Kat Hudson

Kat Hudson
Location
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Birthday
May 16
Bio
Kathryn Hudson has been a writer for most of her life. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, she currently calls Baltimore, Md., her home. As an award-winning journalist, Ms. Hudson spent several years as a newspaper reporter. She is currently raising a beautiful daughter on her own as a single mother along with two obnoxious cats (they are probably both French-Canadian). In her free time she writes. In her regular life, she juggles a cute infant along with a job in sales, blogs, and short films about everything. She welcomes new friends and correspondence, especially from befuddled new parents like herself.

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SEPTEMBER 2, 2010 7:10AM

Weight a minute! Fat people ARE people

Rate: 56 Flag

Somehow, I missed the memo that fat women are not allowed to be treated with dignity and respect when they are paying customers at a nail salon. Atlanta resident, Michelle Fonville, 40, didn’t get the memo, either.

Fonville, who is a plus-sized woman, had three services performed at a local salon last week. When she was looking over her bill, she noticed an extra five dollars had been tacked onto her total. Thinking it was an honest mistake, she showed it to the manager of the salon hoping for a quick resolution. That’s when she learned that the salon manager had charged her more because she was afraid that Fonville weighed more than the salon’s pedicure chair could handle.

Instead of discussing the matter with her customer privately, manager Kim Tan of Natural Nails, allegedly announced loudly that she did not want Fonville to return to the salon. She reportedly refunded the woman the additional money she had taken from the customer. Fonville, who was simply primping before a family reunion, was humiliated and left the salon in tears. She told ABC News, “I couldn’t believe a human being was talking to another human being in that manner.”

According to NailsMag.com, a website dedicated to the nail salon business, the average pedicure chair holds can comfortably support clients up to 250 to 350 pounds. Many of the manufacturers I researched claim their chairs are sturdy enough to support as much as 700 pounds. Tan, the manager of the salon in question, claimed her chairs could only accommodate up to 200 pounds. If that were truly the case, why not post this in the salon so that heavy clients can decide whether or not they want to risk their safety or pay more for services? Did she really have to wait until after serving Fonville to tell her she was being charged more because of her weight? The answer is no.

Tell us how you really feel about fat people, I’m dying to know

I’d heard about this story a few days ago and was fairly shocked. As a woman of size, discrimination because of my body is something I’ve lived with much of my life. I sent a “mental hug” to Michelle Fonville. I can imagine how she must have felt. Women go to hair and nail salons to feel pretty and pampered. We don’t go there for dieting advice or to be told we’re too big to enjoy feeling like girlie girls. I almost let this story slide until a friend posted something on a social network and added his own commentary. Then I became incensed.

If this is the kind of treatment you tend to face, perhaps you may want to reconsider the wreckless [sic] snacking, especially when you want to get your nails/hair ‘did’,” he wrote. I took him to task over it, but was probably a little too nice. He went onto say that she should be more concerned with “managing a potential health issue” than getting her nails done to feel pretty. In other words, fat women have no right to do things that make them feel good because they overeat. Oh, the assumptions of the self-righteous!

Thankfully, he’s not a close friend. That hasn’t stopped close friends from sometimes saying hurtful things about fat people right in front of me. Sometimes, I know they’re not aware of how they sound when they say certain things. Other times, it’s just annoying.

Some of my best friends are fat!

In most of my social circles, I am the largest person in the group. It’s not a distinction I enjoy, but I’ve come to accept that I’m fat. While I’ve done many things to try and change that, it remains the truth about who I am. Rather than spend a lifetime beating myself up about it, I’ve learned to work around my body or with it to enjoy the life I live. It hasn’t always been easy.

I’ve had a few girlfriends over the years who’ve said some pretty hurtful things about other fat girls right in front of me. Often, they’ll throw in the qualifier, “Oh, but you’re different, Kat.” I guess it’s a little like hearing a racist joke about your race told by someone who isn’t the same race. Sometimes I laugh nervously but a few times I’ve being confrontational. At times I wish I could switch bodies with them for a day. Not so I could see how fabulous it would be to be thin. I would like them to spend a day shuffling along in body that doesn’t always cooperate, is the subject of ridicule and scorn but sometimes feels pretty awesome, too. Yes, even though I’ve tried a million different things to get into a smaller size of clothing, there are days my body and my weight make me feel powerful. And I absolutely love my fat ass! I really do.

