It was 9pm on a Wednesday and I was standing in line at Fairway on east 86th street.
My skin was glistening and my clothes were clinging to my body with perspiration because I had just put in major work at the gym. In my cart was a roasted chicken, 4 apples, a bag of spinach, two bottles of seltzer water and a box of frozen fruit bars. As I stood in line I was giving myself a mental high five for 1.) a super intense workout and 2.) walking by the nutella without tossing a jar into my cart.
That’s when I saw her… a fairway worker swooping through the aisles with a tray of cookies. “Free cookies!” she called out as she weaved her way towards the registers explaining to the clerks that the bakery had extras and she just hated the idea of throwing them away.
Before I continue this story, let me give you a visual (for those of you who don’t live in NYC). Walking into a grocery store on the Upper East Side of Manhattan is like walking into a Lululemon commercial. The place is swarming with men in gym shorts and women in yoga pants and racerback tanktops and it would be safe to say that I was the biggest girl in the store.
Of course, I didn’t notice any of this until the woman with the big tray of cookies began to make her way down my line. With every step she took, she offered a cookie to the customers in line on either side of her… they all declined by holding up a hand or shaking their heads and she moved right along to the next person. Then she got to me.
“No thanks,” I reply.
“Oh c’mon… you know you want one!”
“I’m not hungry, really.”
“They’re freeeesh!” she says, then she takes the tray of cookies and waves them under my nose so that I can smell them.
“I just finished a really good workout, I don’t want to ruin it,” I say.
“I won’t tell anyone…” she whispers with a wink.
I step forward with the line as I get closer to the check out counter. The woman with the tray of cookies steps backwards so that she is still next to me. At this point some of the clerks are watching.
“Will you please tell your coworker to stop harassing me?” I say to them, half-joking.
“Yo! she said no…” one of them says.
Finally, the woman dances away, but I’m livid. She didn’t push anyone else in that line to have a cookie and when I told her that I’d worked out, she attempted to bond/conspire with me by sabotaging me.
One of the hardest things for a Plus Size Princess to do is turn down food. Not because we can’t say “no”, but because people don’t allow us to say no. If I order light on a date, I’m told by men not to “be shy”… if I take small portions at a barbecue someone will whisper Girl, I know you want more than that!! in my ear and now I’ve got chicks chasing me down in the grocery store to shove cookies down my throat.
I know it stems from different things for different people; the first ways men show they can provide is usually through lavish meals/wine/desserts. Some people want to make sure you’re comfortable “being yourself” and that you feel at home around them so they encourage you to overindulge at their functions.
The woman with the tray of cookies was different though– almost like that skinny pal who orders something “bad” when you go to dinner… asks if you want to share it, then takes two bites, announces she’s full and leaves you to finish the chocolate cake/french fries/creme brule by yourself. I want to look at people like that and ask… do you want me to stay fat? But I’m scared that the answer might be yes. I’m nervous that deep down they feel like the bigger I am, the smaller they are.
I hate to sound paranoid, but things like this keep happening… so I’m thinking it can’t be a coincidence. The only thing I can do is stay aware and not fall into the traps. Go home, eat my roasted chicken and veggies. Drink my seltzer and have a frozen fruit bar for dessert which is much better for me than a cookie.
…Thoughts?? Does stuff like this ever happen to you?