My dad stopped by our house this past weekend and brought along a family friend, a man who hasn’t seen me in a few months, but has been part of my life since birth. I went to open the front door and the first thing out of this friend’s mouth was, “WOW, Cass! You are looking so skinny.”
I hate it when that happens.
Because the moments that follow are dripping with awkwardness. I’m supposed to swoon and squeal and say, “Oh gosh! Thank you so much!” But the truth is, I don’t get the warm and fuzzies from comments like that. They just don’t mean anything to me. And so the scene ends with me fumbling over my words and grunting out something eloquent like, “Uh, thanks.”
To me, there is nothing complimentary about the sentence, “You are looking so skinny.” I don’t want to be skinny. I want to be strong, healthy, and fit. The word “skinny” is just another in a long line of adjectives to describe my physical appearance. I am also brunette, have hazel eyes, and am taller than every other woman in my family. I’ve also been obese. And a lot of people consider me fat. None of those are compliments or insults. They are just truths. Relative truths, but truths, nonetheless.
I hate that as a society, we are in a place where an acceptable compliment is “you are looking so skinny.” I don’t doubt that my family friend’s heart was in the right place, but excuse me if I don’t get all giddy when I get called a lackluster adjective.
It’s almost as if all the hard work I put into be strong and fit doesn’t matter. Because if skinny is the ultimate goal, I can get slimmer a lot quicker with a lot less work in other ways. I refuse to believe that just becoming smaller is the ultimate goal for anyone. So why should our compliments indicate that it is?
I would love it if we could stop tossing around the compliments based on size. There are so many more dynamic and excitable ways to compliment someone on their fitness efforts. Tell me I’m glowing. Tell me I look strong. Tell me I look healthy. Just tell me I look good. Or hot. Or sexy. Or beautiful. Ask me for advice. Ask me what I’m doing to get the giant smile on my face. Ask me to bake you some healthy cookies. But don’t comment on how skinny or fat I am. That’s just cheapening all my hard work.
Do you get excited when someone comments on your weight loss?
11/9/2011 at 2:45 PM