A friend of mine were talking the other day about the worst insult you can possibly direct at a woman. “Oh,” I said, “Easy. Cunt.”

“No,” my friend replied, “it’s fat. It’s definitely fat.”

She was right. I came up with a lot of suggestions cribbed from American Psycho, but she was still right.

Bitch and cunt aren’t really all that bad. If a friend did something kind of bitchy later asked “was I being bitchy there?” you could probably say something like “yeah, you were being a little bitchy, but hey, it’s part of your charm.”  Things would go along fine. If your friend says “do I look fat lately?” the answer is “no.” She may have gained 400 pounds, and the answer is still no. Because when we call someone fat what we really mean is that they’re weak willed and impossible to love.

We have to tell our friends that the nver look fat because we want to tell them that they’re not any of the bad things we associate with fat people. Which is probably why a whole second set of terms ranging from “plus sized” to “curvy” to “real sized” to, I imagine, “freedom sized” has sprung up.

This doesn’t really make any sense. Shouldn’t personality flaws be worse than bodily ones? I’m pretty sure that we’re overdue to reclaim “fat” (not that stupid “phat” stuff, just “fat”). And I’m also pretty sure that men don’t worry nearly that much about being called fat.