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Post in Besides Beauty

Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Almost every time I go out shopping or out to eat, whether I have only 1 kid or all my kids with me, I will get a question like, “How many kids do you have?” or “Are all those yours?” When I say, “I have 4” or “Yep, all mine!” I inevitably get told, “Wow! You look so good for having 4 kids!” I always give an enthusiastic “Thanks!” but it makes me wonder, what if I only had 2 kids? Would I still look good then? What if I didn't have any kids?


This statement is often followed by the question, “What do you do to stay so thin?” and an expression that implies they are waiting for some kind of epiphany. “I eat 3 pumpkin seeds and then do a somersault every day.” (I’ve never said anything like that but I’ve thought about it.)

If I try to keep it light and say, “Oh they keep me busy! I don’t sit down much!” Like the lady yesterday, I will get a story about how much running around she does and look at her… What am I supposed to say to that? Do they want me to agree with them or tell them they look great? If I give them the common sense answer,“ I don’t eat a lot of crap and I work out” I get a blank stare and a disappointed “Oh.”

Then I walk away feeling awkward and her probably thinking I’m a ______ (insert word that rhymes with itch.)


Thanks for listening to my annoyed rant. How do you handle similar situations? Any witty comeback suggestions?

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

hahaha!

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

LOL.  Now that's an awesome response to say!

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

LOL!  I've joked about that to my husband many times!  "I don't know who keeps letting these kids in our house."  But I've never thought about saying that in public.  Ha!  Definitely going to do that.

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I think when I'm pregnant and someone asks when I am due, it'll be funny to tell them I'm not pregnant... just to see their reaction. 

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

That's a good one Panda... I'll have to remember that one! 

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Frankly, I hope I remember it too haha

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

ROFL.  The look on their face will be priceless.  Smiley Wink

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I only have one child.  Before I became pregnant with her I got a lot of snide comments about being "so skinny".  I gained a substantial amount of weight when I was pregnant and it took a year or so to lose it.  People who knew me were actually disappointed that I went for a bit being heavier than I was pre pregnancy and not snapping back quickly enough!  I eventually did get to pre pregnancy weight, but as time went on I have gained and lost weight over the years and I am always amazed that people are so free to give an opinion on either. My daughter is now 33 and she is really slender, eats really well, it's just her nature to be thin.  I can't tell you how many people have said downright mean things to her because she is thin, and they think they are being funny.  In my opinion, unfortunately it's jealousy.  Women are still primarily judged by and subsequently some are obsessed by, appearance and body type.  She is a college grad and a business owner, but she gets more attention, sometimes good, sometimes snide, for being thin!  I know why it annoys you, it's just ridiculous.

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Some people think thin people are immune to the effects of body shaming- not true!

I am naturally on the slender side.  A couple of years ago, I got a terrible bout of viral gastroenteritis the week before I was supposed to defend my doctoral dissertation.  The combination of not being able to keep any food down for a week + the stress of "OMG THESIS DEFENSE"   and my weight had dropped to a severe, unhealthy  number in the double digits.  

 

I have a co-worker who STILL brings up how "awful" I looked when i started working my current job. 

 

Excuse me for getting sick TWO YEARS AGO and not looking fabulous every freaking moment of my life.  Sheesh.

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I look like sh** at 135 (maybe it was 130, either way). My face is sunken in, I don't fill out my jeans, I don't feel like myself. Some wouldn't consider that too skinny, but for me, it's terrible (years and years ago when I had a sinus infection for the first time). They shouldn't be putting it that way, people have weird ways of saying you look better now, and maybe in a weird way, caring about your health!

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I think there is a very narrow of what an appropriate body weight is and that everyone on either side gets slammed with body shame.  

and it sucks.

Highlighted

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

One time, thanks to a new medication side effect followed by a three-day stomach flu, i dropped down to 115 lbs. (I'm 5'3"). When I was well enough to go back to work, one of my friends who's known me since high school (and when I was 140 lbs.) saw me and said "Dang, girl! You need to eat." I usually try to keep my weight around 120. Usually I get jokes about my height or lack of it. I learned a long time ago to laugh along with them since there's nothing I can do to change my height.

 

My youngest sister is 5'9' and a size 2. She can eat a family size bag of chips and not gain an ounce. She hated being so tall and thin growing up since it presented challenges when it came to shopping for pants and jeans.

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I'm 5'3" and 115 all the time and I think it's a good weight because I am so short,but I could understand how your friend felt because 25 pounds would make a huge difference in someone's appearance.

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Yeah I had lost 20 lbs. in college thanks to good old fashioned eating less and exercising more. Now that I'm in my 30's and on birth control, maintaining that weight loss isn't as easy as it used to be. If a pregnancy is in my future, I know it'll take me forever to lose the weight.

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Your sister sounds like me. I'm about 5'7 and I barley weigh in at 100 pounds. Before anyone says anything I have no disorders and am perfectly healthy, I'm not deficient in vitamins or anything either. Sometimes when I go on medication I drop weight scary fast, I've had to quit medicine several times because I dropped to 90 pounds. It took less than a month for me to accidentally drop the weight and about three for me to put it back on. I really wouldn't mind gaining a little but that does not seem like it will be happening anytime soon. My metabolism will probably slow down a little as I get older. 

