No, I Haven’t

What question do I hate to be asked, and why?

Have you lost weight?

Come on, now. We all know I haven’t. My butt is still as massive as it ever was; I still have more chins than any one of us really cares to count. I’m still wearing denim-colored stretch pants because real jeans hurt when they pinch at the fat folds.

No, I haven’t lost weight. But now you can go on with your life, content with yourself for having been nice to the little fat girl. You can congratulate yourself for throwing me a bone of condescension. You can tell yourself you’ve contributed to my delusion that I’m really a bikini model with a water retention problem.

Maybe I’m more defensive about it than I realized
.
It reminds me of that episode of the show Friends, when there’s a flashback to Monica’s fat days. Rachel sees her, does a double-take and then does a slow up and down look at the other girl’s size. She pauses for a moment, smiles a big fake smile, and asks, “Have you lost weight?” when she very clearly means “wow, you have gained so much weight!”

Poor, dumb Monica beams back at her and agrees that yes, she’s lost three pounds.

I may have been the only person in the world who didn’t laugh at that scene. I was so sad for the character, but also for people everywhere who are supposed to be so grateful for that question. It’s like asking the shortest boy in school if he’s had a growth spurt. Or telling the kid with acne that it looks like her skin has cleared up when everyone knows darn well it hasn’t.

I realize that most people don’t mean any harm when they ask such questions. They are just trying to be nice. But asking me about my weight is a way of saying that it is the first thing you notice about me. You don’t greet a slim friend with “Hi, how’s it going, have you maintained your size 6?”

I don’t want to be Monica, lapping up approval over a few measly pounds. I hate myself when I answer, “No, this is just a flattering outfit” or “No, but thank you for asking.”

Notice my hair. Notice my earrings. Ask me where I got such a nice shade of lipstick. Treat me the same way you would treat a slim and fit friend. Don’t ask me about my weight just to be nice.

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