I was talking to a colleague about the difficulty of buying pants.
“I’m not thin,” I said. “So buying pants is always difficult.”
The colleague looked horrified. She grabbed my arm, looked me deep in the eye, and said passionately, “Of course you are thin! Don’t say such things about yourself.”
The thing is that I wasn’t trying to be coy or self-deprecatory with my statement. I was just mentioning a fact of objective reality. I’m not thin. Like I’m not male, not Japanese, and not an airplane. It’s neither good nor bad. It’s just a fact.
So I tried to convey this to the colleague.
In response, she offered me a mini-speech on the importance of a positive body image and self-confidence. Of course, I had always thought that positive body image and self-confidence had more to do with being capable of stating that you are not thin when that’s how things are than with pretending to be what you are not. But I guess different people have different definitions for these concepts.