Something anger inducing happened to me on the bus. Specifically the W7 from Finsbury Park to Crouch End. I’m not talking about teenager playing their garbage music out loud or a kid high on E numbers endlessly ringing the bell. I’m talking about that fact I was a victim, and I will use that word, to bullying and fat shaming by another grown adult.
I’ve said on multiple occasions that I’m fully aware of how I look. A timid, mousy wallflower I will never be. And, obviously being a fabulous 6ft 2, plus size, orange haired woman draws a certain amount of attention. Some wanted, some certainly not. How do I put it…I am aware that I am rare. Opens Etsy, sticks that slogan straight on a t-shirt
Back to the W7. I was hot OK? And we all know things expand in the heat, including me. Sweaty and frazzled I boarded the bus. I stood up to let an old man sit in my seat. I then stood in the disabled/pram space as I wasn’t going to be on for long. I happened to glance down to my bottom right, a man in his late 40’s sat there. It didn’t take me long to realise that his phone was tilted up towards me. Yes, he was taking a photo of me. Just to confirm, I know this because I could see the reflection of his screen in his crappy aviator sunglasses. Fool. Stealth photo rookie error my friend.
Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I looked around. Maybe the subject of the photo was behind me? Maybe he was taking a selfie and his camera was the simply facing the wrong way? As I glanced I noticed the advert above me. Glaring out was a brightly coloured 3mobile ad encouraging users of their ‘endless data package’ to ‘Go Binge’. My heart sank. Ah, so that was it. My fat body standing next to a Go Binge sign. Well that comedy gold was too much for this cretin’s infantile brain to handle. His smarmy little face twisted in delight as he snapped a photo of me to share to his friends on Whatsapp.
What a lad, such banter. Lol. What a top guy, maybe I’ll be turned into a meme and he can show off his outrageous bullying to the entire world. I continued to stare at him through this whole encounter. Watching in disbelief at his blatant candour. Typing a message along the lines oh ‘think she’s had enough’ or some hilarious quip. Quick, book your slot at Live At The Apollo mate.
I stood in a stunned silence as the stops rolled by. At one point his phone pinged again. I witness the ‘funny’ exchange between his friends underneath the photo he had taken of me. A lovely up angle photo of my arm and chin. I mean, that angle ain’t flattering for anyone right? I contemplated. Do I confront him? Do I write this off as an encounter with a shit person and move on?
Not adult bullies are worth tasselling with. My time is valuable, my happiness and well-being are important. Is there any point in trying to grapple with a person who’s negatively entrenched? My verdict was that I have to say something. If not just for adult me for awkward, shy fat 13 year old me who wishes she had the gumption to talk back. I readied myself. I decided I would say something as I got off the bus. That way I could say my piece, and leave without having to draw major attention to the situation. However, he stood up at my stop. Annoying.
Everyone piled off the bus, he began to turn right. I took a pile of caution and threw it directly into the wind. I tapped him on the shoulder and calmly said ‘Hello. I saw you take a photo of me. It was cruel and unnecessary’. Now a glorious shade of pickled beetroot, the buffoon replied ‘Er what no errrr’. I then informed him that I may be fat but I’m not thick. I watched his whole lolageddon behaviour play out.
Unfortunately by this point, my inner neurotic volcano was beginning to erupt. I knew if I didn’t march away I would cry. No one wants to see that. Plus, we were outside a Greggs, and if I did start crying he would probably take another photo because I would be the ‘fat girl crying outside the pasty shop meme’.
I walked home to be greeted by my lovely boyfriend, who quickly morphed into Garcon from Beauty & the Beast, and offered to hunt him down with burning pitchforks and punch him square in the face. Obviously that would never happen, but I must admit I appreciated the violent sentiment. I sobbed for a bit, mostly out of anger. I then realised, what was the point? I shouldn’t care about the opinions of the small minded. I tell myself this daily. I choose to live my life, and look the way I choose. If I want to wear a garish dress, with my big fat arms out, illuminous hair shining I bloody well will. It’s for me, not for anyone else. I can only hope that being confronted made him stop and think about what an utterly vile douchebag he is.
The reason the situation has lingered with me is because what if it wasn’t me. I am fortunate that I have a healthy relationship with my body. Sure I have the hormonal bad days where I think my body looks like an king-size deluxe air bed from Argos, but that’s pretty normal. What if this had happened to someone who was struggling with their body image? Someone who hadn’t yet discovered that who they are and what they look like is enough? Does this man realise that had this happened to the wrong person, the outcome could have be way worse than an angry blog post. It could have any detrimental effects on someone’s mental health, causing undue pain and sadness.
No one should ever make you feel like your body is a joke. Your body deserves respect, not everyone has to like or admire it, but they should respect it. There will always be idiots, the wheels on the bus will continue to go round and round. I am trying to end this blog with a weird bus pun, and as you can see I have failed. I’m off to GO BINGE now.