Would You Be Offended?

After going (mostly) dark for a couple of weeks (and blogging sporadically before that) I realized that I have a lot to say here.  I just haven’t been making time to say it.  I’ve been busy, but I’m also having laptop issues which makes it easy to put things off until later.  Anyway, I’m back in blogging mode, and I’m curious what you all think of what someone said to me over the weekend.

I valet park across from my building.  They park my car, bring it down for me, help me carry heavy things, etc.  Some people think it’s a hassle, and it would be if the staff of valet boys weren’t friendly and helpful.  There are many valet guys at the garage, but several of them are really kind and attentive toward me.  They go the extra mile, and we’re friendly with each other.  I bake them cupcakes, and they carry heavy things.  It works.

A few days ago, I baked a batch of cupcakes for them and brought them down.  (I’m happy to do it because they see me carrying them so often for other people.)  My friend, Ariel, and I went into the office and sat for a few minutes while they enjoyed their little treats, and one of the guys started telling me that he wants to lose 30 pounds.  He’s one of the sweetest guys there, and he’s young and handsome and super skinny.  I looked at him like he was crazy, then I told him he was silly.  I didn’t think anything of it until Sunday night when he caught up with me as I was leaving.  This is how the conversation went:

J: Kenlie, Sweetheart…Did I say something to you that hurt your feelings? 

Me: What? No.  What makes you think that you did?

J: Well, the other night the guys got on me for the way I was talking, and I would never want to hurt you in any way.  You’re a great person, etc.

Me: Ohh..Do you mean when you were talking about how you need to lose 30 pounds? 

J: Yeah.  I mean, we all have insecurities, and I don’t want you to think I meant that you needed to change.  You’re great how you are.

Me: Nooooo, that didn’t hurt my feelings at all.  I think you’re cray cray, and that you’d look sick if you lost that.  But no….you didn’t hurt me at all.  You’re always so sweet.  We’re good. 

J: Oh, I’m so glad because I would never ever want to say anything or do anything to hurt you.  

 

Following the conversation I started thinking about why someone would be hurt by someone else’s desire to change their own body.  I can think of many people who might have taken that personally, but it didn’t occur to me to do so.  He was talking about himself, not me.

I’ve let me weight and my weight-loss and my need to lose more weight define who I am for a long time, but over the last several months (longer really) I have begun embracing myself.  I love a lot of things about me even though I don’t love the extra weight, and I no longer jump to conclusions or assume the worst when people around me are talking.

He was surprised (pleasantly, I think) that I wasn’t offended, but I can’t figure out why a bunch of dudes in the office thought I would be.  Too often, I think people make assumptions about me based on my size.  We all know it happens, but I know that they like me.  I know that they think I’m friendly and sweet, and I know that some of them would throw down if they saw someone trying to hurt me.

Should I have been offended by J’s assertion that he needs to lose weight?  Should I have taken it personally?  Should I be offended that they thought that I might be offended?

The bottom line is that I’m not offended so I guess there real question is – would you be offended?

 

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24 Comments

  • Reply
    Laurie
    October 1, 2013 at 12:49 am

    I don’t think I’d take it as offensive. It sounds a little weird. And well, good for them for taking the time to consider that a comment would potentially hurt someone’s feelings.

  • Reply
    Zan
    October 1, 2013 at 2:19 am

    I think it depends how they say it. I’ve had people say they want to lose weight and it’s not big deal, everyone has things about themselves they want to change. But then, I’ve had people say they want to lose weight (literally about 5-10lbs, vanity weight) because their sister is overweight and they’re terrified of looking like that and isn’t it jsut awful. I find the latter much more offensive than the former. Or going on about how they are so fat and disgusting, when I literally weigh twice what they do (so that’s what you think of me then?). It doesn’t sound like it went that way in your case, but he was afraid that maybe you thought it did.

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      October 1, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      I *hate* hearing my super beautiful friends who look perfect (to me and everyone around them) whining about how they just have to lose weight because they’re so ugly and disgusting. This happens a lot, and I think that I will have to explain why it’s so offensive next time I hear it (which will likely be in the next week. It happens all the time.)

