With friends like this, who needs sabotage?

Trigger warnings: sexual assault, sexual harassment, fat-shaming, dieting

Over the years, I’ve had a few good friends that gave me bad advice, and I’ve had a lot of bad friends that gave me bad advice. Sometimes telling the difference between the two wasn’t the easiest thing in the world…

So in time for April Fool’s Day, a day that seems to bring out the worst in practically every human you come across, I’m sharing some of the worst advice my friends have ever given me, in hopes that at a minimum, you get a good laugh out of them and best-case scenario, you relate to something here and feel a little better about bad advice you’ve received yourself.

I’m sticking to just body-related issues, so welcome to the tip of the iceberg!

The slut-shamer: my ex-girlfriend on whether or not I should have sex with my current girlfriend or “save myself” until I was married.

“Don’t do it! Nobody’s going to want you if you’re not complete!”

Oh my god, I’ve been looking everywhere for that last chunk of me! This explains so much…including the “ex” part of your title.

PS: My girlfriend didn’t want me so much that night that she totally didn’t lay a finger on me. I have to admit, it made it slightly harder for us to get each other off, but we still managed.

The gender-conforming police: a group of friends (when I was working as a teacher) on why my boss didn’t like me.

“You don’t look like you take good enough care of yourself. You should groom more and wear makeup.”

Because there’s a positive shift if students start hitting on me, rather than poking fun at my boyish appearance. And because my students don’t deserve well-prepared lessons, and do deserve something prettier to look at, so we’ll all be happier for it if I just spend time I don’t have on my appearance.

So in sum: the answer is to become worse at my job to earn the respect of my boss. Got it.

The clueless mansplainer: a male friend on how I should have reacted to being aggressively hit on and followed home on a dark night by a strange man.

“You should have been more assertive. If it had been my sister, he would have known not to mess with her.”

It seems all women+ have something to learn from his sister. And (massive trigger warning for sexual assault) being assertive can never backfire, of course. His cis male privilege was showing when he thought that being in that position allows for any clear thought through the terror, and that getting out of there unassaulted when the man followed me halfway home was anything short of a miracle.

Dude, the world that you’re describing doesn’t exist, but you get an A+ for your unfounded optimism. Also, top marks for your seamless integration of mansplaining and victim-blaming all at the same time. Congratulations! With grades like this, you should graduate with honours!

The world’s worst matchmaker: on how to interact with someone I’d like to date.

“You have to play hard to get! Nobody wants someone who gives in too easily! Just look at me and my boyfriend! I played super hard to get and now we’re engaged!”

I’d rather not contribute to rape culture, thanks. It won’t kill me to utter the words, “Want to go on a date?” In fact, 100% of my romantic relationships were born from just telling my future partners that I…er…liked them. Besides, playing hard to get seems like less sex would happen, and I happen to like sex with people who I consider it worthwhile to date.

Also, thank you for providing me with tangible, anecdotal evidence that playing hard to get isn’t right for me, because your relationship.

The would-be diet consultant: on how I would easily lose weight if I just weren’t so clueless about basic biology.

“It’s all about calories in, calories out. So like…just start running every morning for half an hour and you’ll be thin in no time!”

Oh, I get it! You’re being satirical! You must know that starting high-impact exercise cold-turkey when you’re fat can be really hard on your joints and often results in injury, and from this was borne an opportunity to show your ironic wit!

I do thank you for your generous concern, but I humbly believe that I’m doing alright in the exercise area. Although (admittedly) it’s probably much higher-impact than is safe for me, one of my primary sources of exercise is kicking a significant amount of ass every day. You should try it sometime.

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About Lia

Lia is a fat-positive social justice activist who's got a particular penchant for tough gender issues. She's a passionate vegan cook, dabbling crafter and avid gardener, and spends as much time as she can with good people in cafés, talking body and gender politics.

2 comments on “With friends like this, who needs sabotage?

  1. But Liaaa! If you don’t wait until you’re married, you’re not legally posessed by someone else! You can’t just have sex because you WANT to! It has to be a contractual obligation first!

    Seriously though, people are awful. If I promise not to be icky, hang out with me instead :D?

    (Also, not sure whether you meant ‘is’ in that last sentence about the matchmaker, or if their relationship is so bad it’s like a complete guide to what not to do).

  2. I will hang out with you whenever you want. :D

    And yes. It’s a complete guide to what I don’t want. Emotional constipation, perpetual settling and power dynamics are things I try to avoid at all costs in romantic relationships!

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