What should I do when a boy calls me fat? I’m not super skinny or anything, but I’ve always thought I was regular.
I want guys to like me, but this guy called me fat and got me thinking I’m ugly and fat, and now I’m wondering what I should say back.
My mom told me to message you.
FIFTEEN IN ALABAMA
First off: I’m going to tell you what my granny would’ve told me. Though you might not want to hear it—God knows I never did.
Compliment that hateful boy. Tell him how nice he looks. Make a remark about his shoes. Tell him he’s got lovely eyes. Anything sweet.
You don’t even have to mean it.
Of course, this is the last thing you want to do. But it’s an old rural trick which folks like Granny called: drowning outhouse flies in honey.
Something you don’t see many people do these days.
Listen, I wish I could tell you how to forget the insults, but that’s silly. You can’t forget them any more than you can forget being kicked in the teeth.
I remember nearly every bad word used on me. In sixth grade Doreen Severs called me “chunky.” I was a round-faced, chubby kid. Her remark made me cry for forty days and forty nights.
My mother forced me to approach Doreen the next day and tell her she had marvelous brown eyes.
I almost gagged on my words. But you should’ve seen Doreen’s face. You could’ve knocked her over with a residential lawn mower.
She never gave another lick of trouble.
The truth is, I don’t know much, but I can tell you the problem isn’t you. Neither is the problem the boy.
It’s much bigger than him.
In fact, it’s so big that it’s almost invisible. And it can be found in magazines, swimsuit ads, underwear commercials, or the internet.
Photos of girls who are a certain size, eyecolor, inseam, shoe size, bloodtype, astrological sign, and religious affiliation. They have edgy hairstyles, trendy clothes, perfect eyebrows, they eat rice cakes for a living.
And they’re about as real as a tooth fairy.
I’ve known a lot of stunning people who don’t fit the requirements of People Magazine.
Like my friend Bree. She had kidney disease. She underwent intense treatment and dwindled to eighty pounds.
Before she passed, she told me, “I used to think I was overweight in high school. Funny, when you’re dying, you’d give anything to be fat again.”
She left behind two kids and one husband. None of whom care what dress size she used to be.
I guess what I’m saying is:
You’re a girl. And this means the world is out to get you. It wants you unhappy. Miserable. Under-confident. And then it wants you to buy its magazines, makeup, and swimsuits.
But you can’t let it win. Because the fate of the female race rests on the shoulders of girls who have the gall to be themselves.
Tomorrow morning, march up to that dreadful boy and tell him he has lovely eyes.
You’re not fat, sweetie.
No way, no how.