From an early age, I’ve been a freak magnet. It’s genetic. My Father is a freak magnet too. Leave either one of us alone in a public place for more than a few minutes and some nut job will appear as if by magic and latch onto us. If you encounter a straight forward dickhead, I believe it’s acceptable to tell them to KFO (Kindly F*** Off), but with freaks, you sense they are clinically insane or at the very least, emotionally fragile, so it’s difficult to know how to appropriately dispense with them. As a result, it’s always been a dream of mine to have my own personal bodyguard to handle my dirty work, and now I have one in both the literal and metaphorical sense.
My bodyguard is a friend of the Rastaman’s. It’s not an exaggeration to say he has changed my life. If he sees anyone approaching the general vicinity of where I am sitting, he immediately booms an imposing, “Don’t sit there.“, accompanied by his equally concerning big, crazy eyes. If a random freak does somehow manage to sit next to me, he seems to appear from out of left field, pointing his finger and telling the weirdo not to even talk to me. It is simply brilliant. I suddenly have this newfound freedom and no longer shy away from unpredictable settings. Once, a man managed to slip through the net and actually grabbed my arm. Next thing I know, the Bodyguard had swooped me up in a protective bear hug and was telling anyone who would listen, “No one touches her! You hear me?” The best part is that he provides his valuable services for a mere Guinness and an approving nod from the Rastaman.
But every rose has its thorn. On the flip side, I’ve come to realize that the Bodyguard also keeps a very close eye on me in other aspects as well…. which brings me to his metaphorical body-guarding.
The other day I was slobbing about in hot pants (not batty riders, but short shorts) and a t-shirt, and he decided to make a very loud – and very public – announcement:
“You’re putting on weight.”
“Yes, a little. Too much liquor, I suppose,” I sheepishly responded.
“No, Wonder Woman, you’re not listening to me. You’re getting fat.”
“Really?” I replied, slightly alarmed. He now had my undivided attention.
“Yes, F-A-T. Fat. Uh, huh – FAT. Really FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT.” And, as though the over-pronunciation didn’t make his point clear enough, he added, “Seriously – you’re getting FAT.”
He then opened the subject up to the group of men he was sitting with, deferring to someone else for a second opinion on my weight gain. However, I wasn’t about to stay around to hear the verdict. I bolted from the scene, concerned.
Though I’m not one to usually obsess over body-image issues, you do need to take these things seriously when you live in shorts all the time and you no longer frequently wear that special pair of jeans that helps you keep your weight in check. You know the pair – they’re the ones that look fabulous when you are at your normal weight, but if you gain a few too many pounds, they give you the look of a sausage bursting from its casing, effectively telling you it’s time to lay off the chips.
But even still, the Bodyguard’s reaction seemed a little extreme and borderline offensive, considering we were only talking a few extra pounds here. Also, given the fact that this is the epicenter of body confident larger women, I found it even stranger – especially considering that’s what is typically seen as sexy here and what the men tend to be most attracted to. Usually, no matter if we like it or not, being called fat is considered a compliment, though my bodyguard certainly wasn’t making it feel like one. Perhaps the Bodyguard was not trying to offend me, but felt he was just doing his job, guarding my body against the Caribbean trend. I certainly wouldn’t be the first expat to move down and indulge in a few too many happy hours. Though it leaves me to wonder – why is the local trend not acceptable for me?
Yet despite trying to comfort myself with my theory that the Bodyguard was just doing me a favour, the word FAT kept reverberating around my still-Western woman’s head making me more and more paranoid. Had I put on just a few fluctuating pounds or was I on the slippery slope to becoming an unhealthy, fatty puff? So, with body confidence at an all time low, I had to get a second opinion. I set out to find the unfailingly honest Rastaman.
“Am I getting fat? I mean really FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?”
“What?” He seemed genuinely surprised by my question. “No, I can’t see that… you look the same. But you have got a porridge bum and you seriously need to do something about that… A breast enlargement might be nice too, a C cup would look perfect.”
Marvelous. I’d have settled for fat!