It’s amazing to me how frequently conversations about food and weight occur. Admittedly, I am more attuned to such talk nowadays, but I can barely get through a day without hearing women talk about what they should (not) be eating and how fat they feel.
I’m reminded of a roommate in college who studied education. As such, she was particularly sensitive to casual use of the word “retarded,” since to her, this was a psycho-educational designation, not a word to throw around when you meant “stupid” or “silly.” Every time someone slipped and used the r-word, (i.e., “That guy I met the other night was so retarded!”), she’d interrupt with a loud, “Beep!” It wasn’t long before I became conditioned and began to censor myself. In graduate school, as the professor of my psychopathology class discussed diagnostic criteria for mental retardation, all I could think of was, “Beep!”
I’m contemplating beeping conversations about food and body image, but I fear I’ll sound like a semi truck in reverse.
Recently, while standing in a restaurant entrance waiting for my party to join me for dinner one night, I overheard two women participate in the following exchange:
“Can we get spinach dip?”
“Yes! I’ve been really good lately.”
Instead of beeping these women, I immediately began to rewrite the dialogue:
“I’m in the mood for spinach dip. I realize I don’t need your permission to order some, but I’m wondering if you’d care to share it with me?”
“Sure! I’d love to. I’m aware that food choices really aren’t ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and that too often, intake is confused with morality. In addition, I’m in the mood for the dip not because I’ve been restricting and now feel deserving and not because I’ve been restricting and now feel rebellious, but because I’m simply in the mood for spinach dip.”
There. Much better.