Saturday, March 17, 2012

I tried to get an answer....

Holy crap, have I missed you guys!! I think about things to write about constantly, but just can't seem to get myself geared up to go through the work of logging onto my computer and actually composing them. And yes - I just called logging onto a computer work... What can I say? I am having a fairly significant time management issue. But I've had an experience that I felt warranted me getting my ass off the bench, and back in the game. So here I am....and I'll make a concerted effort to return frequently.

So last night was like the 2nd time I'd gone out in the last few months. I've been working, and lazy, and enjoying my personal time, and lazy, and watching a lot of know - really busy! But last night was my friend A's birthday party at my favorite local watering hole, so I reunited with my old partner-in-crime and headed out for the evening. With memories of my over-imbibing on Halloween still fresh in my mind, I stuck to beer. No shots. No Milli Vanilli's (diet coke & vanilla vodka). This ended up being the best decision I could have made, because I was able to maintain a level head later in the evening.

I got to see, and chat with, a bunch of my favorite regulars. Hugs-all-around. Meaningless small talk. Singing (screaming) along with the karaoke singers. Catching up. Basically, having a great time.

I wasn't watching the clock, but my guess is that it was around 1am...a guy named Joe, who had been talking with a few of the people I was seated near, comes up to my friend M and I and puts his arms around us. He was clearly inebriated. We exchanged some pleasantries -what is your name? Is that your real name? My name is_____. You know the drill. Joe is finally able to pull himself upright, and he zeros in on me. I can sense this is going to be not only fun, but educational - and he did not disappoint.

I'm paraphrasing here, because I didnt have my recording device handy - but here's the gist of how our first conversation went:
Joe: you are pretty. Very pretty. Like very, very pretty.
Me: thank you, Joe. That's very nice.
Joe: (his eyes looking me over) you are very's just too bad you have so much extra weight (I can't remember his exact phrasing, but you get the idea)
*at this point my friend M is turned and listening as well*
Me: thank you....that's so kind of you to point that out
Joe: but you're really pretty
Me: thanks.....I think....
Joe: (seeming to be genuinely confused) what do you mean "I think"? You are.
*now M jumps in and basically informs him he's a douche while I attempt to explain the "back-handed" compliment to him*

A guy walks by, and Joe jumps on him like he's a life-raft, and Joe's been stuck at sea for days.

So I sit there. Not really mad. Not even really hurt. My inquiring mind has clicked on, and I just have questions I'd like answered. Within about 10 minutes he's back. I think his alcohol-altered state didn't warn him he was walking back into the danger zone. I waved him over to me, and to his credit, he did come right over. I told him I write a blog about my weight issue, and I had a couple of questions for him. He seemed receptive, so I kept going.

I started by asking him what he was hoping to accomplish by commenting on my weight. I was completely calm - like I was doing an interview - which I think freaked him out even more. I asked if by pointing out my obvious physical condition he thought I would suddenly, magically lose weight? If he thought I hadn't realized I had a weight issue, and would be so grateful that he pointed it out to me? That somehow, him bringing it up to me would completely change my circumstances? He seemed confused, so I tried another approach.

I asked him if he had ever walked up to someone with a drinking issue, and mentioned their alcoholism? It if he'd walked up to a stranger smoking, and told them they'd be hotter if they quit the lung darts? Did he realize that some people consider obesity to be an illness - so would he walk up to an anorexic person and tell them how much more attractive they'd be if they put on a few pounds? His response: I hadn't really thought of it like that. Shocking.

So I went for it. I asked him what made him think it was acceptable to approach me, and comment on my weight? He accused me of being mad and confrontational at this point. Mad? No. I was completely calm. I shared with him that he was not the first person to non-compliment me. If I had a dollar for every time I was told "you have such a pretty face" (the WORST non-compliment of them all!!).....I'd have a lot of dollars.... Confrontational? Maybe. But I assured him I was being no more confrontational than he was when he decided to notify me of my inflated BMI. He then tried to backpedal into - but I was giving you a compliment! I had to break it to him that the compliment was deleted with the implied "but". "You're pretty, but too bad you're fat." Again - genuine confusion.

I tried to stay on a higher level than him...I didn't want to mention his receding hairline, or messed up teeth, or his obvious personality flaw, or his atrocious horizontal-striped deep v. He's in a I tried that approach. I asked him what he'd hear if I told him "your band is fantastic, but you're really pitchy". He's still not getting it. And now he's found another life raft, and he's gone.

He did re-appear a couple more times, but kept his distance from me. The first time I believe he referred to me as "insane", but M quickly informed him he was a complete dick. The second time the adjective he chose was "deep". M wasn't buying it, and once again had my back.

It may seem like a really unorthodox reaction to this whole thing, but I was proud of myself. I didn't retaliate with name-calling, yelling, crying or swearing - but I also didn't sit there and just take it. I stood up for myself. I was calm. I formulated what I believe to be reasonable and direct questions. I tried to find out what makes people....or at least this person...think it's OK to approach a stranger about their weight.

I still remember our conversation about this at fat camp...and I thought about all of those women when I was questioning him. How hurt, and upset, and embarrassed some of them had been by similar situations. How do we get this to stop?

Do you have a similar story? Have any insight into why this happens? Please share your thoughts!

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