“Well you don’t need to lose weight anyway”

I’m not sure why this is a socially acceptable thing to say to people, but apparently it is.

I hear it often enough.  I don’t try to provoke it – I never bring up weight in conversation – yet it happens regularly.  And I don’t know how to respond.  And it’s awkward.

No, I don’t need to lose weight.  Really, I could do without losing any, if I want to stay healthy.  And I have no intention of losing weight.  Why so many people assume this is a thing I would be concerned with causes me mild confusion, to be honest.

It’s awkward for three main reasons:  Firstly, the person who says it, seemingly is concerned with weight and weight loss.  I don’t know what to say to them.  I have no desire to discuss their weight or my own.  It’s a touchy subject for a lot of people.  Secondly, it happens a lot if I make reference to that one bit of exercise I may have done that week or month.  I arrive into work all red, and explain that it’s because I’ve cycled in, so people get that I don’t normally sweat that much, and I’m told I don’t need to lose weight.  I wasn’t trying to lose weight.  I was mostly just trying to get to work, ’cause I didn’t have a car, and didn’t feel like walking 10k to get there.  That and being healthy and getting fresh air is always nice.  But now I almost feel bad for exercising.  Thirdly, it brings up everyone’s weight issues.  The person who says it may be thinking about their own efforts to lose or gain weight.  I’m reminded about the weight I lost over the past year, from stress and the like.  I don’t need to be reminded about stress and the like.  I’m trying to forget about stress and the like.

People often compliment others on their weight loss too.  Not to make a massive generalisation, but a lot of the time, all of this is done by women.  The problem here is, you have no idea why they lost that weight.  They may have exercised a lot, and eaten really well, and they might be grateful for recognition of their success at becoming healthier, yeah.  (Though I still think it’s risky because it might be promoting the idea that they should be a certain weight, in order to look good, which is not the intention.)  Or they might have had a fairly tough time recently, causing them to lose their appetite.  Anxiety, depression, stress and much more can cause rapid weight loss.  If you want to compliment someone on how much they’re struggling, then sure, compliment them on their weight loss, and how great that look now that they’re wasting away.  Otherwise, maybe don’t.

I’m not intentionally skinny.  I haven’t been dieting at all, or even exercising half as much as I should.  I just have a light build.  And I’m unusually tall, for a girl.  So my weight, which isn’t actually that low, is spread out over a decent amount of space.  But people have felt the need to comment on this since I was little.

To me, it just seems roughly as ridiculous as casually bringing up the fact that someone is morbidly obese.  Rude, awkward, and generally unpleasant.  When are we going to stop placing all this emphasis on being skinny?  Being skinny should not be a goal.  Being healthy should be.  If you are skinny, you’ll probably spend a lot of time feeling a tad awkward or guilty about it, because people comment on it all the time.  Today I was told “you’ve a great figure”, which was lovely, but I don’t know how to respond, like do I just say “haha yeah genetics are great” or do I do the classic Irish thing and claim to be obese (spoiler: no).  Other times people just say “oh my god you’re so skinny”, to which I don’t really know what to say, short of just apologising (I haven’t tried this method), and if it’s a very unfortunate day, this pretty much equally skinny person will refer to themselves as fat.  I don’t have time to spend my days telling women they’re not fat.  They have access to mirrors and weighing scales, they should be able to figure out that they’re not fat for themselves.  Not that they’d believe me anyway, because disagreeing with someone saying they’re fat is generally just sort of polite, unless you’re their doctor or something.

This may not be the greatest problem to face the world of 2016, but it is annoying.  It’s usually unintentional, but it promotes a negative idea about how people should look, and for that reason, it makes me uncomfortable.  You decide if you need to lose weight.  Aside from your GP, I wouldn’t really let anyone else weigh in too much on that decision.

An unfortunate and ironic presentation title choice

On Monday, I had my first French class here (excluding a couple of translation classes).  We had to get into groups of three, and pick from the list given what we would do our presentations on.  So naturally enough, I found a pair to work with, asked what they were thinking of doing the presentation on, and went with that, because it happened to be a really interesting topic for me too, and I hadn’t really read the list too carefully.  The subject we chose, was something along the lines of – “peut-on vivre sans un smartphone ?”, or basically, “can you live without a smartphone?”.

Now, unlike most people I know, I didn’t have a smartphone at the time, had never had one, and still don’t, which I suppose gives a different angle to the presentation.  But I have an iPod Touch, so the only negative difference between the combination of that and my beloved Nokia, and an actual smartphone, is that you can’t get Whatsapp on an iPod (Viber, Snapchat, Skype, Facebook Messenger and every other iOS app I’ve ever wanted all work on them, so there isn’t much need for Whatsapp, I suppose), and you can’t pay to use internet on them.  For me, that wasn’t a problem because ain’t nobody got time fo’ that, and I usually have access to wifi, or contact people by call, text, or just later on if I don’t.  No big deal.  I consider my iPod to basically be 95% – a smartphone.

Except I don’t have an iPod.  I lost it the day after we chose our presentation titles…

“O my prophetic soul!”

Hamlet quotes are always relevant.  Deal with it.

Anyway, life without anything close to a smartphone should be fun.  Added to that, this lack of English-speaking thing I’ve started.  And, speaking of which (seeing as one rule for the no English speaking was that I could do so on Skype and the likes) – my one-and-a-half-year-old laptop now refuses to use a lot of apps (it has apps, because it’s silly and has Windows 8), including Skype.  Making calls with any kind of program, from what I can see, doesn’t really work either.  At least, I got the call function of Facebook’s video caller to work recently, but not audio on anything else.  I haven’t tried every possible means of calling or video-calling yet, but I’ve tried a few with no success, and I don’t expect others to be any more successful, but fingers crossed the audio on Facebook will work so I can actually talk to people.

There’s some extra irony at play here I think.  First, I quit speaking English, except for on Skype, and in a few other situations, then I discover that Skype doesn’t work on my laptop.  Then, I decide to do a presentation on if it’s possible to live without a smartphone, and lose what was basically a smartphone for me.

It’s a bit strange that both of those things happened within the space of two days, but hopefully that’s the end of this sorcery…