      • Reply
        Crystal
        October 1, 2013 at 5:39 pm

        I have a coworker who is 6 ft tall and wears probably a size 8. She’s currently “dieting” and wants to lose 20 pounds. I have no idea where she thinks she has that weight. She also tells me all the time that her thighs are fat. Lady, you wanna see fat thighs, check mine out… She’s also notorious for saying that someone is “a big girl, but pretty in the face”. Every time she says that about someone, it makes my blood boil because that’s not really a compliment. She might think it is, but it’s not… and I imagine that’s what she tells people about me too.

  • Reply
    Deborah
    October 1, 2013 at 3:45 am

    I can kinda understand what he’s saying. I’m so OBVIOUSLY overweight that I need to lose weight. There’s no question of a few pounds etc… Like Zan I get testy when some lean person raves on about needing to lose a kilogram or two – but I realise they have every right to stress about being the tiniest bit overweight – just as I (or anyone) has the right to not worry about being more overweight.

    I think some people worry that, talking about ‘their’ need to diet seems like they’re making judgements about weight…

    It doesn’t sound like he meant to offend. I wonder if one of his colleagues said something to him later (again though it implies that someone else felt that talking about weight in front of you might have been awkward – the ‘elephant in the room’ sort of thing).

    If I was in that situation I would have felt compelled to say ‘Tell me about it!’ when the guy moaned about his weight. I like that you didn’t consider his comment to be anything to do with you!

    Hope that blithering makes sense.
    xx

  • Reply
    Steelers6
    October 1, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Yes, strange all around indeed.

    I would not have been offended by his initial comment, but puzzled. I prob would have reacted as you did, or maybe even thought he was kidding? But I did not see it as a reflection of you.

    I think it’s more “offensive” that he thought you would be hurt. Not a huge deal, & it does sound like his associates put him up to it. Seems like it would have been better to let it alone, but it is sweet that his relationship with you is too important to him to risk. Aw.

    It is odd & awkward, but the bottom line is it sounds like y’all have a great thing going with mutual care & respect. Wonderful to have them on your team.
    I think it’s admirable that people aren’t invisible to *you*, Kenlie. That is the case for some people with certain occupations & walks of life. Another great quality in my friend Kenlie. 🙂
    Chrissy

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      October 1, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      Puhhhhhleeeeeeease, Chrissy…..lol You know I love a man in a suit, but I pretty much love all people…especially the ones who are nice to me. 🙂

      • Reply
        Steelers6
        October 1, 2013 at 4:57 pm

        Well, some people in customer service type jobs are easy to notice as they are friendly, etc., but you would be kind to the behind the scenes & under appreciated people as well. That is a very dear quality. 🙂

  • Reply
    Stace
    October 1, 2013 at 11:59 am

    I don’t think I would be offended, but it’s a conversation that would stick with me because I wouldn’t know how to feel about it.

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      October 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      I think that’s where I am right now. I’m kind of more aggravated that his co-workers assumed I’d be bothered. I mean, I know that I need to lose additional weight, but I also know that I’m not the only person on the planet who has that issue. Most do, but that guy doesn’t….It was just odd..

  • Reply
    Amanda
    October 1, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    1. I am so glad that you are back to posting!! 🙂

    2. I don’t think I would have been offended. I think it’s super sweet that he approached you to make sure that he hadn’t offended you. That shows that he actually cares enough about you to not want to offend you. It sounds like another coworker took his comments in an overly sensitive manner. Sometimes you just have to take comments/conversations at face value for what they are. They were reading too much into that.

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      October 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      I think this makes a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me because it reminded me that it all came from a good place. It’s cool to think that I matter a little to those guys…:)

  • Reply
    Susan Schwartz
    October 1, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    I think it’s strange that he thought it would hurt you in any way. Before I lost my 100lbs, I had heard it all and it was pretty devastating to me. Everything from being in middle school and getting mooed at when I came out of the lunch line, to always hearing “you have such a pretty face …but” I just think in a way it’s just weird that he would assume that you were offended by his remark. Quite frankly the fact that his remark on saying that he wasn’t trying to hurt you, that I might find offensive only because I think it has an underlying meaning in his comment.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    October 1, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Offended? No. Hurt? Yes. I have always taken people’s comments about their own weight as a secret sign that they are actually talking/making fun of me. It may not be rational but anyone else mentioning their desire to change their bodies feels like an attack on mine.