I’ve got an equal number of guy friends, too, who feel no compunction in telling me what they think of bigger girls. One friend calls girls who are cute but fat “Chubettes.” I’m not as offended by that, but it also usually means he had no interest in dating them. I’m often surprised at the very attractive and not-all-that-fat women he throws into this category. I’m reminded of the fact that men are visual creatures and what women think is just a little overweight can be seen by men as grossly overweight. It’s a little disconcerting.

Another guy friend is the type of man I loathe the most. He’s the kind of man who will happily make out with or screw a heavier gal, but there’s no way in hell he’d ever date one publicly. Again, what passes for “fat” to him is very subjective. Some of the girls he’s called “bigger” are merely average-sized women. I was excited when he told me he was dating a curvy girl last year. I was excited to meet this woman he declared to be “larger than my usual type.” She turned out to be around a size six (for men who don’t understand women’s sizes, that’s pretty skinny). Yep, he went way out on a limb there.

All these things that I have done

To look at me, you’d think the word “diet” was a foreign concept. I can assure you, however, that if a woman has any heft to her (as I certainly do), she hasn’t gotten to this point and size from “reckless snacking” alone. I have dieted, exercised and—gasp!—even had surgery to “correct” my fatness.

Twelve years ago, less than a year after my mother passed away, I heard about gastric bypass surgery. I was 364 pounds at the time and as I ate my way through the grief of losing her, I feared I’d be 400 pounds if I didn’t find a way to stop myself. I saw people my size and larger drop unfathomable amounts of weight in a relatively short period of time thanks to this remarkable surgery. The CBS show, “48 Hours” profiled several people on one of their shows who had gone through dramatic transformations thanks to this new weight loss surgery. I watched the show twice, mesmerized by the seemingly simple nature of it. I ignored the fact that one of the women who’d had this surgery died and another was starving due to malnutrition. I was young and didn’t think anything bad could possibly happen to me.

My own internal medicine doctor warned me of the complications. She told me I’d have to re-learn to eat. She was concerned about the psychological impact, too. “It will be like cutting off your arm,” she told me. She had no idea how desperate I was to break free from the prison my body had become. When you are that fat, every step hurts, you don’t enjoy a good night’s rest and you are sick of being judged solely on your size. I wanted out of my own skin.

There were many red flags I ignored before having my surgery. The biggest was the fact I had a surgeon who never once looked me in the eyes while speaking to me. When I asked about the number of weight loss surgeries he’d performed, he brushed me off with a vague, “oh, many.” He assured me over and over that this would be my “miracle.”

At the hospital, I was told to expect to stay at least three days but probably no more than five. I ended up spending 11 days there. I went in with pink cheeks and the ability to walk on my own. I left the hospital in a wheelchair gray-faced and as weak as a newborn kitten. I soon learned they’d “over-done” my surgery and within weeks, had to return for a painful procedure to fix it. It didn’t end there.

I spent nearly 10 months in and out of the emergency room. I needed bags of IV fluids due to several electrolyte imbalances and micro-nutrient deficiencies. In the end, I’d stopped absorbing many important things like Vitamin D. My bones became so brittle; I had three breaks in three years. After seriously dislocating and breaking my left ankle, the total extent of the damage finally came to light: my “miracle surgery” was slowing laying my body to waste. I recently learned that my surgeon was sued many times after my surgery for malpractice. He no longer practices medicine at all.

What YOU think of ME is none of MY business

I lost a lot of weight, but nothing near the amount I’d been promised I’d lose. I was given so much misinformation by my surgeon, including the advice NOT to exercise. I regained a good bit of the weight I’d lost right back. It did not cure the long-standing thyroid problem I’d had since my late teens. It did cure me of the ability to ever eat like a normal person ever again. There are so many things I can’t eat at all. If I eat an extra morsel of food, I’ll be hovering over the toilet later. Certain things make me almost instantly sick. I am still a fat woman.

