Over the holiday weekend, my husband and I spent a few days in San Diego to relax and get away from L.A.. For the most part it was fine, save for the sweltering heat and massive crowds. But nevertheless, it was a vacation and I'm grateful for it.
What I did notice, however, was the extraordinary number of very thin, fit people in the city. I'm not sure I saw one fat woman who wasn't a tourist. And my experiences in restaurants around the city supported my theory that being fat in Southern California is fucking hard.
One evening, in the Gas Lamp district, we stumbled upon the only restaurant that wasn't overflowing with drunken fools. So, Thai food on 4th of July it was! We were seated and I immediately realized that the chairs were so narrow that the low arms were actually cutting into my hips like a vice. I looked around to see if anyone else in the restaurant looked uncomfortable, but they seemed at ease in their small bodies.
I was really pissed off, and if I hadn't been super hungry, I think I might suggested leaving the restaurant. But I'd been grumpy for a good part of the day, and I felt my husband needed a reprieve from my complaining. So, I ate my noodles and kept my mouth shut.
But after we left, and got back to our hotel, I wish I'd said something to the management about the chairs not being accommodating for anyone over a size 12. The frustration I felt when my body was squished into that tiny seat kept me from being present with my husband and enjoying an evening out. I don't know if it was intentional, and I'd like to think that they just picked the chairs because they looked cool. But I couldn't help thinking that it was my responsibility to say something, so that other fat people visiting the restaurant wouldn't have to feel the shame and humiliation that I did.
The next day, while dining at another restaurant, I experienced the same thing on a tiny fucking stool. The elegant, thick, wood stools were beautiful and made a bold statement alongside the marble communal tables. We sat down and my ample buttocks spilled over the seat and the very low back. I couldn't believe this was happening again. I looked around to see if other types of chairs were available, but they weren't. Even my husband, who has an adorably small ass, commented on the discomfort of the seats.
This is how I felt.
Not a few minutes later, a very tall, fat man came in with his family and I watched as he struggled to insert himself between the table and the stool (which by the way were bolted to the ground, so that adjusting oneself was completely impossible). It took him a good minute to finally squeeze in, and I felt his pain. Resentment boiled inside me when I realized that I was spending my hard earned money in a restaurant that clearly was not meant to accommodate fatties. And how dumb is that? Obviously I like to eat, so why not make my visit comfortable.
Was this coincidence or a carefully thought out plot to shame fat people?
I'm still not sure, but the experiences I had left an indelible mark on my heart. It triggered me so much that I began to think of diets and how I could lose 50 pounds in a week. I even asked my husband if he wished I were thin! And that is not something I ever do. I'm lucky I have an amazing husband who said, "I want you to be you. Besides, living in SoCal is not a reflection of the rest of the world. It's fake."
I realize that I have the advantage of living in a place that has pretty awesome weather year round. But it comes with the sacrifice of being constantly reminded of my size. Whether it's a billboard for $99 down for liposuction, or teeny tiny chairs in a restaurant -- to be a person of size in a part of the country obsessed with thinness, is not a simple task.
I'm back home in my safe space, as I write this. And though there is still some lingering anger, I know I have a voice and that I can do something about what I feel. No, I'm not going on a diet. I'm planning to call both restaurants and let them know their chairs are not size friendly and suggest they offer different seating options. And I plan to use the power of Yelp to leave my fat mark on their exclusive establishments.
Signing off for now, until I'm back with another chronicle of my life as a mixed fat chick!