DEAR MISS MANNERS: On several occasions, I have met someone new at a party or an event, and in the middle of a pleasant conversation, had that person look me right in the eye, smile and say with regret how heavy they are and how much they need to lose weight.
I am an overweight woman, and although I try every day to eat right and stay fit, I do struggle with it. Invariably, this new acquaintance is someone much thinner than I. I am perplexed at how to respond, so I usually just stare expressionlessly and try to change the subject.
Of course I can’t agree with them, because it isn’t true. I suspect they want me to say that they don’t need to lose any weight at all, and that certainly I am the one who must lose weight.
However, this is so obvious that it doesn’t seem necessary to even say it, and I don’t want to discuss my weight or theirs. It strikes me as being very rude to tell a heavy person that you yourself want to lose weight, especially when speaking to someone who is perhaps twice your size. What do you suggest as an appropriate response?
GENTLE READER: “Oh dear, I am sorry to hear you say that about yourself. My experience is that people can be healthy and attractive at all different sizes.”