you were so ugly before that haircut


I usually don't spend much time thinking about my body. Well, thinking about it in a sort of aesthetic way. I spend an inordinate amount of time wondering why it doesn't work like it should. Particularly when not working like it should involves some confusing inability to consume food or inexplicable pains in very inconvenient locations. However, of late, I've been forced more to think about my body as something else.

The first suggestion of this is the number of people who have mentioned my weight. Over the past months, it's true that I've lost some heft. Nothing major, about fifteen pounds or so. And everybody, it seems, is noticing. Which is good, I suppose (even if I wasn't really working on losing weight). I totally get the impulse to compliment someone on this. But, the flip side is that it makes me wonder how fat they must have thought I was before. So, it's sort of a double-edged thing to point out, non?

Also, this morning, I got up early to renew my drivers license. Things went smoothly, until I went to sit for my picture. There were a few others in front of me, so I got to hear the guy taking them ask politely if the person would like another photo taken. He seemed willing and friendly about it. But it was a quick question that almost everyone brushed off and he let drop. Then, my turn came. And here's what happened:

"How does that look?"
"Oh, yeah, that'll work."
"Really? Are you sure? I can take another one."
"Oh, no, no, we're good."
"It's really no big deal. It'll just take a second. You sure?"
"No, I'm fi-"
"Seriously, let's just do another one, shall we?"

The gentle, amicable questioning had turned into a bullying. A sort of "man, that is a terrible picture. And trust me, I work at the DMV, I know bad pictures." So, he took another one. One that looked almost identical to me but, thankfully, was acceptable to him. Maybe, though, he just realized it wasn't going to get any better.

I'm uncomfortable having these sorts of things brought to my attention. I suppose I could always just really let myself go and then dare people to comment on it. It's one solution, at least. Or, alternatively, I could just learn to take compliments or not overthink. But, c'mon, we all know that's never going to happen.


CV said...

Your story of the DMV reminds me of a time I went to dinner with CV. I was starving - as usual - I order a big dinner and wanted to add the side salad on top of it. The waiter looked at me and said you don't want to do that. I replied that I was really hungry and would like the salad. He said there was no way I could eat that much food. I caved and didn't order it. I was grumpy and still hungry after my dinner but I was like this waiter is judging me and I must be such a pig to want so much food. Wouldn't it be better if some people didn't want to be so "helpful."

Catherine Agnes said...

Totally how A-cups feel shopping for underthings. :-) It's hard not to feel insulted when sales people consistently suggest bras with 2 inches of padding.

Shaun R. said...

This reminds me of my own experience. I had an awful ID picture at BYU. One day it stopped working and I went in to get them to issue me a new one. Usually they just print you out a new one using your old picture, but this time she looked at my ID then at me, then back at my ID and asked, "Would you like to take another picture as long as you're here?" I took it as a compliment though. "You really look lots better than this picture lets on" is how I chose to take it.

Unfortunately the old picture was the one that remained in the route Y system. Sometimes I'd still have teachers say things like, "Oh you're shaun? You look...different than your picture."

Annie said...

this is why i NEVER say anything about people's bodies...even if it's positive stuff like losing weight. i stick to things like nice hair or eyes....things that aren't so transitory. we'd never say, "oh you gained weight!" so why point out hte loss and make people feel like we only approve now that they're smaller? or, like you said, that they were super fat before. i don't want people to think that i'm noticing their bodies too would make me self-conscious, so i assume it does that to other people

alea said...

K: I'm always being bullied by customer service types. I think we should both probably stand up for ourselves more.

CA: One more reason I'm glad that I was born with boy bits. Nobody (well, almost nobody) offers us extra padding when we shop for unmentionables.

Shaun: a positive spin, I suppose, could be taken. If you, like, wanted to think the best of people. :)

Annie: I only approve of people if they're small, attractive and well-dressed. I don't see this as a problem, do you?

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