I’d like to share this story with you all and would love to hear how you think I should have responded to this. Of course, at the time I had no words so remained silent which I’m kicking myself for now.
I’m 22 years old now but have been overweight for the majority of my life. Around two years ago, I decided to start eating healthily and joined a gym. Over time, I managed to lose quite a bit of weight and I am now a UK size 10. Unfortunately, I’m still unhappy with my body and don’t have a lot of confidence in myself so I still push myself daily in order to lose weight. Sometimes this causes me a lot of stress and upset because I haven’t achieved what I would like to achieve.
Anyway, my boyfriend and I had arranged an evening at a night club for a friends birthday. I was excited for the night. I spent the day getting ready and even bought a brand new pink dress which I was nervous about wearing but loved it! Usually I stick to wearing black because I don’t like drawing attention to my body. After spending a fun afternoon getting ready for the big night out, I left the house feeling happy about how I looked though still self concious about the parts of me I didn’t like.
We all arrived at the nightclub and the girls headed for the dance floor whilst the men stood around at the bar. I was having a good time dancing with my friends when I felt someone reach over and ruffle my hair behind me! I turned around to see a man looking back at me. I didn’t say any thing and continued dancing with my friends – but he did it again and again and again. I turned round and gave him a confused look as if it say “What are you doing?” and he came up to me, looked me square in the eye and said “You’re FAT”.
I would like to point out that I had never met this man before in my life and hadn’t said a single word to him throughout the entire “hair ruffling” thing so this seemed very out of the blue and cruel. He walked off after that but left me feeling like I’d been punched in the stomach. My friends didn’t see what happened and I felt too ashamed to tell any one. Instead, I found myself sitting outside on my own wanting to cry.
I was so mortified about what he said to me that I didn’t respond to him however I really don’t know what would be a polite thing to say to someone who had hurt my feelings for no reason whatsoever. As soon as I got home, I threw my new dress away and unfortunately let his comment bring me down.
My question is, what could I have said? This man has no idea that I eat salads every day and work-out four times a week to try and get in to shape and I guess it isn’t really his problem either – but I just WISH I could have said something witty yet remaining dignified too. 0507-13
Likely the man was drunk which does not excuse his rude comment at all. There exists a subset of people in this world who use the power of the spoken word to gain control, manipulate, abuse and damage others. If only for a brief moment, he has caught you off guard and inflicted hit-and-run harm. We will never be able to change the ugly people of this world to be different than what they are. We can only change ourselves.
One question to ask yourself is why you feel shame for that man’s behavior? You’ve done nothing wrong to be ashamed about. Your response should at least be indignation that some creep thought you were worthy of his rudeness. Sometimes a little arrogance isn’t a bad thing if it helps you develop a polite spine. How dare this creep think he can dump his insecurities and bias on me! Who does he think he is?
Second, why do you allow a total stranger to hurt your feelings? You have given him far greater power to rule you than he deserves. He successfully succeeded in removing you from the dance floor , ruin your happy mood, and destroy an innocent dress despite the fact that your friends and boyfriend were the positive counterbalance to his ugliness. One man, for a brief moment, had the power to tip your emotional scales so that the contributions of love, companionship, friendship and acceptance from your friends and boyfriend weighed little in the balance. Ask yourself, “Why?” Never, ever let miserable, manipulative, crass, insulting people live in your brain and heart because to do so gives them more power to hurt than they ever deserve to have.
What would I have done in your situation? Depending on the situation and the mood, I might have rolled my eyes and said, “Jerk”, before moving on to have more fun. Living life happily is the best revenge and you certainly never want to give anyone the satisfaction that their words might have a smidgen of power over you. Or I might have more firmly (as in more loudly) said, “What are you doing? Don’t touch me again,” which would have immediately alerted my husband and friends that something was amiss. Draw that line in the sand that says to yourself, “No one touches me without my consent…ever.”
Comments on this entry are closed.
I’m overweight too and I have grown a thick skin in regards to this kind of thing as I have gotten into my 30s. Recently, I was in a store and a grown man – a grown, seemingly sober, balding man, stared at me and blew a massive raspberry, then scampered off to the next aisle laughing. In the old days I would have just died on the spot and burst into tears. Now, I walked around the corner, stood in front of him, and said, “What was that you said again baldy?” He flushed beet red and literally ran away from the store. Not exactly good etiquette. But feels better than taking it out on yourself, non?
My family and I vacation at the Jersey shore every summer, and we have many wonderful memories. Two years ago however, I had something happen that still makes me upset to think of it. We decided to hang out by the hotel pool one afternoon. I decided to walk to the corner to fetch the daily papers for my hubby and I to enjoy while the kids had a blast playing in the pool. I am about 40 pounds overweight, due partly to medication. I take daily and partly to laziness, I will admit. I was wearing a one piece modest swimsuit, one with a little skirt. As I stood on the corner looking at which papers I wanted to get, a delivery truck pulled up the red light, and both men in the truck looked over at me. I smiled and said “Good Morning!” Their response as the light changed and the truck started to pull away??? Two very loud “MOOOOOO-OOOOOOO!!!” sounds. I stood there shocked for a moment, then returned to the pool without any papers and in tears. I will never forget how much that hurt my feelings.
“…due partly to medication I take daily, and partly to laziness I will admit….” that should have read.
I am *so* sorry that you had this experience! I am over weight and working hard to get fit. May I suggest to everyone who has been insulted at the gym or the pub, or the pool, respond the way I do. Smile very sweetly and say, “Yes, I am. And you are jerk. While I can diet and become thin, you will ALWAYS be a jerk.” The only way to deal with a bully is to be assertive – not aggressive. That may not be the way a lady behaves, but the gentleman started it!
