The invisible fatty

When I was younger (and thinner, but still fat) I used to get a lot of flak from other people. I had people shout insults at me in the street, openly sneer at me, etc etc. Granted, I was a teenager then and so were many of my hecklers – but either way it’s something that’s decreased as I’ve gotten older and fatter. And that is something I find strange, considering the way Obesity (ahhhhh!) is supposed to be taking over the Western World and causing all our ills. I keep expecting someone one to hog tie me and force me to diet. It hasn’t happened yet, though – instead, most people just look the other way. A few stare but in the main they don’t meet my eyes or comment. They just keep walking. I have become invisible. I don’t mind so much.

On the other side of the coin, though, is the attention I get – or rather, don’t get – from people who are supposed to interact with the public. The other week staff members from the women-only gym upstairs were giving out information and a special deal in the front of the supermarket at the mall. They never approached me, though; not even when I was the only person anywhere near them and I was looking interested and attempting to make eye contact. No matter how ‘forward’ I am I have always been served last in pubs, and I am usually ignored in clothing stores too (Zebrano’s is the one exception, for Kiwi shoppers who are fat but not too fat – alas, I’ve now grown out of their sizes 😦  ). Now I usually do get good service eventually but I have to initiate it; I chat and smile and I usually get that back. However, observing the same staff members before they have served me I notice that, in general, thinner patrons are greeted, assisted, and smiled at without the customer having to make the first move. Somehow I am invisible until I begin to speak.

I’m in my mid-30’s and so dealing with people in this manner has become second nature and I rarely think about it. But today I had an example of it that made me feel… bad.  🙂  Ok, not the best choice of word but I’m finding it hard to explain how I felt at that moment.

I was popping the kids and the shopping into the car at the supermarket when I looked up and saw a radio station van giving away goodies. I was too far away to see what they were giving away but I thought hey, why not? I used to work in radio and I know how much slog the giveaways can be – you’re often out there in the rain and what else until you give away X amount of the customer’s crappy product that no-one sane would want. So I went over to see what they were giving out.

It turned out to be beef jerky (I’ve heard of it and never tasted it), a bikky of some kind and a muffin, as well as a flu face mask with a radio station sticker on it. The guy and girl manning the giveaway reacted typically to me; she had a terrible look on her face which, when I began making jokes, morphed into a huge fake smile and the guy was jovial and smiling the whole way through but never once met my eyes throughout the entire conversation.

I wanted to say “Look, mate, I was doing this shit back when you were in short pants” but I held my tongue, thanked them for the goodies, and left.

The part that really depressed me was this: I suspect those two had no idea how they treated me.

Dammit, I’m not invisible. I’m a fucking person, the same as you are. I bleed the same. I have a life, a partner, kids, ambitions, an education, a career.

Part of it, I suspect, was that I spent several hours on the internet this morning trying to find an alternative source of bras (see my past post on Boobs). Pretty much every website I found (and there weren’t that many) either didn’t ship to New Zealand, wanted an arm and a leg and my first born for something boring in beige, or just simply didn’t stock my size. Honestly – what Universe are we living in, where a 12G has an easier time finding a bra than a 24E?

One where the Fat Girl has become the (metaphorical) elephant in the corner.

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