Going out to lunch with the guys is always a fun affair.
It doesn’t happen often, as I’m a woman and a glorified admin., but when it does, I have a good time. Last week I went out with Yellow, Blaine, Dee and Jose (one of the architects). We went out to this italian deli (their favorite spot), where we got these olive-oil soaked sausage rolls heaped in cheese and jalapeno peppers. They came in 6in, 9in, and 15in sizes. Blaine, being the ex-football star, got the 15in. The others not only ate 9in subs, but opened up a couple bags of chips, and we all chowed down while Blaine and Yellow and Dee gossiped about all the other guys in the office and talked about how incompetent they were.
I was sitting there with my own 6in oil-soaked sub (which I actually didn’t even finish), enjoying the nice full, heavy feeling of eating a greasy spoon meal, and watching these guys eat. It was weird. I imagined sitting at a table here with a bunch of women, and watching them eat this stuff with such reckless abandon. It’s something you just wouldn’t see unless they were, maybe, a group of truck drivers, or very young. When you see women out together, they’re like as not either eating salads or splitting dishes with one another.
Nobody’s ordering a 15in sub.
It’s not like these guys are skinny. They’re all pushing middle-age (Yellow’s the youngest, at 33), and every year after 25, the average person gains half a pound of fat and loses half a pound of muscle as the metabolism decreases. Again, this isn’t “all,” just “average.” So these are big guys I’m sitting around eating with, and being there, just… eating, and watching people eat without reserve was sort of… well, it was different. It made me realize how little I hang out with guys anymore (my friendship circle in Alaska was almost exclusively male).
Here I was sitting with guys who were about my size (Dee, Jose, and Yellow are either my height or within an inch or two, and though Yellow pretends to be in good shape, he’s got a little pot belly he likes to hide by wearing baggy flannel shirts – women aren’t the only ones with image problems, I suppose, but I doubt that pot belly keeps him up at night), and I suspect that only Blaine weighs significantly more than I do, like, by 20lbs or so (Dee and Yellow might weigh a little less than me, but again, not by more than 20lbs or so).
It was the first time I didn’t wish I was any smaller. I felt totally average. I liked feeling like these guys were physically my equals – if not in terms of upper body strength, then in terms of mass.
And I thought – why do I still have to feel the female compulsion to be smaller, when it’s so obvious that I’m not and never will be anything close to the 5’4, 140lb female average? I want to eat the occasional sausage roll, subsist mainly on eggs and meat and mixed vegetables, and not feel guilty when I go out for Chinese food on Fridays. I just couldn’t imagine any of these guys ever feeling bad for eating Chinese food. Why? Because women are supposed to be more forgiving in their assessment of datable men (the guys in my office are overwhelmingly hetero)? Because men are *supposed* to be big? Supposed to take up more space? Be stronger? Be stronger than what, exactly? Why are women who’re the same size as guys so scary?
Ha. My worklife.