Friday, March 19, 2010


Well, first of all, I am seeming to have some issues with my comment moderator for this blog.  My dashboard is telling me I have three comments to moderate, but when I click on the link, it says that I have no comments to moderate.  Prior to that, for a few hours it actually brought up fourteen comments from 2009 that had already been moderated.

So.  I'm sorry if some of you guys have commented and it hasn't come through to me. :(  Hopefully this post isn't the same!

So, on to the nonsense.  I went shopping today with Jewlia Goulia and we had a blast as usual.  It was great to spend time with her!  I told her about an article I read because of one of my favorite bloggers over at Casual Blasphemies.  You can read her contempt for the crap article here.  I'm warning you, it's not pretty.  This article is a supposed "ettiquite guide" in dealing with obese people.  It gives such jewels of advice as:

- When extending invitations, avoid situations where there are only folding chairs. Chairs without arms are easier to get on and off. Couches can be scary.
- Check that restaurants have chairs without arms, and tables rather than booths.
- Be wary of activities that require a lot of walking or standing. You would do the same for anyone with a walker or wheelchair.
- Suggest that you are the one who needs to stop for a rest, if you're walking with an obese person. It doesn't have to be obvious.

So.  Let me get this straight.  Anyone who isn't obese should keep these things in mind for obese people, right?  Okay.  So, apparently all obese people are terrified of couches, so maybe we should all get really really tall ones that are built like a brick.  Or maybe just piles of bricks.  With really strong, supportive mortar, and thick pillows on the top.  That would hold.  We should definitely never expect an obese friend to be able to sit in a chair with arms, that's just cruel.  Folding chairs are totally unacceptable, 'cause obviously anyone who is obese would crush one to smithereens.  But now I'm confused, 'cause chairs without arms are easier to get on and off?  Wait.  Does that mean easier to pull off of an obese ass after it's come up with the person, or easier to get up off of the chair itself?

Okay.  So, we should also call ahead to restaurants to verify their seating situation, so as to avoid a booth-crushing episode.  In the same light, we should also be sure to assume that any and all of our obese friends are incapable of walking moderate to long distances.  No more shopping at the mall, going to the zoo or walking around to see nice holiday lights in other neighborhoods.  We should treat them like they're handicapped!  Let's be sure to find the closest parking spaces when we visit places.  We should also make sure to have walkers and canes on hand, just in case they look like they're going to fall over from pure exhaustion at any point.

And so as to not make a spectacle of their obese condition, we should definitely be fake and patronizing, and suggest that we are the ones who need to stop and take a walking break, just in case we somehow end up in a situation that requires us to move.  After all, all people who are obese are incapable of exercise, and definitely can't walk around without taking a break.

This article is a ridiculous shame.  It starts out with the intent being pretty decent... as in, let's try to make the world more aware that treating people like shit based on their appearance is a crap thing to do.  Yes.  I'm on board with that.  But then it turns into a sorry excuse for an article and perpetuates the idea that you can assume someone's physical abilities based on their appearance.

Anyone else want to send this woman a  letter?  'Cause I'm pretty sure that fat people are more than capable of exercise, and yes, that includes (gasp!) walking.  I don't think I've ever heard ANY obese person say that couches scare them, or ever make references to various types of seating as "need-to-avoid."  And I'm also pretty damn sure that obese individuals do NOT need fake assed favors.



Jenn said...

Test Comment :)

Anonymous said...

Wow. I haven't seen a load of crap that big in a long time. That is completely ridiculous.

I'm still technically considered obese at 199lbs, but I run five days a week and am probably in better shape than most of my skinny friends. That's just so insulting, assuming that because someone is heavy, it also means they're incapable of doing anything. Ugh.

Panty Buns said...

I would suggest she watch the movie "Shallow Hal". That doesn't mean your odyssey isn't fascinating. Since I have an obsession with looking at, studying, wearing and being photographed in full brief panties, I'd taken an interest in your granny panty progress . Have you perchance acquired any of the pretty granny panties that have been coming into style? Lady Gaga has brought them very much into vogue, you know.

Stages of Change said...

It's a balance. I don't think obese people need to be yet another "special needs group" who should make demands like airlines make bigger seats, resturaunts have to list their calories, etc. That said, I didn't find that womans article that bad. Again, I didn't agree with how far she was going with treating fat people special, but as someone who's broken chairs (in classrooms, airports, my house), a recliner, a car steering wheel, an entire deck railing by leaning against it, etc, I know it's nice if people are moderately accomodating. Tonight I was at a meeting with a large group and when I came in the room was pretty full, and a woman got up and switched seats to a chair that had sides so I could sit on the bench she had been on previously. I thanked her. It was discreet and appreciated.

Now, I know that being that I've weighed close to 700 pounds at one time, I'm not your average obese person. But I also know that folding chairs, some chairs with sides, some airline seats, some booths, etc., have been a problem since I got to around 400 pounds and over (and I'm 6 3). And I know theres a ton of people that size: though some are heavier and taller, some shorter and lighter, that all deal with those things on a regular basis. There's really a number of different types of fat people, and thus a number or different experiences that being "fat" or "obese" can be.

Meh, anyway, not a big deal either way. It sucks being fat, but turns out it can be changed, so I'm not too concerned with others take on it. It's up to each of us how we treat people, and it will all work out in the end. In the meantime, I would encourage anyone, well, any fat or obese person, to not spend time worrying about creating fat rights, fat acceptance, or trying to stop people from "fat bashing" or "discriminating" against heavy people, and rather to invest all that energy in creating a healthy, positive life for themselves.

Sasha Carr, Ph.D. said...

I definitely don't agree with being patronizing to obese people, and there may be a little bit of that in the language of the article you quoted.

And I wouldn't have used the term "scared", but as someone who has had clients of all different body types come to sit for sessions in my office, I can tell you that LOW couches can be a real issue for someone who is well into the obese range. My first office was pre-furnished with low couches and smaller chairs with arms, and I quickly determined that I needed to buy a comfortable chair without sides which was still supportive so that it was easier to get up from. Where my mid and upper range obese clients incapable of sitting on the low couch? No. But it was a struggle for them to get up from them, and one of my goals was to make my clients feel comfortable sitting in my office.

The best intentions behind etiquette practices are to make others feel as comfortable as possible, so I approve of the intentions behind the article.

As someone who has worked with obese people who are trying to lose weight I believe that acceptance actually supports this rather than the other way around. I don't think they are competing issues at all.

Anonymous said...

umm... let's be reasonable. You were only 225 when you started your journey. For those of us who were 300-400 lbs or higher, all these things were a major concern. Even at 268 my daughter went through a folding chair at an event, and time was those low couches were the bane of my existence. I have to think the article wasn't talking about inviting overweight people, but people with extreme morbid obesity... of whom there seem to be more and more of these days.

When I was up around 400 lbs, I would have been grateful for such considerations.

Crystal said...

Wow. I don't get it.

I suppose I appreciate the sentiment of acceptance and all but I consider acceptance as treating everyone the same. Not "helping" them with their problem. I don't think that's what anyone wants.


Julia said...

Jenn, you and I discussed this yesterday at length and I am still bothered by that posts' content.

Frick! I am 290 lbs. . . I am morbidly obese and you know what? In total, I walked 20 fucking miles yesterday! I walked with you through the mall, I walked on the street. . . I NEVER needed a break. If I was walking somewhere with you and you said "hold on I need to take a breather" I would think "WTF is wrong with YOU" not "oh thank god, I really needed a break!" AND if I did need a break, I would have said "hey, can we stop for a minute." No big deal!

Do not judge me for my size. If I didn't ask and you were all sitting in chairs with arms and I got the chair without arms, I would be insulted.

Perhaps the post should be about obese people gaining the confidence to express their own needs. To me, there is no shame in saying "oh, can I be seated at a table instead of a booth?" (at a restaurant.) You don't need to say "ugh, I need chairs because my fat ass doesn't fit in a booth."

Obviously my examples are extreme but seriously. . . be you! Don't expect others to anticipate what you need or try to hide the fact that you have certain requests/needs. If you need something special. . . ask. You are who you are and you are an adult enough to take care of yourself!

If you don't make a big deal about your situation/requests, I would doubt others would.


LaurenD said...

wow if i knew my family was calling restaurants to see if there were booths and not tables and making sure i never had to walk anywhere i would be LIVID. This is almost just as discriminatory as outright insulting them to their faces for being obese. As if larger people are incapable of walking and being in places where people of all sizes are. why not just give us a separate bathroom and lines for the water fountain lol. segregation of people who may not fit the norm just further perpetuates negative attitudes towards these people and makes them feel even worse!
Lauren "From Hot to Not: The Fat Girl Diaries"

brandi said...

I've been reading for a long time, but have never commented. I weigh about 300 lbs, so I consider myself truly obese. I'm also only 29 years old so I am probably more able bodied than someone of my size who is ten to twenty years older.

Although I do struggle with all of the things mentioned (besides walking for distances) I usually just do the best I can and it works out. The one thing that is the worst is if we have to sit in booths. It is a tight squeeze and VERY uncomfortable. At this point, if I think there's a good chance we will have to sit in a booth, I just don't go.

I don't look at it like it's the hosts' responsibility to make allowances for my size. This is my problem so I feel that it's something I just have to deal with.

Unknown said...


my blog:

nancy said...

I know we had an obese friend who, until she moved, visited our small group bible study each Thursday night. She was always upfront with her needs. She said at the very start of her visits, "there's No way I can sit in that couch unless my husband Joe is here to pull me out! Once he did not come and she said, "If I even tried to sit in that metal folding chair, I'd have a new permanent fixutre to my back side," and she opted to sit on the piano bench instead. As a group when we made plans for a special activity, SHE was the one letting us know what she felt comfortable with and we made adjustments accordingly. Isn't that what friends are all about? Being real with each other.? Yes, I certainly understand being thoughtful, but not to the point of making the person feel like they have a huge neon arrow pointed at them. I've found my obese friends just want to be one of the group--and we each have our own issues.

Much love,


The Holwerda Family said...

YES! My couch terrifies me, it may have even eaten an ass cheek of mine. Ha! What a joke!
I'm sure the writer of the article felt like a really swell person after they were finished writing too. "fat people are just people too!" *rolls eyes*

nancy said...

Eventhough I am not considered overweight, I looked at this from another angle: I am SUPER sun sensitive. So, it's not unusual for my friends to say, "Nanc, why don't you sit in the back right seat of the car so when we go up to the mountains, you won't be on the west side getting hit with all that sun." Or they'll say to the waitress when we enter a restaurant, "can we have a table AWAY from the windows?" Likewise, with my bad knees. If they are giving me a fit that day, I will say, "hey guys, drop me off at the front before you park, okay?" So, it's nice to have folks who know you inside and out and feel comfortable with you as you do with them.



Loving my Complicated Life! said...

This may a politically correct response but I think that balance and moderation are key. No, I do not promote obesity, but I am also considerate of others needs. We must be AWARE and remember we do not know everyone's situation. I read an article recently about a lady who is ATTEMPTING TO BE TE FATTEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD!! WTF!?!?!?! This is insane right? Yes, but it is real and saddening! I will post the link below. It is irritating when I see and obese person at the local fat food restaurant eating 4 double cheese burgers, 3 fries, and two sodas. (I saw this last week) Nonsense is a great title for this post! Here is the link. You MUST SEE TO BELIEVE!


Unknown said...

Your comment about "the idea that you can assume someone's physical abilities based on their appearance" feels particularly relevant to me this week.

I recently got to see a wonderful performance at the dance academy where I spent a lot of time when I was younger. For the past few years, one of their principal dancers has been a man in a wheelchair. He is one of the strongest partners I've ever seen onstage, and his performance in the tango I saw last weekend was no exception. Despite stereotypes, his condition is in no way synonymous with weakness.

In other news, I've had many friends and relatives get married this past year. I've always felt so happy about the wedding pictures you did for me and Rob, perhaps even more so the more I see wedding photos from other photographers. Thanks so much!

Christine said...

Can I just say..
I wonder what else I was supposed to be afraid of when I used to be morbidly obese....
wicker perhaps?

Cole Walter Mellon said...

Always keep copious amounts of Cheetoes on hand in case you have an obese guest.

Before going on a walk with said guest, offer some Vasoline to prevent thigh chaffing.

If you're going out to eat with an obese person, be sure not to suggest a restaurant that's not a buffet.

Mine don't seem any sillier, huh?

Unknown said...

Wow . . . Frankly, I'm afraid to read the article. (I don't want to break my netbook or what ever I end up throwing it at! I'm not a violent person, I just tend to throw whatever I'm reading that makes me mad!)

I hated folding chairs when I wasn't obese! (WTF!!!)
And as the wife of someone who is physically handicapped, the whole walking thing is CRAP! As long as my husband's wheelchair is powered up and there aren't any stairs (or massive hills) he's as capable as any other person!


(Okay, now that that's out of my system I'll go read the article!)

Anonymous said...

Ok, some booths I do avoid cus I'm kinda round and can't fit. And instead of suggesting rest, they should just have those scooters handy!! I would like nothing more than to have a dear friend suggest that I am too fat to walk the distance, so I should maybe use a scooter. Now that is a brave person.

~Kristen~ said...

I'm a tad offended about what the article said cause I've been obese my whole adult life and yet was very, very active and more fit than many of my friends during parts of my life. I have asked to sit in a chair rather than a booth but it's not cause of my roundness but because of my shortness. Many booths squish down when you sit on them so my chin always felt like it was barely higher than the table. But I am sure people have thought that my request is cause of my size. I think we need to be aware of people's abilities but don't lump my "big butt" into the same column with others "big butts" ... I don't have a problem getting up and down where others do. Stereo type and make me made ...

On another note completely, I left you a "fat-free Easter basket" on my blog so check it out. It's a great way to get an Easter Treat without worrying about the calorie count, lol.