Sharon Twitchell had not just gotten fat; her “ballooning weight was also wreaking havoc on her 31-year marriage.”
“We were literally just co-existing together, like roommates,” recalled Twitchell.
“Friends asked my husband to e-mail them a picture of us. Later, I discovered that he had sent them an old photograph taken when I was much smaller. Even though he loved me, he was embarrassed at how much weight I had gained.”
So, charming Mr. Twitchell hadn’t just lost his attraction for his wife of three decades; he had also checked out on her emotionally and become ashamed of her. But then Mrs. Twitchell lost 110 pounds.
“I have a marriage again,” says Twitchell, who recently retired and relocated with her husband from New Jersey to their new home in the mountains of western North Carolina.
“When I finally reached my goal (weight), my wedding ring was two sizes too big. I had already had it resized twice and the jeweler was hesitant that I might lose more weight. Rather than resize it, my husband bought me a new beautiful diamond ring and when he gave it to me he said this was a renewal of our wedding vows,” she recalled.
Twitchell says her husband keeps telling people that he’s got his wife back.
That’s literally one the cruelest things I could imagine being told—you weren’t even you with all that fat. I can’t conceive of why on earth anyone would stay with someone who behaved like that towards them, why anyone would accept that vow renewal ring for any reason other than shoving it up the bearer’s ass…but then again, I have this funny notion that being fat doesn’t make me unworthy of love and respect.
Which makes me wonder about Mrs. Twitchell. If she’s the kind of woman who doesn’t think she deserves a husband who still treats her like his wife, instead of his roommate, even if she—gasp!—gets fat, she must have been feeling pretty low when she was fat. So low, maybe, that she was actually grateful for the contemptible heap who deigned to stay married to her despite the sickening, shameful monstrosity she’d become. (No word on what the un-pictured and weight-not-quoted Mr. Twitchell’s value on the singles scene might have been.)
It got me thinking about how advocating for taking away the stigma of fat, how undermining the whole “To be Fat is to be a Bad Person because Fat is a Moral Failure” narrative, especially with regard to women, seems to anger so many people, as the existence of various trolls hanging around these parts and fat acceptance blogs will attest. It got me thinking about how greeting the use of “fat” as an insult with a mocking laugh has driven a lot of them quite insane with fury and frustration. And I realized that it’s not just about the rollicking fun of trying to make life a misery for fat girls (though that’s certainly part of it), but that shaming fat girls—and threatening thin girls with that shame were they ever to get fat—has a practical component for these guys: It guarantees that there will always be women with self-esteem so desperately low there’s someone for these idiots to fuck.
Over drinks not long ago, Kate and I were talking about women we’d known—superb, brilliant, beautiful women—who thought that, because they were fat, they didn’t “deserve” a good guy, or that no “good guy” would want them, so they were settling for some guy they’d decided was as good as they “could get.” Guys who weren’t particularly kind, or clever, or respectful. Guys who told them plainly they ought to be glad someone wanted them, plucking that string of self-doubt which had been perfectly strung by years of fat hatred.
Making fun of fat girls has always been a shortcut for these guys to breaking a girl down to “their level.” That’s really what’s at the root of the men who pop into threads where everyone else is oohing and ahhing over beautiful fat women to say things like “They’re disgusting pigs,” or jump into threads where a woman has oh-so-controversially suggested that rape isn’t funny to try to silence her by calling her “FAT UGLY POT BELLIED PICKELED PIG” and “fat whore” and “fat pig” and “fat waste” and “Fatso” and “fat cunt” and “fat militant feminist” and “FattyPigFatty” and “fat, miserable waste that cant stop shoving food down her greedy gullet” and “fat hole” and noting it’s “too bad that terrible rapist didnt kill your fat ass” and so forth and so on and on and on… Fat-shaming has always been a brutally quick way to subvert female confidence, and when women start saying, “Yeah, I’m fat—who gives a shit? Go fuck yourself, douchebag,” we bitchez are stealing the only weapon unkind, unclever, disrespectful loser guys have in their collective arsenal. We’re stealing their tools to get laid.
Without the ability to demean women into believing they don’t deserve any better, these guys might have to be, ya know, likeable and smart and decent and shit.
And perhaps that answers the question of why the charming Mr. Twitchell decided not to leave, as well as why Mrs. Twitchell didn’t.
[H/T Chris Howard.]