For many years, I was embarrassed to admit to people who didn’t know about my surgery that I’d had it. A few people suggested I try having surgery. It was usually then, and only then, that I’d admit to them I how I was a bariatric surgery failure. They either seem stunned or don’t believe me. I’ve had some people accuse me of self-sabotage. I want to scream at them. I want to show them the large scar on my stomach from three surgeries I’ve been forced to have to fix the first one. I really want to make them understand. If I had it to do all over again, I would never have chosen that route to weight loss. A lifetime of misery all centered on my desire to be “normal” isn’t worth the price I continue to pay.

One of the suggestions for self-reward I was told when I was on Weight Watchers was a manicure and pedicure. My workshop leader suggested it was a far better treat than food. Never being one to fuss over myself, I had once had a manicure when I lost five pounds. Most places charge between $12 and $15 for a manicure; pedicures generally run more than $20 per visit. For some women, it makes them feel better about themselves to have their nails done regularly. I think its wonderful if you can afford it. Small luxuries are sometimes the best treats.

I wonder if Michelle Fonville wasn’t treating herself for faithfully sticking to her diet or rewarding herself for losing five pounds. Or maybe she had recently recovered from cancer and her body had expanded, not due to stuffing her face with food, but instead from stuffing her veins with chemo treatments. Perhaps she is just a woman accustomed to looking a certain a way. Whatever her reasons for walking into that salon that day, nobody had any right to judge her based on her size. They certainly didn’t need to broadcast their prejudice to the rest of the world, either.

She may have left the salon crying that day, but Fonville is my newest hero. She didn’t accept anyone putting her in a corner or on the back of the bus. She is a human being with feelings. All the fat in the world can’t cushion the pain that size discrimination causes.

 

 

Michelle Fonville shares her story with a news reporter. 

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I am the same.. we are people too.
Nasty people..
Glad you posted this
rated with hugs
I'm so sorry about those with weight struggles.

My sister is morbidly-obese. When I visit Florida and take her and my nephews & niece out for a fun activity, shopping, or for a meal, she is super-sensitive about standing too close to me lest people think we're a couple (she's a divorcee -- no male partner around).

Yes, she's so ashamed of her appearance and people's reactions that she doesn't want to embarrass her brother (me) by giving the appearance that we're together.

I always hug her tight and put my arm around her when ever we're walking/sitting together.

(R)
This belongs on the cover.
Written with your usual no-holds-bared style. Prejudice against people fatter than oneself is obscene, perhaps the wort social cruelty of our culture today.

I have some ex-friends who are ex because they couldn't stop ragging on someone for her supposed fatness (these people are genetically skinny, as is obvious from how they pig out and drink with abandon.) Skinny people with thinner souls.
Thank you for voicing this. These things are very much discrimination. People can put on weight for all kinds of reasons, not just food related. It's not very business like to charge someone more just because they can't fit as well in a salon chair. What if she had a back brace or something that made it so she weighed more or didn't fit in the chair? Ridiculous argument on the part of the manager.
Great Blog!
Best Wishes,
Blittie
I've known a lot of guys who have zero remorse for treating a woman like dirt because she's overweight to them. And then they'll get all sanctimonious about how overweight women "get all bent out of shape" whenever they're called on their weight by them. What amazes me is that their own shortcomings are always considered insignificant because fatness has somehow become an ultimate sin.

Now, as hypocritical as this will now make me sound, I tend not to date women who are obese, mainly because I feel that I really don't want to be involved with someone who cares very little for her own health. But having said that, someone who is heavier but not obese does not fall into that category. I see that as natural, as stick figure models aren't exactly healthy most of the time either. But I don't obsess over such things, and that's where the problem really comes into play.
Kat, you write on this topic like no one else I've known. Michelle Fonville is right--if a salon is going to have a weight policy, or a weight restriction, they should post it. I wonder what other factors were involved here. Any business catering to the public ought to be able to accommodate people of various sizes as well as the handicapped or state clearly otherwise, in writing, up front. I'd love to see where they'd draw the line.
I was a size 6 - 8 almost all of my adult life. Sure, I had to work at losing weight after my first 3 children, but it was simply a matter of working out more and eating less. Easy peesy. Then - oh, then baby #4 blew out my thyroid. I was holding steady on Armour thyroid, but then it became unavailable. Now on Synthroid, I find myself a size 12. Hardly morbidly obese, but it is amazing to me the differences in everything from buying clothing to people's reactions to me. I am trying to be accepting of my new size and concentrate on being healthy, but I struggle. And I don't buy into two types of fat people - one acceptable (weight as a result of a medical condition) and one not. The fact is those who put on weight as a result of an emotional condition are as worthy of our sympathy as those who do so as a result of emotional pain or trauma. The whole Golden Rule thing? Yeah, we should try that.
Your medical nightmare is a sad and shocking reminder to be active, assertive and question every physician who wants to do surgery on us.

