As I was standing in line at Trader Joe’s yesterday, minding my own sweet business, I opened a package of dried seaweed (the new wasabi kind which is very, very spicy). An older ( very much older, most likely born in the 1800′s) man in line in front of me starts staring at my breasts first, then proceeds to look me up and down. With what sounded like a Russian accent comes, ” You sure like to eat!!”
What the what? in the words of my beloved Tina Fey.
“I am not even sure how to take what you just said to me.” (Why I dignified him with even so much as a word is beyond me.)
Russian accent, “You’ll put on weight if you keep eating.”
Then he walks away. Off to offer his sage wisdom to another unsuspecting stranger, I am sure.
I felt the old need to yell, “But it’s just seaweed! But I am a yoga teacher! Are you calling me fat?”
Then I got angry at myself. Jennifer, you know better! I think I said this out loud but the people that work at Trader Joe’s are totally cool (I hear it’s not a bad place to work, you get good benefits) and my cashier didn’t even acknowledge it, but rather says ” You look great.”
Again, besides the point! Nothing needs defending here. This creepy old fart, all of a sudden, has taken my power away, and, like magic, everyone, on cue seemingly, needs to make excuses and defend and justify the very, very evil: FOOD. As well as commenting on my figure and it’s curves or lack thereof.
Such a statement on our weight/food obsessed culture. Even from an old nosy man, I am getting flack for being too fat or too skinny or eating too much or not enough.
Here is an excerpt from that article:
I had a fear that people would stop asking me “Are you ill? ” It made me feel like I stood out. Like I was special. When someone told me I looked “healthy,” I panicked. (I know that this is hard to believe for the people who know me now, especially my students. I am so at ease with my self these days. Most days.)
Had the COF ( Creepy Old Fart) said this to me ten years ago, I would have gotten back into my car and had a full blown panic attack. I would have decided that he was right and I eat too much so I would stop eating and lose weight and why was I such a loser and why and why and Oh My God and I can’t breathe and I am a pig and Oh My God and I will just exercise for 4 hours tomorrow and I do like to eat, he’s right, I am bad….
( The pleasant imitation of said panic attack.)
So many things ran through my blood besides ice after this incident with Mr. Nosy.
Incidentally, he was buying 3 frozen dinners and a case of water. That can be analyzed later. ( Of course I peeked. You would have too.)
The way he said “You like to eat!” as an accusation, like I should be burned alive at the stake. I realize a lot of women live like this ( I am sure men as well). I used to. This notion that eating is something to be ashamed of or forgiven for. I cannot believe the thought crossed my mind to defend myself with it just being seaweed. Forgive me Sir, It is just seaweed with a little wasabi. It’s not much? I am so sorry.
And so what if someone gains weight? This is the other thing I have been thinking about since this incident. So what? Then what? You are no longer you? You will no longer have your job or your kids or your thoughts or memories? No one will love you?
I suppose that is it. Once again, people equating their beloved self worth with their oh-so very temporary bodies.
I wish I had dug into my car for my Salt & Vinegar Chips, which I would have done had I been able to reach them.
And just a side note which I would like to make very public: YES I LIKE TO EAT! I LOVE TO EAT!
JENNIFER PASTILOFF www.jenniferpastiloff.com www.manifestationyoga.com @manifestyogajen