When it comes to being stared at, I consider myself lucky. I don’t find people staring at me very much. Maybe it’s because I’ve retained a bit of what my college friends called “The Golda Walk,” where you basically walk around NYC looking like a badass when you’re really just a total nerd who happens to have broad shoulders.
But anyway, back to staring. I’m not used to it. So it was particularly weird when, one brisk October morning last week, I met up with a fellow coach at a cafe in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and proceeded to get stared at by nearly everyone who came in or out of there.
Granted, it was Williamsburg, hipster hub of $300 skinny jeans designed to look like you got them from a thrift store. And granted, I may have been the fattest person to ever show up at that cafe (I didn’t see one woman larger than a size 6 U.S. in the 90 minutes that I was there). But after a trip to the bathroom I was able to confirm that I didn’t have cappuccino foam on my nose or a horn inadvertently growing out of my head, so what, exactly, was the deal?
The only thing I can figure was that my presence at that cafe that day, for the half-asleep folks on their way to work, seemed like a blip in the matrix. And Laurence Fishburne was not there to explain what was going on.
Unfortunately, this stuff doesn’t only affect fat people. I think being stared at is something that nearly everyone who has an appearance that is at all non-normative. So I’d like to share a few tips for how to deal with being stared at.
How To Deal With Stares:
1) Assume That People Are Staring At You Due To Your Awesomeness. This is really the best way to deal with stares. When you assume that people are looking at you because you’re a hot fatty who looks awesome, you just don’t care. You almost expect stares to result from your blinding awesomeness. It doesn’t do you any good to believe anything else. In truth, I think that about 70% of the stares I get are due to malevolent feelings about my fat, 20% are from people who think I look cool or have a good vibe and want to know my secret, and 10% just want to get with me. But when I’m out and about, I just assume that everyone is in the latter two categories. In reality, they may all hate my fat ass — but I DON’T KNOW. I have no idea what they’re thinking when they stare at me. So the choice is up to me, do I assume they think I’m awesome and/or hot, or assume that they hate me for my fat? If I want to be at all happy in my life, I must choose the former.
2) Wink. If you want to get really cheeky about things, just wink at people who are staring at you. It takes the pressure off and makes them uncomfortable.
3) Have A Chat. This is something I rarely do, but I tend to lean toward the non-confrontational side of things. But if you feel comfortable, there’s nothing wrong with saying, “I noticed you staring at me. Why is that?” You may actually get into an interesting conversation. Heck, the starer may indeed think you’re awesome and/or want to get with you. And if they’re really rude, please refer to the snappy comebacks section of Fat!So?
Have you ever been stared at? How did you handle it? Please share your thoughts below or at our Facebook page.
Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/free to get your free download – Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining!