What’s It Going To Take?

“Fat people gross me out.”

That’s what he said as he exited the bar, looking over at my friend. She stood there, stunned and shell shocked, appalled that someone would be so blatantly mean.

“Excuse me?! Are you aware that I am standing right here and can hear you?”

“Yeah. I’m entitled to my opinion. Sorry if that offends you.” And he walks away.

“Come the fuck on Jenny. Let’s go!” I yell from the car, out the open window, completely oblivious to what has transpired. What is taking her so long?

With disbelief all over her face, she turns and walks to the car. She slams the door and tells us what happened.

“WHAT!?” we both exclaim, incredulously. What. The. Fuck.

The Fella is silently furious. His ire is palpable from the driver’s seat. I start swearing, wondering aloud what is wrong with people. We pull away from the curb and as we pass the fatist asshole I stick my arm out the window, middle finger pointing to the sky, and yell “FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE!”

We spent the rest of our trip home discussing the different ways we could have handled that. I mean, what in the hell do you say to someone like that? Do you even bother reasoning with them? Would it do any good?

How do you, as the person having been insulted like that, walk away from such a hurtful and hateful situation and just let it roll off your back? As someone who has experienced similar shit, I can attest that it is not easy to let it go. You don’t even know that person but out of the blue their actions change you. They just walk away and yet they never really leave you. There is no erasing that mark.

When you are picking your battles, even if you choose not to engage, you can walk away with battle scars. I fear that this fight will not be won unless we increase our army. Until we- no matter our own size- speak up for each other. Say, THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE. How many of us will it take to make this stop?

“I played the powerless/in too many dark scenes/and I was blessed with a birth and a death/and I guess I just want some say in between/don’t you understand/in the day to day/and the face to face/I have to act/just as strong as I can/just to preserve a place/where I can be who I am/so if you still know how/talk to me now. . .” -Talk to Me Now, Ani DiFranco


50 thoughts on “What’s It Going To Take?

  1. Mean People Suck.

    that man was ugly on the inside. and likely always will be. i believe in karma. something yucky will bite him on his bum!

    i am sure your friend is gorgeous inside and out. send her a big hug from NerdGirl k?

  2. You ask so many important questions and I have no answers. Thankfully, there’s people like you who are talking about this- bringing awareness to how ignorant some people are. And until the tide has completely turned, I think making sure we speak up for anyone in a situation like this is the only way things are going change. Whether we confront people the second the hurtful words leave their lips, whether we work to change the image of what ‘beautiful’ is, whether we work with youth to create a generation that will be more tolerant… we just have to keep working. Because nothing changes if we don’t.

  3. I would have thought of a dozen comeback zingers within 2 seconds, picked the one that would hurt the worst, said it, then spend the next few days regretting that I lowered myself to their level.

    Dumbass idiots are dumbass idiots, and that’s never going to change.

    Unless you pull out a baseball bat and beat the shit out of their stupid asses…

  4. What the fuck? There is nothing you could say to make that wanker feel any less hatred than is coming from his blackened heart. You have to be a miserable son of a bitch to consciously be that mean. That asshole’s life is his own reward. Good for you!

  5. in the moment, i was so shocked that i was almost laughing. i didn’t feel the hurt yet…mostly just thinking who the fuck says that kind of thing, out loud in front of people…and around/to/in front of a fat person? thankfully i have worked really hard on my self worth/esteem/confidence…not to let that stuff push me to tears…

    but it reminded me that unfortunately…YES, we still have lots of work to do to shift how the planet views people of size.

  6. I’m sure he knows it’s unacceptable – at some level that’s why he does it. It feels good to target someone who can’t fight back, and there would be no point if it didn’t hurt your feelings. There is probably some group (or, more likely, some one) who he can’t tell off even though he would love to. My guess is, someone treats him like shit and he’s powerless to stop it. It hurts him. And now he’s picked fat people as a “less powerful” group to target as a way of relieving his inner tension. He can feel powerful now, in a way he can’t do with that other person/s.

    It doesn’t make it less hurtful… but maybe it makes it less personal. I doubt he really cares about weight much at all, in his core. He cares about finding a target that has vulnerabilities, which alas, he has done very successfully. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    I’m sorry this happened to your friend! People can be such asses!

  7. sadly, i’ve had plenty o’ comments thrown my way. no witty comeback erases the intial insult. usually the response of, “you are a sad, sad, little man who couldn’t get laid if you paid for it,” helps with the sting.

  8. I would have resorted to the “I’d rather be fat than ugly like you” standard comment.

    But then again, when you argue with stupid people, they just drag you down to their level and beat you at it.

  9. People say stupid and mean comments all the time and there is nothing we can do to change THEM. There is not anything wrong with us. It is THEM.

  10. My response would’ve involved pointing out the fact that he’s leaving said bar with no women and likely never does. Lowering to their level? Sure. But well deserved and I would’ve slept fine that night.

