While enjoying Labor Day festivities at one of San Francisco's premier socialite's home, I was lucky enough to find myself seated next to one of SF's most gifted maker of superb hair pieces.
She said she had a juicy story to tell me - a break-up story no less! - and I've decided that you HAD to hear this story too (yes, I got her permission to tell you - don't worry, ghurl!). I had briefly met this boy she was dating - we'll call him "The Thing" to retain respectful anonymity, but also because this is the nom de guerre by which she refers to him, and you know I like to respect the story teller. I can now say that he struck me as a bit meh - ok, maybe a little worse than that - especially considering the charm, loveliness and talents of his date.
Well, it turns out that they were in the midst of moving their relationship to the next level. She was going to let him move in and she was going to begin supporting him as he embarked on a new artist lifestyle. (Aside: Yes, at this point I audibly gasped - ghurl, you know I try not to judge because, ghurl, whatever works works, but I say rule #1 DO NOT support a man, ghurl. Not for a day, not for a week and not as a lifestyle choice. I know we're in 3.5th wave feminism, but I don't need to tell you that patriarchy is alive and kicking and we all know how radicalism somehow manages to end up serving oppressive people/aesthetics all the time, but I digress).
She nods knowingly in response to my gasp. Good, we're on the same page.
Then she says one afternoon they were sitting around and she noticed him staring at her belly. She had recently gained about 10 pounds, and she decided to bring it up.
"I noticed you looking at my belly and I was wondering what you were thinking."
He was apparently quite verklempt, but managed to convey that he was thinking that she had gotten bigger. GASP. She's (rightfully) hurt, but decides to process on it. People are allowed to have feelings. (Aside: Fatphobia is not a "feeling" but I must note her incredible magnanimity... anywaaaay).
After a day she was ready to talk it out, but then had a lingering question.
So she posed it:
"Is it just this 10 pounds or have you always had a problem with my weight?"
Again very verklempt he replied: "Always."
Apparently it had been a problem for him and he had always just sort of hoped she'd lose weight on her own (after he bought her a pound of chocolate all on his own just 2 days prior). It was then that she got up, exposed her belly, and yelled:
"LOOK AT THIS! LOOK AT ALL OF THIS. THIS IS ME, AND I AM BEAUTIFUL."
She slowly turned a full circle. "These are my big, beautiful hips and my wide, flat ass, and my jiggly thighs. This is who I am, and I AM BEAUTIFUL! THIS WAS HERE BEFORE YOU AND IT WILL BE HERE LONG AFTER YOU'RE GONE!!!"
And with that, the story of The Thing came to a ceremonious close.
Virgie Tovar, MA is one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp (a 4 week online course focused on helping people break up with diet culture) and the editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, 2012). She writes about the intersections of size, identity, sexuality and politics. See more updates on Facebook.