Iʼll admit Iʼm a little late to this game, but Iʼm still going to play.
In the last few weeks, issues that women have been dealing with for centuries have become a huge topic on the internet. It started with an episode of Louis CKʼs show, Louie, titled “So Did The Fat Lady.” In the episode Louie is pursued by a woman, Vanessa, who is confident, smart and cool, and also fat. Later, the shooting in Santa Barbara started the hashtag, #YesAllWomen, which has given woman a platform to share their stories about inequality, harassment and assault. It’s become clear; we all have a story.
For women, everything about us is a topic of discussion. If you wear a dress, you are open to any and all comments from the opposite sex. If you wear makeup one day and not the next you get asked, “Are you okay?” If you gain weight, itʼs an entire discussion, an intervention even. As my friend Sarah explained it to her boyfriend, “How would you like it if people talked about your hair loss…ALL OF THE TIME?”
These topics have made me so proud that they woke up the eighth grade feminist in me. Talking about these issues is touchy, to say the least. They are raw and honest. However, no matter how taboo these topics are, they are important; we need to tell our stories.
I have always struggled with my weight. It was something that was not tip-toed around when I was a child. My parents would sit me down to discuss my weight, and kids would make fun of me because of it. Good times had by all. But, a chubby kid grew into a chubby adult and, here I am, single and the best friend youʼll ever have, but never fall in love with. I am not the girl who gets set up on dates. I am the girl who gets over looked on Match.com. I am the best friend to all of the beautiful girls and the chubby, funny sidekick to all of my guy friends.
That was hard for me to write, because I donʼt think that itʼs true. Because fat is such cruel word. But itʼs reality. Itʼs how a lot of people choose to see me.
Iʼm not saying that this is the lone reason why I am single; Iʼm kind of an asshole too. Funny thing is that itʼs probably easier to get a date as an asshole than a fat girl. “Youʼd love my friend Rebecca, the thing is sheʼs kind of fat,” doesnʼt work as well as, “Youʼd love my friend Rebecca, but the thing is sheʼs kind of an asshole.”
As a fat girl though, you have to have a personality, otherwise no one wants to be around you. As an angsty teen, I quickly realized that. I became the girl who loved sports, who could cook, who was funny and the girl who would drop everything to help you out. That is actually the type of person that I am, Iʼd like to think that if I were skinnier that would still be the case.
I have long been cast in the role as the girl who is safe.
A few months ago, a guy friend of mine was going through a breakup, and would call me late at night, drunk, to talk about it. He confessed to me that I was the only girl that she would let him hang out with, meaning that she wasnʼt threatened by me. I was someone that he could never be attracted to in a sexual way. That was cool.
A few years ago I had a small crush on a guy who was kind of chubby, I told him I liked him and we talked about going out. he even asked me what I liked to do, but nothing ever happened. In retrospect a good thing.
I once had a guy who worked with my best friend, whom I of course had a crush on, say to me, “Where are all of Mikkiʼs hot friends?” He was super charming.
Then there was the crush, you know the one who I swore I was going to marry. We had a connection on every level. We challenged each other, made each other laugh, my family loved him. We were as much as a couple as two could be without actually being a couple. I knew that at any moment, he would realize that it was me. I was the person that he was supposed to be with. That he would over look whatever issue that he had with my body and be with me, the person. He didnʼt. He broke my heart and pushed me away. He slept with my friends and made me feel less than. For years, I thought that this was who and what I deserved. That I would be lucky if he dated me. Because he was a handsome guy and I was a fat girl. Also, I blame a lot of this relationship on romantic comedies. Fucking Breakfast Club and that Ally Sheedy makeover.
I was flirting with a guy a few months ago in a bar and just as we were about to go make out, he backed out. Ok, he may have been married so, Iʼll let this one go.
I find myself in flirtatious relationships that go nowhere. We flirt all of the time, but I don’t get asked out. They don’t hold my hand or kiss me as I get in my car. We will look like a couple to the untrained eye, but thatʼs it. Thatʼs where the line is drawn. I always have a non-boyfriend boyfriend.
With my girlfriends, we make excuses. Heʼs an idiot. Heʼs young. Heʼs an asshole. Heʼs gay. Itʼs never, youʼre fat. That just isnʼt a possibility. But Louis CK was as honest as honest gets and said it. Louie couldnʼt be with Vanessa. He felt like he deserved more, that dating her was beneath him. That he was less than, by dating her. Itʼs okay, for a woman to date a fat man. You see a beautiful woman with a fat man and you think, “Oh she is so lucky! Heʼs a catch. Heʼs so funny and nice!” When you see a handsome man with a fat woman you think heʼs volunteering for the disabled or something. Heʼs a fucking saint and sheʼs lucky. “Good for her,” is what they say.
I let boys treat me a certain way, because in many ways I feel like I am lucky to even have a shot. Lately, Iʼm not okay with that. Iʼm not as brave as Vanessa, but I am getting there. I donʼt want to talk to boys who just go through the motions. I want a boy who will hold my hand, because my hand is worth holding.
Do I blame society? To a point. I think itʼs just another obstacle for women in general. There are so many things that a woman canʼt be. She canʼt be loud. She canʼt make more money. She canʼt be funny. She canʼt be clingy. She canʼt be fat. But fuck it. I refuse to accept that any more. I refuse to put myself or Baby in the corner.
I am a really strong person. Iʼm independent. I have a full time job, plus a part time job. I pay my own rent. Iʼm honest, loyal and funny. I love a lot of people but hate most people. Iʼm super charming and a good dresser. I am not a wacky character, the way movies and TV portray fat women. I am the real life version of Destinyʼs Child Independent Woman Part 2.
All the women who fat and chubby, throw your hands up at me.
Rebecca Edwards is a writer and improviser. She has trained at The Improv Asylum, Second City Chicago, iO Chicago and The Nerdist. She loves dogs, drinks and napping. She is also probably in love with you. Follow her @BecsBecRebec.
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