Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Um, thank you very much. Or not.

Brazilians have no tact. (They would say they're just honest.) They refer to people by their dominating physical characteristic - The Blonde One, The Fat One, The Balding One, The Really Ugly One You Know Who I Mean.

There is no beating around the bush. No politically correct garbage here, thankyouverymuch! You will not find "pleasingly plump," or "slightly chubby," or even "nicely filled out." If you're fat, you're fat. And they tell you. They might even refuse to serve you second helpings at lunch, telling you that a diet is in order. It's been done.

I've kinda gotten used to people calling me gordinha - or 'little fat one' (I still prefer squishy.) It doesn't help that Brazilians are naturally short and thin. I'm simply gartantuan in comparison. I generally go to the plus size department when looking for clothes, and I've given up looking for shoes. (I'm a size 6 and 8 1/2, respectably.)

So I'm actually not posting about the whole fat thing. I'm over it. It's the AGE thing that's really irking me today.

Everyone thinks I'm sixteen.

Of course, I'm constantly walking around with three young'uns ages four and under. So the comments I get are somewhat humorous:

"Oh, honey, don't waste your childhood. You've got your whole life ahead of you."

"Your oldest is four? Have you been menstruating that long?"

"Your husband should be charged with statuatory rape."

Okay, not that last one, but BASICALLY.

I should add that these are always perfect strangers telling me that I'm too young to have three kids. Oh, REALLY! Dang it.

But let's just say, hypothetically, that I really AM sixteen years old. I would feel extremely sorry for myself, being constantly harrassed about being a teenage mom. I mean, give Hypothetical Me a break already. Move on with life. There are plenty of other things to talk about.

Of course, the whole Age Thang has always been a sore point with me. I get it in the States too. One time I was at work when a customer came in, took one look at me, and promptly scolded me for not being in (high) school. I calmly (I think) informed her that I was a college graduate. Another time I got a free prize on an airplane for being "fourteen and under." I was twenty-one at the time. I've also been confused for my younger brother's girlfriend - eight years my junior.

So how 'bout it, bloggers? How old do you think I am?

Is it possible I really do look my age and everyone is just trying to pay me what they think is a compliment? I dunno. I, for one, would LOVE to look ten years older. I love my birthday - I love watching my age creep respectably higher. I cannot wait to look like I should be ABLE to have three young children. (Although I guess they won't be YOUNG by then ....)

And why is it that my birth control plans are open to public criticism, anyway? People constantly telling me that not only am I too young to have children, but that they're too close together and I'm crazy for having three boys. (Cuz I TOTALLY planned that. Duh.)

I love the comments on the age spread, too (4 1/2, 2 1/2 and 1/2, bytheway):

"Wow! You're one brave lady!"

"What, are you suicidal?"

"Don't you know the earth's natural resources are running out?"

"Are you a sucker for pain or something?"

and my personal favorite:

"You guys need a TV or something."

Because yes. My husband and I have only made love three times in our entire marriage.

Anything else ya wanna know, O Rude Honest One?


Kristina P. said...

Oh my! These made me laugh!

I would say you look 27.

Sarah said...

First, that is a really interesting picture. I like the angles and such. Second, you (as I am sure you know!) are far from a little fat one. Squishy is even pushing it. Third, I don't think you look that young. I think you look in your 20s. And last, I love you just how you are.

Michelle said...

I totally relate to your age frustrations. I was a sub teacher at my former high school a few years ago and the hall monitor asked me for my hall pass. I've also had people at the drive-thru ask if I was old enough to have a license.

Christa Jeanne said...

Oh my! Well, it's been a solid 6-7 years since I saw you in person, but even then, I would not have mistaken you for a teenager! I'd say from your pics that you look mid-20s - perhaps a year or two younger than you really are, but certainly not 10! And, seriously, gordita?! Not even!!! Sheesh, I would be Amazonian to those Brazilians! (Wait, isn't the Amazon in Brazil? Hence the term "Amazon woman"?)

Katrina said...

Size 6 is a plus size?! What the h?

As for your age, I am super curious now. I think a lot of people between the ages of 16 and 30 can look very much the same. So although you could pass for younger, I'd say based on the ages of your children that you are around 28 or 29.

My husband is 31 (and 1/2) and is 5 1/2 years older than me, but doesn't look it at all. People are always shocked to find out he has a 9 year old (my step-daughter).

Annette Lyon said...

I have the exact same problem. Apparently I should be my 13-year-old's sister. I was THRILLED to turn 30. Not that I LOOKED it. I'm 35 now. At least people no longer think I'm a teenager. Usually.

People who wish they looked younger don't get it--they tell me to enjoy it. Well, hard to do when people don't take you seriously because you're apparently a kid and have no life experience!

Jody Blue said...

Just think it will pay of when your 50!!

Rocketgirl said...

HAHAHA!!! It's your own fault for understanding Portuguese :) I remember a friend in my ward calling her sister fat (I do know THAT word in Portuguese) and I tried to contradict her and my fat friend told me I was nuts because she WAS fat. I was so shocked to hear people being honest!! But dude, you are very much NOT 16, I think it has something to do with you hott you are. Most Brasilian ladies I knew in our little town (not to be rude) had no problems with letting themselves go with each kid - heck, I think that's why I miss Brasil so much. I really relished in letting myself go kaput, and you have this tasy knack of looking UN-let-go.

