You don’t know me.
You may think you do, but you don’t. You say you want to get to know me? Fine. Here are some things you need to do for starters:
- Be six years old. Fall in love with Hershey bars, ice cream sandwiches, orange soda. Anything containing sugar.
- Be much slower than your little sisters due to weighing three times as much as they do. Have your father instruct them to run circles around you then knock you down and sit on you. Have him film this and play the Super 8 movie back for years to come. Later, tell him that he was mean. Have him respond that he wanted a funny home movie instead of just boring kid pictures.
- Be eight years old. Have parents who force you to step on the bathroom scale. Watch the look of horror on their faces when they see that you weigh twice as much as you should. Listen to the vile phrases that come out of their mouths. Learn to hate your body.
- Be ten years old. Overhear your grandparents having a fight with your parents. Understand that the argument is about you and why you are not “under a doctor’s care” and taking weight reduction drugs.
- Participate in a school poetry contest on the theme of not wasting food. Ask your father for help and have him suggest the phrase “get fat like a barrel and roll down the street.” The next year, have him help you write a poem titled “I Love to Eat, Obviously.” Be sure his nickname for you is “fat, fat, the water rat.”
- Wince when your mother yells “I’m gonna put you on a starvation diet!” Hide cookies under your bed. Sneak into the kitchen in the middle of the night to steal ice cream, donuts, cupcakes.
- Have kids make fun of your weight on the school bus. Make sure they come up with clever rhymes for your first name. Have them ask you whether you will pop if they stick a pin in you. Cry to your father and listen to him tell you that “sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never harm you.”
- As a teenager, have a grandfather who asks you why you can’t do somersaults and hang upside down from the swing set like your sisters. Ask him for a double chocolate ice cream cone from Friendly’s.
- Have your mother hiss at you about embarrassed she is that you are a boy with “titties.”
- Go clothes shopping with your father. Find nothing in your size. Have him tell you that you need to visit Omar the Tent Maker for a custom made outfit.
Once you have done these things, you may begin to know me a little better. To really understand me, however, you will also need to struggle with your weight and an obsession with food all your life, then develop diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems in middle age. Force yourself to ride a stationary bike. Hate every minute of it. Have fights with your mother about this, as if you are eight years old again. Apply for jobs, then watch the disgust register in the employer’s eyes when you show up for the interview. Don’t get hired. Notice that your peers don’t sing cruel songs about you on the school bus anymore, they just whisper about you behind your back now. Pretend you don’t hear them.
And if you truly want to know what it is like to be me, you will boycott Southwest Airlines, Samoa Air and Abercrombie and Fitch.
Why these three? Because they don’t want the business of fat people. They are already so successful that they can take a discriminatory stand against us and pass up our money. To them, we are lepers, untouchables, with whom they do not wish to be associated.
Southwest Airlines, well known for its cheap flights, is also known for requiring fat people to purchase two seats, and more recently, for having kicked a member of the fat community off one of its flights and for claiming that the obese are “too fat to fly.” Southwest even has a name for us. We are “customers of size.” I hate flying, but when I do next buy a plane ticket, I will gladly pay extra to shun Southwest in favor of another airline that is less hateful to the overweight.
As for Samoa Air, their fares vary greatly from passenger to passenger these days. You see, they have a “pay as you weigh” or “pay by the kilogram” policy.
And then we come to Abercrombie and Fitch. They have announced that they are taking a stand against obesity by refusing to carry clothes larger than size ten. Like Southwest Airlines, they apparently don’t need our money. Plus size women just aren’t cool enough for them.
Fortunately, something is being done about Abercrombie and Fitch’s despicable weight discrimination. Watch this video to learn about the movement to donate Abercrombie clothes to some of the most needy among us, thus making Abercrombie and Fitch the premier clothier of the homeless. Not only is this a good cause, but it might make the company think about which would be the most detrimental association, plus size women with money or the inhabitants of Los Angeles’ Skid Row.
And if you’ve really gotten to know me now, you’ll tell Abercrombie to go fitch themselves.