Friday, September 23, 2016

Digging your own grave with words...

So, a couple of days ago, I wrote on my travel blog about my new dirndl.  That post has been surprisingly successful.  It's not my most popular yet, but it's up there in hits.  Lots of women in the community have commented on the dirndl and my success in purchasing it, especially since I bravely bought it having converted my US size to a German size.  The dirndl fits pretty well, all things considered, although I probably could have gotten the next smaller size if I had wanted to.

I felt super cute when I put it on.  It's not so often I feel "cute" anymore.  I'm middle aged and rather fat.  Even when I was younger, thinner, and supposedly "cuter", I was never what anyone would consider a hottie.  People have told me they think I'm pretty, but not in a way that necessarily attracts boyfriends.  It's usually my personality that men tend to like... and probably my boobs, too.  Anyway, enough about that.  The point is, like a lot of American women, I'm vain and insecure about my looks.  I feel self-conscious, especially in photos and on film.

I took a couple of successful head shots, that showed the top of the dirndl.  Then, knowing that people would want to see the whole thing, I attempted to take a body shot.  I couldn't get one by myself, but I did get one that showed about two-thirds of the outfit.  It was enough so people could see the bodice and my waist.  I tried to get Bill to take a photo of me in the whole outfit, but he doesn't have a gift for photography and his pictures made me look kind of hideous.  We also didn't have the benefit of natural light because he got home after dark.

In any case, the vast majority of comments about the pictures I posted were overwhelmingly positive.  That made me feel great!  Isn't it funny, then, that I should be so annoyed by the very few comments that were a bit thoughtless?  It's not so much that they were intended to be mean, either.  I seriously believe they were made with good intentions.  A few people just didn't stop and think before expressing themselves.  It happens to the best of us.

One lady, excited about the idea of buying a dirndl, asked me publicly if I would tell her what size I bought.  Then she mentioned her size and, I guess, figures I wear the same.  When I first saw that comment, my first thought was "Is she kidding me?  Does she really believe I'm going to tell everyone in Stuttgart what size clothes I wear?"  Then I thought to myself, "Why didn't she send a private message?  Or, at least, ask me how I determined what size I should wear?  Why would she ask another woman to publicly reveal her clothing size?  Especially when it's obvious the woman isn't exactly slim?"

Of course, I figured the woman just had a brain fart and couldn't think of a graceful way to ask her question.  So, although I was a little tempted to be sarcastic, I wrote "Here is a conversion chart.  If you wear 'such and such' size in US clothes, you should wear a 'such and such size' in German clothes."  She thanked me, and that was that.

Later, I vented about this situation in a private group and someone in that group immediately typed, "How tactless."  I was a little taken aback by that comment.  It hadn't initially occurred to me that the first comment was anything but simply thoughtless.  And now, someone was trying to tell me that the person was intentionally being rude.

I explained that I thought the woman had just had a brain fart and meant no harm.  I would have thought that would have been the end of it, but the person persisted, pointing out that the size tables are available on the Web site and she could have figured it out without publicly pointing out my zaftig figure. (That's not precisely what she wrote, but it was the gist of what she was saying.)  She seemed sure that the first commenter was deliberately trying to humiliate me, rather than simply being clumsy and thoughtless.  Even if that had been the case, why would you point that out to someone?  I mean, if I'm willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt, why wouldn't you?  Unless, of course, you actually want me to feel bad.

I responded by telling her that here in the American community in Stuttgart, we have many people who are not long on common sense.  Lots of people ask what some would consider "dumb" questions with answers that are easily discovered after some casual Googling.  In fact, we have people here who ask what time the Black Forest opens and closes!  Here's a hint.  The Black Forest is not like a state run park and it has no specific operating hours.  I added that I may not be skinny, but I write, sing, cook, and fuck like no other!

You would think that would have been the end of it, but the person persisted by telling me "the good thing is you don't have to be skinny to look good in a dirndl."


So I wrote, "Or to my husband... which is really all that matters anyway."  In saying that, I meant that he's the only one who *has* to find me reasonably attractive, but I guess it didn't come across that way.  So much for "shaking it off."

Again... I thought it would be over, but then she basically told me I needed to be "true to myself".  So I decided to be totally flippant and say, "Nah, my whole life revolves around Bill.  He is my reason for living... certainly for living in Germany!"  With that, the awkward comments finally stopped...  I had been tempted to add that some of my friends don't know when to STFU, but figured that would be too tactless.

Later, another woman wrote, "I love your dirndl.  It's very flattering!"  That's not necessarily an offensive thing to say, except that she's basically pointing out that my body needs to be "flattered".  Why not just say, "That's a pretty dirndl." and leave it at that?  Why make a comment that alludes to my figure flaws?  Yes, I'm sensitive, dammit.  I probably wouldn't have been irritated by that comment, though, had it not been precluded by the others.

The truth is, I almost never post pictures of my current body on the Internet simply because people are brutal and I don't necessarily want to be the subject of fat shaming.  In our community, it is especially risky to share photos because of the so-called "dependa hunters".  These are assholes who go around ripping off people's photos, posting them in Facebook groups, and making fun of them.  I might not care about that so much, except that sometimes that sort of thing gets out of hand and one becomes aware of the nasty comments.  I mean, you can make shitty comments about me privately, but no one wants to be publicly humiliated.  And unfortunately, although military folks can be wonderful, there are quite a few bullies within their ranks who get off on being abusive and cruel.  I've blogged about that many times, if you need examples.

But, in fairness, I suppose I am guilty of making fun of people, too.  I try not to be mean, but I'm sure I fail.  So maybe I deserve some blows to my ego sometimes...  Maybe.  But I must admit that yesterday's encounters stimulated my creativity.  I may have to record a new parody song called "Tactlessly"...  Stay tuned.


  1. The woman sounds like a dweeb. Why try to make someone feel bad? She's the sort of person who would insist on telling an 8 1/2 month-pregnant woman that her husband was having an affair when the evidence was shaky in the first place; if it really were true, there would be time later to sort that one out. Don't make the pregnant woman go through the remainder of pregnancy plus labor and delivery with that on her mind when it may not even be true. I'm going off on a total tangent, but I don't like people who behave the way she has behaved.

    I make it a point to body-shame no one unless he or she has flat-shamed or straight-(as in with no curves of which to speak) shamed me first, and even then, I try to take the high road, though my success rate is not 100%.

    You look REALLY cute in the dirndl. I'm sure you look very attractive in many of your outfits (I love your stunning blue dress), but the dirndl is the one you wore in the picture you posted.

    1. Thanks, Alexis. I am pretty pleased with the dirndl, even if I do wish I were skinny. Actually, at this point, I wish I could just learn to stop caring about other people's opinions. I'm getting better at it than I used to be, though. When I was your age, a comment like the one I got yesterday would set off weeks of eating disordered behavior and at least one crying jag.


      Bill has done a lot for my own positive regard. He thinks I'm cute no matter what I wear.


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