Melanie J said...

Uh, struggling to get past a size 6 being fat as I am a size 8 and feel pretty thing. Oh, man.

I wonder what I would be called down there? Maybe, the Freckle Faced? The big mouth? Huh.

And you look early twenties.

Thanks for convinving me to never move to Brazil.

janel said...

Good ol' Latin Americans. When I was doing my research in Mexico, one of my participants interrupted (in the middle of a taped interview) and asked what form of birth control I used. Nice.

the MomBabe said...

Yeah, when I was in the hospital having my THIRD child, the nurse took one look at me and asked if my MOTHER WAS PRESENT to sign the forms. dumb dumb nurse lady. READ THE CHART.

P.S. If you're fat, I'm morbidly obese.

Lisha said...

Well you look like a cute fuzzy peach to me. Just hold on to the fact that when you're 70 you'll look like you're 30, how cool will that be? And those overly tanned and critical Brazilians will look like old pieces of leather. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Pam said...

Just today at the store the cashier found out how big our crowd is and said "Wow! You're one brave lady!"

I am actually working on a post that will debut within the next couple of days about it :)

Melting away in H... said...

I have the same problem. i go into Costco and without fail someone will say, "are all of these yours?" and I reply back "YEs and I have four more at home!" They look at me like I am crazy then say, "you are not old enough to have children", then I say "I am! Don't I look great?" I just turned 30 and wish I looked thirty. People think I am crazy to want to look my age, but I don't think they understand how annoying it is to have SO many people say over and over that I don't look old enough to have children. Pam and I have come to the conclusion that they must all be jealous or something:-)

Rachel said...

I have always been terrible about guessing people's ages. So I'm not even going to give it a shot.

But, I think that people need to think before they speak. And while I am sure Brazilians are worse than Americans, there are some pretty tactless Americans hanging around my area.

Mommadj5 said...

Do I get to guess? The other side of the coin - when I am visiting in Brazil they all think I am too young to have you for a daughter - and I love it!! But Lisha is right - it is because of all the sun and tanned skins with the poor dental care that makes them all look like MY mother when they are MY age!! Yikes! It's true...

Mommadj5 said...

And oh - I forgot (I have to be a Mom here...) YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL INSIDE AND OUT AND I COULDN'T BE MORE PROUD OF YOU - so there all you crazy blind "honest" Brazilians!!!!

Lara said...

I don't want to move to Brazil then! I'll be like the Amazon woman.

I think you look in your early twenties. I hear you on the age thing though. Somehow nobody thinks I look older than maybe 24, so women who I AM OLDER THAN will tell me I am too young to understand something. Rude.

In Romania on my mission I was the tall one, and I had a few companions that were the fat one (and not fat at all really) and I always felt sorry for them. The Romanians just don't get that they are being rude in American. :)

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I just have to say that on the "The Fat One, The Balding One, The Really Ugly One You Know Who I Mean" scale, it sounds like you made it off easy just being the "young one." And I guess it doesn't matter what culture you are in, random strangers will give you birth planning and child raising advice and/or criticism. Ridiculous.

::Jan:: said...

You look fabulous. NO matter what anyone of those Brazillian people say. No fat anywhere.

I considered the kids and all. I would say 26 yrs. 3 months 3 days and 1 1/2 hour. Let me know if I am right.

LisAway said...

Well, all I'll say is that I think you're super cute. Even if it's a little weird to say that, I'll say it anyway. (Oh, and not fat!)

Jen said...

Hey - I have a friend who feels this same way about aging! Although, she really did start when she was seventeen, so I'm not sure that counts.

And I love it that a size six could be considered fat. I've never been happier to be an American, and I already loved my country!

Barbaloot said...

You know---I think it may just be American that DON'T think it's important to be brutally honest. My brother gets that a lot in Asia, another brother did in Argentia...maybe we're the crazy ones? (Or not.) Oh, and deaf people do it as well. So maybe it's and English speaking thing? Who knows.

And hey-maybe when you're fifty, people will think you're 30. That can't be so bad, right?

Erin said...

Oh man! I would probably be crying every day. I'm 6 feet tall and a size 10.

You're so pretty. I wish they didn't complain about how young you look.

kristi said...

Well, I know how old you are, 6 weeks older than me :) I get it all the time too only I have 4 kids and people just say that you look like a baby to have all those babies. I like it, I don't mind looking young now I just have to work on the skinny part.

Becca said...

People don't understand age very much. That's my 2 cents at least.

I was asked after picking up my kid in the church nursery if I was 18 and a young mother. All because I insisted the baby didn't have an ear infection. (I was right by the way, the baby just didn't like the lady.)

My husband (who is younger than me) got asked what they did to his work ID because he looks younger in person. He said she should have told him the picture was from before he got married, and marriage agrees with him. So maybe marriage agrees with you!

Real Mom, Real Life said...

You are hillarious!! Love the post... Now I have a couple comments...

1. If only I were as plus sized as you, I might be considered thin in this round USA...

2. One time my cousin with 7 kids under nine (two of them twins) was asked by a complete stranger if she did that on purpose... people get their undies in a bunch when they should just keep their nose out of other people's business.

3. I think you and I could get a long quite well... you are a funny girl.