day in the life

Pearls for Swine

Some guy oinked at me yesterday.

It’s almost funny because I sort of fantasize about this kind of thing happening to me all the time – you know, a defensive maneuver – but it never does. Until it did.

I was walking west on Madison toward the train station. I’d just started out and was beginning to hit my stride, listening to Margaret Cho’s book, I’m The One That I Want, on CD, and generally feeling quite good. I saw the two boys coming toward me on the sidewalk, and moved to the right a bit, to give them a bit of berth. This is something I almost always do. I like my personal space. Young boys/men make me a little nervous, especially in packs of two or more. And sometimes, I feel like I simply take up too much space, and want to overcompensate by giving the world more room than it really needs. Maybe the latter showed on my face yesterday?

At any rate, I’d begun to forget them when I heard the sound, followed by giggles. Giggles from boys in their twenties.

A couple of things really struck me as ironic about the incident. One being, that here I am walking a mile for daily exercise as recommended by a truckload of studies, governmental mandates, and my own physician – here I am doing the right thing to keep myself healthy, and I get jeered at.

Also, I was quite shocked at my lack of reaction. A year ago I would have been – and was utterly devastated by something like this. I would have cried hot, silent tears as I stalked down the street. Maybe climbed on the next bus to save the rest of the pedestrians from having to see the monstrosity that is my body on the street. Gone home and sunk into an inky black despair.

But yesterday, I kept walking. Just kept walking. Listened to Margaret Cho talk about fighting this exact battle – except with ABC and the world press. Went home and told my husband about it, incredulous but dry-eyed.

And today, while I’m still thinking about it, and processing it, I remain dry and calm. If maybe a little perplexed. A little pissed.

Why? Why me? Why do people think they have the right to form an opinion of my body, and then share that opinion with me? Why do people think they have a right to judge fat people? Why? Why do people care if I eat a lot or go on a diet or live and breathe? Why? Why do people care who is fat and how they became fat? Why does it fucking matter to the world?

I also wonder why that boy chose me at that moment. I wonder what his home life is like, what his environment is like that it would encourage such stupid behavior.

I’m reminded of some boys mooing and calling my friend Sandy and me “cows” senior year. Incidentally, I was a size 11, and this was after we’d rejected them, more or less.

So I wonder if, like them, the oink-boy really wanted to fuck me, and that urge coupled with the fact that I am not “sexy” as measured by “normal” standards led him to act out in the only way he could muster.

Yeah, I think that’s it. I mean, I am so fucking pretty, it’s almost not fair.

But it shouldn’t matter if I am or not. No one deserves cruelty. No pretty, ugly, plain, short, tall, fat, thin, gay, disabled, homeless, wealthy, Muslim, black, Asian, Hispanic, smart, stupid, educated, poor, man, woman, or child deserves to be taunted.

But I forget. It’s okay to taunt The Fat because there’s an “Obesity Epidemic” about.

No.

Hear me now:
I am fat.
I deserve dignity.
All the fucking asshole sexually frustrated oinking bastards in the world cannot take it from me.

7 Comments

  1. Not really the same thing, but a month ago I was walking down the street right in front of my house and a pack of teens pelted me with coins and called me a hippie. Took me a couple seconds to even register that it happened. At first I was amazed that anyone thinks to taunt hippies anymore. Second, I wondered why they associated me with a hippie. I had a goatee at the time, I guess. I had a courderoy jacket, but its hardly hippie esque, My jeans were kinda baggy and I was wearing Chuck Taylors, but still it was very from hippie attire. Certainly not enough to prompt through pennies at someone. Third, I remembered that it wasn’t the first time I’d heard of someone having money thrown at them in taunting. A Jewish friend in high school was pelted with changed and called a Kik. And then I felt a lot better about just being called a hippie.

    I’m lucky that I’ve all been taunted about my weight once, and was able to remain mostly chagrined by it. Just some idiot in a car who screamed at me while driving by. All I can do is pity those people. Same as I pity people who litter or people who go to a store and tear up an aisle looking for something and leave it a mess. Somehow, they got to this point in life without learning basic lessons about how to interact in a society. At this point, it may be too late from them ever to gain any normal behaviors. Its sad, really, that they have to go through life with such a callous attitude towards other people. They aren’t even worth being that mad with. They are just sad, pathetic people who’ll never know how to behave like normal human beings.

  2. Vickie

    Dear Meg,

    If you lose weight, get a tan & go blonde, I’ll think you’re cool.

    If you gain weight & go bald, I’ll think you’re cool.

    If you get a lizard tattooed on your face, I’ll think you’re cool.

    If a witch turns you into a toad, I’ll think you’re cool.

    Don’t let ’em get you down. You’re cool.

    Vickie

  3. mavis

    I remember once I was running up a busy street, trying to avoid being late for an appointment, and as one particular car drove by, a young man stuck his head out the window and shouted “Try Weight Watchers, honey!” I reacted similarly to you – I was taken aback, almost like when you pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming? Was he talking to ME? And why?
    And I think you’re right. You’re so dam nsexy, it’s just not fair. He oinked out of frustration and despair.
    Can’t wait to hang out with you in August, and just knock ’em all dead.

  4. strawberry jelly

    It’s amazing how many still can’t celebrate diversity. In a small town such as E, I can almost expect it, but in a cosmo city like Chicago it’s shocking. Either way, any place, whatever – it’s never acceptable.

    And I’ll be in Chitown this weekend, allow me to kick their inadequate asses.

    I love you unconditionally.

  5. hey meg, they were giggling because they were taken with your beauty and didn’t know how else to react. it’s a common phenomenon with 20 something boys…they see a beautiful womyn and have no way of dealing with it, so they make asses of themselves!

  6. Winston Smith

    I know, intellectually you know better than to take things personally, but then someone decides to have a little fun with character assassination and you’re like, “fuck!”

    It doesn’t help that we live in a culture of offense taking. If we could press a button so that tomorrow morning the culture became one that taught us not to take things personally, the billion dollar a year weight loss racket (along with a lot of other rackets) would collapse like a bunch of broccoli!

  7. Melly

    I think you are an amazing person, because you’ve managed (I think) to get past the angry stage. What a feat! After reading your post, I spent the entire next day in an angry rage and feeling sorry for you, myself, and all the other chubby sisters out there. It’s hard to remember that these things don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

    On the brighter side, today at the pool my lovely 10 year old niece told me I should be a swimsuit model. God I love her!

    ~Melly

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