I'm working now to lose 20-40 pounds and my challenge is "severe degenerative" osteoarthritis of my hip, so bad it needs replacement about a decade earlier than most such patients. I am normally a woman who is extremely active (hello, it burns calories!) but my body has this year fought me viciously -- when you are in pain from walking across a room, your cardio activities are limited. I now do pool aerobics faithfully and paid a trainer for a specific program.

I have had to take charge of my health in a way no doctor, until this year (one sent me to a dietitian) had bothered with. My GP just kept telling me to "lose weight" with zero help, guidance or specific advice. It can be very punitive. When your own doctors can't be trusted to be helpful, you're toast.
"because she was afraid "... isn't that the basis of all discrimination? xenophobia?

how do i feel about fat people? hypocritical, to be honest... or is the better word confused? I think to many things to think consistently. I view this as a positive though - it is how my views change over time. But, it is true that fat women can be very sexy, because sexy comes from inside.
Moving and intelligent. Thank you for writing this. They say discrimination against overweight people is the last acceptable prejudice. I find that completely unacceptable. Thanks for giving such an eloquent voice to victims of this problem. Rated.
No matter how you view it, overweight and obesity create major health problems. Period.
What a lot you have been through, Kat. My own weight battles have taught me never to make assumptions about anyone. This is such a moving post. I wish I could take away what that horrible surgery did to you. You're beautiful.
I work in a weight loss medspa, I see people of all ages and sizes, almost all women come in. As a naturopath, I have a different approach to their total health, even if the program is the same for everyone. I am sad how many I have met who have gone bariatric or lap band, and the weight came back, because they had no good nutritional advice from their "savior surgeon". I coach them while there, but give them real and specific advice about which foods will be problematic always, and how to identify the ones that are causing other issues. I don't know how many of them didn't pay attention at other times, but it makes me sad how many go through medical weight loss programs who are given no advice on how to succeed without shakes, pills, surgery and repeat visits. A great start for some, (I don't make money from this) is a book by Dr Elson Haas called The False Fat Diet. I cannot overemphasize the damage processed food and "diet" food has done to the human brain and endocrine system.
As to the salon incident, she has gotten her payback. If you think you aren't going to have clients over 200 pounds you shouldn't work in America.
Oh I understand how you feel...I have lost a lot of weight and I know first hand about discrimination. Life is absolutely better thinner. People thought I seemed crazy fat and fun thin...that is perception.
Brava you. You covered a lot of painful ground that many of us would sooner bury and leave for dead. You made it seem, maybe, like it was okay to be treated like a person if you are a person.
I was so blown away I forgot to rate. :)
Great blogging. You said it all.
It is a travesty what you have had to endure in terms of your surgeries, Kat, and I am amazed at your grit! With all of the qualities we possess as human beings, our physical appearance should be so far down the list of considerations as to almost be irrelevant. Heart seems to matter less and less as our collective superficiality increases. This was an excellent post!
I'm a large guy. Have been most of my life. It's ugly out there, especially among people who don't get it. People who don't even know me will call me "Big Guy," "Hoss," or any other euphemism for "Lard Ass" right to my face wihtout even think twice about it.

I've been passed over for employment becuase I didn't "fit the profile." I've been passed over for promotions even though my quantifiable performance was superior. I've been laid off in favor of people who look better in a skirt (or suit).

