Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

Strange Times

24 January 2014

I can relate to more of this article, originally a study about the underlying history of obese people, than I can easily express.

I don’t have a typical build. This has been annoying for most of my life in some weird ways, especially in interactions with men and doctors.

For example, being told, within the same month, by my doctor that I was anorexic (and needed to gain weight) and the Navy that I was overweight (and if I wanted to join, I’d have to lose 17 pounds).

What I took away from that was that weight was confusing. If I felt okay, I was okay, right?

Catch is, of course, that I no longer feel okay. Weight is a part of the problem.

As mentioned in the article, a lot of kinds of harassment (by men) stopped when I reached a certain weight threshold. I stopped getting catcalled. I stopped having men tell me what mood I should be in. It was a relief. It was something I had control over.

Because “beauty” was no longer apparently a primary factor, I started being taken seriously for my technical skills. I still remember the first time I met a pretty woman who wanted to be an engineer. And I wondered why she wanted to become an engineer. Now, I wouldn’t wonder, but it was odd back then. I’d known so few female engineers, and none in the field she was interested in (mechanical). Now I wish I’d taken the time to learn more from her.

Then, a few years later, I got a serious marriage proposal from an on-again, off-again relationship I had. Unfortunately, it had strings attached: if I were of a “normal weight.” We went out to dinner (there’s some irony I never saw before, heh) so I could tell him no.

He still thinks that phrasing was a big mistake in his life, but there was a lot more to it than that. We just weren’t a good enough fit overall. It’s one of those relationships where his experience of who we were and mine were miles apart.

There were also downsides to the weight, of course. Like the guy you have a crush on who overlooks you, and you feel that weight is a significant factor. And you tell yourself, “What an ass,” but part of you wonders if you hadn’t been, well, you, if it would have turned out differently. And you hurt.

Despite what I was told, though, fewer men have a problem with it than I’d been led to expect. A lot of the “rules” about how women “should” behave stem from a time when many men were killed during wartime and there was a serious long-term disparity between available men and available women.

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