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Reality Check

I am a 20-something lady with a bone to pick. My whole life, I have been skinny. I don’t mean kind of skinny, either. I’m talking stick thin, 14-year-old-boy skinny. I have never had an eating disorder and I eat a LOT. I don’t do anything close to dieting, but I do try to eat healthy food. People often assume that I am unhealthy or obsessed with my weight, which is annoying, because, in a way, I am starting to obsess about it. I get carded when I buy my boyfriend cigarettes. It takes me five minutes to get into a bar because any door guy that doesn’t know me assumes that I have a fake ID. I have a difficult time getting taken seriously in political or professional matters because people always assume I’m young and I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.

All of which is nothing compared to the constant comments from people that I know and love. “You’re lucky because you’re SO SKINNY!†“You can eat whatever you want; you NEVER gain weight!†“You wear a size two? Oh, I HATE you!†And on, and on, and on… It’s like it never occurs to these people how crappy the comments are. Most of my friends are totally medium-sized, and a few of them are bigger, but it would NEVER occur to me to say “You wear a D cup? I HATE you!†or “It must be great to actually have hips.†And listening to them talk about dieting when they look perfectly normal makes me want to scream. How can I tell them that their comments hurt my feelings without coming off like a bitch or a drama queen? Am I being too sensitive?

Lady Zorak

No, you’re not being too sensitive, LZ. Other people are just stupid and in. And while that may be easier to take from strangers (not that you should have to, mind you, but we all have our crosses to bear), you shouldn’t have to take this shit from your friends. It’s time to have a little come to Jeebus with them. The sad fact is that since skinny is the (fake, media-made) current ideal, your friends think that they are complimenting you by reminding you how small you are. You need to set them straight. Have a talk with them. Next time somebody says you’re “so skinny,†stop and say, “Hey, you know what? I really don’t like that. I am actually pretty self-conscious about my body, and when you say stuff like that it makes me feel crappy.†While you’re at it, feel free to peruse and share this story with them (, and let’s see if we can’t just change the conversation, OK? And, um, rock on with your skinny self, or whatever it is the kids are saying these days.

My husband got a job six months ago at a small local business. The owners are four guys who are young and smart and business savvy, and he loves his job, and they are great employers. He is learning a ton and really enjoying himself for the first time in years. The company is growing, people in town love them, and it seems like the sky is the limit. The problem comes in when we are invited to company functions. These men are very popular in our small community; they have very public faces and outgoing personalities, and have always made me feel welcome. Their wives, on the other hand, are a very close-knit group, and their behavior toward me ranges from icy tolerance of my presence to thinly veiled hatred.

I have only ever been nice to them, and when they visit the place where I work I do my best to make them feel welcome. I don’t know them, and they don’t know me. There is no history here, so I have no idea where the attitude is coming from. It’s getting to the point where I don’t want to socialize with these people anymore. I’m happy that my husband has found a way to make a living pursuing his passion, and I want to support him, but this high school behavior is really getting to me. What should I do?

Not One of Them

It’s great that your husband is so happy, and a shame that the Real Housewives of Small Town, USA are making your life miserable, but there isn’t a whole lot you can do. It is possible that these women are having a difficult time with their husbands’ popularity. Maybe they’re jealous and guarded because they have been thrown into a spotlight they hadn’t bargained on, or maybe they’re just small-minded and bitchy.

My advice is for you to continue to be yourself. Be pleasant and friendly with them and their husbands, and pretend that you don’t notice their Mean Girls routine. Are there other employees at your husband’s level? Do they have spouses? If so, you’re bound to find some solace in the company of other, equally shat upon people. If not, then do your thing and hope that they get over whatever their issues are. Have a life and friends outside of this circle, and don’t expose yourself to them more than is absolutely necessary. Show up to events enough to support your husband but not so much that you drive yourself crazy. There’s an old saying that comes to mind: “God made the country, man made the city, and the devil made small towns.†Don’t let these women get the best of you.

Confidential to Not Knocked Up: I hope you have learned a valuable lesson from your scare. First, there are very effective forms of birth control that, while seemingly expensive, are much less expensive than having a child or an abortion. An IUD is safe and effective, and only has to be dealt with every five (sometimes 10) years. You don’t have to remember to put it in your purse or take it at the same time every day. And second, you really shouldn’t be sleeping with a boy who does not respect a woman’s right to choose, unless you are ready to have his child in nine months. Think about that. Men, y’all need to think on this, too.

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