The plus-size lady in the restaurant
It's early June, 2008. Summer's just around the corner. Pleasant fragrances of flowers, whose names I can only guess, infuse a scene of abundant life and atmosphere. The streets are filled with people, young and old, tall and short, slim and curvy.
Walking downtown, I am gazing at crowds walking by. And beautiful women, everywhere I look. Not the kind of day to go out with a friend and talk while you walk. Distractions at every corner, every passage, every shop I walk by. Several blocks later, the time seems good for a refreshment.
As I order my drink, in a small restaurant filled with people, a lady walks in. She's beautiful, very. Long golden blond hair just past her shoulders, an hourglass outline defined by the sun's rays reaching through the entrance. Not a presence to go unnoticed, as this curvy, voluptuous and beautiful woman just walked in.
Stunning as she looks, I'm reading a slight discomfort on her face. Hoping she finds her way to the seat next to me, which was luckily just abandoned by a customer, she hastily moves past tables and chairs. At last she finds a seat in a shadow-filled corner. “Why did she sit there?”, I wonder.
Several tables away, I hear laughs. At first, seemingly part of the crowd's chatter. Then, after some time, the unmistakable signature of ridicule and insult distort that perception. “My God she's big!”, I hear. “Why is she wearing all those clothes with this heat?”, says the other.
Luckily, the lady doesn't seem to hear them. She thankfully takes a first sip from a glass of icy sparkling mineral water. I'm briefly moved by this most pleasant sight, until my attention is diverted to the two at the table again, across from her, as they continue their slanderous comments, now with increased pitch.
Struggling between detaching myself from the lady's beautiful sight, and a simultaneous buildup of anger towards the two at the table, at long last I get up from my seat. Walking into the lady's direction, I ignore the two idiots at my three 'o clock. I wish to pay the curvy lady a compliment, but my focus is abruptly steered away. I catch myself giving in to my anger.
An old lady moves in front of me, forcing me to halt my pace. I realize it's a fortunate thing, as I reflect on what I should best do next; giving the two at the table a taste of their own medicine, or giving a beautiful woman a compliment that may make her day.
As the old lady moves out of my way, I turn to the two at the table, pause, look at them (my face must've been one of tremendous frustration) and notice they appear to realize why I am looking at them. Appearing as only in their early twenties, my much older age - together with my apparent aggravated look - has an intimidating effect on them. A good thing, at least in this situation. And while I am refraining from using vocals, they turn their heads in shame and cease their disturbance.
As I continue my way towards the table, somewhat bashful, I finally utter the words, “Hello there, I hope you don't mind but I just wanted to pay you a compliment. I think you are very beautiful and I just wanted to tell you that.”. She looks up, somewhat surprised. A visible radiance can be read from her face. Then she replies “Well thank you! That is very kind of you.”.
With some courage left and a slight hesitation, I say “I think you also have a beautifully curved hourglass figure.”. Only now she responds somewhat irritated, and asks me if I make such comment to women regularly. She begged to differ that being a plus-size woman wasn't exactly playing a positive role in her life. That she worked out regularly in the gym to “get rid of the extra pounds”. I replied “I love your extra pounds. Maybe they are just part of you.” “Well...” she said, “...unfortunately this world doesn't feel the same way as you do.”. I replied: “What's important is how you feel, not what the world feels, thinks, or says.”.
Admirer and activist
After that day, I decided to step up to the plate and not just be an admirer of womanly curves, but also an activist.
Why become vocal? Because as an individual you can and will affect change in the world, and thereby affect the lives of those who need to hear your message the most. And because it is the right thing to do. Famous people in the past have done the same and although some of them had to pay the ultimate price, it has lead to revolutions, which eventually changed minds.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.