I don't want to be perfect, just better...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Perception and weight

Three weeks ago, I had a disturbing conversation with a friend, we will call her 'A'. It has taken me this long to process it clearly. I didn't want to fly off the handle at her because I may have misunderstood her.

My friend and I attended another friend, D's wedding and reception. As we were walking to the car I was not worried about walking gently on the cobblestones. Now let me explain my day before the wedding:

  • I flew from Houston to Dulles Airport with a layover in Chicago.
  • The second leg of my flight was delayed. Dulles is not my home airport; I live closer to National airport.
  • So when I arrived at Dulles late, I had to take a bus into DC to meet my friend (add 45 minutes to my travel time for the day).
  • We then drove from DC to Northern Maryland, sixty plus miles away.
  • I changed clothes in the hotel lobby bathroom.
  • Attended the reception.
Now it is late and I had been up since 5 am. My feet encased in four inch heels hurt. As I said before I had no care for how my heels clicking on the cobblestones sounded until A said "you want me to go get the car?"


"Well you pounding the pavement real hard."

"I'm tired, I'm wearing heels."

"You look like you are but I didn't want you to break through the stone"

"A, I only weigh three hundred pounds. I doubt I can punch through the cobblestones." I know I am sarcastic often caustic. My friends either ignore me or learn the difference in my tone not to be offended.

You would have thought I hit her. She stopped. "You don't weigh 300 hundred pounds." she accused me of lying.

"How much do you think I weigh?"

"I don't know but not 300 hundred." she seemed devastated. "We have to do something about that"

This is what teed me off. "We" Why use the plural pronoun? First, she didn't know my weight until I told her and apparently it never bothered her until she heard the number 300.
Is she showing up at my house everyday to work out with me? No, so why the plural?

Second, if I weighed 280 or 240 would that be okay? Why does the number 300 bother her so? In her mind does 300 pounds represent the threshold to fatness?

I know 120 pounds or less is the 'ideal Hollywood' weight but that has never 'sounded' like a healthy weight to me. Especially for anyone who is over five feet tall. When I see someone who is very slim, I wonder if the are eating properly.

I'm sure when people see me they have a reaction that is negative.

I realized what happened to my friend. She heard the number on the scale and her perception of me changed. I went from being her large friend to being her fat friend because of my number. What is the fat weight to you? Do you look at someone differently after you hear 'their weight'? My question is do you associate a larger image to someone after you hear the number on the scale?


  1. That's a good point.

    I guess if I heard an actual number, yeah I'd probably see the person differently.

    Same with if I saw someone skinny. If they were very small and bordering on what I thought was anorexia, but were actually 140 - 150 pounds, I'd think it was all muscle and I just read it wrong.

    Still, I can see how that bothered you. But any round number like 100, 200, 300 are all thresholds to people.

    Great post.

  2. I agree, great post.

    I wonder if something like this would happen to me. I always try to avoid mentioning my weight in the hopes that no one will really make the connection like your friend did.

    Right now I'm just the larger friend (they don't dare call me fat, even when I say that I am in a positive way) but I'm sure that as soon as I mention a number they'll get all concerned and stuff.

    I'll admit I would probably rethink things if I found out how much people weighed. Not negatively like your friend, but truthfully I have no idea what 120, 250 or 300 pounds look like. Personally I am always going to weigh more than I look simply because I have a lot of muscle.