Fat People and Chairs – A Hate Story

ChairsIf you’re not fat, then you may think of chairs as simply inanimate objects that you rest on, and not barriers to everything from entry to comfort.  Below are some situations where people choose chairs without thinking about how they might make a space horribly uncomfortable if not completely inaccessible to fat people. This is (usually) not intentional, and it’s not my goal to make people feel badly, but rather to help them think about how to include fat people.

If you are a fat person who finds yourself at odds with chairs, this is just a reminder that it’s not you, it’s them.  If a chair doesn’t work for you the problem is the chair, it’s not you. People of all sizes have a right to exist and be accommodated at the size they are.  If a chair doesn’t work for you – then you need a better chair!

Wedding Woes

wedding

These chairs are hella flimsy, the seats are tiny (and made smaller by the fact that the angle of the legs makes the back part of the seat completely inaccessible to those whose hips and ass are wider than the seat.) It also makes it almost impossible to use two chairs to be comfortable. So fat people end up spending the wedding perched one the end of the chairs, trying to do a half hover squat so they don’t break the chair. Congratulations on your special day.

Wedding More Wonderful

Wedding corrected

These chairs are still a bit flimsy (especially on uneven ground) but at least someone can sit all the way back and could use two of them if necessary.

Doctor’s Office Disappointment

Doctor's waiting room

Every chair here has arms so those whose butt/hips are wider than the arms won’t be able to sit down (not an ideal situation at the doctor’s office and happens surprisingly often.) They are also jammed together so if you have broad shoulders and the waiting room is busy you may not have enough room, and even if you bring your own chair (something my partner and I often do) there’s no place to put it.

Doctor’s Office Done Right

Doctor's waiting room corrected

This is so much better.  There are still some chairs with arms (that’s important because some people need/prefer chairs with arms.) But there are also big chairs without arms and people could use more than one of them if they need to.

Conference Room Carelessness

Conference room

Arms on every chair make this a nightmare for the wide of hip, and chairs like this that balance over a base (instead of having four legs) can feel less stable.

Conference Room Corrected

Conference room corrected

Ideally I’d like there to be a little more space between the chairs, and for some of the chairs to have arms for those who need/prefer them. But these chairs are more stable, and no arms means they are suitable for a better range of sizes and shapes.

Restaurant Ridiculousness

bar tables and chairs

What these chairs say to me:  “Fuck basically everyone.”

As a short person I have to climb up into these bad boys like some kind of mountain goat, and once I get up there my feet don’t reach the foot rest.  As a fat person, the seats are much smaller than my ass so the edges dig in very uncomfortably and there is no way to take the pressure off because my feet are just dangling helplessly.

People who use wheelchairs can’t see above the table and end up with a very awkward view. People with mobility challenges/disabilities often can’t get into these chairs at all.

If a restaurant has only tables and chairs like this, I would recommend that you go somewhere else (and feel free to let them know that it’s because they’ve created a space that is unwelcoming to you and/or your friends and/or other humans whose comfort you care about, even if it’s not an issue for you.)

Restaurant Righted

There are so many ways to correct this. One option is mixed seating that includes booths, tables with armless chairs and, if you must, high top bar tables and chairs.  But this kind of setup requires a host/hostess who is good enough at their job to know what tables and chairs are appropriate for which guests.

Again, if you are someone who fits in chairs and never has to worry about whether or not a chair will support you, then you may never have thought of this before. But you can think about it from now on.

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Published in: on July 1, 2016 at 8:58 am  Comments (64)  

64 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have been to many waiting rooms and they have one or two token chairs for bigger people. Try explaining to a skinny person why you need that chair. It’s like a handicapped person having to ask someone to get out of the handicapped seat on a bus. Extremely uncomfortable. Plus, it’s usually a very wide seat, a bench if you will. If you need to sit on it, it becomes obvious why. I am a beginner at body acceptance and these things still bother me.  I love your articles. Another good one would be about the problems when flying. Having to ask for seatbelt extender. The averted eyes as you walk to your seat, with people hoping you don’t stop at them. Even the aisle isn’t made for wider people. Don’t even start me about the bathrooms.  Heidi

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    • I know it is awkward, but if you need a certain chair, and someone is in it, please ask for it. Chances are, the person in the chair isn’t thinking too clearly – either they are sick, or they are nervous because it is a doctor’s office, or they are worried for test results, or something. They can’t read your mind, and they’re probably too wrapped up in whyever they are there to read your need and connect it to the chair they are in.

