“Should You Be Eating That?”
For the next few weeks, our devilishly delightful Ruthie Fudge will be sharing a "cornucopinga" of coping methods on how to deal with people in our lives who, you know, mean well, but whose words still sting and send us to the bathroom to cry thanks to their well-meaning platitudes. Here’s this week’s edition of…
How Not to Cop Out and Surrender to the Food Police, Part 1: “Should You Be Eating That?”
Cops make me nervous. When I see one, no matter what I’m doing, I instantly feel like I've done something wrong and have to explain myself. The sight of that badge coupled with a holstered weapon – it makes me shiver (and not in the good way). But there’s a whole other arm of law enforcement with weapons even scarier than a tazer.
You know who I'm talking about: The Food Police.
What’s insidious about the Food Police is that they can go undercover and disguise themselves so cleverly: for example, as your mother, a co-worker, or even strangers who feel it’s their God-given right to lecture you about the food you are about to eat. Most of us have had run-ins with the Food Police at some point in our lives, but no one gets it quite like a fat person. It seems like I am caught in a never-ending succession of shaming for “bad” food consumption, praising for “good” food consumption, or, my favorite, passive-aggressive compliments like, “Oh have you lost weight? Cutting carbs? Sugar-free? What's your secret? Good for you! I knew you could do it. I mean, I had my doubts at first but wow, you just go girl!”
Well my friend, you no longer have to struggle with how to deal with the Food Police. I'm gonna give you some strategies so you can deal with the dipshit apocalypse. It's a cornucopia of coping, a cornucopinga, if you will. When you're done reading this article, you're gonna be like Carol Peltier, the mousy housewife (mousewife?) from The Walking Dead who turns white-hot with confidence. Sure, it'll feel weird at first, but standing up for yourself is the ultimate rush.
Your Crime: Eating
What the Food Police Say: “Should you be eating that?”
As you are about to sink your teeth into a delicious chocolate-covered doughnut, the Food Police busts in with a casual, “Oh, should you be eating that? Usually this member of the Food Police is a well-meaning family member who “cares” about your health, and knows your entire family history of high cholesterol/diabetes/high blood pressure. And by golly, eating a doughnut will make you explode. They say they are worried for you, but that's a bunch of bologna. More likely, they simply have a shallow streak or feel the need to project their own internalized fatphobia. This kind of comment cuts when it comes from a loved one especially if you are tied by the bonds of blood.
Plan A: Do not acknowledge the comment whatsoever, and redirect the conversation to something that you know the Food Police will want to talk about. For example, if your Aunt / Sergeant Pam is really into knitting, just start discussing her latest knitting project, and then tell her in great detail how your friend’s aunt got serious carpal tunnel and had to have surgery due to her knitting, and because the doctor was high on heroin, he made a mistake and she died. Or something like that. But seriously, there’s some real benefit in the art of redirecting. Most loved ones who say moronic things like that WANT a reaction from you and are expecting you to be defensive. If you discuss something that isn't about food or get up and leave the room all together, they lose. How? Ever seen the blockbuster “Revenge of the Nerds?” There's a scene where the nerds are up against the jocks during the frat Olympics. They’re in a tug-of-war competition with each other and they know the jocks are going to drag their asses through the mud. It's pure physics. So when the ref blows his whistle, they let go of the line. Their enemies aren't expecting it and fall on their faces. Lesson? One cannot play tug-of-war when there isn't anyone else at the end of the rope. You win.
Plan B: So maybe they've taken some online college courses in bullying, and figure out that you're ignoring them, so they don't stop. The Food Police makes another comment about how many calories are in that piece of baked goodness. They come at you again and again about how their tax dollars going towards taking care of a bunch of type 2 diabetics. What to do? Remember, they're looking for a fight. You can fight facts with facts and let them know that all of the family ailments are hereditary and have nothing to do with eating habits, but they'll take you down a rabbit hole of medical information, and who wants to discuss colon cancer when you're eating pastries? Not me. You have to be firm and give them a punch where it hurts.
You're going to have to hold up a mirror to their faces. Here are some tips I prepared just for these occasions:
· Well, Dad, at least I EAT my calories.
· Y'know, what mom? I'm glad I wrecked your vagina with my big fat ass.
· Hey, Cousin Joey, I heard your sex tape went viral! Congratulations!
Then? You leave. And you never go back because you don't deserve to be around anyone who treats you like that. Or you can just leave without saying anything, I guess. I personally like blowing shit up prior to an exit.
As the infamous Lydia Lunch has said - Blood may be thicker than water, but water doesn't leave a scab on the scars that are never going to heal. You don't have to be around people that hurt you – related by blood or not.
Tune in next week for “You have such a pretty face…!”