Tuesday, January 22, 2013

You Look Fat

Think almost everyone would recoil from such a straightforward matter-of-fact comment.

Politically correct Anglophiles would probably squeal in horror over the opprobrious effrontery. For us plain-speaking Asians - only when it comes to family you understand, it would probably be just another shockingly brusque greeting at the dreaded reunion followed by the typical probing questionaire under the blinding interrogation lamps. Forget about political correctness or positive reinforcement. Think we can agree that elderly Asian relatives never are shy about offering their unsuitable ill-timed critiques.

Me, I'm not worried. Desultory comments, especially those concerning how I look, usually doesn't faze me much. Basically my prodigious self-worth is not inherently tied to my below-average looks.

And yes, I know for a fact that I have lost a couple of pounds.

Though the blench, cringe and drawback from such an inappropriate comment always makes me smile. You Look Fat. Why are so many of us disproportionately affected by such superficial judgements? Why do we even care what other people think? Gets much worse if you even attempt denigrating someone's looks.

Paul : Gosh, that's an ugly kid. 
Snow : You can't say that! All kids are beautiful.
Paul : Have you seen this troll? Look again.
Snow : Stop it, you can't say that.
Paul : It's the truth. 

And there's nothing wrong with it. I'm pretty ugly myself and I don't see the big deal about it. Beauty really is skin deep, in fact probably only millimetres deep. Cut us all up and we don't look very much different from that sculpted six-pack male model on the billboard.

You mean I'm ugly? And fat?

Doesn't make the kid any less. Doesn't make him or her less talented, less intelligent, less anything... just not as physically desirable as we would all hope - or at least not as close to the recommended standards of beauty dictated by the all-important arbiters of taste at Madison Avenue.

So what's wrong with a bit of tough love? Even when they say it, I don't think our decidedly inapropos Asian aunts and uncles mean it as a derisive slam. It's just a matter-of-fact, like claiming that the sky is blue or the clouds are white. So you're ugly. Or fat. Like our straight-talking, far more pragmatic Asian relatives would say 'So what though, just accept the indisputable fact and move on, will ya? Find something else to be good at.'


Aiden said...

This is quite true. But sometimes it's a tad bit hard to let it go just like that. At least for me. Especially since I tend to get these "you look fat" sort of comments in a bulk for some reason. Haha. It's as if the entire world will choose one specific week to say that to me and then everyone will be quiet. Comes in bursts of energy. Maybe something to do with karma or something haha.

But yes, we should all learn to move on and not let petty little things like this affect us.

Anonymous said...

Yes, most people do judge others based on their appearance and criticise them. It's a sad phenomenon where only a handful of people clings to the 'beauty is only skin deep' virtue.

I'm no saint myself, but I try my best to treat each and everyone the same.

All human beings have the same red blood flowing in them.

savante said...

As you grow older, you do tend to let some things slide, aiden :)

Apart from slight physical variations, most everyone's the same, anon :) That's so very true.

NotAlex said...

Nothing gets me going more than a really attractive and magnetic voice.

Does that make me shallow and superficial?