      I completely agree that all kinds of chairs are needed, especially in doctor’s offices. Thanks for writing this post to clearly explain the various needs, Ragan.

  2. Thank you for this amazing article. It is a wake-up call to the world that bodies can exist in all forms! Even big ones! I am always amazed at doctors’ offices, in particular, where this should be second nature..

  3. Yep, chairs and me have real issues. My biggest issue is airplane chairs/seats. At least when you’re not in the air you have the option of leaving and finding a different seat (heck, I’ve had to sit on the floor at an airport before because of narrow seats that all had arms and no where else to sit). But sitting on the floor, finding a different seat, or even standing for any period of time are not even options when you’re stuck on plane. And if that flight is hours and hours long – that’s pretty much hellish right there. Mix in a seat “neighbor” who hates fat people and isn’t at all shy about letting you know it, and you’ve got a recipe for one of my biggest nightmares. And sadly it’s one I’ve had to endure more than once.

    Business (and this includes airlines) need to get their act together and start realizing that their customers aren’t all thin to medium build people. We come in a very wide variety of shapes and sizes and heights and it’s pretty much bullshit to ignore that fact and treat people like it’s THEIR fault when you pretend that all humans come in one size (or a very narrow range of sizes).

    The same God that made Jyoti Amge (who’s 22 years old and 2 feet and one inch tall): http://www.blogcdn.com/www.parentdish.co.uk/media/2011/12/picture-one-bmjyoti00978411.jpg

    Is the same God who made Chandra Bahadur Dangi, who at 21.5 inches was the world’s shortest man, and Sultan Kösen who is 8 ft and 2.8 inches tall:

    If God makes people who are under two feet tall and people who are over 8 feet tall, why is it so hard for some people to believe that he also makes very thin people and very fat people?

  4. Such a wonderful post, this should be required reading for students in architecture and interior design!

    • Yes! Yes! Yes!

    • Absolutely. Ultimately, it is those who are doing the designing and purchasing who will be choosing the chairs, so…..

  5. I hate hatey hate hate hate those high top chairs. I’m fat and short. First, pull the chair out from the table to make enough room to climb into it. Climb up there, with one ass cheek on the seat so one foot is still on the ground, the other foot draped over the cross piece, then (here’s my favorite part) try to hop it into a position where I can still get up on the seat and be close enough to the table to eat a meal. Endure the pain of the front of the chair digging into my thighs for the next hour, because my toes barely touch the foot rest piece. Enjoy your meal!

    • I have never seen/known *anyone* who is comfortable in those high top chairs. My theory is that they use them so people will eat, then leave, without any extraneous chitchat – or comfort I think everyone should boycott restaurants that use them. (Another reason restaurants use them is to discourage customers over, say, 40. I am glad to say that one nearby restaurant I know of that used them is now out of business.)

    • When we go to Applebees I always tell them no thank you to the high top tables. I have enough pain as it is, I don’t need to add pain for no good reason at all.

    • You have just described my experience perfectly. I find it so distressing. A

      • I’m just back from a wonderful trip to Spain. In Valladolid, the very friendly desk clerk at our hotel gave us a recommendation for a tapas place that she said was excellent. We got there — and saw from outside that they had nothing but those high-top tables and the chairs you have to climb into. We didn’t even go in. No big deal for us, since there were many other restaurants and we had a lovely meal–but I wonder if restaurant owners realize that they’re losing business by choosing that kind of seating.

    • I don’t love bar height, but counter height (about half way between the super tall stools & a regular chair) is a godsend for at least some of us people with bad hips and knees. For us, getting down to chair height is painful and getting back up without help is sometimes impossible. From a counter height chair, no sweat.

  6. Yes! I was recently at a wedding where I was very uncomfortable. Then, horror of horrors they wanted us to pick up our chairs and carry them to the tables where the outdoor reception/dinner was going to be. Luckily when we got to the table there were some other chairs stacked up nearby that were not quite so miserable to I grabbed one of those and put the miserable one to the side.

    • Exceptionally rude to anyone with physical strength issue, mobility issue or balance troubles. People don’t come to your wedding to work.

