This Saturday, I worked my last day until...? (Actually, I'll probably take off at least six weeks and January is a slow month, so I won't be really busy until next February.)
I was working at a conference for sports coaches.
The team I was on was made up of myself and two other women. H. is in her sixties. She is quite slender. In fact, having seen one of her wedding photos, I suspect she hasn't gained more than 5 pounds since her wedding day in the 1960s. She does exercise and from time to time loudly trumpets that she is going on a diet, but generally speaking, she seems to just eat what she wants and exercise regularly. C., my second colleague that day, is someone who has energy to spare. At least 2-3 times a year, she hosts huge parties at her home. She loves to travel, go to concerts, cook and generally have a good time. She's someone you could definitely call a "bon vivant". C. goes to the gym (though more in spurts than regularly) and also does yoga and belly dancing. She's always on the go, a real ball of energy. She's also fairly heavy.
The third person on the team was yours truly. You've seen my picture: I'm neither slim nor extremely heavy. I guess you could call me a "small fatty", so short that I wear regular size clothing, but I can look much heavier or much lighter when my weight goes up or down by less than five pounds.
At the morning coffee break, out of the blue, H. said cheerily, "Isn't this conference wonderful? There aren't any fat men!" I looked at her in horror. "Well, they're all into sports, so no one's fat," she went on to explain. I couldn't help myself and called her bluff immediately, noting that there is no direct, immutable link between one's weight and one's level of fitness. She caved in right away, said she was sorry and verbally closed the door on any further discussion.
C. said nothing.
I was pleased that I had the presence of mind to not let her stupid, insulting statement go unchallenged. I was also happy that I won't have to deal with such idiocy for a few months. And I was sad, knowing that there's probably not one other person in H.'s private or professional life who would have called her out on such an ignorant, demeaning comment.
Ursula Le Guin, 1929-2018
7 hours ago