The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

(Apologies to Judith Viorst.)

Sooooo, yeah.  That whole Secretaries’ Day thing?  Bad.  Scene. 

Our bosses sent all the secretaries to lunch at the country club today.  And the food issues were fine.  I ate what I felt good about, and what sounded good, and there were no issues – thank you to everyone who commented with recommendations about bringing extra snacks and stuff for later, just in case there wasn’t anything there I felt ok eating.

It was the company that sent me over the edge.

Someone will have to explain to me why it is that when groups of women get together, the conversation has to center around dieting and weight: how fat we are (because no one EVER thinks they’re just fine the way they are, REGARDLESS of what they weigh), what diets we’ve tried, how fat our family members are, how “good” or “bad” we’re being at whatever meal we’re eating.  On second thought, never mind.  I know all the reasons.  I took all the women’s studies classes in college.  😉

I did not take my own car.  That was my mistake, and I thought about it before I left, but dismissed the idea.  I’ve DEFINITELY learned my lesson. 

I was doing ok for the most part, although I was starting to struggle with people commenting on how “good” I was being.  Mostly I just didn’t want to feel sick all afternoon from eating too much (or from eating foods that give me a stomachache no matter how little I eat), so the constant fawning and comparing (“Oh, you’re so good, and I’m being so bad!!”) was REALLY starting to get to me.  (I did finally point out the stomachache issue and that aversion therapy is a powerful thing.)

But the constant diet talk was wearing, and toward the end of the lunch one lady (who is actually a very nice lady, bless her heart: the stereotypical Italian mom) started talking about her daughter and how her daughter needed to lose weight.  I was gritting my teeth and trying to shut up (I’d made a couple of comments trying to a) turn the conversation to something else, and b) pointing out that if the daughter wasn’t concerned about it, maybe Mom shouldn’t be either – I was nicer than that, though) , but then she said for the SECOND TIME that her daughter had told her to lay off (specifically, “Mom, you are more worried about this than I am; I’m happy the way I am”), but that she (mom) still told her daughter that she had to be careful and not “let herself go.”

And I flipped.  I mean I really flipped.  This was about 20 minutes into her tirade, and I looked at the woman and said, “You know, it seems to me that if she doesn’t feel bad about herself, then good for her, since most women hate their bodies.  I mean, she could just stop eating.  She could just stop eating altogether and starve herself down to a size that you’d find acceptable and end up in the hospital with an eating disorder!  Some of us do that!  But hey, she wouldn’t be letting herself go, then, right?  She’d be thin!  Frankly, it seems to me that if the WORST thing you can say about your daughter is that you don’t like the way she LOOKS, then you’re a lucky woman! ” 

“Oh, I know.  I know.  But if she’d just -”

“STOP.  Just STOP.  I don’t want to hear it anymore.  You’ve been sitting here for 20 minutes complaining about your daughter.  And I guarantee you every time you start in on her, you’re hurting her.  JUST!  STOP!”

Yeah.  Bad manners and too much personal information, all in one convenient package!  Go, me!  And I wish I could say  I was less dramatic than that, but no.  Drama is in my nature, apparently.  *SIGH*  Next year, I will either take my own car, or (better yet) just take the day off and dodge the whole gauntlet.  Because nothing is worth crying in the bathroom later and then having to blame allergies for a red face.  (And even as I write this, I can guarantee there will be more crying later.  I feel like SHIT about myself right now – because you know, someone else’s stuff is ALWAYS ABOUT ME.  At least I can see the lunacy of it.)

(I did apologize later for causing a scene.  I’ve had the Miss Manners drill.  But secretly?  I’m not sorry.  Embarrassed, yes – but not sorry.  Not really.)

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12 responses to “The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

  1. OOOOH I CAN RELATE TO THAT TALK ALL BEING WEARING.

    Im reading the book Youd Be So Pretty If…by dara chadwick and those women need to as well.

    Hey, would you wanna review the book?

    email me and Ill connect you with Dara!