      • It wasn’t too bad because there were tons of people moving more chairs than they or their party needed, so if you couldn’t move a chair or didn’t want to it wasn’t required. I didn’t move mine, my husband did, and he moved a few others too, but then I got rid of it for the slightly less horrible one. It definitely should’ve been said in a way that was better for people with mobility or strength issues or anything though.

  7. I prefer higher chairs/bar height sometimes it all my hip will let me get in and out of but those pictured look rickety. We are working on figuring out living room seating and I’m trying to get a variety of chairs for the variety of bodies in our lives but its tough to gather them into a cohesive design whole.

    • Try going for super-eclectic, where every single piece is entirely different. When absolutely nothing matches, everything does!

      Also, if you can use a color scheme to bring the design together, that will help, as well.

      • Eclectic is your cheap option. Another suggestion, IF you can afford it, is to find a local carpenter who can make “matching” furniture (same style) of different kinds.

        So, say, they all have the same carving on the legs and the backs, and the same upholstery, but some are more narrow (some thin people don’t like to sit in chairs that are too wide and make them feel swallowed up in it), some are wider, some have arms, some do not, add in a loveseat or longer couch, maybe even a tall barstool and short “kids'” chair, but all in the same basic style.

        It’s expensive to get custom work, to be sure, but the room would look amazing! Bonus, you can request that the carpenter design all the chairs to have very thick legs and seats, to guarantee a high weight tolerance. And thick wood furniture lasts for generations, if it’s properly cleaned and polished (with furniture polish, not just rubbed down – you need the wax or oil or whatever is in the wood polish to protect the wood, and keep it from drying up and cracking). So, if you’re willing to invest in it, you could have an amazing living room that will be heirlooms (complete with memories of fun gatherings and who sat in which chair) for generations to come.

        Finally – before you sink a bunch of money into it, please look into some inexpensive home decor design apps. Heck, even “The Sims” will help you figure out a good furniture layout and design scheme. But there are other programs out there, I’m sure, that will help you visualize it, before you buy it, so you don’t waste your time and money on something that turns out to be not what you really wanted, after all.

        • BTW, the fact that you actually want to get a variety of seating for the variety of people in your life makes me think you would be an EXCELLENT host/ess, and that your parties will be wonderful.

          Actually considering the individual needs of your guests? EPIC!

  8. This was awesome to read! Thank you!

  9. It definitely goes beyond just fat sizism, in the ignorance of how some things are arranged in public spaces. I’m 5’4″ I have friends and relatives who are shorter than me. And yes, if they are skinnier it’s a little easier to climb into those high barstool type chairs, but it’s still a pain in the ass – and if you can get into them, getting them scooted up to the table can be even more challenging, especially when your feet don’t reach the footrest (usually true for me too). And it’s a double-edged sword, since if they are lightweight it’s easier to adjust them once seated, but then it’s harder to climb into them safely.

    A few months ago, one of our grocery stores started setting up a higher level of pegs on areas with bagged product, that was so high I could barely touch the bottom of the bags on my tiptoes. A few weeks ago, they took that new higher level out – I wonder how much of it was customer complaints, and how much was employee complaints – but either way, putting things where a large portion of people can’t reach them isn’t smart. I do my part – I have telescope back-scratcher I keep in my purse, that mostly functions as a way to reach things too far back on a deep shelf for me to reach, so I’m not having to bug employees or customers to get stuff for me. Don’t put them so high I have no choice but to bug others. The world is not all 5’9″ people.

    I’m very happy to see that a few of the doctor’s offices have moved to a fully mixed set of wider chairs with arms, wider chairs without arms, and the more bench-like chairs that are basically love-seats. The latter is particularly nice when I’m with my nephew, so we can sit together. But as someone with significant joint issues, it’s lovely that I can sit in just about every place in those offices, depending upon my needs that day. Though it was very annoying to discover the local breast-health center has the better/bigger chair configuration, but only has gowns up to 3X (which is really more of a 2X). They finally found me a functional gown for my biopsy, after I’d already worn my tank top into the mammogram and the ultrasound.

