The Goddess Weighs In

Living Large and Healthy

Sometimes Being Fat Is A Pain In The Ass. . .Literally

on September 28, 2013

This week I had a job interview.  I was concerned about what to wear and what it would say about me, I was worried about my answers, worried about what they might ask me, worried that I might look like a moron in front of some high level people in my organization, but most of all I was worried that when I walked into the interview room that they would offer me a chair that was too small for my ample frame.

A few years ago my employer changed out all of the chairs in the meeting rooms, board rooms and common areas with a style of chair that I suppose is ergonomic, but is hell for the larger hipped among us.  The chairs have arms which is bad enough, but they are narrower at the top than the bottom and the arms are coated in a sort of non-slip rubber compound for added embarrassment because this results in the arms of the chair snagging and grabbing your clothing.  I’ve learned over time to put a foot on one of the arms that holds the castors, and sort of wedge myself, one hip at a time, into the chair.  it’s not pretty, my clothing gets rumpled and I end up sitting on the edge of the chair in kind of crouched position ready to jump should the chair scoot back unexpectedly, but at least I don’t have to endure the embarrassment of asking for a different chair, which by the way is next to impossible to find, since apparently my employer bought the offending chairs by the gross.

This was so much on my mind that I went to the interview fifteen minutes early in hopes that I could scope out the room.  I was relieved when I saw that the room for the interview, deep in the bowels of the main building, had older and more comfortable furniture.  I was relieved until I learned that another applicant had thrown off the schedule and they were putting me in the boardroom across the hall with the chairs which haunt my nightmares.  Thankfully through sheer determination I was able to wedge myself in quickly, but I was still distracted by my uncomfortable perch throughout the hour and a half meeting.

Still the only real damage was to my pride whereas earlier in the week my butt was bruised and abraded by the seat adjustment lever on the Go bus.  The newer Go bus coaches have more seats dedicated to disabled and elderly riders.  As I have mentioned before, I don’t consider myself disabled, I’m just fat, but as the buses were crowded every day this week,  twice I took the last seat available, and both times it was one of the seats reserved for disabled passengers.  Since I don’t want to crush the person in the window seat I spill over into the aisle a bit and here lies the rub.  The lever to adjust these seats is different than on other seats on the same coach and it pokes up past the actual seat.  As a result any part of me that happens to exceed the width of the seat cushion is going to be poked by this lever.  Nearly an hour with a hard metal lever poking you in the butt is incredibly painful.  My guess is that the levers are different to accommodate those passengers who may have limited use of or strength in their hands, but dependent on their mobility and their size they may also find themselves poked in the bum and I kid you not I actually lost skin because of this ill placed lever.

I read a blog this week written by a woman who is on the exact opposite end of the scale from me.  She is petite and she is upset because people make fun of her.  It is thankfully becoming less and less acceptable to put down fat people just for being fat, but since it seems that there are those among us who can only make themselves feel better by mocking people who are different , people make fun of her and call her anorexic and tell her to eat something.  I understand where she is coming from because being teased can be painful, especially if it’s about your physical attributes, but I was also a bit frustrated because no matter how upset she is, she will never jeopardize her career advancement because she fears the furniture.  She can buy clothing off the rack, her seat belt doesn’t dig into her hip and she can travel on public transportation without incident.  Teasing sucks, but so does missing out because you don’t fit or you fear that you won’t.

I understand that the world is “one size fits most” and that it’s unreasonable to ask manufacturers to make their products in every size imaginable because it wouldn’t be financially viable for them, but it would be nice if manufacturers considered small modifications that would enable  more of us to fit into the “most” and it would be great if buyers looked for these modifications so that more of us could be more comfortable.  The bus seat levers could be differently placed so that they don’t injure passengers and my organization could have anticipated that one size doesn’t fit all and put a chair with no arms in some of the meeting rooms.  These are not huge changes, nor do they have to be costly and they would have saved me some pain and embarrassment this week.

– the Goddess

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6 responses to “Sometimes Being Fat Is A Pain In The Ass. . .Literally

  1. nancytex2013 says:

    What I like most about this post is that you don’t play victim. Thank you for sharing issues I wasn’t aware of in a totally balanced manner/tone. Nice job Cynthia.

    • I debated talking about this at all, but it is something that the larger among us struggle with and that a lot of people just don’t recognize as an issue. I have a few close friends who I can ask when we go to a new restaurant or a theatre if I’m going to have an issue, but sometimes I turn down invitations because I don’t know what I’m going to find and I don’t want to draw attention to myself or my friends even when I really want to go and be part of the group. The obvious answer is to lose weight, but in the meantime it can be frustrating and isolating to have to deal with something like this. I choose not to be a victim. I believe we can all affect change in the world. Some people save lives and negotiate peace treaties. . .I blog about seat levers poking me in the bum 😉

  2. nancytex2013 says:

    p.s. I replied to your email on Friday. My response contained a couple of links to blog posts – so I’m not sure if it ended up in your junk folder. Just a heads up.

  3. Great post, and it applies to many people at different times in their lives. I well remember being pregnant and having trouble getting out of a shopping centre toilet when my tummy got jammed between the door and the wall somehow. Aeroplane loos aren’t any better. Surely it wouldn’t hurt them to make it a little bit more roomy? It’s no good making everything to suit the ‘average person’, they need to take the full range of humanity into account!

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