I did comedy with a bunch of scumbags in Arizona. Some were scumbags in the best of ways: dirty but kind little ragamuffins. They'd attend a cupcake party I threw, but they'd get super stoned first. Some were scumbags in the worst of ways. They'd drunkenly brag about how great their stand-up was, show up hungover for tournament shows, classically steal ideas. I hate these aspects of a thing I loved so dearly, but there's something rich about remembering it. A lawyer once told me all JDs leap at the chance to talk about how difficult passing the bar is.
Point: lots of scum, but also, a couple sweeties. One of these sweeties felt like my little brother. He was so genuine and had an adorable appreciation for almost all humans. Once at a party we were having a 1 AM intimate conversation. Not spilling all, but just sort of swapping little bits. He said, "You know what's kind of an interesting thing about me? I am kind of into bigger girls." I was like, "Oh. Okay." And then he said, "Yeah, not like huge, but like...like--" And then he named a girl on the sketch comedy team who had this amazing black curly hair and was hourglass curve with a tummy. My guess--a size 16.
I felt the sudden lurch of "I'd like to go home" but I couldn't put my finger on why. Now I know it's because he considered appreciating a normal body a fun-fact. Or maybe because he categorized women into bins of not big and big. Or maybe because all men/ all people do that but I don't like to be reminded. Or maybe because he named an object in the bin to me, like I was an accomplice. It was too late and the music was too loud to for me to do anything other than blink. He waited for a response. "Well?!" He shoved my shoulder, "Aren't you proud of me?"
I am lucky enough to mostly spend time with feminists. I work in liberal spaces, I write in liberal spaces. But even so, little prickles of dissent poke in, and I want to smack the world upside the head and explain how hard it is to be a woman, when it is a good man's medal of honor to not be disgusted by our average selves.