    And there is one particular restaurant that I have a beef with, when it comes to the seating – that’s Texas Roadhouse. My sister is several sizes smaller than me (still in normal store sizes), and even she can barely sit in their booths without the table cutting into her stomach – but she does it, because she can manage it and she loves their food. Me, I just skip it. Somehow that table manages to cut into my gut in the most painful way. I end up literally bruised. I can’t breathe, I can’t move, I can’t eat properly (try eating without making a mess when you can’t lean over at all) and the place is obnoxiously loud. Plus the few normal tables they have are also setup in such a crowded fashion, it’s impossible to navigate without bumping into people. For me and my size 18 mother. No food is worth the hassle.

    Of course not every place can accommodate everyone, but I think we all know, they aren’t even coming close to accommodating most of the population.

  10. I was sure I posted a response to either the FB post or here, but my post is gone. Not sure how I offended someone with my comment. It wasn’t inflammatory.

    I just commented that even though my doctors office has a variety of chairs sizes, I still end up squeezing into narrow, armed chairs because it seems that smaller folks, often teens, select these hugger seats and curl up in them, eyes glued to cell phones, and don’t think to offer up a seat to someone who obviously can’t use the ones that are empty

    • Sounds like the spambot got it. Sometimes comments get eaten on accident.

  11. Hi!!! First time commenter (I think?), long time reader, and big fan! Refer people to your blog all the time. Love this blog and today I shared it on FB with the following caption: “It’s my observation that chairs are rarely thought about when thinking about making spaces accessible. Here’s a nice blog on how to be mindful of accessibility when choosing chairs (shout out to my friends in Santa Clara Housing Office! I’ve always noticed that your office lobby does chairs right!)”

    I received the following comment: “I have a mixed reaction with this. While I agree that the fat-shaming that pervades our culture is a problem (not to mention entirely counter-productive for those who are trying to lose weight), I’m not sure I feel it’s the responsibility of individual businesses to provide larger chairs for the overweight and obese in the same way it is for them to provide ramps for wheelchair users to comply with ADA laws.
    I’m 6 feet tall and lived in China for several months. Not surprisingly, I hit my head on things a lot. Unfortunately I can’t change my height, so I just sucked it up and ducked a lot. I didn’t expect everybody else to hang their lamps higher or remodel their door frames to make me more comfortable.
    Obesity is a complex problem and weight is not always within the control of the person who suffers from it, but I can’t bring myself to equate it to other disabilities, like someone who uses braces or a scooter because they had polio, or someone with a prosthetic leg due to combat injuries.
    As a bride, I tried to make sure my vegetarian guests and those with allergies had food options that met their dietary needs, and that my guests with physical disabilities felt welcomed, but to blame wedding planners for not providing wide enough chairs for the 1 or 2 people who might need them… I dunno, I guess I’m struggling with my feelings on this.”

    I replied with this: “Hm… this isn’t an organized response… but off the top of my head, here is what I think: 1) Perhaps the use of the phrase “making space accessible” on my part was a poor choice, as I wasn’t trying to compare obesity with any kind of able-bodiedness or lack thereof and wasn’t thinking of this through the lens of ADA. I don’t think of fatness as a disability. 2) To me, this is just about acknowledging that the human body comes in a variety of shapes, so let us just be mindful of that when designing the world (and making furniture choices). It’s not a mandate. People can choose whatever furniture they want… but if they want to be mindful about people with larger bodies, chairs is one way they could do it…. PS: I always appreciate discussion, so thanks for your comment.”

    Also, in case it matters in how you think about this – among other things, I am a white, cisgendered, able-bodied thin person. If you have a minute, I was wondering any thoughts you have on this or how you would have responded.

    • Other things I am thinking now about adding…. 1) I bet people would be very wiling to add a ramp if “one or two” people were coming in wheel chairs, but somehow adding in some wider chairs for the “one or two fat people” is scoffed at. To me, that stance speaks to the acceptance with discrimination against fat bodies.

      • Ramps are required by law — the ADA. Chairs or other seating, is not regulated like that.

        • Not at a private residence, they’re not. And backyard weddings are a thing, especially if the couple have friends with a really big backyard.

          And yet, it’s possible to get an inexpensive metal ramp that can be installed fairly quickly. It’s not as stable as a concrete or wooden ramp, but it can be added for a special occasion, such as a wedding.

          Also, many older buildings have that whole “grandfathered in” business going, which is why many people have to protest to get ramps installed. And those ramps are frequently put waaaaaaaaaayyyyyy at the back. And far from the parking.

