When you're in school, you expect kids to pick on your for being different, especially if you're fat. After finishing high school though, I learned that a lot of the overt mockery slows down. After college, it tends to come at a crawl except from random strangers and children. Adults tend to exhibit more self-control in the interest of showing a modicum of social skill and grace.
That being said, I cannot say that I've been at a loss for being acquainted with adults who have made fun of my weight, or talked about it behind my back. The random strangers who make rude remarks are one thing, but the people who are friendly to your face and then stab you in the back still were able to shock me.
Shortly after starting work at a new job as a temporary employee, I was getting to know my coworkers. One of them, a man who was 28 at the time (I was 26) hit it off particularly well with me. We talked amiably, made jokes, and had a good rapport. I should note that this was all utterly devoid of flirtation or sexual considerations. I know that when men and women get on, some people believe that they only do so when there is some sort of attraction. I was (and still am) deliriously happily married and relate to all men I encounter as potential friends, much as I relate to women. After several weeks of working together, I thought that this fellow was going to be someone who I'd get along well for the duration of my time at the job. I should note that he worked one shift and I worked another shift, but there were times when the schedule overlapped.
One day, he was sitting at a table that we worked at communally with those on our shift with several other coworkers on his shift. I was working in another part of the office in private work spaces that my shift's workers were currently occupying. We swapped off in these spaces according to the types of tasks that needed to be done. The schedule for our work was set for the most part, but my schedule wasn't quite the same as that of the other worker's, so I left my cubicle early to join in on the work at the communal work table.
The cubicles were located about 15 feet behind the table that my coworker's shift was working at, so I was approaching from behind. As I was walking there, I heard him say very clearly, "what it must be like to have sex with (my name)... it must be like lying between two big slabs of beef."
Since my shift ended earlier than that of everyone else on my shift, he didn't expect me to approach and didn't hear me, but I sure heard him. I was humiliated and furious. I didn't confront him directly, but I did say something about people who pretended to be your friend and then stabbed you in the back. He pretended that he didn't have any idea what I was talking about, but this just made me angrier and more aggressive. One of my other coworkers told him to "give it up", meaning that there was no use continuing to pretend that he hadn't said something really ugly about me.
After that, all of my interactions with this particular coworker were cold and officious. In the end, he was fired and I was given his job because he was not the greatest worker. I became a permanent worker and he was headed for the door. This was gratifying because I thought he was a thoroughly despicable person and deserved what he got.
I have blotted out a lot of the immediate pain I felt at that betrayal and the two-faced nature of his actions, but the effect was to make me wonder what every "friend" I've ever had has thought about me and said about me behind my back. To be honest, I still don't trust anyone other than my husband and figure that even people who are nothing but gracious and kind to my face are probably telling their spouses or friends about how disgustingly fat I am. I take it as a given that even people who are nice to me are going to judge me and speak ill of me when I'm not around. Sometimes I wonder if the scars of the cruelty I've lived with most of my life will fade after I lose all the weight I want to or if they're with me forever.