You know not what you do. Eric at the Giant, every time you call me Big Man, I die a little inside. Yes, I realize that you don’t mean it how I take it, Damon the transit cop. And that you could likely give a shit, Leon from down the block. We’re on the same page, Marcus from soccer. The last thing black men in DC should be worried about is some random white guy’s body dysmorphia, Filago the Uber driver. But it still hurts, [every other black man I’ll interact with this week]. It hurts like the dickens.
Liars and imposters. Your true self obscured, hidden behind your messenger bag, that raised planter, that bar at the bar. You look like a regular shaped person, but you’re so much worse. Regular shaped people, I can ignore. But you. You’re chunky, like me! Stop trying to pass. Commiserate with your fat brethren! Stop sitting down at restaurants, unnoticed, only to rise, your suit-jacket physically unable to button, but your face somehow so skinny and bright, living under the veil of collective hysteria, the idea you’re really just a week of sit-ups away from that old, flat stomach. Be still, my jealousy. Be still, my rage.
Stop it. Stop turning sideways when I walk by. Stop scooting over in your chairs. I am limber, I am lithe. Okay, so maybe not as limber and lithe as whatever ponytailed piece of human wheatgrass just Ashtangled you in knots for 45 minutes. But I’m still limber-ish. I don’t need THAT much space. I can navigate this world without your teeth-sucking sympathy. Without having to avoid both your body and your averted gaze.
My nemeses: The Dorian Gays. Congratulations on whatever black magic made you. You will look 23 until you’re 73. Your VIDA t-shirt is an extra-extra-small. You’re pretty much made of abs. The abs that make up your buttocks are so toned you could probably shit standing up, without wiping. You’re a moisture vampire. I can feel you sucking the water out of my ashy body as you walk by me on P Street, using it to feed your perfect skin. I am going to die fat and alone. You’re never even going to die.
I get it, bro. Stop showing off.