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
She’s right. I’m short and fat – things that I don’t see changing any time soon. It’s taken me a while to feel comfortable in my own skin. If someone makes a comment about my height or my weight or both – then it’s their problem. I may be short and fat – but I’m happy 😀
How awful! I agree with Miss Jeanne, it is highly likely he was drunk and thought he was being HILARIOUS. Calling these people out makes them realise what they said or did was not funny and very wrong. I would loudly say ‘Do not touch me again!’ and draw attention to him so your friends hear you and can all stare at him. I have also struggled with my weight for a long time, and it is so hard when you feel you are doing well and then something like this happens.
I bet you looked freaking FIERCE in that dress!
My mother had a stranger stop her on the way to a special holiday buffet and tell her she was fat and disgusting, and shouldn’t be allowed to eat at such a fancy place. In an elevator no less, so my mother couldn’t escape.
This post hit a note with me. I have been full-figured all my life. In my early 20’s, I started to gain confidence about my body and learned to be happy with my build. I’m tall and proportioned well, and have been complimented by people who like “thick” women.
One night in my mid 20’s, I was at a fun bar with a big group of friends. The bar was having random giveaways with tickets that they gave you at the door with your cover charge. Free drinks, mugs, t-shirts, etc. My number was called and I won a Budweiser t-shirt! I never win anything, so I was thrilled. As I made my way to the stage to get my shirt, a guy called out, “That won’t fit her!” and there were chuckles. I was mortified, and my friends knew I was about to lose it on this guy. I turned around and saw the guy and his friend at a table alone. I walked directly to their table and sat down. I said, “So, you don’t think this will fit me? Do you want to talk about that some more?” Neither of them could look at me and just looked down at the table ashamed. It felt so good to say, “Yeah, you run your big mouth while I was up there, but now that I’m here you don’t want to talk to me? You two are gross. You are here alone while I am with a dozen people who love me. And neither of you are too slim yourself!” And I got up with a flourish and went back to my friends. My friends were so proud of me, and it felt so good to stand up to those bullies.
As we were leaving the bar later, we saw one of the guys getting in a truck to drive home. We all were like, “Bye!! Bye you %&*(&*% %$^&*( %$^&*(*!!” He hightailed it out of there fast!
I just hope it will keep him from doing it again to someone with thinner skin than I have.
OP, you will get more confident the older you get. And I would love to be a size 10!!
“…I really don’t know what would be a polite thing to say to someone who had hurt my feelings for no reason whatsoever…”
I’m sorry, but did you say you wanted a POLITE thing to say to someone who intentionally hurt your feelings and touched your head multiple times in order to insult you?! Though this would send me to e-hell, I would have marched up to him, head held high and said “I may be overweight, but I can lose weight. YOU will forever be an a**hole!” What he said and did NOT require you to be polite whatsoever.
Also, I would have told my friends and boyfriend what happened and pointed out the guy. If you didn’t feel comfortable enough telling him off, your boyfriend or friends could have. You basically let this jerk get away with insulting you.
OP here, sorry I’m a little late in coming back to this. I just wanted to start off by thanking each and every one of you for your kind and empowering comments. Whilst this event occured a few months ago, I am guilty of letting it creep in to my thoughts at times when I am feeling low but have gradually been getting better at switching the thoughts off. I am still highly critical of my body but after reading all your wonderful comments, I feel this has helped me take that step toward loving who I am. Unfortunately, my boyfriend recently left me for another girl – an extremely pretty girl so naturally my confidence and self esteem took another beating and I am still in the grieving process over that relationship. A lot of you mentioned that with age, I will become stronger and that my feelings toward myself and my body will gradually become less and less harsh. I really hope this is the case.
Again, I want to thank you all so much for making me understand that this wasn’t my fault and that this guy was just a nasty person who only intended to cause upset. I also want to thank you all for making me feel welcome here (long time reader, first ever post).
OP, I am sorry to hear what happened with your boyfriend. Let me assure you, the thinnest, most gorgeous and richest of women get left for other women too. There is someone else out there for you. I know it is extremely difficult to not absorb what other people say to or about us, but people who are as rude as the nightclub man have issues and get off on making other people feel badly. So, really, those are the “opinions” that should matter the least to us. Yes, you will definitely feel more comfortable with yourself and less critical of yourself with age. (You also get more experienced with drunken sots and develop a thick skin to their boorish behavior.) Remember, confidence is the most important accessory: The way you felt in that pink dress–you were right, he wasn’t. I’m sure you were glowing, and in his drunken state, your happiness reminded him of his own unhappiness, and he cruelly lashed out at you. Men like this make comments to all women, I assure you–they comment on your breasts, your hair, your everything. You can simply make an expressionless comment like, “I’m sorry, but I don’t know you,” and move away, sending the message that his opinion doesn’t matter. Or you can approach it with humor:
Many years ago, I was in a bar with some friends, and an extremely intoxicated man looked up into my face (I’m 5’9″, and he was several inches shorter) and made a retching noise and then just stood there staring and wordless. I looked at him with a small smile and asked, “You aren’t married, are you?” He slurred, “I’m getting a divorce.” I replied, “That would have been my next guess,” and walked away. His friend followed me and apologized profusely for his behavior, and I thanked him and told him that I gave his friend the thumbs up for the most unique pick-up approach I’d ever encountered.
Put on another dress that makes you feel the same way, and do it again with confidence and determination that no one can take away how you feel about yourself. GO, GIRL!
My response to people who make fun of my jalopy car or my weight is this, “I can loose weight /but a new car, but you can’t change your face!”
They usually just look stupid after. And look in the mirror.
May he live in his own ugly and mean world forever.