I’ve been overthinking again — Is it okay to refer to your overweight friend as “fat” if you yourself are overweight? This question has been plaguing me since I overheard an exchange between two girlfriends over the July 4th weekend.
Context is everything in a situation like this, let me back up: I was on the roof of my apartment building with my chihuahua, Wagandstuff. Since it was the night of the 3rd, it seemed like half the building was up there grilling, drinking, smoking weed — American things. Wags got to sniffing some planter or whatever and of course I took this moment of stillness to eavesdrop on the people closest to me: A heavy-set blonde, a slightly less heavy-set brunette and a guy that looked like he masturbates a ton. A year-round corduroy pants wearer with ungroomed facial hair and a t-shirt that referenced some kind of true nerd shit. I dunno.
The blonde was killin’ it. She’s had massive tits and she loved ‘em. She’d layered three camisoles with built-in bras and had on some sort of wrap skirt. She clearly loves loves loves what she’s working with so I loved her too. The brunette seemed more uncomfortable in her skin. She was wearing bootcut heavy denim and a men’s crewneck tee which had to be miserable because it was like, 1000 degrees that weekend. Very “swimming with a t-shirt on.”
So they were talking about the gathering they were planning for the next day and the blonde turned to the brunette and said, “Just so you know, you need to be careful around Gregory because he can be inappropriate with drunk women.”
Obviously this is a startling sentence because like, why the fuck do you keep inviting Gregory over, crazy? So the blonde continues, “Especially fat women.”
I’m slack-jawed at this point and even though Wags had finished smelling the planter I kicked it so he’d smell it again and I could stay and listen. The brunette went to open her mouth to say something but the blonde stops her and says, “I’m just saying, you want to be careful around him.”
I don’t think I’ve ever had more questions about anything, guys. Ever. Is there a bond between these two girls where calling each other “fat” is okay? Has there been a “it’s okay to call me fat” conversation? Who is Gregory and why is he being invited to hang out with intoxicated thick girls when you’re basically saying he’s a known chubby rapist? Do I just think that “fat” is a terrible thing to call a friend because there are so many more ways to say someone is overweight and “fat” feels about as plain as “stupid” or “ugly”? Is this whole thing my problem? Is it normal to turn to a friend and say, “Hey fatso, one of our guests might cop a feel when your guard is down so WATCH IT!” It might be.
The brunette wound up saying that she’s noticed Gregory’s really socially awkward (!!!) and then the guy chimed in. He was all, “When I was sixteen I had sex with a twenty-year-old and that’s technically rape but I knew what I was doing so I don’t feel raped.”
Which was obviously just him trying to brag that he’s touched a vagina before. I have to believe that’s all that was because the only other thing I can think he’d mean by that is like… Gregory’s victims should be happy they’re getting some at all. And if I let myself believe that that’s what he was saying I will die.
So here I am two weeks later. I think about this every day. I’ve told everyone I know. I think I told a stranger the next day at a barbecue, actually. No, I know I did. And I told another stranger a couple days after that. And everyone’s just like, “That’s… really weird,” which would be a totally adequate response if this wasn’t fucking haunting me.
So I ask you—and let’s just take the Gregory of it all out of the scenario entirely because it’s beyond baffling—is it ever okay to call your friend fat?