Sunday, January 24, 2010

Heavy Women Vs. Thin

I met someone this week who is around my age and probably weighs fifty pounds more than me. I didn't even think about it much. Until she was nasty to me for no reason. I asked myself, "Am I being rude"? "Did I say something offensive"? (She did) After the conversation ended, I realized what her problem was: she was mean to me because I am thin and she is not.

So I am telling the story of the mean girl to some people this morning and they beg to differ. But I cannot tell you how many times I have been in this situation. Yeah, so studies show that thinner women may have a better salary, make heavier women feel worse about their bodies, get more attention, yadda yadda. Why would they want to be nice to us?

It is slightly infuriating to be the victim of insults and put downs because the other person is so insecure with their own body image. I have had people tell me that they notice their "heavy-set female co-workers" are extra condescending to them on days when their thin bodies are more noticeable.

So I ask the sister psychologist "Don't you think it makes sense that someone I meet in a "competitive" setting who is around my age and heavy is going to be a b#$%h to me"? "Yes, absolutely", she replies.

Just this week, I received a message from an old friend. The last line stating, "PS you look nothing like Arlene, you skinny b*tch. (love)" (Arlene was some heavy-set Italian woman she told me I looked like when I danced in college....)

There is a stigma with skinny. The next adjective following is a bad word. Think Parisian women. I am not bragging here. I am thin. And I don't consider myself a female dog at all. I am caring and compassionate and thoughtful. Here, I will quote my boyfriend, in an e-mail he just sent me:

"I think you're a smart, extremely generous,
passionate, honest, reliable, confident, sensitive and beautiful

Nowhere in there do I see that I am cruel. So why do skinny women have to have this reverse discrimination from heavy set women? Heavy women can tell me I don't understand. Or I have no idea. Or they can't get a date and I don't have that problem. Or anything. But I gained that weight in college. I have been a lot bigger. I am lucky now. I will blog about it sometime - how I maintain a small figure. But not now. So I know.

There was an obese woman at my gym who would never, ever look me in the eye. I am guessing she weighed somewhere around 300 pounds and was maybe two inches taller than me. The whole time I would see her there, she absolutely refused to make eye contact with me. In the parking lot, crossing paths, she would look down. Passing on the way to the shower, the same situation. I can say in the years that I was a member there, she never looked at me. If it was just the two of us, I would intentionally say "hello" and smile. She always looked away. I know why. I went out of my way to be nice. But it's hard when the other person won't look at you.

I am not trying to brag. I just think that all women are created equal. So why be mean?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Touristy Visit to Cleveland

After a year and a half, I went home to Cleveland, Ohio. As my Dad, a New Yorker says regarding his trips back to Queens, "It's like you never left".

In Cleveland, there are many places to go and people to see. My favorite and very much missed restaurant is Tommy's in Coventry. This is ideal for vegetarians and there is plenty for the carnivore. The milkshakes are to die for. After the birth of my niece last March, I didn't think I would ever enjoy a meal with both my mother and father but they are so easygoing about things. (Thanks)

Straight from the airport, we went to Tremont. I would say it is a gentrified area that is now eclectic where the old world meets the new. Art galleries, good restaurants and locally owned shops remain the draw there.

After reviewing "36 Hours in Cleveland" in the "Times", I wanted to try out a new restaurant by Case Western Reserve University called "L'Abatros". I love the atmosphere around Case Western. You are surrounded by the cultural part of Cleveland. There is that suggestion of intellect and scholarly sub-culture that you feel in Madison. The people are more "earthy" and the architecture, particularly the art museum and Severance Hall are easy on the eyes.

In fact, I find that when you travel (although I don't think I can count visiting home traveling) you tend to do things that remind you of home or of your routine.

L'Abatros was busy at 9:00 PM on a Saturday and this was with a reservation. An upscale American dining experience was not disappointing. I enjoyed the seasonal and fresh tasting salad with butternut squash, the goat cheese entree in a crock with fresh vegetables, the white pizza and their pasta of the day. (We shared all of the above).

I knew the Gauguin exhibit was currently on display at the Cleveland Art Museum and I wanted to make a point to see it before the last day. It was a perfect show. Not as overwhelming as some of the other exhibits, you learn about Gauguin's relationship with some other famous artists of his time as well as the story of the Volpini Exhibition (a little history on the Eiffel Tower - ooh-la-la!) Although I love Madison, our classic art museum is owned by the University and does not house such famous paintings as the Cleveland Museum of Art does. If you get to Cleveland, definitely go to their museums.

I was able to visit old friends and family. As you get closer to thirty, you realize the value of these people. It was so special to see each one of them. Even my almost 98 year old aunt, who I need to stay in better touch with.

The other great part of my visit was when my boyfriend wanted to watch old movies of my family and me. Starting in 1973, when my mom and dad were in their twenties, we watched through the decades of hair styles,puberty, bad clothes and beyond. It was really fun and it made me think a lot about my childhood.

After a year and a half of being away, there was so much to do and so little time. But what I came back to Madison with is this: I am lucky. Because I went home and saw my mom and dad. And other relatives with all of their little hangups. And it was so pleasant. And calm. We didn't have any turbulence. Which is so refreshing.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Meeting with the Ex

It has been an unforgettable week for me. I took on a little investigation.
Madison is small. So small, in fact, that you cannot really be too secretive. I was watching the french film "La Ceremonie" last night. In it, two disturbing and unremorseful women learn that they have both been accused of different criminal acts. One had recently been hired in the small town as a maid for a wealthy family. It had me thinking. If you attempted to hire either on of them in Madison, their names would be so tainted that their resumes would never hit your desk.

You can't get too far around here without someone knowing your name. And I took on my own investigation when I got upset enough with my boyfriend that it was time to hear about his romantic past. It became my duty to seek out his last serious girlfriend and have a conversation with her.

It started a long time ago. When he refused to go into my favorite coffee shop. After enough interrogating, he finally admitted that he dated someone who worked there. After doing some of my own research, I found out that she no longer worked there. About six months later I found out everything I needed to know in the event that I needed to get in touch with her. Supposedly she wanted to get in touch with me. A few weeks ago, when I walked into the coffee shop en route to work, I knew it was her who was waiting on me. And she knew it was me. I could just tell.

So when we sat down together the other day and had a chat, I said "I could just see that you knew who I was. There was a look there. And I knew it was you, too. Somehow, I just knew". After a discussion on things, she was rather helpful. He didn't know about the meeting until after the fact. And he is not happy about it at all. He thinks it is totally weird. But it was so good for me. And I recommend it.

I don't know if I am more curious about the ex girlfriends/wives than others. A long time ago (in fact it is still in my "drafts"), I had started a posting on this topic. I am always curious about what the ex is like. I think an ex girlfriend or an ex wife says a lot about the person. And to hear about their dynamic is intriguing if not helpful.

We obviously are a generation where ex partners exist. Many of them. Our parents may have not had this benefit, marrying so young but we are lucky.

My peers have histories of relationships behind them. Why aren't more of my friends doing this? I have no jealousy here. At my tete-a-tete with the ex, we even shared intimate things about ourselves. None of it bothered me. I would be her friend if it didn't piss him off so much. She probably would have come to dinner with my girlfriends and me, if she hadn't already had other plans.

I think my biggest curiosity about the whole thing in the beginning of the relationship is "what does she look like?" After getting over that, I want to know about their personality type and how my partner dealt with them in a crisis. And of course, it is so important for me to find out why they didn't last.

Clearly, I liked her. She said she wished she had taken on my approach when she was dating him. I told him if I could, I would interview all of his ex girlfriends and write a guide. Maybe I will create a group of facebook. I can be the administrator. Wouldn't that be fun?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Best of 2009; Postings

I am finally full of ideas to blog about. I said in my last blog that I would review my favorite ones from 2009, so here goes.

I feel compelled to refer to the postings that were featured on Brazencareerist. Those are the ones where my fellow blogging companions felt the need to bash or completely support my "Janieisms".

Starting with "Everyone Needs Good Therapy. As usual some of the blogging community blasted me. One blogger wrote, "I am reluctant to take the advice of anyone who labels themselves as an armchair psychologist simply due to the fact that it implies that he/she believes he/she knows the cause and cure to everyone else's problems. That kind of arrogance is rarely correct". I never defend myself with these comments. Nor do I take it personally at all. I still think everyone should try therapy out. I have noticed a significant difference in people (myself included) who have been in therapy. Ok, so maybe not everyone needs therapy. Almost everyone.

"A Definition of My Generation" was also featured on Brazen and I think upset some of my peers. My favorite comment was the one where the author, referring to a photo of me with the back pack asked "Where's all the back packing taking place, by the way?" My point is just that our generation thinks we are so special while boasting about our intellect and sustainable lifestyle. Which is great. But not unique.

My Favorite 2009 Posting - the one where I actually received a few phone calls - was the "Dating is Complicated and Irony was Last Week's Theme". Sometimes I think it's not fair how hard I work on my relationships. As I walked over to the coffee shop to write this, I thought about how I exhaust my boyfriend with questions regarding his feelings. Around the clock. Day in and day out. I wish I could say more - really everything. But I am realizing that he is finally starting to read this. He the introvert. And me the extrovert.

He angers me and I tell him right then and there. I lay into him. All of my issues with him come pouring out, igniting a bomb. And then I storm out. Yes, dating is complicated. Since that posting, I ran into my "missed connections" a bunch of times. We spoke at length. There was a period where we were running into each other all of the time. I haven't seen him in months, though. I was just asked out at the airport. And while traveling. Each time, telling them that I am in a relationship. But each time, I still feel these men give me more credit than my boyfriend. So that has not changed.

Onwards. My favorite postings; ones where people slam me. Each one is a lesson learned.