One night at a local bar, a man said to a woman, “just because you’re uncomfortable with your SIZE…”
Calmly, she stood up and gathered her things. Calmly, she walked over to the bartender and told him “this man is paying for my drinks.” Calmly, she stood there a second, glared at the felonious offender, then turned and blurted out to no one in particular, “I’m newly fat.” He ran after her, apologized for his “unforgivable statement,” but she fled in tears, humiliated. (According to the look on her face, she wanted to kick him in the nuts.)
You see, whether you’re a woman or a man, today’s society has no tolerance for “fat” people. Never mind we don’t always know “why” someone has gained a few pounds, or “why,” since being overweight is apparently at an all-time high across the United States, we punish people for not being “perfect” or not being a “normal” size.
But what is a “normal” size?
Per WebMD.com, author Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP notes the following historical facts: “The average starlet is wearing a Size 2 or 4 which is the sample size designers are making presently. Today, the average American woman …has a dress size of 12-14…curiously, over the past twenty years, fashion model sizes have dropped from a Size 8 to 0…There used to be a uniform sizing system for women’s clothes until the U.S. Department of Commerce dropped it in 1983 noting that “traditional sizes were no longer reflecting the size and shape of the average consumer”…Plus, sizing from brand to brand is so variable that most women fill their closets with at least two or three different sizes.”
No wonder we’re confused!!!!
I sure am.
If you’re a man, you have that magic pants size number in your head from your college days, right? And, you might stress a bit about a slight paunch in your middle that magically appeared around age 30? If you go buy that pair of jeans or slacks, you might even err on the side of the pants being uncomfortable because you just want to wear something that resembles what you used to wear in college or when you first got married. You’re slightly pained by the whole process, but you’ve got other things on your mind to worry about. Big things. Important things. Men think like boxcars of a train–they’re able to compartmentalize.
However, today’s society is starting to put more pressure on men to be handsome, rich, and perfect. Men are getting buttocks implants, having Botox and wrinkle procedures, and even having their legs broken and stretched out so they’re taller. Now, men have to worry about making money and being a success PLUS looking good.
If you read today’s headlines, and according to our WebMD guru, above, it’s generally understood that the “average” or “normal size” of an American woman is a size 14.
A size 14.
Marilyn Monroe was a size 14-16.
So, why are virtually no mannequins a size 14 unless they’re in the “WOMEN’s” section? Why is that Special Section of clothes separated from other departments within the store? I mean, it’s for the “average” woman, right? Shall we just get a giant, red, neon sign with a yellow arrow that says: “If you’re an “average” woman, you’re ugly, fat and, ahem! You need to, ah, go over there to shop”?!
And don’t get me started on skinny jeans or jeans labeled in European sizes (Jessica Simpson, I’m talking to you–and you’re not even European! If I have to mentally calculate a European pant size into an American size one more time, I’m moving to Maine, getting six cats, and living the rest of my life in Spandex.)
If you’re a man, and you haven’t already run screaming to the hills, stay tuned. This could help you with your relationship with your wife/girlfriend/mistress:
Following is a short list of recent, actual examples of what I’ve personally been through. Just going about my day. In a good mood. Just minding my own business. These scenarios are 100% unprompted, and I think very representative of what the “average” woman today goes through.
>>>I joined a new gym. Love the gym. Love the people. You get a new T-shirt with the gym logo on it when you sign up. Did I want one? Sure, I say, as Twiggy-With-An-Eating-Disorder shuffles over to me, looks me up and down like I’m the cast-off skin of a snake, and announces to God and everyone: “Here’s the LARGE size. I’m, ah, thinking it will, ah, fit you?” I take the shirt. I look at the shirt. Jesus Lord of My Soul. Hell, no, this fucking shirt won’t fit me. It will barely fit over one breast. Frankly, I was a pencil as a preteen, and it would have been tight on me then. And THIS is today’s LARGE??!
>>>I got the “she’s a fatty” treatment at Neiman Marcus. Generally, I don’t buy items there. It’s expensive. But on occasion, I will splurge on something special, like a classic item I’ll have for years. My last experience went something like this:
I had to hunt down a salesperson to wait on me (like stalking prey in the wild), until I finally found a snotty female who did everything but snicker at me when I told her I was looking for a “classic white blouse.” Following is a list of her comments, unedited:
”We might have something in your size.”
”You know, if you just need a white shirt, you might try J. Crew.”
”This is a boutique store. There might be a designer or two YOU can wear.”
”This blouse is REAL SILK. So, there are imperfections in it.” (After I commented I didn’t like the location of the imperfection–across my boob–and would like another of the same, exact shirt. Yeah, Ms. Get-a-Clue, and I’ve got a doctorate in Silk Moth Science AND Textiles. Duh. Like I didn’t know there were imperfections in real silk. Go fuck yourself.)
As our beloved Oprah once said: “Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?”
Here’s a newsflash, people: I’m PROUD to be a woman. I’ve earned it. I’m no wussy girl. I’m tough. I’m a survivor. I can kick snotty twiggy ass from here to kingdom come if I want to. I choose not to. Because I also have class. This is another character trait you learn when you’re a WOMAN.
Would Jennifer Lopez, Sofia Vergara, or the Kardashians be as sexy and get as much press if they were pole thin?
I also have to say the back-and-forth of “you’re too fat” and “embrace yourself as you are” wears me out. Make up your mind, already. Oh, wait. We’re all individuals! Wow. Now there’s a newsflash a WOMAN would understand.
This has to stop.
Every person is beautiful.
Whether you’re a man or woman, here’s some tips as to what you can do to stop this insanity:
1) Always treat others with respect. If you loathe people of ”average” size, chances are you may not have lived through what they have. Chances are if you HAD, you’d look exactly like them or worse. And frankly, maybe they don’t give a shit because they are just glad to be alive after a devastating car accident, the death of a family member, or a horrible food allergy. These are things YOU have no way of knowing, so please, err on the side of kindness and save the superiority complex for the mirror.
2) Realize that just because you’re “perfect” now, doesn’t mean you’ll look perfect in the future. Exterior beauty with a bad attitude has a way of making a beautiful person really ugly.
3) There IS such a thing as karma. Whether you believe the Golden Rule or not, putting out negative energy into the Universe is not the way to go.
4) Just because the salesperson/person on the elevator/person in the grocery store line is nasty, doesn’t mean it’s always about you. Maybe they just got dumped. Or found out their spouse was cheating. Or that a parent has cancer. It’s not always about you. Remember that before you rack ‘em in the nuts.
5) Never underestimate a normal person in normal clothes. This is for you salesfolks out there: My Momma taught me my money spends just as well as the next person’s money! [If you don't get my drift, let me put it this way: I'm guessing T. Boone Pickens and Warren Buffett don't always look like they strolled over from the Whiskey Room at the Country Club.]
6) Don’t be a jerk. I really don’t need to explain this one, do I?
Well, maybe I do.
To the man who spoke so rudely
to the woman at the bar the other night:
I’m proud of who I am.
And if it happens again…
You’re paying for all my drinks.
And all my friend’s drinks, too.
*All photos in this post taken by the author.