          So, you’re handicapped with mobility issues? Sure, park in the “up close” parking, but you’ll have to wheel yourself ALL THE WAY AROUND to the other side of the building.

          Meanwhile, they’re complaining about putting in wider chairs for the “one or two” guests who are wider. Bleh.

          TL;DR: People are STILL having to ask for ramps. It’s not guaranteed at all wedding venues, but it IS possible to get, without too much hassle, on a temporary basis. And if someone in a wheelchair asks for a temporary ramp to be installed, no one will balk or complain about it, without serious social repercussions. But asking for wider chairs? HORRORS! ENTITLEMENT!

    • Thanks so much for asking. I purposefully try not to make a comparison between accessibility for fat people and accessibility for Disabled People/people with disabilities because I don’t want to use the very real challenges that Disabled people/people with disabilities face to further my cause. I’m not saying that fat people should be accommodated by law, I’m saying that fat people should be accommodated because we’re people and (hopefully) the person who is hosting the event isn’t an asshole. I don’t understand being ok with having wedding guests who can’t sit down in the chairs I chose – not because it’s illegal to do it, but because it’s unconscionably rude.

      My question back to this person would be what she wanted to happen – did she want her fat friends and family to feel unwelcome at her wedding – to not attend? Or was she comfortable with them having to stand in the back or to the sides (assuming that they don’t also have disabilities that preclude that)?

      I also think that her attempt to compare having to stoop to get through a door to not having a chair that accommodates you at a seated event is pretty problematic. It would be more apt if I had a wedding in a building with a floor that was 5 feet 5 inches high because that’s tall enough to be comfortable for me.

      I would also suggest that she look into the social model of disabilities – which suggests that we consider the ways in which what we see as “disability” is caused by the way society is organised, rather than by a person’s impairment or difference. I bring this up because it sounds like she has an idea about who “deserves” to be accommodated (when she compares a fat person to someone who had polio and decides that one of those people doesn’t deserve a chair that works for them, but the other one does for example) Anytime we do that we are on a very slippery slope – she says that she understands that body size isn’t always within our control (though she also has a prejudice that some body sizes constitute a “problem”) yet she still doesn’t think that those people should get a chair that accommodates them?

      ~Ragen

      • Why is it okay to offer choices to vegan/vegetarians but not overweight people?

        • My sister is fat and disabled. She has the placard, and everything. And whenever she goes to the grocery store, even on a good day when she feels OK in the moment, we tell her to bring her cane and her oxygen tank.

          Why? Yeah, the cane can get a bit awkward, and the tank can get a bit heavy, but if you’re wielding them, fat haters will SHUT THE HECK UP about you plopping your “lazy fat ass” in a scooter.

          Hooray for visible handicaps, right?

          But the problem is, so many people have invisible handicaps, and so many of those people also happen to be fat, and people see the fat, and completely dismiss their absolutely valid needs! And if they happen to mention being handicapped, people get bent out of shape because “Don’t compare fat to handicapped!”

          It’s not really a comparison, in a great many cases, but actually an intersection. And BOTH fat and handicapped need and deserve adequate accommodation.

          Why are people willing to accommodate a visible handicap and not an invisible handicap or an “it’s your own darned fault your body is problematic” issue? Selfishness, hatred, and a bit of laziness. Accommodation does require extra effort, after all.

          People offer choices to vegan and vegetarians because those vegetable dishes are yummy enough, even for meat-eaters, that they are worth a bit of extra effort. Everyone can eat and enjoy vegan food, unless they have an allergy, or something. Also, it’s currently popular, and it makes them look good in society.

          Unfortunately, fat-hatred is also currently popular, AND it’s the easy way. So lazy, selfish people will take it.

          Hosts who don’t care about the physical discomfort and embarrassment of even ONE of their guests are NOT good hosts, whether the issue be wider chairs or insufficient shade, or not setting your wedding up right next to a beehive. These people are your GUESTS, and you owe it to them to make them as comfortable as you reasonably can. So, yeah, it’s perfectly justifiable to blame wedding planners for not providing some accommodation for the “one or two” guests who most probably will need it. We’re not saying you have a to make ALL the chairs extra wide. But certainly provide SOME chairs that are wide so that ALL your guests, even the ones you are “struggling with my feelings” about, are able to sit down and focus on your wedding, and not on their pain.

          Yeesh.