Yes, I'm concerned about the health issues. I diet. I work out. I am losing weight. But it sure as hell isn't because of those fucks. It's because I want to outlive them and laugh.
We all play a part in this...everytime we buy into the mass media of fashion, abuse our own bodies into an unnatural thin, patronize any place or product marketing and selling a standard most people can not meet in a hugely overweight society. My concern with the morbidly obese is their health and the burden on a healthcare system that is already broken and not equipped to successfully handle, treat or heal anything but broken bones or other accident wounds. Our obese culture is diabetic, heart diseased, more prone to cancer...these are just statistically proven facts. No one should be embarrassed in public or over charged in some place that is ridiculously over priced in the first place and a nonessential vanity service. I do think that overweight people at health risk, needing a lot of health services and those who smoke cigarettes should have to pay more for health insurance or at least, those who maintain a healthy weight, practice proper nutrition, exercise regurlarly and do not smoke should get a reduced rate of insurance. There is a direct correlation between obesity and lifestyle regardless of what people want to argue. I prefer not to make excuses for myself in my life because the only person those excuses hamper and hurt in the end is me. If I was fat or out of shape, no one else would have to ultimately deal with what I would suffer as a result but me. I do say but by grace go I, I am glad that I made many lifestyle changes in my early 30's that kept me from being obese or making excuses when in my case, I had none. This anecdotal story of what an obese person suffers just shows how glaringly superficial our society is...we should all think twice before we continue buying into a cosmetic culture that promotes and encourages us to judge people solely on their appearance...
I think the "anti-fat" remarks people make are related to those "anti-old" sentiments, where people are lashing out at someone who could so easily be/someday will be them and it scares them to death. I really enjoyed your thought-provoking post because I have been both a comfort eater, once described by someone as "the heavy one" and a smug (to myself) "thin" person. A weight problem is not about self-discipline but it brings out the judgemental in the best of us. Thanks for this post, a great reminder of our shared humanity. The behavior of the owners of the nail salon shows bad business sense and ignorance. RR
There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not saddled with this burden - and it's not as easy as "eat less, exercise more" evangelicals (most of whom have never been overweight) would have you believe. I've been trying to conquer this for 20 years. People have been taught all their lives that it's okay to publicly shame, ridicule, and act hateful toward overweight individuals. I've heard comments that fat people shouldn't have the option to buy attractive clothing - that'll teach 'em to lose weight! When will they learn that it doesn't help? Thanks for writing this piece.
That is just straight up RUDE and DEMEANING. That is horrible and I'm very disgusted that there are people who treat others this way.

-R-
This is an unbelievable story, well captured. Bravo!
Thank you to everyone for the comments!

I know a lot of my fellow OSers have suffered from different kinds of discrimination. There are a lot of good people who've been hit by the wrong-headed ideas of others.

The fact is that being fat seems to be a crime against society that somehow never made it to the penal code. For people who hate fat people, they think they have to make a "citizen's arrest" by openly (or very often, covertly) finding ways to make our lives a living hell--as if we don't already.

I'm not asking for for the world to love me, just show me respect and allow me my dignity as a human being. I have never understood the open hostility people display towards those of us who are different from them.
As a fat man I know I only deal with a quarter of the B.S. that my female counterparts go through. That being said, every time I go to a new doctor I have to explain that I'm a best case scenario for a fat guy. They try to tell me about dumb crap like parking far away from the supermarket in order to force me to walk a few extra yards or the wonders of microwaving broccoli. I then have to tell them that I eat fruit and vegetables willingly and that I box several times a week and make a habit of taking hour long hikes uphill. They still always seemed shocked that my tests come back negative for diabetes (although I am hypertensive).

When I was a kid my sister and mother put me on horrible diets. Once I went along with it thinking that being thinner would make me better at sports as my family and schoolteacher had promised. I was only nine. So I lost a lot of weight, but I didn't get any better at kickball or baseball. You see, somebody should have taught me how to play kickball or swing a bat. That was the only way I was going to get better at those sports, not through the magic that was supposed to happen by shedding pounds.

Good post. Rated.
This is a riveting post. It should be on the cover of Times. Thank you.
~R
Well written. I appreciated the sincerity with which you wrote this and I understand the discrimination that people suffer because they happen to be different. I think the most important thing is not to judge anyone, you don't know how they became the person that is in front of you. Sometimes what you think is totally wrong. There is no reason to be discourteous and rude. I am amazed for instance that airline seats and service 30 years ago were much, much bigger and food and things were served. Now if you are tall, like me, not to mention if you happen to be overweight, you are completely uncomfortable in your seat, your tray will not go down and your legs have no where to go. Yet, it is okay for them to do all this even though statistically people are much larger than they were 30 years ago, height and weight. It is so messed up. So messed up. R
I just sent you a mental hug.

