My best friend is beautiful. Not the everyday in your neighborhood beautiful. If not for her height, she is like Lord of the Rings, Elfin kind of beautiful. She has high cheekbones and beautiful lips with no little dip in the middle, and gorgeous almond shaped eyes, and she has always been skinny. Not model skinny, but average skinny. Well- let’s just put it out there, she will always be skinnier than me. Now I am not the jealous type, but there have been times when she would come over to my house and launch full on into a large bagel sandwich, or eat just about anything with vigor and I would think man, what would it be like to just not have to worry. We had a saying in our house, don’t know how it tastes give it to Christine. You know the saying, “she’ll eat it, she’ll try anything.” She was like a dude. Even though I sometimes looked at her and longed to have that freedom, weight never came up. She is an awesome friend and never brought it up with me, but if I brought it up she would give me encouragement. She knows a touchy subject when she sees it.
We have been friends through countless serious relationships, several major deaths, four or five major job changes, and one catastrophe after another. She is my confidant. She is the one that I go to when I am mad at my husband, or angry at traffic, or my boss smells like cheese. She makes me laugh, sometimes annoyed, but has never made me cry. In all my life, I don’t think there is anyone else who can say that. However, weight has never been an issue. We have never had detailed discussions about weight. We have never had anything other than a passing mention of weight.
Fast forward ten or so years (back off on the specifics) and Christine wants to lose a few pounds, and I need to lose a lot more than a few. I am starting this losing weight initiative, and she is running and eating healthy and doing yoga. I am pretty sure she did that stuff before intermittently but now she is serious. I think she is definitely doing better than I am. She is going through something now that I have been going through for a while.
She is looking up healthy articles and running in the snow. She is talking about the Biggest Loser. She keeps telling me what she learns. Now most fat people have had a skinny person once in a while tell her or him facts about losing weight. I had a guy at work once say, “I been doing Atkins and lost about five pounds, you should try it.”
I looked at him quizzically and said, “Why?”
He said very emphatically, “To lose weight?”
I then repeated, “Why?”
He looked at me incredulously and just stared.
People think that they can comment on a fat person’s weight as if they aren’t aware that they need to lose. It’s as if I went up to someone who wears Mom pants and said You know, they make new pants now that don’t crawl up to your boobs.
Ever since I was in fourth grade when I read my first weight loss book, second grade when I first bent to my first Jane Fonda video, and that’s not counting watching Richard Simmons while eating potato chips years before that. I have been researching the best way to lose weight for almost thirty years. I know about almost every program out there…the healthy and unhealthy. I have gone to doctors, attended meetings at various weight loss institutions, and even done individual counseling. I have done everything short of pills and surgery, which I refuse to entertain. Let’s not even talk about the countless family and friends that have tried to help me lose weight. Christine never has. She knows I’ve struggled, but has never broached me about. I guess she figures that if I want her help, I’ll ask for it.
So like I said, the other day she started telling me stuff she learned from Biggest Loser. She started the sentence with “Did you know…” I instantly shut down. I am distraught all of a sudden. Is my best friend trying to tell me how to lose weight? Does she think I haven’t researched this? So I told her, “We should talk about the losing weight thing.”
“Yeah,” she said apprehensively.
“I don’t really like to talk about the weight thing. I have read countless magazines. If it came out in Self, Shape, Eating Well, or Cooking Light in the past three years, I have heard it.”
“Well then who do I have to talk about it too?”
It was in that moment that I felt the most selfish than I ever have in our relationship. So yes she is absolutely gorgeous, with a small waist and a perky butt. So yes she is a great and wonderful friend. I am an asshole. She needed someone to talk too, and because of my situation I could only think of my needs. It just goes to show that you never know what people are thinking. In any other situation I would have asked her to clarify, or figured she was talking about herself. Because weight talk makes me crazy, I thought the worst of my friend after all these years. For that I am sorry.