When you talk about your weight issues with me, I shut up and listen. When you lament your pudgy belly or big thighs, I shut up and listen. When you ask me if I have any advice to lose weight, eat better, exercise, I’ll give you my opinion on what works for me.
Hi, I’m your skinny friend, who’s not really skinny by my standards.
I’m the size 2, fitness fanatic that can’t help herself around cupcakes and the bowl of chips at the Mexican restaurant we go to for happy hour. I’m the friend that doesn’t mind walking around naked on our girls’ weekend. I’m the friend who needs wardrobe advice when I’m deciding on the dress I wore in college or if I should just buy a new one.
I’m the friend you’d love to hate if you weren’t my friend.
One of the most common bonding conversations we women have is discussing our weight issues, whether it’s self-deprecating humor or never-ending frustration. When I’m with friends and they start to discuss weight issues, I just shut up. I don’t complain about my muffin top, love handles or pudgy belly. I’ve learned that if I interject any of my body issues or weight frustrations, I get rolling eyes and the occasional friendly “skinny bitch” comment.
I don’t have much to provide in these conversations. I’ve never been overweight, so I can’t have the “I’ve been there. I know!” viewpoint. Any contributions I make in this discussion will be taken as either “rub your nose in it” or “I don’t know how good I have it.” No one wants to hear what I had to do to lose my baby weight or how I feel too self-conscious of my body to run in a sports bra when it’s 105 degrees outside.
When I order a salad, it’s because I like salad. Don’t roll your eyes and tell me I don’t need to be on a diet. When I weigh myself at the gym, it’s not because I’m obsessed with my weight. When I do slip and complain about a part of my body, I’m not trying to make you feel bad or garner compliments.
The truth is I do still have a pudgy belly and a big ole C-section scar. I also have a big ugly scar down my back. And I have small breasts. So small, a sales associate at Victoria’s Secret recommended I look online for a AA-cup bra because they don’t sell them in the store. No thanks. I’ll take the B with double padding, thank you very much.
One of the issues I think women have when discussing body issues with each other is we read too much into what people say. We overanalyze, and we interpret comments differently because of our insecurities and our own life experiences.
To help translate, here are a few phrases that skinny people may say:
What they say: I hate my thighs.
What people hear: If I hate my thighs, you must really, really hate your thighs because they’re huge! How do you even live with yourself?
What they mean: I wish my thighs were a little smaller/more toned/less flabby.
What they say: Can I get a salad?
What people hear: I’m on a diet because I need to lose more weight. What? You’re getting a hamburger? You should get a salad. I’m secretly judging you.
What they mean: I like salad/I need to eat healthy because I have high cholesterol/I’m a vegetarian/I’m cheap, and it’s the only entrée under $10.
What they say: I can’t seem to gain weight, no matter what I eat.
What people hear: I can eat anything I want, and I’m still a size 0. It must suck to be you and count calories of every stick of gum you put in your mouth.
What they mean: I look like an 8-year-old boy. I have no boobs, and I wish I could have your curves.
What they say: I run about three times a week.
What people hear: It takes a lot of work to look this good. You should get off the couch and try it.
What they mean: I have to exercise regularly because it makes me feel good and keeps me healthy. If I didn’t run, I probably would have a muffin top Sara Lee would be proud of, go PMS-psycho and spend way too much time creating Pinfails of all those crafts and recipes I’ve saved.
What they say: You want to borrow my skirt?
What people hear: Do you want to try on my size 4 skirt? It might be fun for me to watch you squeeze into it, or you can just admit that I’m way smaller than you.
What they mean: You may be a size or two bigger than me, but you should be able to wear it, and I think it would look cute on you.
Now, if you mean to say what people hear, then you are a catty, skinny-ass bitch. Eat a donut and shut up. I’m the first to admit that there are skinny women in the world who love to flaunt their perfect bodies in front of people who struggle with their weight. It makes them feel better about themselves, either because other aspects of their lives are a disappointment or it may be the one part of their lives they can control.
We all have issues. Just some are more noticeable than others, whether we wear it on our sleeve (or hips) or it’s something more hidden. I’m not sure which is better.
So, to all my curvy friends, I don’t mind when you call me a skinny-ass bitch, as long as you smile sincerely while doing it and give me a hug into your big bosom. I won’t call you catty at all, but know that when I confide my body issues to you, it’s because you’re my friend and I also need a listening ear, too.
And when you’re carrying on about your big butt and your skinny friend starts moaning about the cellulite on her thighs, you have my permission to roll your eyes and then offer advice on a cellulite cream. Because even skinny girls need love, too.