There’s a Fat Lady

Fat woman in a bikiniThis morning in the grocery store I heard a little voice say, “Daddy, there’s a fat lady.”  I turned around and saw a cute little girl, about 3 or 4 years old, shopping with her father, who was looking mortified.  I said, “Yes, I’m a fat lady” and went back to putting my stuff on the register belt.  I admit that I was cranky but not overly preoccupied with the exchange.

On the way out to the car, the same father and daughter were pulling out of their space as I got closer.  He rolled down the window (okay, he pushed a button and it went down magically) and said that his daughter wanted to apologize to me, which she did.  Made me wonder about the conversation they had after our in-store exchange.

I looked in and told her, “Thanks, sweetie.  People come in all different shapes and sizes.  You are a short size and I am a round size.”  She looked thoughtful and then smiled.  I felt a lot better going back to my car.

Kids notice sizes and shapes and differences.  At that young age, they usually don’t see or speak in a judging way.  She saw a fat lady and told her dad.  Her dad knew the emotional charge that went with those words and I was pleased that he didn’t just let it go.  (We know it was his idea that she apologize to me, not hers.)  I hope my response gave them both a different perspective.

Fat ladies really are a different shape and size.  We’re not better or worse, weird or undisciplined, prettier or uglier.  We’re just rounder.  Looking at myself with the objectivity of a 3 year old lets me say that yes, I’m the fat lady, without the pain that comes with it when I say it about myself.

6 thoughts on “There’s a Fat Lady

  1. As much as their honesty can be no fun, sometimes I wish we all saw things the way that kids do — just noticing, not judging. The judging comes later.

    I admire you for handling the whole thing so well, Anne, in a way that didn’t unnecessarily hurt you or the little girl.

  2. That is an excellent entry + I really like the way you replied to the little girl.

    I’m not sure whether I was so non-judgmental as a child, I have some slightly embarrassing memories of gauche observations, but I think they stem from a slightly older age (approx 8). I don’t remember things I said at 3 or 4.

  3. I, too, like the way you handled it — & giving her a little taste of her own medicine in the nicest way possible.

    I remember being very very young & taking the train from Missoula to Portland, OR. I was fascinated by the porter — Missoula is pretty lily white. To the rumble of the train on the tracks I chanted, “Chocolate man, chocolate man, chocolate man…” He finally told me to shut up — somewhat more mortifyingly than you handled it.

    I feel like a big rectangle rather than round. I wonder what basic geometrics people see them selves in.

  4. You really handled it very well and you treated that little girl with a lot of dignity. I like that the dad stepped up and said something.

    I’m glad you didn’t let it mess up your day or get you too upset.

    Kudos!

  5. I enjoyed this story and am glad you handled the situation the way you did. And, when you start to be judgmental about yourself, try to see yourself from her eyes. You’re a beautiful person who happens to be round. :-)

  6. Great post, great story and thank you for sharing it. you did the father and daughter a huge favor by handling it the way you did, with grace. You didn’t owe them.

    Best,
    Annie

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