Being fat friendly

Photo courtesy of Allie Ghisson, Student Publications

Navigating the world as a fat person can feel like a constant (sometimes literally) uphill battle. My first year here, I would look around the crowded lecture hall, my stomach pressing up against the extremely tight desk, and feel like I did not belong on a college campus. Everyone seemed so fit, healthy and hot even though we were all basically eating the same subpar dining hall food. 

Most of the free t-shirt giveaways only go up to XXL and are usually printed on shrink prone material. I tell myself I will use all the shirts for a memory quilt later in life. 

My major building sits at the top of one of the most brutal sets of stairs in the history of modern architecture. Sometimes I do not understand how I lived through my freshman year on this campus that seemingly hates fat people. It seems to be ingrained in the architecture (I mean really, how skinny were these engineers back in the day because the lecture hall seats in some of these buildings barely fit a notebook on the desk, much less a whole student in the seat). With something so deeply seeded in society, I obviously cannot call for a fat innovation on this campus, but I can tell you how to be more fat friendly. 

If you are like me, you probably hang around a lot of somewhat skinny people. It just happens. Every friend group needs a fat funny girl and I am here to serve the part. Most of the time, these friends do things that, although not on purpose, make my life as a plus sized person a lot harder. Here are some things to be more considerate while hanging out with your amazing, funny, beautiful fat friends. 

Restaurant booths are one of the biggest frenemies of the plus-sized community. If it is big enough, it can be a glorious dining experience, but if it ends up being too small, it can be an incredibly embarrassing moment for us. One of the worst walks of shame is having to gather our menus and silverware to move to a table big enough to dine comfortably.  To play it safe next time you are out to eat, save us from embarrassment and ask for a table. 

For those sadists out here that enjoy walking up the stairs — newsflash — not every chubby person enjoys feeling extremely lightheaded and out of breath during their daily strolls. I am here to ask you to take the elevators when available because your friends are suffering. I do not even mind walking up the stairs or walking around campus, but when your pace is equivalent to the speed walking olympics, I am going to have to tone it down before my capillaries burst. 

My final, but most important, tip for making your fat friends more comfortable in your presence, is to never mention how fat you supposedly are. Honestly, you should probably stray away from mentioning weight or weight loss in general, but I cannot tell you the amount of times I have had to sit and listen to people half my size complain about how fat they are. If you are fat at 150 pounds, that makes me feel like a monstrosity. 

If you choose to be friends with a fat person, make sure your actions are not harmful towards that person. While most of the time the world makes us feel like we do not deserve to take up space, your friendship and consideration can make a massive difference.