Secret Eaters: Please Don’t Care What I or Anyone Else Thinks

This started as a comment on another blog about people (usually women) who tell other people (also usually women) how they “envy” them for things that really shouldn’t have to be an enviable trait, such as being comfortable eating in public. I liked my train of thought so much that I decided it needed to be expanded on.

Eating in public is a major issue for a lot of women, even if they aren’t really aware of it. We’re told from an early age from many different sources that eating in itself is a shameful act, and that doing it in public is even worse (at this point you can replace eating with several other things, such as having/enjoying sex, speaking your mind, and telling men who want to talk at you to leave you the hell alone).

This decidedly fucked up relationship with food can be even more complicated if you’re a fat woman. Fat women are, after all, seen as over-consuming piggys of the highest degree, and not only should we be ashamed of being fat in public, but also eating in public.

“OMFG wut is wrong with her she’s eating and being fat at the same time in the same room as the rest of us!!”

-What fat women are told the public is thinking when we’re only trying to enjoy our nachos and margaritas

One of my friends and I used hang out for the whole day about once a week. We’d usually spend the day shopping/hiking/playing video games, and we’d both end up really hungry, so we’d go to a restaurant. When our food came, she ALWAYS proceeded to PICK AT HER FOOD FOR LIKE A MILLION YEARS and hardly eat any. She would only occasionally ask for a doggy bag even though I knew financially she could use the extra meal. Several times I told our waiter that I’d take her extra food. I’m poor, and if she doesn’t want her throughly picked over meal then I’ll gladly have it for lunch the next day.

She’s what I call a Secret Eater; she only eats what she wants and however much she wants when she’s totally alone and is sure nobody will catch her. She tells me she envys me because I don’t feel self conscience about eating in public. I’ve told her several times that it’s not a matter of not feeling self conscience, but a matter of being self centered. If somebody thinks that the Fatty at table 7 is gross because she’s cleaning her plate, that’s their problem. I’m pretty sure most people are too involved with their own selves to notice what other people are doing anyway, just like I am. (Unless the person at the next table is doing something *actually* gross, such as picking at their feet, which for some reason happens around me a lot.)

In case you were wondering, which I know you’re really not, I don’t go out to restaurants with her much anymore.

In all fairness, though, I guess I should point out something: I’ve been a social outcast since almost as long as I can remember. I had very few friends in school, and we were pretty much all outcasts together. Most everyone else around me either mocked me not-so-behind-my-back, or just plain ignored me. I’m USED to not giving a flying fuck what other people think of what I’m doing/wearing/saying. It was just a survival tactic. I only extended that self-centeredness to public eating.

So go ahead and envy me and my awesome Powers of Public Eating, although you really shouldn’t. Instead you should work on getting a set of your own. Honestly, it’s very liberating. I wish I could offer some helpful tips on how to get started on your own journey. Eh… I guess I could try…

  1. Pick up a copy of a good HAES book (such as Lessons From the Fat-O-Sphere), OR find the Fat-O-Sphere blogroll OR watch this video because it is filled with win.
  2. Read/Enjoy
  3. (optional) Get a crappy and/or low-paying and/or low-dignity job that involves interacting with the public, such as a cashier at a large corporate grocery store, or a bus driver, or in a diner.
  4. (only as follow up to 3) Realize after several years in crappy job interacting with the public that there is no reason at all to give a shit what people think of you, because the public is full of idiots. TEEMING with idiots. And why should you care what idiots think of you?

I hope that’ll help get you started. Like I said, it’s really quite fantastic not caring what other people think of you, AS LONG AS you are happy and comfortable with yourself. So go fourth, and be happy being you!

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