I had a fabulous weekend. Yeah, granted, I don’t get out much, but attending this weekend’s Cybermummy conference was all round pretty awesome. There have been some fabulous posts about people’s experiences and quite frankly, after reading them, I don’t think my account of singing midgets, poppadum eating competitions or RSI setting in because of live blogging three (yes, three!) sessions will do the weekend justice.
But I may just write about it another time.
Tara Cain’s Gallery theme today is ‘My Weekend’ and my weekend very nearly turned out differently, had I let someone’s nasty comment get to me.
I took my boys up to London on Friday, met my Other Half at Euston for a handover, embarrassed the kids by having a big kiss on the concourse (I mean the actual concourse, it’s not a euphemism,) and then we had dinner before I set off to the tube station to make my way to east London for the conference.
The tube station was busy – it was Friday evening – and I took my place in one of the many queues. As I neared the front, I was feeling good. I was uber excited about Cybermummy, I’d managed to get my OH fix, as brief as it was, and I was determined that queuing for eleventy billions years wasn’t going to ruin my mood. (I don’t ‘do’ queues see.)
The bloke in front of me was with his teenage son. He wore a odd hat and had a weird accent, but I didn’t hold that against him. He was slow, but seemed to be a tourist so y’know, I gave him extra time to get his shit together – I’m nice like that. And then his card was declined. He was embarrassed but cobbled together some shrapnel to pay for their tickets again. He didn’t know what he was doing and a few people behind me were getting a little antsy. You know, when they do that little foot shuffle thing that’s meant to make the person in front go quicker but all it does it make them go slower. Yeah, that.
He’d finally got his tickets and we were all pleased the bloke had finally managed to work out that really complicated machine. He had to press three buttons after all.
And then he stood there. Looking at his tickets. And stood there a bit more. OK, now I was doing the ‘antsy foot shuffle.’ Normally, I’d have already said something but bearing in mind this was ‘Good Mood Kate,’ I’d let it go but I had somewhere to be! I couldn’t let it go anymore so got his attention and asked, “Excuse me, are you done yet?”
Uh oh. You’d have thought I’d asked, “Can I stab you in the eye with the sharp corner of an Oyster card?”
He turned round slowly. Very slowly. This brief conversation then occurred:
Him: “Why? Do you have somewhere to be?”
Me: “Yes I do actually.”
Him: “Where? Weight Watchers.”
Excuse me while my sides split … AGAIN reliving this hilarious retort.
Now, it was a comment that he’d obviously put a whole lot of thought into. It was also the kind of comment I’d expect from a 13 year old, pre-pubescent, boy in the playground.
Yes, I’m overweight – AND WHAT? Who the hell did he think he was making such a puerile comment to me? And in front of his teenage son! What a great role model, eh.
I was immediately, but only momentarily, transported back to an incident that happened when I was 19, and probably a size 14. I was working in London, on my lunch break and walked past some random bloke who took it upon himself to tell me, “You’d be gorgeous if you lost a few stone.”
Now, at 19 years old, that did stick with me. For years. That random, thoughtless comment, from a dickheaded stranger who thought he had the right to give me his opinion on what I looked like, hurt like a mo fo.
So much of our self esteem is wrapped up in how we look, especially as young women, that it can damage women for life. I totally get that.
I never said anything back to this bloke way back when. It sounds dramatic, but it took me years to build my confidence after it had been so unnecessarily knocked down.
So when another strange man decides he has the right to talk to me like that, I couldn’t keep quiet.
I didn’t want an argument. I kept my retort brief, but, I think, to the point:
Me: “Fucking hilarious. Now …. fuck …. right …. off.”
Job done. I brushed the comment off as quickly as I could and by the time I got to my *cough* luxurious Travelodge hotel … it was forgotten.
My size seems to be an issue for other people more than me. Yes, I do go to Weight Watchers. Ironic eh. I go for my own reasons. My Other Half thinks I’m rather fabulous whatever weight I am and I predominantly go because I don’t want to die of a heart attack at 60 like my mum did.
This bloke’s son may well now think it’s OK to talk to women like this. To use a person’s weight as the ultimate diss. And so it continues.
But, for me, what’s important is that I got strong again … so when someone wants to try and insult me …. they’re really going to have to try a whole lot harder than that.