    • Wait.. What has China to do with chairs?
      She chooses to go to a country where the people are an average of 5`4 (women 5`1). Of course everything is for that height and not for hers.
      She was just a visitor. When she would move to live there, she would of course want to at least have some space in her appartment and workplace.
      So, why is that totally okay, but not for someone wanting some comfortable chairs in the environment?
      Oh wait, yeah.. its because we are fat. And thats bad, And we are loosers, otherwise we wouldnt be fat. Right…

      Im not much into sugary courtesy, im way more into logic. And yeah, what she said was just some bullshit.
      I would love to see her reaction when her country would decide that the average height must be 5 and everything would be made for that height. Or if everything is made for size 2 or 0. That would be funny, making at least 60% of the people feel uncomfortable and not fitting into society.
      They would rage.

      • A tall person CAN duck. A fat person cannot instantly shrink to fit into the only available furniture.

    • How about:

      Dear tall person,

      Thank you for telling me that it’s annoying that you have to duck your head for a second when you walk into a door, or to avoid a chandelier. How many seconds of your average day do you spend ducking?

      Now, how many seconds of your average day do you think most fat people spend having to deal with chairs that are too small to fit them?

      If they have to stand through an entire wedding service, because they were one of the “one or two” guests who could not fit in the seats, would you change places with them, because it’s no big deal? Would you duck down for the entire wedding service, in solidarity, to show that it’s no big deal?

      If you went to the doctor’s office with back trouble, would you be happy ducking down the entire time you wait for your appointment, because the ceiling was too low? Well, guess what? Fat people with bad backs have to stand the whole time they wait for their appointment, because their seats are too narrow.

      Would you stand stooped over the table during an entire meal at a fancy restaurant, and be happy to pay for the privilege?

      Would you stand stooped over all that time, while people are mocking you, deriding you, mooing at you, and telling you how worthless you are?

      Are you sure you would not like to reconsider your reply to this post?

  12. Sorry for swearing, but YAAAAAAAS! I fucking HATE those flimsy high chairs! They always look like they’re going to break so whenever I’m forced to sit on one (husband choosing seats in the restaurant at IKEA for instance) so I’m always super uncomfortable! Like half-sitting half-standing … you know, just in case, so if it does break maybe I won’t fall on my arse and be laughed at for being “the fat person who broke the chair”.

    • I’m short AND fat, and if my date did that (especially if he were MARRIED to me!) I’d just stand and glare at him, rather than try to sit on that monstrosity.

      • Funny thing is, my hubby is chubby too. He just doesn’t seem to have the same “but what if I sit on it and it breaks?” hangups as I do. No idea why.

        • I would probably have mentioned it, myself, the first time I came across such a seating arrangement on a date, so by the time we were married, dude ought to know better, so yeah, major glaring.

          I don’t know your relationship dynamic, and whatever works for you, as a couple, works for you as a couple. So I’m not judging if you don’t communicate the way I would communicate.

          However, I would say, “Have you told him that you hate sitting in those chairs, and asked him never to choose such a seating arrangement for you again?” If you have, then he’s being very inconsiderate. If not, then he’s clueless, because he doesn’t have the same issues and worries, and can’t be blamed for not knowing.

          IMO, the reason he doesn’t have the same hang-up is that in our kyriarchy culture, the intersection of misogyny and fat-hatred makes it harder on fat women than fat men. So, he’s less likely to be hurt by the people around him than by the chair, should it break.

          • Nah, he’s just clueless, it’s nothing malicious, and he’s the most considerate person I know.🙂 It’s because he grew up in a family that didn’t treat him as The Fat Kid (even though he was), so he hasn’t internalised fat shame in the way that I have. We grew up in different countries as well, and Britain is kind of more forgiving in general than Sweden (where I’m from) when it comes to larger body shapes. I have pointed out that I don’t like those kind of chairs, so it seems like he is better at choosing the lower seated ones nowadays.🙂

            • Lucky him! And good for him for being willing to learn and change, when his cluelessness is pointed out.

              I do know some people who are clueless (really!), but when someone tries to educate them, they hang onto their original “cluelessness.” Of course, once you’ve been TOLD, cluelessness is no longer a valid excuse, and you have entered Asshole County – Population: way too many.

              So glad your husband isn’t one of them. Yay for him, for being great, and yay for you, for marrying him!

