Yes, That Does Make You Look Fat

I am not a parent. Nor do I plan on becoming a parent any time in the remotely foreseeable future. (Sorry, mom, you’re going to have to wait on those grandkids.)

I have, oh, about three successful babysitting experiences under my belt. Yes, I said three. I am not counting any of the times I was forced to baby sit an actual baby and I immediately freaked out when the kid wouldn’t stop crying. Those times do not count because I panicked, called my mom, and she (like some saint-like person) came over and tagged-in on baby sitting duty.

So yeah, you get the gist, I’m not exactly a wiz at child-rearing. I’m not a maternal wunderkind. I have about as much experience raising children as I have doing my own taxes, which is zero. Zero experience. (Math is gross.)

But even I, with my complete lack of child-rearing credentials, know that I could probably throw my hat into the parenting ring right now and be better at it than at least one mom out there. Lady who was in the Kohl’s dressing room around 6 p.m. on Sunday, I’m totally talking to you. You’re doing mom-ness wrong, just crazy-stupid wrong.

When your 13-year-old daughter is trying on clothes and she timidly asks you if the size 3 pair of shorts she is wearing makes her look fat, you don’t say, “Yes, a little.”

There are a couple things wrong with this. For one, if your daughter is wearing size 3 shorts, she is not overweight, period. (Probably not even “a little.”)

Number two, adding “a little” to the end of your statement is just not helpful. I can guarantee that the poor girl stopped listening immediately after the “yes.” Saying something completely terrible and then following it up with a wimpy, half-assed “a little” doesn’t make it any less terrible. It’s kind of like giving someone a pile of dog poop for their birthday but sticking a cute, sparkly birthday candle in it. The recipient probably only sees the poop. I mean, you gave them poop.

Number three, hey, smarty, she’s 13. She’s a ticking time bomb of hormones, acne and unrequited Justin Bieber-love. She’s sensitive. Give her a damn break. Try being a little nicer.

I’m usually a champion of candor. I’m usually all about dropping vaguely inappropriate truth bombs at the wrong times. This is because I have basically no filter and most things just pop into my head and fly immediately out of my mouth. This is not an endearing quality of mine, but, hey, at least I know it’s a quality of mine. That’s something, right? But even, I, with my questionable, thought-blurting frankness, know that you never, ever, answer the “Do I look fat?” question from a 13-year-old girl with a “yes”.

(Besides, again, she was not overweight. Not even “a little.”)

Here is a normal, more decent (read: not shitty) way to answer that question: a simple “I think I preferred the last pair,” would have worked nicely.

Or, you could just say what I would say, which is: “No, of course those do not make you look fat because you are not fat and besides, fat is not an appropriate term. If you feel that you are not at a healthy weight, you would be overweight or obese. Not fat. Or you could even be under-weight. That is also unhealthy. If you are feeling unhealthy, we can work on that as a family by trying harder to eat better and exercise more regularly. And, in any event, how you look in shorts does not define you as a person. Also, I’d be happy to talk to you about subjects other than this pair of shorts,  because I find you to be witty and delightful and infinitely more interesting than a pair of shorts.”

Yada, yada, yada, you get the drift. I’d probably say a bunch more stuff that is a hybrid of Oprah and hippie talk. That would teach the kid to ask that silly question again.

I’m so sick of that stupid question. (And I’m also sick of you Kohl’s Dressing Room Mom, you’re the worst.)

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