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by Abigail Van Buren

Workers Must Speak With One Voice About Disruptive Woman

DEAR ABBY: I am extremely thin and have struggled for years with eating disorders and an unhealthy relationship with food. It's difficult for me to go out with family and friends because everyone watches me -- from what I order to how much I consume -- and comments on it. If they decide I haven't eaten enough, they make hurtful comments about my weight.

What I need people to understand is that it is just as hurtful to make fun of someone who is thin by calling him names such as "Stick" or "Bean Pole" as it is to mock a fat person.

Some of us are thin because we are ill, whether it is physically or emotionally. Making fun of us is tasteless, hurtful and unhelpful. -- ROBERT IN N.Y.C.

DEAR ROBERT: I'm glad you wrote, because your letter provides me with the opening to remind my readers that joking about someone's appearance isn't clever or funny. It's cruel. While the target may take those comments with apparent good humor, no one likes to be ridiculed. And frankly, when it happens, it demeans the speaker more than the person at which it is aimed.