I guess I just so happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. That seems to happen to me a lot, like when the homeless man did a sassy strip tease in exchange for onlookers’ spare change in front of the cigar bar where my friend’s bridal shower was held, then proceeded to single me out and tell me that if he had his real teeth, he would bite me. That right there is a good example of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
So, too, is an encounter with a man who chatted me up in line at the grocery store, where the 20 items or less lane was being bogarted by a senior citizen who thought age entitled him to check out as many purchases as his fixed income would permit. This gave the two of us plenty of time to make chatty observations as he thumbed through a People. He stopped on a picture of Beyonce, all in her post-Blue Ivy glow.
“She looks great,” he nodded in approval. Then he dropped the bomb: “My wife had my son around the same time she had her baby and she don’t look nothing like that.” (Peep how he said “my son,” not “our son.” Just another thing I picked up on.)
I cocked my head to the side and gave him the c’mon sir snarl on behalf of the absent spouse who was not only unavailable to defend herself, but all women who run up against stupid, mindless comments like his.
“Beyonce,” I began slowly, so as to pace myself and not snap into over-sassy snarkiness, “has a trainer, a personal chef, a nutritionist, a stylist, and a team of people who push, pull, and fluff her into shape. That doesn’t just happen. She doesn’t have that kind of body. Most women don’t.”
He wasn’t convinced and he showed as much by shaking his head and flicking the page with his finger for emphasis. “But still, she got her body back. You can’t even tell she had a baby. She looks the same. Maybe even better.” (Drool, drool, drool.)
At this point, it took every fiber of control the good Lord instilled in me to not grab the magazine that had caused all of this confusion and box his ears with it. The woman he was married to had hauled around a truckload of extra weight, offering up her own comfort—and yes, her waistline—to the pregnancy gods for nine months, then huffed and puffed her way through heaven only knows how many hours of active labor in order to bring his baby into the world, and this? This is the thanks she gets? Put-downs to a random stranger in line at the local Shoppers?
I rolled my eyes and shook my head. “That’s cold,” I shot back over my shoulder, partly because I was done talking to him and partly because my dear, sweet elder had finished tangling up checkout traffic. But it just reinforced, even in that short period of time, how so many men place unrealistic expectations on women and how we’re supposed to look, particularly when we’re measured against the yardstick of Hollywood babes.
He’s not looking at the reality of the body shaper that’s got everything that hasn’t been worked off yet sucked and tucked into submission, or considering the glam squad that picks the right things to make her look more svelte than she is, or the team who whips her back into shape, since her body is part of her brand and, therefore, her business to look good.
If that’s how it’s going to be, heaven help them the day women start doling out Ryan Lotche and Lance Gross body standards.
Did you hear insensitive comments about your body or your weight gain when you become a mother?
Image via Photos by Lina/Flickr