What a wonderful piece. You are a wonderful writer. I wish people would just shut the hell up.
they are people who are themselfs to blame for there size.
And they must be hold accountable for there behavure.

There is a simple solution; eat less.
I love your work. You are beautiful and I hate the doctor who fucked up your surgery and caused you all that needless suffering. R - for rage at those who make others feel like less.
I am thin. I work out a lot and don't eat many things I really want to eat. I would never say anything rude or cruel to an overweight person. Nor would I offer unsolicited advice on how to lose weight. It's ill-mannered and impolite to do so, and I get angry when I witness that sort of thing. However, I will tell you another thing that makes me more angry, and I see it all the time: Fat parents waiting in line at the supermarket with their poor, fat children buying soda, cookies, chips, sugared cereals, whole milk, processed food, and little else. I'm sorry, but these are folks who are not overweight because of their metabolism. As adults they are free to do and eat as they please, but when you're responsible for feeding and shaping the dietary habits of children-who don't know any better- that crosses a line. I have no sympathy.
I feel like telling that Salon owner that not only would I not be patronizing her salon any longer after being so disrespectfully treated, I would be telling everyone I knew not to go there, either. I would be writing letters to the editor, and I'd probably picket her shop, as well. And I would tell HER so, loudly and publically and in front of all other clients and staff people. That was just plain discrimination and nastiness. Even if what she said about the chairs was true, how far would five dollars from one client go to fix it?
Eloquent, moving, well reasoned. Great writing, and a good message. Discrimination and rudeness are evil, no matter who the object.
I hate to say this, but, I look at a persons weight. I'm different in that I will not date a thin woman.

There was a point in time when larger women were the rage. I don't know when that changed but I do remember when Twiggy came on the scene. Frankly, as a younger male, when I saw her I thought she was sick.

As I've though about it I've tried to figure out what started me liking heaver women. I believe it may be because the first girl that I remember, as my hormones started to rage, who showed me male/female attention, not sex, was overweight. I still remember her name and have wondered if she knows what she did for my life that night.

Years ago I did have a nice lady, size 1, decide she wanted to jump my bones. We were friends. She was a great person. She undressed and from that point on the only thing that was up was her blood pressure, because my little head said "I'm not going in there".

Flip that coin over and I once dated a lady who had lost so much weight she was on the Jerry Springer show and had the tape to prove it.
of course fatties are people, it's just that they are 'loser' people. having them in a nail salon lowers the tone, and makes it harder to sustain the fantasy that having your hand fawned over will make you more desirable, or at least give you a few minutes of simulated' upper-classity.'

if your parents feed you too much, if you don't exercise, you are likely to be fat as an adult, and not inclined to sustain the months or years of self control needed to re-establish an optimum body weight. blame momma.

but that doesn't help, does it.
Makes me wanna bitch slap that Kim woman.
That was outrageous, inhumane treatment.
Btw...I wonder where you've found the men in your life. Most of the guys I know are more "forgiving" of "excess" weight in women than women tend to be. My guy friends will look at a size 12 woman (like me) and see "sexy and voluptuous." It's the women who offer diet tips and criticism.
Eloquent as always, Kat, and right on target.
The faces of those two women reflect so much...nastiness on one, while sorrow rolls off the other. The nasty one will lose some significant business, and she probably won't understand.

Your own ordeal is incredible, and you are brave to tell it.
I wish I'd gotten here earlier. This is absolutely right on. I admire your courage and forthright attitude and am sorry to hear of your post surgery horrors.
That is a lawsuit in the making. Just gross.

I am so thankful to both you and Michelle, for stepping up and declaring your humanity loud and clear.

I have had severe lymphatic edema for 4 years, and gained 80 lbs. I had never had a weight issue prior. One day a woman in a parking lot came up to me and suggested that I get that surgery because I was so beautiful and deserved (like her). Her face paled when I told her the reason for my plus size, and when I ended with how I was never happier, that slayed her. Truthfully, I found my beauty when I actually gained weight, I never thought that could happen.