  11. Great post! I think people should stand up and defend themselves or others in these sorts of situations. I remember being lambasted by a high school yearbook instructor because I put my head on the shoulder of a black classmate. Even though we were only teenages and she was the teacher, we didn’t take her foul, racist words. And our my parents–his father and my mother–registered their disapproval with administrtaion. THe next year, she was gone an I learned a valuable lesson. There will be no change if we sit passively by…

  12. I don’t know what I would have done. I can sit here in the safety of my office and think up scenarios, but I don’t know.

    I have been overweight, but I can’t recall a situation where someone was rude to me about it.

    I do agree that we need to stand up for each other. No matter what we are all in this together.

  13. I agree with NerdGirl – Mean people suck!

    That said, as difficult as it is to hear comments like that, I think responding in any way to it just gives those mean people what they want – a reaction. By ignoring the comment, basically saying without saying “I know you can’t possibly be talking about me!”, the big bully loses.

  14. Wow. –and this was directed AT Jenny? Because to actually go out of their way to make a remark directly AT a person–wth, man!?? Nobody does that! Just like some random sh*tty remark, saying that to somebody– NOBODY should do that, like, EVER. That’s akin to throwing a rock at someone, just for the spite of it.

    Well FWIW, I’ve seen pics of Jenny, and she has a smile almost in the same league as your’s.(not *quite* as awesome, but then, who does??) There are I’m sure a dozen guys that would fall all over themselves to get one of her smiles, and some attention.
    As for what I would have done? I prolly would have yelled something like you did out the window, because I’m a hothead like that for people i love. You didn’t handle it badly. Some righteous indignation and finger-waving was called for. *hugs*

  15. I’m not sure there is a way to let an insult like that roll of your back. If there is, I haven’t found it yet.

    *hugs* to both of you.

    People like that disgust me.

  16. My first reaction was WTF? People are so unjustifiably cruel. It is really, truly wrong.

    I do believe that Jenny handled the situation with more grace than I’d ever be able to muster. To be able to point out that his words are offensive without lowering oneself to shoot back at the sonofabitch, now that takes grace, maturity, self-worth that I only wish I had.

  17. Insensitive assholes are everywhere. I’d be inclined to just walk away, not bringing myself down to his level, but then there’s the part of me that would have done as you did…”Fuck you!”

    Don’t let jerks ruin your day. I realize that’s easier said than done, but I try not to let bigots of any kind under my skin. I just shake my head at their ignorance and wonder what kind of marvelous family they must have come from.

    Then I smile because, hey, their family is clearly more fucked up than mine. And that’s saying something.

  18. I think that had it just been directed into the air, I would have ignored it and acted like I did not even hear it. I would have walked out with a big smile on my face, or acted like I was text messaging someone and did not hear his cruel and ignorant words. One thing about people that are THAT miserable is that they want someone to react when they lash out.

    Had it been directed at me, like face to face, where it was impossible to feign indifference, I would have said something like, “It must be hard to be such a miserable failure at life. I pity you.” then left.

    Of course, I would have stewed about it incessantly once away from him, LOL.

  19. My word, I have battle scars after just reading that! That is really horrible. My feelings are hurt by proxy.

    That guy must be SO angry and ugly on the inside that he feels the need to hurt strangers with his words.

  20. That behavior is outrageous and all too common – you’re right. I remember, in the height of my marathon days, going out with two girlfriends (and fellow marathoners). We “met” this guy who was an utter ass. And kept talking about how he had to get shut-eye because he was running in a race the next day (a few miles, mind you) and how that’s where he was going to meet all the hot runner girls. As if (a) we weren’t hot and (b) we were out of shape. Stumped, looking each other over, we gave him a really hard time. We definitely didn’t let him live that down. And to be honest, while the original comment was very offensive, the subsequent verbal berating we gave him was extremely empowering. You are so right – we should speak up more often!

  21. I would never say it aloud but in the comforts of my heart I would always rather be fat than stupid, cruel and an asshole! At the end of the day people get over looks/ they fade but stupid is forever!!

  22. When I was in SF last summer, someone said something similarly mean to a friend of mine. I got incredibly angry on her behalf and told the girl who said it, “you’re a really, really bad person. I have no idea why you’d say that to someone, but please take your miserable bitch self away from us.”

    Frankly? I felt quite good after. ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Man I hate mean people. I was pointed here by Alissa who was talking to me after I received a mean comment today. There is no reason for people to act that way. I’m even more fired up now!

  24. Ugh. I would have done what my roommate did to someone who once really pissed off her like that (and deserved it) – find the assh*le’s car and let the air out of the tires.

    With a note that says “Jerks make me sick.”

    That’s not too mean, is it?

  25. Your friend is a much better person than I am, I would have kneed him in the balls. But by not reacting horribly and making a fool of herself she definately went the high road and I admire that in her. Its so sad that people think/feel this way…and think its their right to verbalize it.

