My mom recently lost some weight. She's always been thin, but now she's noticeably thinner.
Her friends are having anxiety attacks over it. I saw one friend in action this past week, and it was not a pretty sight. They were both trying on clothes to show me what they'd bought that day. The friend started off with some self-deprecating pseudo-praise: "You look so great in those pants, I can't keep them for myself. I can't even try them on. I can't even stand next to you." Then insults: "You have a BOY body now!" and "You look EMACIATED in those pants!" Then back to the self-pitying admiration: "You just look fabulous in EVERYTHING now. I look terrible. I'm fat. I should lose weight." Then back to the insults: "I think you're actually TOO THIN for that outfit!" and "No wonder you keep getting sick: you're TOO THIN." Being in the same room with this was exhausting for me--and my mom had been listening to it all day long.
On a related topic, I've been getting jittery as I anticipate my mother-in-law's digs about weight. She mostly goes after Paul. When I finally said sharply [TOTAL LIE--I was meek and quavery] that I thought he was handsome and I liked the way he looked, she was unfazed: "If you think he's handsome NOW, you REALLY would have thought he was handsome without all that weight on him!" ("All that weight" is not the amount of weight it sounds like. She would say that about 5 pounds.) She also likes to ask me how much weight I gained with the last pregnancy, and have I lost all of it yet.
Talking about both situations the other day, my mom and I thought that what we need is something to say when people are talking about weight in a way that's uncomfortable for us. Here are the restrictions:
1) It has to be non-rude, non-confrontational--something total chickens can say. My mom and I are both too polite for our own good, and we're not going to be able to say "Shut it, bitch" even if we agree it's totally called for.
2) Also, neither of us can talk Psych Talk: e.g., "You know, Kathy, it makes me feel uncomfortable when you..." etc. We don't want something that will lead to FURTHER DISCUSSION--particularly further discussion about how the other person feels.
3) It has to be just as applicable when the other person is nagging about weight loss as when the aggressor is nagging about weight gain. We're looking for something more along the lines of Tessie's Policy.
4) And it should be something we can use even when the other person is talking about SOMEONE ELSE'S weight gain/loss.
5) It has to be something you can say to someone you genuinely love: a best friend, a spouse, a mother--not just something you'd use to shut up a mother-in-law or an annoying coworker. But it should also be something you could say to shut up a mother-in-law or annoying coworker.
6) Okay, I guess it doesn't have to be one single remark applicable to all situations. But any help on the topic of "How do I tell him/her to shut the hell up about weight, without saying 'Shut the hell up about weight'?" would be excellent.
Wisdom of the Internet--ACTIVATE!
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