Monday, March 15, 2010

oh! how i try hard to keep my karma clean...

...and not to routinely think terribly rude and unkind thoughts about others—not counting nyc subway riders. But today, I need to vent. Here goes:

A woman who works with me, in a senior position, came into my office for a meeting during which the conversation trailed off into a discussion about her gym and how she's not sure she'll keep her membership because the people there are muscley, crazed maniacs. Then she says, "I hate the women at my gym. They're all skinny. Just like you."

Hmmmm. I wouldn't take offense, except I hear a different version of this almost every week from a woman at work. It's not-so-much that it's offensive, but more that it makes me considerably uncomfortable when someone comments on my body—unless of course, we're good friends or sleeping together. So, what if I said something like, "I really don't like the women here. They're all pretty fat. Just like you."

It's not at all me to say something like that—I'm much much more likely to comment on a woman's shoes or hair—not their weight. But, just to prove a point, would that be wrong?

On a side note, I'm no idiot... I realize that many cultures (and fashion magazines) regard "skinny" as the ideal body type, so perhaps she meant it as a compliment. And perhaps it's the negative connotations that come to mind when I hear the word "skinny" that chip away at my self-confidence. Growing up, in a black neighborhood, with black women and black relatives drilling into my psyche that "skinny" wasn't a good thing...wasn't healthy... wasn't the ideal—I admit to having unresolved issues with the word. Yet "slim" or "thin" or "svelte"—don't hurt one fact, I prefer them. I need to think on this more, and perhaps consult with some of my slim-thin-svelte girlfriends. Or maybe even Randy Cohen.

Stay tuned. Oh, and tell me what you think!


rashad said...

today I did something for someone, and they said, "good boy!" to which I responded, "boy huh?", and then they corrected themselves. so my little suggestion to you the next time that happens, is to repeat what they said in question form, and dare those mfers to say it twice.

Chubbs said...

i like that, rashad. Next time, that will be my response!

Redbonegirl97 said...

I hate it went people make comments liek that because I don't see myself as skinny. People are mental.


Janelle said...

I agree with Rashad - ask it back in question form so you're not the only uncomfortable one in the room.

People don't look at skinny as being offensive - because its the idolized symbol of perfection for some. People run around all day saying 'I want to be skinny!" while no one says 'I want to be fat!" She may think that skinny means no problems and is a symbol of her lack of self-esteem.

£ said...

you're svelte, you're gorgeous, you have a wonderful spirit. :)

that said, im thinking that was her way of giving an offhanded "compliment." The "i hate" that preceded pretty much negated the complimentary (such as it was) nature of it though.

Im in agreement with Janelle and Rashad... just repeat what is said in question form. Sometimes people don't realize what the heck is coming out their mouths until they hear it repeated back at them.

etoilee8 said...

Dude take the high road. Shoot her a pity smile but say nothing. Obvious she's pretty unhappy with herself.

Chubbs said...

Rashad, Redbone, Janelle, Lex, etoilee--thanks so much...your words mean a lot--and I'm definitely going with the "asking the question back to her" technique. And you're right, when people say insulting things, it's less about you and more about how they feel about themselves.