At Home Depot today, I stood in line listening to my iPod (because that’s what I do when shopping now) waiting for the clerk to ring my items. When she got to my things she was chipper and focused. As I swiped my card, though, she stared at me and frowned.
“Oh, to be so skinny,” she said still holding the frown. “I was once as skinny as you but not any more. It’s a shame.”
A shame? What was I supposed to say? She was not incredibly overweight. But even if rolls of fat bulged from her body in such an unhealthy way that it was a shame, what would I say: “Yeah, you’re right. That is a shame”?
Of course, she had no idea if I had weight issues. I’ve known very small women who would give anything to have their weight back; they were thinning because of an illness. Or what if I had an eating disorder? Then wouldn’t that be the real shame?
The woman probably assumed her statement was complimentary to me. Her idea of complimenting me was to put down herself. Now that is a shame!
Why do we compare ourselves to each other? Why is our self-esteem so low that we publicly deprecate ourselves? Should we make comments about people’s weight at all? I can think of so many times I’ve heard people comment on some girl’s “big butt” or “fat rolls” or “tight abs” or “skinny legs.” Surely the world offers greater concerns to mention.