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Skinny Bitches


by

Explain this to me, sisters;

I walk into Marshall Fields with a friend. She's 5'3" and 160 pounds.

Nobody flinches, there's no pointing or gawking. No snickering behind hands or covert eye rolling. Who knows what goes on after they wrap up her purchases and leaves, sure but while she's browsing scarves and making small talk, the friendly female sales staff finds her her size in 15 different colors and styles, cordially, civilly, kindly.

She's a sister. She has her struggles.

I'm 5'4" and only graze 110 in Timberlands.

I'm built like a rip cord, I have been all my life. I work out a little, I try to eat right. I like being healthy. I shot up to an incredible 135 twice in this lifetime, but only by carrying two kids to term.

What kind of customer service do I get? I get, "Oh, we're going to have to go in to negative numbers on the size chart... hahaha"

I get, "My God, don't you ever EAT?"

I get, "You can try 'Junior Petite' and just let out all the hems, and pull off all the bunny and umbrella duck decals."

I get, "A strong wind would just about blow you away!"

I get, "I'm so jealous! I wish I didn't have to watch what I eat."

and more often than any other dig, the coup de grace, verbatim:

"I hate you. You're so skiiiiiiinny you make me sick. I mean that as a compliment."

You hate me. I make you sick. Well, thanks just all to pieces. This is supposed to make me feel flattered?

These aren't compliments... these are bitch-slaps!

Why is this okay?

Why is it unacceptable to ridicule the overweight, but it's damn a-okey-dokey fine to get right up in the face of skinny bitches like me and insult us directly under a guise of wistful envy?

Skinny bitches.

You know us, we make it impossible for any woman with more curve than a washboard to find a decent swimsuit.

We're cold and arrogant and hopelessly obsessed with having a dress size that matches our IQ. That is, 3.

We're shrill and shallow and eat nothing but salads ... with 1/16th of a teaspoon of no-cal dressing ON THE SIDE.

I've heard it all and then some. And somehow this stereotype is accepted, perpetuated and doesn't even have the decency to limit itself to whispers. It's in my face everytime I try to buy a blouse, pay a bill or order a meal.

"I hate you. You're so skiiiiiiinny you make me sick. I mean that as a compliment."

And have I ever bitch-slapped back?

Have I ever countered one of these transparently passive-agressive jabs with,

"Hey, if you lay off the Snickers bars in pork gravy you too could have a discernable waist line."
or
"Yeah, but think of all the money you save in all-weather gear by being that well insulated." or
"You should have seen me BEFORE the chemo, slab ass."
or how about,
"I make YOU sick? If I were your size, I'd need Dramamine everytime I tried to stuff myself into a pair of pantyhose."

No.

What I'm supposed to do is suck it up. Laugh it off, but with obvious discomfort. Penance from all the struggling sisters.

Guilty as charged.

Guilty of being pegged by the media, pop culture and everybody that ever sunk 700 useless bucks into Jenny Craig's pocket. as perfect for high fashion runways because I'm built like a clothes hanger.

I've betrayed the entire sorority with my lack of love handles and back boobs and therefore I'm either unforgivably lucky, a sell-out to superficiality or one sick chick who spends most of her time with her finger down her throat.

If metabolism and heredity have as much to do with body structure and mass as diet, lifestyle and activity level do, why am I expected to apologize for what I wasn't saddled with? Why do the same women who battle every day with self-esteem and self-denial think I should?

What makes them think I got to choose any more than any other woman did? What gives them the brass bustline to try and shame me? What if this is simply the way I'm put together? It's thyroidal, it's metabolic, it's a genetic crap shoot. Sound familiar? Then cut me some slack for chrissakes!

You get what you get and work with it as well as you know how.... why does anyone feel safe in assuming how I'm built is disordered or contrived? No, I don't live on a treadmill, no I don't subsist only on sniffing 3 saltines a day and whatever moisture I absorb through the air. and no I don't insure double digit scale readouts by promptly relieving myself of same in repeated bulimic embraces with my best friend the toilet. Do I allude to you having a lifelong love affair with Poptarts, Porkrinds and inertia? Do I say a fucking thing besides "Do you have this in mauve?"

As frustrating as that 15 pounds you just can't seem to shake off are the 15 pounds I just can't get to stick to me. But do I take it out on you?

And by the way, just because we skinny bitches aren't all over Oprah at 4 o'clock every afternoon whining about how we've tried and failed to get beyond AAA bra sizes and 'Hello Kitty' lingere doesn't mean this isn't a bullshit deal. I freeze my ass off in the winter, wear t-shirts to the beach every summer and deal with the greater chance of early onset menopause, osteoporosis, arthritis, bursitis, anemia, arrythmia, premature aging, crows feet and clotting disorders. And I get to hear things like "You're so skiiiiiiinny you make me sick. I mean that as a compliment." every damned day from the disenchanted, the envious and the cruel.

If you need a whipping post, go bitch to Madison Avenue. Shift the ideal so that all shapes and all sizes are equal and beautiful. Stop expecting me to kick my own ass because I don't wrestle with the same issues you do. I am not the enemy... and I'm done apologizing.

Next time I hear, "You're so skiiiiiiinny you make me sick."
I'll smile and say, "Just keep taking deep breaths... it'll pass."

And I'll keep smiling when Kate Moss and Callista Flockhart come up in the conversation, along with all the witty jibes about anorexia and scarecrow chic and have I ever tried playing my rib cage like a xylophone.

And my next Double Whopper with cheese and large onion rings goes out to the fine girls at Marshall Fields.

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