  2. Is it wrong that I’m proud of you? OK maybe there is a time and a place for this stuff, or maybe that woman might have gained a little bit of common sense about her attitude. What she was saying was pretty bloody personal for that sort of function, so she somewhat opened a floodgate to you getting personal too. If more people stood up to this sort of attitude there’d be less pressure to conform to that unrealistic perfection which is driving us all mental.

    Lola x

  3. Is it wrong that I’m proud of you? OK maybe there is a time and a place for this stuff, or maybe that woman might have gained a little bit of common sense about her attitude. What she was saying was pretty bloody personal for that sort of function, so she somewhat opened a floodgate to you getting personal too.

    If more people stood up to this sort of attitude there’d be less pressure to conform to that unrealistic perfection which is driving us all mental.

    Lola x

  4. I think you’re awesome. I hope what you said sunk in somewhere. If not to that woman, then perhaps another mother listening. I’ve had lots of people ask me what the right way is to talk about food/weight/dieting with women. And I’m always like “Don’t.” Just don’t discuss it. Talk about ANYTHING else. Good for you girl! If I’d have been there, I’d have backed you up. (If I wasn’t already in the bathroom crying myself silly because holy crap I cannot handle those conversations)

  5. If that very nice Italian mother was actually *listening* to you, hopefully she will take what you said to heart.
    As a whole, I think all of us women need to be kinder to one another, and sometimes, a little plain talk is what’s needed.

    Good for you for speaking up. Miss Manners aside, you did the right thing and I applaud you. (Here’s a tissue, get the hell out of the bathroom, I need to pee!)

  6. Mothers are a real pain in the ass. I know. I’m one. I’m sort of thankful I never had girls though that never kept me from tormenting my sons.

    We learn it from our parents who learned it from their parents. Food and body issues are handed down from one generation to the next. I think my mom was so concerned about how she was perceived as a mother that she wanted us to look perfect and so she hid food from us and created monsters. But we got her back when we moved out of the house and got fat. My sister looks great since her weight loss surgery.
    And I’ve kept off the biggest part of my flub. But it’s taken us over 50 years to feel good about ourselves. Good enough to take care of ourselves. And good enough to tell our mom to shove it if she says anything, which, btw, she does not anymore because she finally knows better.

    I’m glad you did what you did. More people need to step in on those situations.

  7. That is an extremely, extremely difficult situation to be in. I understand why you wish you’d handled it differently but honestly I am very proud of you. xoxoxoxoxox

  8. I think what you said really needed to be said. I can sympathize with being embarrassed about it later, I have a very tenuous grip on my mouth when I get irritated, and I sometimes wish I would just keep it shut. But that mom needed to hear it, it sounds like it had never occurred to her, and hopefully she’ll think about it. I wish someone had said that to my mother, my life would likely have been much different. Hopefully some of the other women thought about it later, too. Diet talk is hard. I can tolerate some realistic weight loss talk, but when women start with the self-flagellation, comparisons and cattiness, I tend to get cranky and snappish.

  9. You’re awesome.

    Maybe this woman will think before haranguing her daughter about her weight next time.

    And I’m with Julie, I can take some forms of weight-loss talk (like science or fitness stuff) but the moment someone says “Oh this food is so BAD” or starts in on the self-flagellation, I get stabby.

  10. Grrrrr, the whole “food is good or bad” and I am “good or bad” for eating/not eating just DRIVES.ME.NUTS.
    Good for you for speaking up! That poor girl…

  11. At the least, she’ll probably curtail this monologue when you’re around in the future. At best, she might actual Stop and Think about what she’s doing to her daughter.
    It was worth trying.

  12. Thanks everyone for all your comments. This one ended up sending me over the edge for a few days, so I haven’t been checking in. (I was busy bingeing and drinking and crying and bingeing. Dammit.)

    I think it hit me especially hard because all the stuff she was saying was EXACTLY the stuff I say to myself when I’m feeling in a really bad way. So it was pretty much like having Crazy Brain brought to life, down to lamenting the fact that she couldn’t see her daughters cheekbones (because my cheekbones and collarbones were my focus when I was thin).

    I wish I thought that she’d think twice in the future, but past experience with her doesn’t make that likely. Oh, well. What can you do?

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