Last night, while we were stuffing ourselves with what remains of the Halloween candy, one of the boys said he wanted to ask his music teacher how many M&Ms she could eat in one sitting. I said “absolutely not!”, thinking that his motivation for the question was that this teacher is tremendously overweight, and I was right. I explained that that it would be unkind to ask because it might make her feel bad about her size. His brother chimed in to ask if HE could ask his homeroom teacher how many M&Ms she thought SHE could eat.
Whereupon I completely dropped the ball on the teaching moment and said “Sure.” It was my gut reaction — his homeroom teacher is a slim and trim 30-something woman, and, if she can eat 100 M&M at one sitting, she’s probably proud of it…goes MY train of thought. For my size, I eat more than anyone expects me to, and it’s always been kind of a joke among my friends and family.
Evan’s reponse?”So, I can’t ask a fat lady how much she eats, but I can ask a skinny one?”
I stepped back, and said that it really isn’t polite to ask anyone how much they eat, but I’m not sure that it made an impression on them.