(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.)