So it turns out that putting clothes into the dryer isn’t enough, you actually have to press the button that starts the machine if you want them to dry. My lack of ability in this area this morning spurred a last minute outfit change. I was planning to wear black slacks, a pretty tiered sleeveless shirt and a shrug to my weekly small business networking group (Hi, NBX!) The shirt was already clean but when I opened the dryer the pants and shrug were soaking wet. I was late so I decided to throw on a skirt instead (which I rarely wear) and just wear the sleeveless shirt. It’s pretty cold at NBX so I wouldn’t normally go sleeveless but I was in a hurry.
I often receive e-mails from people who say that they want to know how to be supportive of the size positive community. My outfit and meeting today made me think of one of my favorite ways to do that.
If you’ve seen my post 386,170 Unhelpful Things then you know what I found out about how many negative messages come toward people of size everyday about our bodies. I still think that one of the best things that we can do is change the number of positive messages. If you want to be supportive of people of size, compliment them. We don’t necessarily hear a lot of that. While you’re at it, sincerley compliment everyone you can – it’s just a good way to live.
Anyway, here’s where the meeting today came in. Based on this experience (as well as some others that I’ve had) I think that there may be some confusion as to what is, and what is not, a compliment. Allow me to elucidate:
“Look at you, rocking a dress!” (said positively, no hint of sarcasm).
Compliment. Well done.
“Oh (makes pensive face), I didn’t think you wore dresses. I actually think pants suit you better.”
Nope, not a compliment. Not a thing to say at all really. Maybe should have used your inner monologue on this one.
“Wow, I don’t think I’ve seen you wear a skirt before. You look so cute.”
Compliment. That’s how you do it!
“I just wanted to tell you that I think you’re very brave to wear a sleeveless shirt, I always feel like my arms are too fat” (said by someone less than half my size).
Swing and a miss, I’m afraid. Not a compliment. I appreciate that you’ve made it clear that this is your issue and not mine, but really if your “compliment” starts with “you’re so brave” and doesn’t end with “for fighting off those wild animals”, you might consider skipping it.
As a general rule, if you’re about to give someone a compliment and you’re not certain if it’s backhanded – try substituting them for yourself (would you like to hear someone say “I just wanted to tell you that I think you’re very brave to wear your hair like that”?)
So, help a fatty out:
Lather, rinse, repeat.