Let’s talk about honesty.
If you ask me “Do I look fat in this?”, I’m probably going to give you one of 3 answers. None of those is my mother’s take on the (socially-)correct response, “Honey, you look fantastic!” if the outfit is remotely acceptable & one thinks the asker likes it, & a noncommital shrug & subject change otherwise. All of my answers assume you actually meant to ask “Do you think that while wearing this outfit I look unpleasantly fat to a greater degree than I look naked or wearing other clothes you’ve seen me in?”.
If it makes you look bloated & disgusting, I’ll say “Yeah, don’t wear that.”... If you then lament that you don’t have a better alternative I’m going to want to know you why you bothered asking, since you would wear it either way. If you don’t have a logical answer, I may mock or criticize you for asking pointless questions. Note, however, that I don’t ask because I’m looking for a reason to criticize you. I ask because I am curious as to whether there is a good reason I haven’t thought of, so that I won’t overlook it again in the future.
If you look fatter than you actually are, but not unattractive in it, I’ll probably say “Yeah, but it doesn’t look bad, sowhy does it matter?”.( Perhaps you are planning an attempt to impress someone who is prejudiced against fat people, but then you’d better believe I’ll hound you about why you would give that person an iota of your consideration.)
If it does not make you look any fatter than you are, I’d be mostly likely to point out “No, but you obviously think it might, since you asked me. If you’re going to keep worrying about that, you shouldn’t wear it.”–you should mind that depending on how distracted or bored/annoyed I am, I might not bother telling you anything else about how you look in it, even if the resulting aesthetic is notably stunning or hideous; if you wear it anyway & it’s a fiasco, I’ll be amused.
There are special cases, of course.
If you actually are fat regardless of what you wear, then depending on mood & how close we are, “Yeah, don’t wear that.” might be followed up with “& join a gym.”, an acceptable but fattening outfit might garner “You always look fat anyway, at least you look good in that.”, & an outfit that has no effect on my perception of your weight/girth could provoke “No fatter than usual.”. If you get offended, I’m 100% absolutely NOT going to apologize; I’m going to tell you not to ask me questions, ever, if you might not want my honest opinion.
If you’re skinny, expect “Where did you get a fatsuit?”, or “Yeah, weird, do you have a pillow under there? Well I like it, you usually look like a twig.” for outfits in which you appear still thin or heavier but average.( If you look genuinely fat, I will probably stammer, furrow my brow, & walk circles around you trying to determine if it’s a trick done with mirrors or what.)
So, what have we learned? Perhaps you learned to thing twice about asking me things you don’t want to know? Me, I’ve learned that the difference between what neurotypical people call “honesty” & the practice of actually telling the truth is just flabbergasting sometimes. Not that I don’t understand the concept of tact, but I truly DON’T understand the absurd practice of asking questions to which one knows the answer, unless one is looking for confirmation( in which case one should generally phrase it that way, e.g “This makes me look fat, right?”, & anticipate that I will agree unless you’re wrong).
Yes, I also understand reassurance, but what good is reassurance that eschews the truth for a pleasant lie? If you look fat, why would you want me to lie or avoid anwsering? If I say you look fat but still look fine or even great, why isn’t that good enough? While I absolutely support any effort to improve your health & well-being, you should stop obsessing over rigid standards of beauty that aren’t even realistic for everyone, & learn to love the skin you’re in. I could go off on a huge tangent here, but that will have to wait for another entry.
For now I’ll just say what’s tried, trite–& true: you’ll be happier when you learn to accept yourself, flaws & all, & work with your quirks instead of against them.( If you don’t know how, I’d be happy to offer some pointers.) The same is true of reality: it’s only when we recognize the truth, no matter how much we want to turn away, that we gain the power to confront it head on & change things.
So the next time someone asks “How are you?” on a bad day, think twice before saying “Fine.”. Try admitting “Miserable, but hoping I can improve things soon. Thank you for asking. How are you?”. Dealing with people on a more sincere basis, even at such a basic level, can do wonders for your outlook.
[To comment, for now at least, click over to this post on the main D.R.T.Y. blog. Sorry about that!]