My husband pushed back from the table and announced, “I need to lose a few pounds,” and trotted off to find the scale. He probably lost three pounds on the exertion of walking to the bathroom. Unfortunately, I probably gained them.
He walked right over to the scale and stepped on. You just ate! You have your clothes on! Wait until morning! I wanted to shout.
Rubbing his stomach he announced, “Wow, 182. No wonder.” Then he looked at me tentatively as if to say, “Next?” As he fully knew, there was a better chance of pigs flying in the window.
Most men have the same cavalier attitude about their weight. Ask any man to step on the scale and they all do the same amazing thing. They do it, with shoes on, keys and change in their pockets!
They will tell you the number that actually appears. No secret formulas or calculations which require a graduate degree in mathematics are necessary. They matter-of-factly announce their weight to anyone who might happen to be present.
Not me. My involvement with the scale requires complete secrecy, precise timing, and the application of advanced equations. Approaching the scale demands careful preparation which requires ritual, ceremony, and quite often, a multi-function calculator.
Women know these rules. First you must weigh in the morning, naked, and on an empty stomach. Never weigh after taking a shower because research has proven that wet hair and skin weigh more. Do not wear glasses or contact lenses while weighing; this adds up to two extra pounds depending on frame style and lens type. My scale has large size, glowing red numbers so I can see it without the benefit of optical magnification.
If you have PMS, subtract up to five pounds depending on your level of bloating or mood. Remove all jewelry prior to weighing or subtract by carat weight. You may also subtract the total or partial estimated weight of your head, of course, as it is required for bodily function and contains no fat.
Pregnant women and those who just had children have special rules. Due to hormones and fluid retention, these rules apply liberally. My enormous pregnancy weight gain required lying to my husband after every doctor visit. “How much did you gain?” he’d ask. “Oh, just a pound or two,” I’d lie, when in reality it hovered between five and seven. My “eating for two” soared to unprecedented levels. I routinely ate enough to feed a small, third-world country. By the end of my 42-week gestation, I feared the gravitational pull of other planets.
My husband was too kind, and smart, to mention my corpulent proportions. One of my co-workers, however, was not so considerate. He’d taken to calling “Hey, Kool-Aid” when I walked in the room.
Unfortunately, the truth was revealed. Finally, I went to the hospital for labor to be induced. A vivacious, 98-lb. nurse instructed me to “hop up on the scale,” as if that was remotely possible. I spoke to her through the gritted teeth of a woman with complete hormonal imbalance, “Don’t say my weight out loud.” I ordered my husband to avert his eyes.
After arranging the bars in delicate balance, she announced my weight in kilograms. The startled look on my husband’s face revealed that he had performed the mental calculations; I outweighed him by a good 25 lbs. I would have choked that nurse if I could have waddled off the scale any faster.
A corollary rule requires that consideration be given to the weight calculation of women who have recently had children. As all members of the sorority of motherhood know, this rule is applicable until said children have graduated high school. And as for the three women out there who wore their size four jeans out of the hospital, don’t tell us. We don’t want to know.
As we stood there in the bathroom, it occurred to me that explaining the application and nuance of these rules to my husband would be a waste of time. If I had, he would have just stared at me with that “I was only trying to be helpful”
look. Like the one he gives me upon returning from the store with nothing from the grocery list that he memorized.
So instead, I just stood there silently, weighing my options. Because as we both knew, that was the only thing that I ever intended to weigh in front of him.