I was really torn between titling this post "Bag of Bones" or "People are Asses." Since I figured the word "ass" in the header might offend some people of delicate sensibilities right off the bat, I went with the former title.
So yesterday I was in Talbots returning a pair of slacks that were too big (you'll see the irony of this in a minute). While I was checking out, Eliza decided to decorate the front of the counter with her "Winn- Pooh" stickers. After apologizing for the toddler graffiti, two of the clerks came over to help me get the stickers off at which point they got a close look at Eliza. They both proceeded to exclaim "Oh my god, what a bag of bones she is" and "she looks like a stick figure." This was followed by a handful of other equally unsolicited comments on how skinny Eliza is. Although unusual for me, I walked out without saying anything. And stewed for the next day and a half.
Then I went back.
I found the two clerks and asked if they remembered me and they didn't (no one ever remembers the brown haired girls). But when I asked if they remembered the "bag of bones" their memories perked right up! More comments on Eliza's skinniness ensued. I asked them if they had any kids and as luck would have it they both did. So I asked if their kids were perfect. This was met with very, very blank stares. They asked what I meant and I said "well are your kids fat, bald, do they have flat heads, big noses, crooked teeth, anything along those lines?" They both conceded to having "chubby kids" and one admitted to her son having a bit of a flat head. I do believe they thought they were on a game show at this point since they were all smiles. Then I asked "so you you would be OK with me calling your child "tub of lard" or "flounder head?" No laughter at all. I asked if they thought my comments were cute or funny? No ma'am. They thought I was rude and abrasive. My point exactly! But when I asked them if they thought their comments about Little Miss Bag of Bones were abrasive, they actually insisted that calling a skinny kid names wasn't nearly as bad as calling a fat kid names because they "meant well" and "it's not really a criticism when you point out that someone is skinny." Huh? I mentioned that the bag of bones comment is not too welcome when your kid is skinny because of a feeding disorder, then left them to ponder whether they will increase sales at Talbots if they continue to critique the size of the customers' kids.
So I guess the lesson is that it is OK for someone to comment if your child is noticeably underweight but let's just not go there if someone's child is noticeably overweight. Go figure.
And to clarify:
This is a Bag of Bones:
This is Eliza: