Close Encounters of the Fuckwit Kind

Despite my inherent (or what I like to think of as my inherent) cynicism regarding my fellow human beings, sometimes I’m still really shocked at how nasty people can be to and about one another, even when there’s no actual reason for it.

I had this happen a few days ago at work. I was serving a woman who happened to be tall and also rather overweight. There was one man queuing behind her, who decided that rather than wait in line, he would walk around her and come and lean on the desk, sighing loudly and pointedly, because by serving the person in front of him I was obviously not doing my job properly.

After finishing with the woman, I politely turned to the man, now sprawled across the desk from the waist up, and asked how I could help him. As I was serving him, he suddenly started ranting about the girl I’d just served, none too quietly. He was deeply offended by her size – “I could hardly get past her!” I refrained from pointing out that, had he queued like a person with manners, it would not have even been a problem. Then he launched into a tirade about how disgusting she was and how she should lose some weight.
“Stop it,” I said, giving my best steely librarian gaze over the frames of my glasses. “That’s really inappropriate and I don’t want to hear it.”
He dropped his voice but didn’t stop talking about the woman.
“I mean it,” I said. “I don’t want to hear it, you’re being completely inappropriate and I want you to stop right now. This is no place for that behaviour.” By this time, another woman had queued up and was watching us with curiosity. She could hear what I was saying, but not what he was, because by this time he’d dropped to a low mutter. This continued for another thirty seconds or so, then I finished serving him and he left.

I felt angry and disgusted for a while after that, even after reporting him the branch manager and being praised how I’d handled the situation. I know pretty much everyone judges everyone else internally, and people tend to be pretty harsh about the overweight, but seriously: what the fuck makes people think they have the right to start ranting about someone who has done nothing to them, simply because they’re fat? Furthermore, what makes them feel so justified in their right to rag on someone’s physical appearance that they continue to do so even after being asked to stop several times? I just don’t get it. This woman did nothing to deserve the man’s reaction – except, of course, exist, which was apparently offensive enough. It’s situations like this where I start to feel that old standard about glass houses and stones really has some merit; not that I want to sink to his level, but an ugly, obese, rude and bitter old man attacking a well-mannered, polite and beautiful young woman who also happens to be overweight would be funny if it wasn’t so, I don’t know, bile-inducing.

I’ve never really understood why so many people seem to feel they have the right to comment on and judge other people’s bodies at random, especially when it’s deliberately done to be in the subject’s hearing. It’s just rude and stupid, people. You don’t come across as wise or helpful or honest or even superior, you just come across as cuntish. I’m not even going to start on the effects comments like this have on the subject. My official stance is “DUH, FUCKTARDS!” It’s not fat people who are offensive, it’s the people who think they’ve got the right to comment and sneer, because as we all know, an excess of body fat severely inhibits one’s ability to hear, as well as their sensitivity to unjustified criticism. Not to mention that it completely voids their rights to be treated with the basest levels of human decency when they dare take their fat arses out of
the house to, oh, I don’t know, go to their local public library. God forbid a fat person should ever do anything besides hole themselves up in a shuttered house, stuffing their faces in shame. God forbid sterling examples of humanity like Mr Dickcheese are expected to treat them with anything but vocal contempt.

I hate it when I’m reminded in this way of how stupid and petty and just outright nasty people can be. I hate it that this guy just completely did not understand (or care) why I was asking him to cease and desist. I hate it that I had to even try to point out to someone with a good four or five decades on me that the way he was behaving was inappropriate for a public space. And I really, really hate it that, along with my reasonable disgust
and anger at the inappropriateness and base nastiness at the man’s comments, a small, ever-present kernel of self-doubt and loathing began to unfurl and make me take all this personally.

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