Bad Advice On Fat-Shaming Your Partner

By The Bad Advisor

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Welcome to our latest Bad Advice column! Stay tuned every Tuesday for more terrible guidance based on actual letters.
“Do you have suggestions on whether and how to encourage a partner to lose weight? We’ve talked about it a bit in terms of improving his health, but in terms of heart rate/blood pressure/previous illnesses he’s healthier than I am. So I feel bad that much of my motivation is just wanting to be more physically attracted to him. Especially as he’s never made me question his attraction to me, and my body’s undergone a lot of negative changes (medical).
I guess I don’t know how honest to be. And then regardless of motivations, do you have suggestions on how to encourage healthy eating? When I cook a healthy meal and then he follows it with an unhealthy snack, I can’t help but be annoyed, which I know is not helpful.”
— From “Talking About Weight” via Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 29 October 2017

Dear Talking About Weight,

First off, THANK YOU for being bold enough to admit to yourself what so many people are afraid to confront: That you think fat people are gross. Nothing on earth is more admirable than your honesty in confronting this 100% factually accurate belief that too many of the world’s awesome thin people have been shamed into keeping to themselves. Your openness is unparalleled, so just know that, whatever else happens, you are a really good person for saying out loud that you aren’t attracted to fat people, because that is a really brave and cool thing to do.

Now, to the question of how to make your husband eat only what you say he should eat so that he can be thin, the thing he needs to be before he is anything else, because this physical condition is better than any other physical condition. Fat people often drift (or, more aptly, hurl) through life unaware that they are fat and therefore undesirable, and many go to their graves never realizing that the world doesn’t give a single shit about them beyond what size they are. (It’s probably something to do with the way fat affects the brain, I’m not a doctor but I did read some studies on the internet about yoga for weight loss and that seems right because fat is a bad thing and brains are a good thing so if you have fat and brains it’s probably not good for you.) How lucky your husband is to have a partner who finds his body repulsive — without you, it’s possible this man could have lived his whole life just eating what he wanted to eat and living his life as if he were in charge of it, instead of living his life as if he’s a fat person who owes you the continuous public performance of abject self-loathing and constant abstention in order to prove that he is good, which is to say, a person who is thin or at least trying to be.

You’re right. It’s not helpful if all you do is merely get annoyed with your husband when he eats foods you don’t want him to eat — you need to say something! Without a running commentary on his diet, your husband may never learn the difference between spinach and pie, which is just the kind of delicate guidance about gastronomical habits that fat people can only get from the generous and patient thin people in their lives who are willing to explain that some food is different from other food. Shame may not make your husband thin immediately, but regular mealtime reminders that you resent his healthy body will hopefully help him shed some weight — maybe even as much as whatever you saw the last time you stepped on the scale.

“I am a first-time uncle of a 4-month-old nephew. My brother and sister-in-law are extremely close with my wife and me. We see them three or four times a week, and we are very fond of our nephew. I love being an uncle, and my wife loves being an aunt.
My sister-in-law grew up calling all her parents’ friends ‘Aunt Sally,’ ‘Aunt Jenna’ and so on. Naturally, she plans to have my nephew call her friends ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle’ as well. I feel that being an aunt or uncle is much more than just a title. We are family; we are blood. I’m a bit put off when I hear my sister-in-law say, ‘Here’s Uncle John,’ when they see ‘John’ only a couple of times a year. He’s not an uncle to my nephew! Should I be offended, or is it just a title like saying ‘Mr.’?
—From “REAL UNCLE IN MARYLAND” via “Dear Abby,” 24 October 2017

Dear Real Uncle,

You should absolutely be offended by your sister-in-law’s crusade to illegitimize your good standing as a blood relative of a baby. The modern world can be so confusing, but one thing we can always return to is the primacy of consanguineous relationships, which by definition are more valid than any other kind of relationship, because of the many obvious benefits of sharing genetic material with the same people who’ve had sex with the same each others with the outcome of producing children to whom other people are related, a deeply unusual, uncommon, and awe-inspiring feat of nature.

There is a finite amount of joy and respect available to people in this world, and your sister-in-law is slowly and intentionally eroding the little of it that you’ve been awarded by calling another dude “uncle,” a deep personal insult by which she clearly intends to demean and degrade you, the one true uncle. Carefully nurture this grudge forever, lest your relationship with your nephew be forced to stand on its own as a testament to your investment in his life.

“My younger brother, whom I’m raising, has been out marching with women against the Trump Administration. He says he’s doing it for women’s rights and the future of his future daughters. He is only a 16-year-old kid. He doesn’t understand the magnitude of protesting. Anything could happen. He could end up arrested or dead.
My husband thinks it’s a good idea, but I worry about him, and doubt myself for bringing him up to be a fighter and stand up for his beliefs. There’s a lot of nuts out there, Willie. How do I get him to stop protesting before he gets hurt?”
— Via “Ask Willie D.,” Houston Press, 12 October 2017

Dear Sister,

Lock the door, throw away the key, ground him, berate him, shame him — do whatever you have to do to make sure your little brother stays alive to be assigned to the proper reeducation camp!

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