When’s the Last Time You Were Embarrassed in Public?
It happens all the time to me at restaurants. The waiter comes over to take the table order and when it’s my turn, most of the time, because remember his name is “Chad” and he’s a happy, smiley, ingratiating fellow, he says something like “Hey Big Guy, what can I get ya?”
It plays out often in business networking events, at hotel check-ins, on the street… you name it.
Hey asshole, why not just tell me what’s on your mind: “Hey fattest person at the table, what are you going to stuff in your face?”
Sound a little harsh?
Think about it though. I mean, really think about it. Actually, I know Chad isn’t intentionally being callous – he thinks he’s hip and he’s just trying to identify to boost his tip. He really does want me to have a great meal and enjoy myself. BUT, did he say to my pretty friend across the table: “May I suggest the soup and sandwich Lady-With-Remarkably-Large-Breasts”? Or how about my friend with the glasses “What’ll it be Four-Eyes?”
Does a Valet Parking Attendant ever say, “Wow, nice Corvette, Guy-with-Small-Penis”? Likely not. But how different is that to “Hey Big Guy”! Why is this acceptable?
Have I got your attention? Are you feeling a little uncomfortable now? Are you thinking to yourself, “Have I ever done that to someone?” Didn’t your Mom always tell you “If you can’t say something nice… ” you know the rest.
OK I’ll let you off the hook a little. I’m not here to rant about being personally picked on. Guess what? I know I’m fat. Am I ok with it? No. Do I want to change my behaviours? Yes. But you can sugar coat it with pretty words that the media uses so as not to alert the average North American that they are getting more obese by the second. You know the words: husky, plus-size, ample, big-boned, chubby, cuddly, curvy, full-figured, stocky, etc. etc. They’re even slowly making the sizes larger now so we won’t feel so bad. A Large now, is what an X-Large used to be. All to make us feel better – am I right? Hey… HELLO… guess what? The word is fat! Maybe if we use the word, more people will be motivated to do something permanent about it.
This is a tough enough journey without those well-intentioned euphemisms. What I’m saying is that some people may not be ok with being “called-out” in public. You can think whatever you like, nobody cares, but please watch what you say, just like you would if a person of colour, or someone with a visible handicap crossed your path.
I have a name, just like you. If you know it, please use it. And it’s even ok by me to have fun with it. I’ve been called Artie Pants, Artful Dodger, Artie Farty… heard ‘em all. And I’m ok with them all. I know that they’re said with love. But “Big Guy” really is just a substitute word for fat. And for some fat people, maybe opens up a can of worms that might just land you in a place you don’t want to go.
So for all my fellow “Big Guys”… there I just told them. I hope that helps.