13 March 2006

Pie, please

"Where do you put it all?" our waitress asked me pointedly. The question caught me off-guard, but the way she was holding my dessert hostage made her meaning clear. I looked at my slice of French silk pie and then at her. She was in her forties, around 5' 5", curvy with some extra heft throughout but of a common build to my eye.

Mom laughed and interjected, "You mean: how does she stay so skinny?"

"Well, I thought that but figured I'd just ask where she puts it instead," the waitress replied, setting my pie down.

They continued talking, but I was still trying to figure out how to reply. I was stumped with my own question: what had inspired her to ask in the first place. I was wearing baggy cargo pants and a loose long-sleeved t-shirt: within those clothes, my form could be almost anything. My thighs and hips are thicker than I'd care for, and I weigh more now than I ever have, but knowing all things are relative, I knew it wasn't a good reply. My logic shifted to what I'd had for dinner: two slices of vegetarian pizza with pepperoni, a ginger ale, and a bit of salad. Maybe she assumed I'd eaten more slices?

The waitress' face brightened with an idea. "Have you had any children?"


"Oh, then there's hope. Wait until you've had two, or four or five," she said relishing the idea.

Mom laughed with her, nodding.

Five? I just smiled and shrugged at the waitress. She walked away happily; she'd found the answer I couldn't.

I turned to Mom, rolled my eyes and laughed. "Well, we better not show her any of those shots of you in your bikini with Chris and me in the kiddie pool. You were skinnier then than I am now."

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  1. lol!

    That was your Pie And Don't Show It Day girl!

    There are six of us. My mum's children. They say we're more like sisters that mother and daughter. You might end up disappointing this very observant waitress. After the five kids.


  2. Five?!?!? That's just not cool. Katie wants three or four. I want two. Some compromise will have to occur.

  3. i love the end of this tale. :)

    i don't really get why women do this to other women. ok, i DO but i don't want to. why can't we all just learn to be happy in the bodies we have without it being some sort of competition or judgement? (loaded question, i know)

    :) sizzle

  4. Fitena and Kevin: Actually, I didn't have the heart to tell her that I don't really plan to have any.

    Ms. Sizzle: Thank you. I suppose it could give her some solace because my mom is much heavier now than she used to be... but she might have to wait a few decades to get that satisfaction from me.

    As for why women do this- specifically put someone on the spot in that way- I don't know. Or like you, I guess I do, but it still seems odd. I still don't know what I could've answered. Later I thought of chalking it up to my height, but even that wasn't what she was getting at. I suppose the real question was: why do you get to eat that and look that way when i don't? Genetics, I guess.

    It would be nice if we could all be comfortable in our skins. Despite her presumably favorable outlook regarding my build, I immediately cataloged all my flaws.

    I like Dove's real beauty campaign though. It's a small step really, but one in a good direction.

  5. I've got those five kids, still I can't really use it as an excuse as I've only been pregnant 14 months altogether and that's what usually ruins, no, renders a body..

    Yes, they're all mine. You do the calculation ;)

  6. The woman might have meant well, but it's a stone stupid question. You have no idea how someone else feels about their body, and even if you mean it as a compliment, they may not take it that way. That's why it's better to simply say, "You look great!" which is always appropriate (and if someone takes that the wrong way, it's their problem), then to try to be clever with some fancy word play.

    Another area: hair. If someone gets a hair cut, don't tell them they look so much better. They may not think so, and your "reassurance" isn't going to help. Not to mention the fact that you're implicitly saying their old hair was awful. Again, a simple, "You look good" is fine. Grr. I hate people.

  7. Scholiast: 5 kids, work, and you still manage to blog. I'm perpetually impressed by that.

    Hyperion: It wasn't so much a compliment as her really asking. Really there are so many factors involved that can't be assessed that quickly that there is no good answer. Or maybe I should've said something like: this is the body I have, but it doesn't mean my life is any better or happier than yours. But that strikes me as almost too honest and direct for that particular encounter.

    Mainly her question put me in the position of finding a way to preserve her feelings and find a way to validate her appearance. It wasn't about me at all.

  8. Next time she (or anyone) asks, look her straight in the eye and say, "Well, I've been hiding some on you."