  13. I am not only fat and short, I am a senior (age 66). Pressure on the backs of my thighs from a too small or too high seat causes my legs (especially left one, with serious injuries from an accident over 20 years ago) to go numb. Neither my husband nor I are comfortable in a booth (rarely enough room between table and seat), so we always specify a table. You wouldn’t believe how many times we get shown to a booth anyway.

    • Plus, the worst thing is when everybody wants a booth but both the booth sears and the booth’s table are all bolted to the floors/walls. I can sometimes sit in a booth but then cannot enough leverage to get out if the components cannot be moved, even slightly. People sometimes get irritated when I want or need to wait for a regular table seating.

      • *seats*

      • My favorite are those half-booth/half chairs combo tables. I LOVE them, because you can do either one, and everyone in the group can be happy.

        Unless you have 3 people who want chairs, and there are only two chairs. But still, it’s a great compromise for the vast majority of groups.

        A restaurant that has full booths, full chair-tables, and a bunch of half and half tables is fantastic!

        Also, I prefer my booths to have tables that can slide a bit, so you can have room to scoot in and out, and then pull it up to you, if you want to be closer, or push it further away from you, if you want more room.

  14. I guess I am kinda “lucky” in this regard because, even though I am very fat, I can fit in most chairs.

    Sure, it will be a little bit of a squeeze sometimes, but it has never bothered me enough to worry much about it.

    Possible trigger warnings follow:

    The worse experience in recent memory is going to my brother’s former middle school to watch a play in which he starred.

    The seats were small, very uncomfortable and digging into my sides, but I dealt with it, seeing as I didn’t have much of a choice.

    Had I complained to my family, the people with whom I went and who were my ride back, they would have likely had little sympathy.

    They would have said that the experience should be a wake up call to lose weight or something along those lines.

    I have noticed that a lot of people who are against accommodation for fatties basically claim that we are playing victims and not wanting to take control of our lives.

    Others think it is entitlement to demand to be accommodated because being fat is a so-called “choice” and the world should not accommodate the minority of very fat people who cannot fit in chairs and such when most of society can do so.

    They also say that our clothes, specifically the nice items, cost more because it takes more material to make them.

    • “They would have said that the experience should be a wake up call to lose weight or something along those lines.”

      This is the most infuriating thing about this. Yeah, *occasionally* too-small seats and equipment are an innocent oversight, and will be fixed if you bring it up, but far more often, they’re a deliberate choice by people who want to “teach fat people a lesson” (there’s no way they haven’t already learned) or “wake them up” (to social disapproval of their size there’s no way they don’t already know about). Not accomodating people is the office’s/restaurant’s/wedding planner’s personal little “stand against obesity,” a deliberate cruelty enacted against people they hate (or “love” in a “I love the thin and compliant egregore I like to fantasize you’ll morph into after enough abu- um, tough love”) and an attempt to coerce them into self-flagellating behavior *literally every scrap* of quantifiable research says will only compound any health problems they have.

      This kind of exclusion is not helping for *any* definition of “helping.” It needs to stop.

    • ‘They also say that our clothes, specifically the nice items, cost more because it takes more material to make them.”

      Oh, and also, a size 0 takes less material than a size 14, and yet sizes 0 to 14 all cost the same, so that excuse fails, too (anyone wanting to counter this with the *extremely rare cases* a person who fits into a sample size can get it for cheap because the merchant wants to get rid of it is visibly grasping at straws). In the vast majority of cases, whether it’s seating, clothing, or equipment, it would be just as easy and economical to provide accomodation, and they just plain do not want to because at the bottom of it, they just don’t believe fat people deserve those things for moral reasons.

      • Yeah, if the prices were on a sliding scale by size, I’d buy the “it costs more because of more material” argument. I’d pay more for the larger size, and wouldn’t complain.

        But they charge more ONLY when they move up to “plus” size, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a size 16 or a size 36.

        And THEN, they seem to only do that with WOMEN’S sizes, and charge men the same, regardless.

        Why? The only answer that makes sense is that they can get away with it, because of societal fat-hatred, mixed with societal misogyny.

