It’s not easy growing up as the fat kid in school. Kids can be nasty and a bully’s favourite, easiest targets are fat kids. I say kids, when really this kind of bullying and fat-shaming went on well into my teens. Whatever.
You ‘d think however, that the fat jokes and shaming should cease by the time you get into your adult years, that maybe people should have developed a little more tact and manners by then. No such chance. I’ve heard some of the choiciest insults from adults – all older than me. They’re not more hurtful than the things kids used to say to me in the playground, but they are probably worse simply because you’d think you could expect better from someone their age.
A few of the best then – if nothing else, they provide great stories and lots of giggles:
The Beauty Queen (some of you who have followed my blogs may remember this story, but I’ll write about it again because it amuses me so much)
This Beauty Queen had a beauty salon so you’d expect that someone in the line of beauty might think to be be just a little classier when it came to talking to people about their looks. Beauty Queen didn’t have tact though. She was the typical kind of skinny Asian woman who would trip-trap her way up to you in her skin-tight, polyester leotard and proclaim, rather too proudly, “Waaaaah, you put on weight huh!” or, even more tactlessly, “Wah, you’re quite fat now har!” (And why, you’re wondering should I even waste my time listening to any sort of beauty advice from someone wearing a leotard??)
Once, as we stood in the middle of a temple, in front of an altar just about to start prayers, Beauty Queen beckoned me over and declared, again very pleased with herself, “Wah Jamie, you really put on weight huh!” I sort of shrugged and gave a sort of non-committal, “Yeah, I guess haha”. Beauty Queen didn’t think she was being clear, so she said a little louder, to make sure I really understood, “A lot of weight!” She put on a terribly shocked look for emphasis.
I can’t remember what it was that I said but I just sort of laughed it off. Beauty Queen then assumed a very concerned face and said to me, “You have to be take care, Jamie. You have to watch yourself. If not, you know, you will end up like your mother.” She jerked her head then, towards my mother, seated a few seats forward and made a gesture of a fat person, rounding her arms out at her side. Oh, she was very serious by then, like it was her life’s mission to point out to people just how fat they were and get them to listen to her.
A few months later, while we stood at a buffet line in a restaurant she turned round to me and again said, “Aiyoooo, Jamie! We can really see your double chin now!” She giggled, like she was so amused at just how fat I was. Just to make sure I really got it, she stuck her finger into my chin and jiggled it. Again, ladies, let me remind you that this is a lady in the beauty industry – a quality she clearly wasn’t reflecting in her own crass behaviour. Remember this, dear readers: slimness doesn’t ever guarantee class, beauty, grace or attractiveness, all of which she was clearly lacking.
This happened just a few nights ago. I was hanging with some friends and started talking about how I’m now trying to train myself to run. One of the guys, let’s call him the Fit Fella, started talking about fitness regimes, how he used to train etc. He was talking about how it’s important to combine both cardio workouts with strength training, to be able to burn fat more efficiently. Fair enough.
But then he said, “When I was doing things right, I could eat anything and still lose weight. I became really fit. But (and here it comes) You know, you wouldn’t believe it, but I used to be even bigger than you.”
(Oh my. What a terrible thing that must be. To be even bigger than me! That can only mean I’m a grossly over-sized monstrosity right now!)
I knew this woman many years ago and while I generally had good times with her, it must be said that she has a long way to go in the way of learning tact. was one of the ‘best’ fat comments I’ve ever received though, so crude and awful that it had to be replicated here.
Bitter Mary had many, many things to say about my weight. All the usual ammunition, you know, that people in this part of the world have to fire at you about weight:
“Oh, you put on weight huh?”
“Hey, did you lose weight? Yah, I think lost weight.”
“Eh, you’re fat again you know.”
After many months of this running commentary on the expansion / reduction trajectory of my waistline, Bitter Mary then walked into my office one day and said, sneeringly, “Wow, life must be good for you recently.”
I turned to her, a little surprised. It must have shown on my face that I didn’t quite get what she meant. So, of course, to clarify, she said, “You put on so much weight wat, you must be living well.”
So there you go. The top three fat stories of my twenties.
I was hurt by them when I first heart the comments. If you’ve grown up a fat kid, you never, ever get over it, even if you have already lost weight, have a good fitness regime and are cleared by your doctors as being healthy and fine. Any slightest comment will pinch and hurt.
Now though, as I’m focusing on getting healthy again and maintaining good, regular work-outs, I’ve come to look at these fat-shamers as nothing more than good subjects for good stories and laughs. As I write about them now and show them for how ridiculous they really sound, it turns out that they have far more to be ashamed of than I – and any of my kilos – do.