  • Reply
    Andrea M
    October 1, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    This wasn’t weird at all, on their part. I think it shows character. I was in a similar situation years ago. I was at a trade show with close friends who are also coworkers. We’d had a long but good day and were enjoying it at the hotel bar. Somehow in our conversation I mentioned an author whose work I immensely enjoy had committed suicide (many years before). Some people in the group asked about the details and we stayed on the topic for a few minutes. Later, once I was back in my hotel room, it dawned on me that my friend in that group had lost her son to suicide. I immediately called her room and apologized to no end. In the end, she was gracious, but it was clear my apology had made her much more uncomfortable than me bringing up the topic did. I was trying to express my sensitivity. And did so with both feet in my mouth!

    If the guy didn’t offend you, good, that’s how you feel. He felt the need to follow up. Accept it for his good nature. It seems like you have.

    Now, about the comments about whether someone (who we think is ‘skinny’) should have to lose weight, that’s troubling. I read years ago that even when one person needs to lose a lot of weight (say, over 100 pounds like I do) or only 5 pounds, what that weight means to each of us and the ‘burden / challenge / etc’ it represents, is personal. And I wouldn’t want to judge. I’ve just recently taken of 75 pounds. Coworkers are noticing and confiding their own weight struggles. I can’t judge that. It’s their struggle.

    I’ve dated guys who thought nothing of my weight and others who wouldn’t call for a second date. And my husband married me at my heaviest. So even how someone sees us is their perspective alone.

  • Reply
    Lea
    October 1, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    Your guys sound great. No, I wouldn’t have been offended at all either. I think it’s awesome that they all wanted to make sure that you hadn’t gotten upset. Maybe some of them have had overweight mothers/sisters/girlfriends that were very sensitive so just assume all big girls are….?

    Glad you posted!!

  • Reply
    Leslie Thomas
    October 1, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    My perspective has changed over the last few months. It has always been hard in the past because I’ve been so sensitive about weight issues. I probably in the past would have been more offended by the second conversation than the first, but I am getting better about all that.

    Leslie
    http://www.weight4baby.com

  • Reply
    Alicia
    October 3, 2013 at 8:08 am

    To me it makes no sense to be offended by someone telling me they are thinking of changing their body, losing weight, etc. But I do find it quite odd that someone would wonder if I was offended. Still, it seems he wanted to make things right, and make sure your feelings were not hurt which is really a nice thing to do.

  • Reply
    Joanna @way2gomom
    October 6, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Maybe they thought you would be offended because he made that comment after you had brought the cupcakes? I dunno…

  • Reply
    Chloe@SearchingForAHealthierLife
    October 6, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Hmm I wouldn’t get offended, but when people mention weight I guess I always think about mine and my own insecurities about it. But somebody else mentioning their own weight definitely wouldn’t be offensive towards me unless they looked at my stomach or something whilst saying it.

  • Reply
    Camla
    October 6, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    I agree with Laurie, good for them for taking the time to consider that a comment would potentially hurt someone’s feelings. They seem like really nice guys so don’t over think it.

  • Reply
    timothy
    October 7, 2013 at 5:30 am

    I absolutely would NOT be offended, but this is where it gets slippery. you’re trying to lose weight to make you happy and healthy. whether or not you agree with him he has his own reasons so questioning his need to lose is definitely a gray area i’d avoid. that he was worried and apologized shows he wasn’t even thinking about your size when he mentioned it. i’d say let it go and don’t give it another thought.

  • Reply
    Cathy
    October 10, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    I am commenting way late on this because I’ve gotten behind in my reading, but I wanted to say something that struck me as I was reading this. I am overweight, but not extremely. I could lose 10 lbs (seriously)(and really according to those charts I should lose 30lbs, but 10 lbs would make me happy) and this is after I’ve lost 30 lbs in the last year and a half. Anyway, I have an extremely overweight friend, and I love her, but I’m always concerned that she would be hurt or offended if I say “I feel fat” or “I skipped the gym and really need to go today.” I don’t want her to think I’m judging her, because I’m not, I’m judging myself.

  • Reply
    Chloe
    October 31, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Firstly, you not being offended or giving it a second thought at all clearly means you have a healthy sense of self. Kudos to you!

    But secondly, I think you need to take into consideration that just like you wouldn’t want someone commenting on your weight or desire to lose weight, you should offer the same respect to others. I have been in your valets shoes with twenty-thirty pounds to lose and it offensive for people to offer their opinion when it’s not their body. The same can be said when I am under weight which sometimes happens because of a medical treatment I receive every few years.

    No one has a right to make comments or judgements on anyone’s body, period.

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