Beautiful post!
Poignant--thank you so much.

I hate the "reckless eating" remark. I think what people don't get is that besides the fact that most overweight people don't engage in reckless eating, the few who do have a physiological problem that affects their satiety. I wish people were more forgiving of things they know nothing about.
Kat - Beautifully said and eloquentally written as always. I am sorry for what you had to endure as far as your surgeries were concerned and all that you describe. All my female relatives on my mother's side of the family (as well as her two brothers) ranged or range at one point from obese to morbildy obese and I grew up contantly hearing disparaging comments about female bodies, especially heavy bodies and curves and large breasts while everyone continued to eat and eat. I think this environment was one of the precipitating factors in influencing me to go to the extreme in the other direction - anorexia - which although evokes very different reactions from the public, is potentially deadly and is something with which I continue to struggle twenty-three years after I first was diagnosed. The ignorance of the general population in overcoming problems that have to do with food and eating is shocking as well as the range of supposedly well-meaning comments that strangers feel feel to make. Hugs and more hugs.
It doesn't matter why people are fat. Just that they are people. Wonderful essay. Rated.
My observation? Most men who I've heard complaining about fat women are pretty fugly-looking themselves. Maybe they imagine that being seen in public with a thin woman will make them look like winners. Or maybe they've watched too many beer commercials.

As for the salon owner, I'm betting that she's lost a lot of business due to negative publicity. The free market will decide her fate.
I feel you, Sister!!!
It pains me that fat people seem to be the last group no one seems to have trouble making fun of or treating as second class citizens. So sad. I have recently lost 125 lbs. w/o surgery and would be honored to share my story with you and anyone else who might like to read it! I started a blog right here! It's called Squeezing The Fruit.
Come check it out, please and tell me what you think.
http://open.salon.com/blog/squeezing_the_fruit/2010/09/03/how_i_lost_125_lbs_without_surgery_and_so_can_you

Did I do this right?? I am new to this blogging thing. :)
Excellent post, thank you for sharing this. You expect you might face discrimination some places, but a nail salon? Ridiculous and so out of left field.
Michelle Fonville - I applaud you for your tenacity and perseverance. Shame on those businesses who discriminate for any reasons!
I am incredibly sympathetic to the woman about whom you write, but I also have a couple of real problems with your piece.

First of all, the woman who was overcharged by the unbearably obnoxious shop owner should have torn the woman a new asshole, including--but not limited to--reporting her to the Attorney General for hidden (and undoubtedly illegal) charges. She should have set up shop with a sign in front of the women's salon, referring to her as a dishonest businesswoman. She should have threatened to put her out of business by organizing a boycotting the business. In short, she should not have taken that crap.

Secondly, your part about gastric bypass surgery is EXTREMELY misleading. You are seeming to suggest that your problems with the surgery came from the surgery itself, but nothing could be further from the truth. You went to a doctor who, by your own admission, you did not trust, who did not answer your very valid questions, and yet you did it anyway. I had the surgery a few years ago, and my surgeon was the exact opposite of yours--first of all, I went to a reputable medical center. My surgeon told me that he had performed thousands of the surgeries--that in fact, he wasn't sure you even knew what you were doing until you had performed 2000 of them. He answered every question in honest detail. He told me what to REALISTICALLY expect in terms of weight loss. Indeed, I was somewhat disappointed to hear him say, "I know you have a magic figure in your head. You will not reach it. You will lose approximately 2/3 of what you need to lose." I underwent extensive medical and psychological testing before the surgery. When I asked him about the mortality rate of the surgery, he noted it that it is actually much lower than statistics indicate, since anyone who dies within 30 days of the surgery is considered to have died FROM the surgery. But, as he pointed out, most of the people who come for the surgery are very sick already.

So what I see here are two fat women who have not managed to get up the self confidence to take responsibility for their participation in the world, women who let people abuse them or who let potentially incompetent physicians operate on them because--why? Because you have internalized society's abuse? If so, I feel your pain, believe me. But it does not excuse you from your responsibility to take charge of your life and kick some serious butt in the process.