Last Friday, my beloved Ari and I went for dinner at our favorite Vietnamese place in the Castro. We’d put a lot of sweat equity into our house that afternoon, and looked forward to some delicious fresh garlic salmon. We were seated almost immediately, the place was full and diners throughout seemed to be celebrating the weekend.
Ari left to the bathroom, and as I sat there alone, it was impossible to ignore the full-volume LOUD conversation happening between the two women, one Chinese, one white, sitting at the table next to mine, about 18 inches away.
They were discussing fat, and how gross it was, and how they did everything in their power to avoid it.
They talked about their starvation diets, about how bad they feel about when their pants are tight, and about their friend Jim’s hilarious love-handles. They laughed loudly at his sensitivity about them. It went on and on. I sat there, wondering, what is the right way to handle this? There were no other empty tables. I was hungry. I was experiencing intense fat-shaming, and I was paying to be there. I had no desire to gently ask them to stop, educate them about why it wasn’t cool, or engage with it in any kinder way.
At that moment, I was all “Fuck that.”
Ari returned, and something in my face let him know things were not okay.
“It’s so totally obnoxious when people spew their fat hatred everywhere” I said, matching my tone with theirs.
“I know” he immediately replied, “especially when they are cluelessly sitting right next to two fat people who might feel hurt or upset.”
Have I told you how much I love this man? Yep.
We continued, discussing at a loud volume about how to raise our BMI, how to get our fat to jiggle even more, and if we should order 6 or 9 entrees. We decided that we could always order more.
We went on to discuss the sex we would have when we got home, and how he hoped he wouldn’t lose his hand again in my fat folds. About how we’d shower first, to get rid of that noxious smell emanating from our fat. And how then, after he fisted me in my c-nt, we’d eat again.
The voices at the other table were quieter, and for some reason there was no more hate-speech next to us.
I went on to enjoy my meal, and enjoy my partner’s company.
On my way out the door, I stopped and blessed these woman, that they would have healthy, wonderful, smart fat babies to love with all their tiny hearts.
Not everyone’s form of activism, I get it. Super intense and in-yer-face. But that fat-shaming shit is just so socially acceptable, and so demeaning and hateful. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just sat there, saying nothing. Sometimes it’s what it takes to get through dinner. And that sucks. But this time, I felt good about doing something that changed my experience of it. Something that made me feel powerful. Something that didn’t leave me in a melty heap, ashamedly eating my fish. Fuck that and fuck them, for not cleaning up their oppressive bullshit.
I know I’m supposed to have compassion or something for the stupid socialization that they have endured, and how they are acting out violence and hegemony upon their own bodies, but hey, I don’t.
I’ve worked really hard to learn how to not be a hateful asshole. I practice everyday. They can too.