JournalismPakistan.com June 17, 2014
So, I am standing at this party like one of those shabby relatives at a rich man’s wedding, a little out of place, a little awed by the opulence and wondering why I can’t be home reading a book when this half stranger, like most people in our lives, walks up to me and says, ha, fancy meeting you here (which is rude enough) and then he adds, my, my, we are doing well, look how fat you have become, after which he proceeds to poke my stomach.
Go away, you horrible little man, where do you get off being so personal?
Now, I am so teed off that I spend the next few weeks doing big time research. And much to my surprise I discover that ‘attack mode’ is not only fashionable, the damn thing never goes out of season. I would have truly thought it is rare, like I would think twice before making physical remarks. Obviously, I live on another planet.
The ones who hit you with concern; migoodness, I am so worried about you, what have you done to yourself, no way, you have really put on the pounds.
The ones who make a mystery of it: I saw you and I said, no, that can’t be you know who, she looks twice her size, wo, you are living it up.
What about the medical approach: hey, I am worried about you, little tummy there and it has gone to your hips, slow down, you know not good for you…at your age.
Then the ones who make it into a collective Broadway musical: hey everyone, would you believe this is Bik, look at him, hasn’t he really ballooned…say whattt!!
Not to mention the ones who cannot conceal their glee: Boy, you have sure let yourself go, you are literally bloated, and you look twice your age.
The fake ones: you look lovely, just a little wee bit, teensy weensy little love handle, darling.
And it is not just your weight they attack. It is any part of you. Look at you, your hair’s all gone. Yes, I need you to tell me that, I came here this evening because I know there is this huge Texas-sized bald patch on the top of my head but I thought I need your confirmation and thank you so much for setting me straight, now I have the seal of approval on my lost hair, ergo, the evening has not been a total waste.
Age. They really whack you with it. Smack.
You have bags under your eyes.
I have what?
Bags, big brown bags under both your eyes.
Oh, I thought you said I had bags under my eyes.
Isn’t that none of your business.
Oh, come on, smile, chill out, no wonder you have the bags, you are stressed.
I would be a lot less stressed if I could whack you across the face.
Why are we all so fascinated by other people’s weight and why do we believe they want us to comment on it. Don’t they know the darn diet did not work, don’t they know they are struggling to drop those ten pounds, you think they are so stupid they don’t know they will never be size 8 again, they need to dress up to come to a party, find car parking space, bring a recycled gift so you can tell them.
Truly, this happened to me last week. Along comes this lady and she says, I haven’t seen you of years.
And I say, true.
And she says, I saw you from far and I said no, it can’t be him, he looks too grey and haggard.
Fooled you, lady, it isn’t me, it is a mask, see, this is the young real me, eureka, go leap off the balcony, you cow.
People love to hurt. They dress in the evenings and they carry a quiverful of poisoned darts which they then deploy to enjoy themselves by making other people uncomfortable. About you, your money (lack of it), standing (lack of it) property (lack of it), your current business success (or lack of it), your inside story (which they know more about than you) and they haven’t the slightest qualm about bringing it up.
So, what is it? Don’t we like each other? Are we so jaded that we only get our kicks by dishing them out?
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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