        • Of course, this is the point Captain Obvious sweeps in to remind us all it is cheaper to buy things in bulk, and the materials and notions for mass-produced clothing are almost certainly bought in bulk. Indie proprietorships that hand-tailor clothes in small batches to customer specifications can use the “more cloth costs you more” line, but when it comes to the merchandise you’re going to find on the rack at your local Kohl’s, you are dealing with large-scale corporate purchasing and the rules become much, much different.

          • Because I soudned a little rambly, the TL:DR version is that I’m really skeptical it costs more to mass-produce plus-sized garments than straight-sized ones.

          • That argument doesn’t mean it should cost more for plus size women’s clothes (but not the plus size men’s clothes), or that there should not be a sliding scale. After all, if you’re buying MORE bulk, you usually get a steeper discount.

            Anyway, they’re using the same cloth as the straight sizes, aren’t they?

            • Exactly. That was my point, and I suspected I hadn’t made it very well. It WOULDN’T cost the types of places Kohl’s and Sears and Wal-Mart buy their clothes from more to make or stock plus sizes. Charging more for them anyway is cartoonishly blatant price-gouging. It’s done because fat people can’t go without clothes, and charging us more for them is a way society can show its contempt and make some extra cash while they’re at it. They do it, exactly as you said, because they can get away with it.

  15. I am no fat person, in fact I am quite small…
    But I can identify in so many ways with all these Chair-Issues!
    Why are things that should comfort us and be a place to rest so often just created to look nice?!?!?!

    You could also take in: Audiences. Theatres and Cinemas are also places where we have to spend sone time- if your legs hardly touch the ground or the back of the seat has sharps in the middle or your knees “support” the back of your frontseat, how could you ever enjoy a movie or theatreplay?!?!

  16. Also, they say there is an obesity epidemic, and childhood obesity is rampant. However, when I went to my brother’s middle school graduation ceremony, and saw row after row of kids in the gymnasium, I noticed that very few were fat by any person’s standards.

    I don’t think I live in a state that is supposedly too conscious of health either, like Seattle or California.

    Are anti-obesity proponents being duped by confirmation bias?

    • Yep.

      • The argument regarding clothing is one I have read recently, perhaps on Reddit. Someone said that designers could make 2 shirts out of one very fat person’s shirt, so of course larger sizes cost more.

        It saddens me that things like prejudice are the human condition, thanks to evolution and natural selection.

        • I can’t argue that there is a difference in cloth. It’s the way this logic is APPLIED that gets my goat.

          Charging on a sliding scale? I have NO problem with that. But that’s not what happens. EVER.

        • And they could make two small shirts out of one medium, and two mediums out of one large, so why do sizes 0-14 all cost the same and the price only skyrockets over that?

          Fat hate. That’s it’s. That’s all. Enough excuses.

  17. You forgot the “lovely” classroom chairs with desks attached. These are the bane of my existence. First because if you’re left handed like me, it’s impossible to write properly and there’s never a left handed version available. Then, if you’re fat too, we’ll, you just don’t fit.

    I have literally not taken courses that would help my career a lot because Harvard has them in rooms where there’s no other choice than to sit in these torture devices.

    • If you ask for a different kind of desk, will they accommodate you? Some schools will, if asked.

      Some schools won’t, and don’t deserve your tuition money. Even an Ivy League education is not worth being abused.

  18. Chairs drive me mental. There have been times where I have had serious anxiety about chair-barrassment. I have also done the thing where you have to go in on an angle and put one ass cheek in first so you can get it under the arm bit to hang out the hole and then you shimmy to fit the other one in. Chairs with arms are d#*@s!🙂

  19. I have a special name for chairs that don’t accommodate my abundant posterior: ass-cages. The kind that feel like you’ll have to pry them off afterward or you’ll be walking around with a chair hanging off your butt — permanent headquarters for your hindquarters. My husband and I have a list of ass-cage restaurants we won’t go to anymore. Ironically, some of them are ice-cream parlours. What the hell, guys?

  20. Some really funny comments on this one! Chairs with straight arms are one thing, but they have these metal “cafe” chairs now with arms that angle IN to cut off access to about 3 inches on either side of the seat…definitely not a wide ass seat! Just this weekend I went to brunch with a friend, and our table was against a bench seat with one of those heinous chairs on the outside. My friend was about to slide into the bench when I had to ask her may I please sit there instead as the chair was not ASS FRIENDLY! We had a laugh and brunch was great, but it would not have been funny if ALL the available seats were like that. Options are good.


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