“So…when are you due?”
It is December 2008 and I am working as a Sales Assistant in Boots. I have just heard a female customer ask this question. I’m restocking some shelves in the baby department, so hear questions like this all the time. There’s a pause. A pause that goes on a little too long. I turn round, to see an elderly woman pushing (what I assume to be) her grandson in a pram, smiling at me.
She is talking to me. She has looked at me in my Boots uniform, which is unflattering at the best of times and has assumed that I am with child. I go pale.
“Oh. Ha. Er…”
This is awkward. I genuinely don’t know what to say.
“I’m er…I’m not. I’m not pregnant. Just chubby.”
I laugh it off. The customer looks absolutely mortified. She’s speechless. She hurries off, red-faced. She didn’t apologise but I fear her attempting one may well have just made things worse.
That incident 4 years ago was the first time anyone had thought that my being overweight was down to “eating for two”. It has since happened three more times, and strangely enough, only when I’ve been at work.
Every time I’ll laugh it off, as humour is the only way I know how to deal with awkward or uncomfortable situations.
“Seriously, unless there’s some kind of immaculate conception thing going on, I promise you that I will not be having a baby at ANY point within the next 9 months. I mean, I would know. At least, I’d hope I would…”
By the time I get to the “9 months” bit of that well rehearsed speech, the person who asked has almost always shuffled off, face burning.
I’ve always been overweight. I got mild ribbing (amazed they could find my ribs under the fat to do it) at primary school, but never really let it bother me. I had a decent enough personality that I could always make friends, a bit of teasing was never going to be enough to shatter my cheery disposition. Anyway. Everyone needs a friend shorter and chubbier than them, as it’ll make them look taller AND slimmer. What more could you want?
I’ve found a clothing style that I’m comfortable with, and don’t really care if clothes aren’t “weight appropriate”. I love wearing dresses and don’t think my body shape should stop me from wearing something that I love.
On the other hand however, I do need to lose a bit of weight. I’m never going to be waif like, and I’m certainly not planning on looking like a lollipop (big head, tiny body) as I actually have hips.
Enough weight so I’m not offered a seat on a crowded bus will do me just fine, thank you.