So, I'm standing in a checkout line at a drugstore. It's downtown Chicago, so it's a long line. The lady in front of me is buying some sort of control top pantyhose belly-squishing torture device. She's stretching it this way and that, as if to see if it will stretch out to fit her rather than compress her body into a size it is not. She sees that I am watching her do this, and gives me a smile and half-laugh. "I think it's the right size, don't you? I just want it to smooth out the lumps," she says to me.
I give a small smile and say, in my wry-est voice, "I think sometimes people are meant to be lumpy." The "why torture yourself" question is implied by my raised eyebrows.
She nods at me, and continues. "I know. I think I just hit menopause - I'm already two weeks late! - and if I did, I'm throwing this thing out to celebrate! It's ridiculous. I mean, I know I could stand to lose twenty pounds..." I can tell by the way her eyes cut up to me from her downturned face that she's expecting me to make a self-deprecating remark, since I probably outweigh her by at least 100 pounds.
I bite back stronger words, and just roll my eyes and say, "Whatever."
And this is when the fun begins. I half expected her to bust out the "oh, but you're not fat" line...but she went with, "Well, you're tall. You carry it well." I didn't respond. "And you have such a pretty smile." Still nothing from me. "And your hair..." (she actually touched my hair!!! WTF?!) "...I love this cut! It's so cute!"
I take pity on her and smile broadly. "Thanks."
Then she says, apropos of nothing, "Besides, I hear about these anorexics and things...that can kill you! That's so scary."
"Yeah," say I. "Frankly, I have more important things to worry about than the size of my ass."
She laughs with me, and then she's called to a register.
I still can't figure out if she was just trying to smooth over thinking she'd insulted me somehow, or the oversharing about her menstrual status...or if she was actually expressing some counter-culture opinions. Who knows? I just feel good about showing this woman that not every fat person hates themselves and apologizes for their size.
Loud-mouthed liberal feminist. Anarchist knitter. Tequila-drinking artsy-smartsy fat chick. Bluesy folk-rock singer-songwriter. Rebel with too many causes. Quirky eclectic pagan poet. Paradoxical intuitive smartass. Sarcastic brainiac insomniac. You know, for starters.