At least once a day I am utterly gobsmacked. I have never made so many Scooby Do sounds as I have in the past 4 1/2 years. I have no idea if the world has changed while I wasn’t watching or I’ve simply had my head someplace it didn’t belong for 20 years. I’ll admit that while married my life was about my marriage. Yes, I worked and had scads of friends, but most of my “observing” was done in the context of my marriage (i.e., why does your family act that way?!) Now I’m exposed to many more new people and behaviors…daily. Of course, the world has changed since the mid 90s as well. It’s not just me.
The last time I was single people met in real life and ghosting hadn’t been invented. If you wanted to view porn you had to make an effort (or at least get off the toilet) to do so. The backlash to feminism hadn’t occurred yet and women weren’t being sold girdles, false eyelashes and hair extensions and encouraged to use upspeak. Now take those ingredients and slowly stir in my own naiveté and cue the Scooby Do head tilt.
There are several specific boorish behaviors that send me ’round the bend. But the one that really flummoxes this feminist is a bit of a weighty issue. When did it become okay to mention a woman’s size and/or shame her for it? I have been on dates and even (gulp) in relationships with men who talk about overweight women with derision. Recently a date actually showed me a profile pic he had saved (and sent to friends) of a curvy woman. She was standing in front of a baby elephant and I suppose therein was the joke? She looked warm and lovely and perhaps was a size 14. Not that it would make any difference what size she was, it would never have been okay to save a photo and use it as a joke. But what was doubly icky is that she was utterly normal. I have been told by countless dates that women post photos of themselves that are “misleading”. Cue the Scooby Do head tilt; “misleading?”, I ask. Apparently there are people who post photos of their thinner (and younger) selves. Hmm, I wonder why? Could it be that you men (with your lack of head hair, abundance of ear hair, middle aged gut and better virility through chemistry) are a tad superficial? Could it be that you’ve watched too much porn or perhaps haven’t noticed that even R-rated actresses have body doubles? Is it that you feel that perfection is a reasonable and safe substitute for real connection?
I don’t know and I’m not even sure that I care. It’s just one more red flag as far as I’m concerned. I’m not entirely clueless, I know that obesity is a real and relatively new problem. All one needs to do is watch a television show from the 70s to see that was once considered “fat” wouldn’t even be noticed today. We are now big, very very big. But that isn’t what this little diatribe is about. What frosts my bum is that what I’ve been experiencing is a fat shaming that is utterly repulsive. I’m a relatively small person and perhaps that’s why men talk about this stuff to me. But you see the thing is, I’ve always found it easier to be outraged on others’ behalf. So now this will have to be added to my teachable moment list. It’ll take pride of place right after; “No, I will not discuss my husband’s death with you…on a first date!” and “Sexual harassment has nothing to do with a woman’s appearance!” Fun date, eh? It pleases me none to have to do it, I assure you. I honest to goodness assumed that men (particularly of a certain age) were evolved, respectful and aware. I never ever expected to travel through my 50s with a constant Scooby Do crick in my neck.