You know when you’re walking around in a store and a stranger thinks that it’s completely normal to walk up to you and say, “Wow, you need to gain weight,” and you’re so taken aback that it only registers later on that that was an insult. Yes, ill-informed stranger, an insult.
If you walked up to an overweight person and said, “Wow, you need to lose weight,” wouldn’t that be an insult? So why is it OK to say those things to an underweight person?
I’ve been called too skinny, skeletal, anorexic, and, my personal worst, malnourished. People who tell me these things say it as though I don’t know what my body looks like. FYI, I own a mirror. And I happen to like my body.
Not only do people I barely know feel that it’s OK to tell me to eat, [which I do because otherwise I’d be dead] those who do know me wonder where the food goes to because, ironically, I eat a lot.
So where does the food go? A humored response I like to give, because I feel that it kills two birds with one stone, is that it goes to my lips. That way my response pokes fun at my big lips and my tiny frame. And yes, I do find it funny at times but it’s gotten to be a little much because nowadays people I barely know ask me, “You’re too thin, how will you have babies?”
Now I know being underweight or overweight isn’t good, regardless of whether you’re going to carry a baby in your belly, but asking me that when you don’t even know me feels like you’re invading my personal space. And really, how do you answer that question? Here’s how: you don’t. Of course I don’t answer that question because strangers shouldn’t be asking me that in the first place.
Truth is, it’s not easy for me to pile on some pounds. Maybe it’s my high metabolism or maybe it’s just genetics. Maybe I was too athletic and it stunted the weight-gain hormone or something. Who knows?
I think we all need to take stock of what we say to others because not every comment is as innocuous as we think it is. Take me for example, when I was younger I used to see a boy walking around the neighborhood going from door to door and I always wondered why. He wasn’t a beggar, and you know what else? He wasn’t a boy, but a girl that just looked boyish with short hair and boy shorts. Mistaking a girl for a boy, especially when they don’t want to look like the opposite sex, is very awkward and also hurtful. It may not be the same as telling someone they’re too thin but, a common denominator is body image.
I generally take those comments lightly, but there are days when it’s downright annoying because I’m just thin damnit, not malnourished
So, no, don’t throw me a burger.
I prefer pizza anyway.