It was the first time we visited Valparaíso, a quaint coastal town a short two hour drive from Santiago. i.e. the place half of Santiago spends it’s summer.
While it’s all fun and games chilling under the sun on the sandy beach, you can *forget* about taking a dip in the the chilly waters. We are not penguins. or seals. or any of those polar animals. Let’s not talk about the human beings that *do* take a dip and seem to thoroughly enjoy it (they clearly have Panda genes!)
The highlight of beaches in Chile is the Pisco Sour. But unlike Goa, where you can plonk your behind in a shack, take turns dipping in the water and drying off lazily in the shacks while having some finger licking gourmet sea food which practically costs nothing and sipping some beer, there aren’t any “shacks” in Chile. There are “propah” restaurants. So if you don't want to wine & dine, and if you are loyal to Pisco, you can simply pour some into your son’s spare water bottle and bring to the beach.
Our son suddenly pointed to some one and yelled excitedly:
“Fat! fat! fat! fat!..”
I turned around horrified to see a morbidly obese woman sitting behind me.
“shhh!! don’t say that!!”
“FAT! FAT! FAT! FAT!”
“NOO..don’t say that!! It’s rude!”
“but mama, she is fat! FAT FAT FAT FAT !”
I remember the time he said “fuck” for the first time, he was 3 and it was adorable…keeping all the sternly-telling-him-fuck-is-a-bad-word aside, we found it hilarious!
But this was not funny. At all! We were completely horrified.
“This is *OUR* child! These words are coming out of “our” child!”
Our son’s a nice little polite guy, who just sometimes forgets to say good morning or thank you. So this was very unlike him.
Then we remembered he was only 4 so I pulled him aside and said:
“She may be fat but it’s *very* rude to point and say fat!"
But what came next had me gobsmacked
“Is fat a bad word?”
...er, Is it?
It’s appalling and unacceptable to point at some one and yell “fat”, but keeping that aside, when did fat become a bad word?
Fat is a relative term and having been both thin and fat at various stages of my life, I can imagine the reasons behind it. It maybe body structure, genetics, hypothyroidism or bad food habits, who knows. But when did it become a bad thing?
Why are we so hesitant to use it? Why do people dance around it by using all these other words that sound nothing better than backhanded compliments?
In India, for e.g., if some one is described as healthy or chubby, you can be pretty sure that person is fat (i.e. if not a six day old baby).
When did describing someone as fat become condescending or derogatory? When did it become “a situation” and when did it start scaring thin people? Case in point:
Fat simply means not thin. Totally relative. Totally normal.
Seriously, when did fat become the f word?
(& if you’re wondering, that fat lady was very amicable and was smiling all along. Maybe it was all okay because she didn’t know a word of English. But I can’t help feeling that it was not okay, and she may have been smiling because this happened to her often.)
(Kids are silly, we have to remember that they are trained by parents for 18 years before stepping out on their own! It’s like when a kid pointed to my son and asked “Why is his face brown?”, I simply said “It’s brown because Indians are brown!” That’s it. Plenty of teaching moments for the little trainees!)