March 27, 2019

My people, “You are too fat” is not polite greeting by Viola Okolie

My people, “You are too fat” is not polite greeting by Viola Okolie

You know how random people walk up to you and grab your love handles? Or jiggle your Christian mother hands and make comments like “Yah tu farht?”

Well I have always wondered how they would feel if I walked up to them and rubbed their bald spot. Maybe even patted them consolingly on the head and said “Yah tu shoht”!

And what about those ones who run into you after almost a decade since they last saw you and by way of greeting, open their mouths and gabble out any variant of the following:

“Nne na wa o, you have added so much weight o.”

“Ha, I did not know you had it in you to be fat o, you were so skinny growing up.”

“Chineke, is this you? Heiiiiiiiiiiii, you are fat o!”i'm not.jpg2

“Biko, biko, biko, take it easy o, or you will soon explode. I hope you are doing something to manage your weight o!”


I wonder if they realise how much effort and willpower it requires to refrain from saying, “Yeah, I am fat, da Lord has been good to me and things just seem to be falling in place at the right time. Hence the joy and peace of mind which keeps me looking a little bit more robust than most. But heyyyy, let’s talk about you. You look so emaciated, what happened? Is all well with you? Is everything going on fine in your life? Did your husband leave you? Were you sick or something?”

Or even better still, “Yeah, I know I am fat, but I am working on it, I go to the gym at least 5 days out of 7, and have an intense training regime I follow strictly with my trainer. Errr, you do look a tad bit uglier than when we last saw ten years ago. Are you doing anything to improve your looks?”i'm not

You see, we “fat girls” could say all that but we don’t, and you know why? Well maybe because we are well brought up people with church mind. Is that easy to understand?

No? Please try.

Try to imagine for instance, sitting beside a lekpa skele, the type we call “painfully thin”. Like this friend I had in school who would wake up in the morning and make a bowl of eba which she would then judiciously proceed to finish and scrape the bottom of the bowl. Five seconds later, she would complain to anybody who stopped long enough to give her a listening ear about how she was starving.

Her favourite phrase, “I am soooo hungry, I have not eaten since thirty minutes ago and even then, I only managed to finish one bowl of eba!”

As in “only”? You try. Well, the orobo sitting beside you managed to add 5kg just from inhaling the steam that arose from the one mudu of eba you “managed” to single-handedly demolish? Well done, you too much.

Try also to visualise yourself walking into a shop and frantically searching through the rows and rows of hangars for a skirt that would contain one thigh, let alone the two together without spilling out all your bulges from every available space.

You end up buying one that is two sizes too small, convince yourself that the bumps and bulges that make it impossible for you to even breathe is as a result of the poor lighting in the shop. Reluctantly part with your hard earned money while your skinny conscience keeps whispering mockingly into your ear “you don start again ba?”; then get home and throw the dress into the graveyard of your over-crowded wardrobe that is bursting at the seams with clothes your right arm cannot even squeeze into, let alone the rest of your “big boned” frame.

Try to be the one who walks into church and the ushers all rush at you and keep piling chairs on top of each other until you end up perched precariously on a throne of plastic chairs. Yes, you won the game of thrones but now you are more likely to fall off the mountain of chairs and break your neck; than you were to overload the single plastic chair and have it snap in half, midway through the sermon, at that critical moment when the pastor pauses in the midst of his frenzied yelling for effect.

You definitely are not the one who drags yourself off to the gym in an attempt to at least be healthy if nothing else and once you lumber your body onto the treadmill, it groans wearily and proceeds on an indefinite strike. The yeye thing would refuse to budge an inch while the worried trainers try to prod you and your shattered dignity off it and into the safer, deep bucket seat, stationary bicycle.

Feel free to take forever to pedal the pounds away, you are probably going to leave the gym and go regain your shattered morale with a bucket of ice cream. Why should their treadmills be the ones to suffer?

Besides who even told you the gyms were there to help the morbidly obese shed some fat? Are you a learner? The gym is there for those skinny, look like they desperately need a meal, girls in short tight bum shorts and bra tops. Yeah, the ones who don’t look like they need the gym, the ones who can run two hours at a stretch on the treadmill and step off looking like they just got off the run way.

The gyms are there to encourage the thin get even thinner and discourage the fat from spreading their love (by way of sweat) all over the machines.

So, next time you see a fun-sized lady and an obtuse, non-greeting attempts to jump out of your mouth, show your mouth who is boss. Place your hands over your mouth, gently push that “greeting” back, chew on it a bit, swallow it and stick to the following strange and unconventional greeting:

“Hi babe, how now? It has been a while since we last saw. Wow, you look good. So glad to re-connect after a long while”.

Yeah, I know it is strange, but practise it as often as you can, and you will soon get used to it.

Thank me later.


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1 Comment

  1. Vera

    It is quite sad that this still happens especially with Nigerians. We are too fond of being overly (pardon my english), familiar to the point of commenting on people’s personal appearance. And funny enough, this usually happens with people you are not even that close to or friendly with. I have kearnt to give back as good as i get as i found that staying quiet does not stop such people. Giveing them a dose of their own medicine always shuts them up. Case closed!


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