  26. Came over from Molly’s place, hi!

    Just wanted to chime in, because I’ve been the recipient of the fat comments, and? They never leave. Even when you’re not fat anymore. And I’ll say exactly what I said to Molly on IM – people who take that much time to point out things on others that they find less than appealing? A, have too much time on their hands, B, are total assholes, and C, are thwarting attention away from their own shortcomings.

    I also wish I had had the nerve to yell back, but somehow I think that walking away takes the bigger (no pun intended) person.

    Sorry for the novel. ๐Ÿ™‚ Love the blog!

  27. Stupid people gross me out.

    Someone once yelled out a car window at me “Have another burger, Fatty.” My first response once “Do you think I don’t realize I’m fat?” Dumbass.

    There is a special kind of karma that is meted out to people like that. I have seen it, and it is seriously unpleasant.

  28. In the heat of the moment, I think that was very well handled. With the time to parse it, he obviously wasn’t sorry his comment offended, it was intended to do so. [โ€œYeah. Iโ€™m entitled to my opinion. Sorry if that offends you.โ€]

    So what to say then? Perhaps, “If you meant that, you wouldn’t have said it in the first place, and you wouldn’t have waited to express your ‘opinion’ until you were leaving…”

    from there, “… Afraid someone besides me would notice your bad manners?”

    or, “… I have some ‘opinions’ about you too, but disparaging strangers in public is unacceptable no matter the reason.”

    Sizz, I agree it’s vitally important we speak up for each other no matter our size (or any other characteristic we may have by which we’re judged unfairly). It takes courage. People don’t want to get drawn into other people’s fights- they want to stay safe. But you’re not safe if you’re silent, you’re just setting yourself up to be next.

    In the heat of the moment, I don’t know what I’d do for certain, but after reading and writing here, I feel more likely to speak up (if only to say, ‘hey asshole, get a life!’).

    Strangers standing up for strangers, that’s what it’s going to take.

  29. I’m fired up on your friend’s behalf. Its so hard to know what to say in those situations- but a nice “fuck you” usually suffices. Sorry you had to deal with this asshole.

  30. First, his insult only shows his own insecurities. Second, you should never give someone like that the power to change your day for the worse. People really can say whatever they want, but in the end the only thing you can control is how you react to it.

    Then again, you can control a baseball bat… hmm. let me think on this one a little bit more.

  31. He didnt deserve you acknowledging him.

    Some people, just dont get it. The way I look at it, its people like those that make people like us, look even better.

  32. I still haven’t recovered from the asshole who said to me a few months ago in an interview, “We’ve always had problems with black employees.” The good news is that it allowed me to bond with my neighbors — who knew that I was looking for a new job. Many folks thought that I should have told the guy off (as I later thought) but my neighbor said it best. “You looked like a deer in headlights, didn’t you? Because who would expect to hear that kind of crap?”

    And so I like to think that my stare was the best response. And I like to think that it applies to any situation in which someone is being a supreme ass.

  33. I think you handled it just right, and a manner and tone that the douchebag could understand.

    With the benefit of hindsight and reflection a good response could have been. “And you’re a douchebag in my opinion, and that makes me sick, so I guess we are even.”

  34. Jesus, I don’t even know. That sucks so fucking bad! But partt of me knows you are never going to make them change, they are earning their own private room in hell, and all I would do is invite them to hurt me more by engaging them.

    I know, wimpy.

  35. That happened to my friends and I at a bar last summer where the bartender told us that we looked like we could “use a walk.” I don’t blame you for responding the way you did b/c it was rather insulting. When it’s so personal like that, it’s hard not to have your blood boil and shout something out. My friends and I were more in a state of shock so we didn’t spout something out, but I wished that I had. I’m normally pretty good with comebacks, but that just surprised me that a person relying upon tips would say something like that.

  36. Having had a weight problem all my life I’v been subjected to ridiculous and mean comments from family and total strangers. I’ve never resorted to answering any of the comments (well, except for the ones that came from my mother but that’s another issue altogether. ๐Ÿ˜€ ) because, quite frankly, people that stupid are just not worth dealing with. I am constantly amazed when total strangers feel free to make comments on what I have in my grocery cart. That’s balls man.

  37. I know just how you felt as I was a really heavy kid and had my fair share of comments believe me. I’ve found that there really is no reasoning with people like that. Nowadays if I’m dealing with an arsewipe and they’ve pissed me off sufficiently, I’ll bite and think of a comeback. Then for the next hour stew about how my comeback actually sucked and what I could have said to piss them off more. Then I come to the realization that that’s an hour of my life I’m never getting back and should not have been devoted to worrying about wankers.

  38. I’ve been there. It hurts, no matter how much you want it not to. There is no excuse for behavior like that. I have no answers. It is just so wrong. I always hope everything is perfect in that persons’ world, ’cause they are the kind of person that wouldn’t be able to handle anything less.

    I’m so sorry this happened to Jenny.

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