I have been large all my life. I blame my Italian heritage and grandmothers that always told me to “mangia!” My grandma Louise actually had a special name for it when you finished everything on your plate; you belonged to the “clean up club!” I blame myself for listening to them, but, hey I was a kid and what grandma said was like the word from on high. As I got older it was just easier to stay large. Grandma Louise even changed her tune and told me to “P.T.I. Michael – pull tummy in” more times than not. But, losing weight is a difficult thing, and usually, after losing some, it’s so easy to put it back on (along with some more for good measure). I’ve always been embarrassed by my size, and plagued with certain health problems because of it as well (Type 2 Diabetes and herniated disks, to name a couple). Recently, I have embarked on a new “healthy eating” journey. I’m not saying “diet” or “weight-loss plan” because those terms make me cringe and cause me to “cheat.” My new plan is just to eat better and eat less. I’m not counting calories, nor pushing myself to exercise, but I’m eating better and eating less. I have lost 11 kg (23 lb) already.
Living in Asia, however, people tend to be obsessed with and intrigued by fat people. It’s very embarrassing and completely off-putting when Asian people make comments about my size. Nowhere was it as common as when I lived in China, where, for no reason at all, people would come up to me on the street or in the mall and make hand gestures denoting my size. Excuse my Chinese, but they’re fucking assholes! There’s no reason to emphasize my size to ME! I know how big I am and I know that I stand out like a sore, fat thumb in a nation where everyone has stick-figure proportions and lollipop heads (like a big round ball on top of a stick). I know most people didn’t mean anything by it, but it really annoyed me. For this reason, I never sat in the front seat in a taxi in China (a normal thing in Chinese taxis). The taxi drivers would always make comments about how I was so big that I encroached on their driving space. Or, I would have trouble getting my tree-trunk legs (large because of a DVT, not fat) into the car and they would laugh and make comments about my size (in Chinese of course, but I knew what they were saying by their tone).
Sometimes they were sweet about it, and didn’t know that, to westerners, making comments about weight is not polite. When I was in the hospital in China, I was once wheeled down for some x-rays and the two young Chinese nurses were giggling while they were wheeling me down. One of them spoke English, so I asked her what was so funny and she said, “she says you’re cute because you are fat.” My face sank, but I couldn’t blame the nurses. They never dealt with western patients, and it is not impolite to talk about weight in China. Also….she called me cute! It’s something that needs to be taught to Asian people if they are going to be dealing with westerners. Even though this hospital (the number one hospital for western patients in Suzhou) had western patients, they were few and far between for these nurses. The Chinese nurses at the ex-pat clinic were much more in tune with western ideas of politeness.
China is not the only culprit. Now, I’m living in Singapore and, while a lot fewer than in China, there are still some comments made about my size by the local people. The other day, I went for a massage to silence a headache and relieve back pain from the 24 hour flights I took to get home. The massage therapist was an older Asian woman (probably Chinese background) who kept making comments about my size and how she liked fat men. At one point, she even pinched my butt! While I enjoyed the attention, I didn’t like the reason why I was getting it. She gave me the massage and at the end said she liked fat men and stroked my cheek (the one on my face – rude)! She was sweet, and didn’t know that she was being impolite by making a big deal about my size. I can’t really fault Asians for this because they just don’t know, it’s not impolite in Asia. But, if they’re going to deal with western clients (like this business does), they should be more aware.
It hurts when people make comments about my size. I’m trying everything I can to change my size, but it’s so disheartening when I lose some weight, and I’m proud of myself, only to have some moron make a comment about how big I still am. I try to avoid contact with people who I think might make comments about my weight. I even left a movie theater in Shanghai once after, while in line, some fucking dick (sorry, these words just come out when I talk about this topic) came up to me and made hand gestures denoting that I was large. I felt horrible the rest of the day, and even chose not to go out that night (which was the whole reason for being in Shanghai in the first place). I’m tired of being told I’m fat. Do these people think I don’t know?!?! Are they so oblivious to everything that they feel they have to remind me of my size?!?! I think I’m going to start saying nasty things back to these people and pretend like I don’t know what I’m saying. If an Asian person makes comments about my size, I’ll make comments about their miniscule size and say I like scrawny, stick figure people with lollipop heads. They don’t realize it hurts, and they think they’re being funny, but they’re not. They’re just being stupid moron assholes!!