some meat on those bones!!!! Blah, blah, blah.

    I eat just fine. I just happen to be scrawny. Always been that way. Wonder how other people would feel if I walk up to them and say them, “Maybe you should eat less”.

  2. Quixotic
    April 16, 2011

    I just wanted to… I don’t know. To tell you that this really resonated with me. I have the opposing problem, being somewhat… over-endowed… and over the years ‘helpful’ people, ranging from family to friends to strangers have made varying suggestions about what I should do about it (just to be clear here – I’m not talking about being so big I need to be winched off the sofa, just like a high street size 18…) as if somehow it’s ‘their’ problem that ‘they’ are responsible for addressing.

    I never know what goes through people’s heads – commenting on someone’s personal appearance is akin to asking married women in their mid-30s when they’re going to ‘start a family’ or asking the 20-something bloke in the pub with his mates why he’s drinking coke not ‘being a man and having a pint’…

    So I just wanted to send you a virtual hug, I guess, and to let you know that you have every right to be angry. But that I hope that dissipates because, cliché though it is, if you’re happy (as any of us can be) with who you are then it’s no-one else’s bloody business. Do I win an award for stating the bloody obvious…?

  3. Zinn
    April 16, 2011

    I’ve had the same issue my whole life. I’ve always been very skinny, and people always assume that that’s because I’m anorexic (or bulemic) or close to. They think because I am skinny it is ok to remark on my weight constantly, or what I eat or how I eat. They wouldn’t have done that if I was overweight, but it’s no problem when I am underweight. I am glad they care, but that doesn’t mean they have the right to be mean :P

  4. Zel
    April 17, 2011

    People like that are going to give us all a complex. If it’s not ok to ask a heavy person her weight, why is it ok to ASSUME that it’s just fine and dandy to pester a skinny person. I mean, would you say to someone “omg, your feet are so dainty, what size are they?” or “Hello Hippo-feet!” No, because it’s just CREEPY.

  5. Döra
    April 17, 2011

    Oh My Ironyca – I really feel for you. It hurts & people have no idea of the pain they cause.

    I have the opposite problem, being very short & overweight. I have a disability that restricts my mobility and ability to exercise and the prescription drugs I have to take for this also cause me to put on weight despite actually eating much less than the ‘average’ person and constantly watching my diet.

    My friend on the other hand is thin as a rake – eats fatty indian takeaways by the bucket load, cakes, biscuits in huge quantities – hasn’t eaten a vegetable in all the years I have known him, and yet couldn’t put weight on if he tried.

    If I had a penny for the number of times I have been told to eat less and exercise more from strangers as well as family and friends – (including the skinny one) I would be rich.

    There is a huge problem in this world from what I can see, in that, if you are not in the ‘one size fits all’ category then people somehow feel it is their duty to point this out (always for your own good of course). There are so many factions in society that the sheeple feel are ok to demonise it’s unbelievable – drinkers, smokers, unemployed, overweight, thin, those who don’t subscribe to global warming, the unemployed – I could go on and on.

    Anyone outside of the range of ‘normal’ are targeted by the sheep who are constantly educated by the PC media to go and convert the ‘non-normals’ to normalcy. They actually get a kick out of doing this – its the new religion.

    It goes on in Wow too – with the ‘get a life’ type comments. It makes me so sad :( I actually love that we are all so different – but step out of line in this world – either deliberately or through no fault of your own and it’s like printing a target on your back. Bite back and it only confirms to them that you do indeed have a problem and need bringing into line.

    It’s hard to live in the world today :(

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This entry was posted on April 16, 2011 by in Personal and tagged , , , .

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