 

I have a ton of problems with fitting clothes for my whole body. I have a long waist so you can pretty much assume if a shirt/dress is supposed to hit at the waist it will be at my ribs. Nothing is ever long enough to cover my stomach either. I need an XS in just about everything since my waist is less than 20 inches. However my chest, butt, and thighs don't fit that same model. My boyfriend laughs at me trying to get my jeans on because I can't get them up over my butt. Once I do have them on you can fit your whole hand down my pants because my hips and waist aren't that big. My chest can be irritating as well because often I need about a medium up top. Forget button up shirts. I've had some shirts get stuck on me because I'm broad shouldered. Also my chest is kind of high up, so if a shirt is supposed to sweep down to show a little cleavage you can bet I'll be about 80% uncovered. 

 

I have weighed in 115 before when I was exercising everyday. Unfortunately my body became really dense and I actually became smaller all over, just with well defined abs. I was really confused as to why my weight had gone up but my clothes had gotten really baggy. 

 

I really like my hourglass figure I just hate fitting it. I always look for simple things when shopping because I have less trouble with them. I love skirts as a result, I'm working on adding dresses to my closet but that is proving to be difficult. 

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

The compliment/insult I always got was "You are so thin! Are you anorexic?" I hated it. I never could figure out if they were intentionally trying to be mean or if they were just stupid. I got judged on chest size as well. Many girls/guys would point out how I had a small chest. I wore baggy shirts and non-padded bras. It was actually quite interesting in the locker room when girls realized despite apparently looking "anorexic" I had more meat in the right places than they did. About the only girls in the locker room beating me were curvy girls and ones that had ran out and bought the Victoria Secret add two cup size bras. 

 

Speaking of which I had the most hilarious moment with my cousin who was drooling over this girl because she had a massive chest. I took one look at what she had on and knew it had add 2 cup size padding because it was in my current VS catalog. 

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I think the worst time anyone asked me when I was due was Christmas 2011.  We were at Dan's boss' house for the office party and one of his coworkers asked me when I was due.  Most of you will likely recall that I had posted about losing our first daughter at 6 weeks postpartum.  I was asked that the day of the party and the FIRST ANNIVERSARY of what would've been Alyssa's birthday.  Honestly, I'm surprised I didn't burst into tears immediately both days.  But I did say "I'm not pregnant."

 

You should've seen the looks on their faces.  Priceless.  And then immediately fell all over themselves apologizing.  Yes, thanks for making me feel worse (I had gained 20 lbs afterward due to depression.  I did finally lose it by doing Weight Watchers after Ashley was born though.)

 

Then in October 2012, I was asked on Ashley's due date (10/6) when I was due.  I had just come from the OB and was finally a fingertip's width dilated and was hungry, so we stopped by one of my favorite places at the mall for lunch.  My response?  "Today."

 

You should've seen the woman's eyes when I responded.  You could practically SEE the wheels turning and then her hoping my water didn't break in the middle of the mall!  Ashley decided to stay put past her eviction notice until the 9th though...which is the same day that her friend Audra has her second birthday.  So Audra's party is this weekend and Ashley's is next weekend.  Can't wait!  I swear this year has just flown by.

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

first off, i am so sorry for your loss. i can't even imagine. i would have totally lost it, i am very impressed that you managed to hold yourself together! 

 

second, when i was pregnant with my daughter, my ex and i would go for drives through the hills around the end of my pregnancy. he was backing up during one of these adventures, and the wheel of our van got caught in a ditch and we were stuck. finally someone happened upon us and helped us out (we were in the middle of nowhere on a back road!) and she asked "when are you due?" "yesterday." haha. i'm sure you can imagine the look on her face! lucklly my daughter wasn't born until one week later! she was probably having the same thoughts i was right about then! "holy crap, this woman is going to give birth right here in the middle of nowhere inside of a minivan!" haha

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Sigh, I completely understand how you feel Smiley Sad  I'm 31 & have 2 kids, 11 & 5.  I'm super short & really thin.  I get the "BOTH are yours?" or "you look so YOUNG" all the time.  Or I've had people talk to my mom about my kids, not realizing I was the parent.  I just smile & move on.  Its annoying for sure, but snarky comments really just make me look & seem childish, when the objective is to be taken seriously as an adult & parent.  I think your answer is perfectly acceptable Smiley Happy  My fav answer for being so in-shape after kids is "Ohh, chasing after my kids really keeps me in shape!" Some people love to engage others & push their buttons, but being the bigger person just feels better Smiley Wink

 

xo, Mia

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I get the "so YOUNG" comment too.  I was 20 also when my oldest was born.  Would they prefer we looked old and haggard?

 

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

LOL!  They'd LOVE it if we looked like a disheveled hot mess!!

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

I "love" when people (especially 20 somethings lol) tell me I look good- for my age...... LMAO I'm like ummm excuse me I am 35 NOT 95! Last time I check I was not a dinosaur or an old purse. lol 

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Wow, I'm 100 lbs and have two kids and no one ever comments on my weight. Perhaps it's because my baseline resting expression is a 'don't mess with me' one. It's not on purpose bunsuitable have been told that I look mean. Ah well, it hasn't stopped some people from asking if I'm the nanny though!

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

Oops, that should read 'but some people' instead of 'bunsuitable'. 

Re: Backhanded compliments and how to respond

My mom got sick of people asking if my sisters and I were all hers, so to cut off all of those intrusive and nosy (not to mention totally rude!) conversations from happening, when someone would say "Oh my goodness, are those all yours?"  she would answer "Nope, I stole them!"  Then she'd smile and walk away.  Works like a charm!

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