Once upon a time I had a fat prejudice. Worse, I was a baby boomer raised by a mother with a fat prejudice and I was married to a man with a fat prejudice. My mother liberally cautioned me about what other people would think and my husband told me point blank what he thought. Without a shadow of doubt, I knew that I would be acceptable only if I maintained my perfect weight and continually sucked in my stomach to present a perfect body. I was often hungry and lived with the motto, “you can never be too rich nor too thin.”
I am a baby boomer, so you may ask, “Why didn’t you just wear a girdle? Folks, I must confess, there were no girdles in my size. Even the control top pantyhose hung limp. I am now an aging baby boomer who has, of necessity and scientific logic, given up all hope of an hourglass figure, though I can still shop in the junior department and wear size 4 when I shop for women my own age. Four is the new 10, you know.
I work on the front lines in a destination building, a place where folks of all ages, personalities, nationalities and physical descriptions pass through by the thousands every week. I see couples of every combination. Some fight. Some make it their business to annoy each other. But many are endearingly and enduringly matched like a pair of well-used work gloves. I see men who are not GQ models nor Rodin thinkers (yes, good looks and intellect are important to me). And I see women who love them anyway. I see women morbidly overweight, high maintenance, fashion illiterate. And I see men who love them anyway. People, it’s not the fat or thin that leads to happily ever after. Nor is success guaranteed by obeying every social rule your mama taught you.
Rather, I think happily ever after is an attitude of acceptance of the humanness of the other. There are no perfect people. Am I advocating you lower your standard to accept me? Or that I play blind to your flaws? Denying or overlooking is no more effective than lowering your body mass. I am old enough to know that I will not dilute my standard and settle ever again. I have lost two marriages and become cynical of ever meeting a man who would suit me – and I him. So what kind of attitude of acceptance am I talking about? Perhaps, just perhaps, it is an attitude of acceptance of the humanness of myself. If I ceased my harsh judgment of my own imperfections, would that render me more understanding and charitable toward others? It is worth thinking about.