Ask Amy

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 at 5:32pm

DEAR AMY: I recently reconnected with “George,” an old flame who has made and sustained substantial life changes in the three years we were apart.

These changes have improved his health, appearance and attitude, and they ultimately brought us back together.

George takes pride in his diet and preferences for healthy food, and often talks about how he has lost weight or how little he eats.

He met some friends of mine for the first time when we went out to dinner for my birthday.

In a snooty tone of voice, George said he wasn’t hungry. My friends asked why, and he said, “Because I ate lunch today.”

They thought this was peculiar, as we had all eaten lunch that day and it was about 8 p.m. I was embarrassed that he came across this way.

I’m often embarrassed about my dietary choices when I’m around him.

If I order pizza and it’s not gourmet, he’ll eat one slice and complain, calling it “cafeteria pizza,” and then he'll chuckle at me for eating it.

I feel like such a pig around him because I eat more than he does, though I’m also more physically fit than he is.

It has gotten to the point that I hate even opening my fridge when he’s there.

Aside from this issue, he’s a loving, nurturing person.

I just don’t know how to tactfully explain that bragging about not being hungry, or how little he has eaten, or how much weight he has lost, is generally bad form.

— Hungry for a Solution


DEAR HUNGRY:
“George’s” obsession with food, eating and weight is a sign that he might have an eating disorder. I recently heard this described as “omnirexia.”

He is also acting like a jerk. It’s obnoxious to announce a verdict on what (or whether) others choose to eat.

I appreciate that you want to respond with tact. (I’d respond by slurping a McFlurry in his direction.)

You can say, “George, you were condescending to my friends, and now you’re going all Michael Pollan on me in my own home. We really need to figure out this whole food thing because it’s interfering with our relationship.”


DEAR AMY: My parents have been divorced since I was small. I have always lived with my mother but also have a room of my own at my father’s house, which I have always used when I visited.

My room was sometimes used for other guests when I was not visiting, and I had no objection to this.

Several years ago, I was visiting my father for Thanksgiving, and his wife’s sister was also visiting.

The extra rooms in the house were my room and also a guest/craft room.

My room was the larger of the two, and on this visit my stepmother’s sister arrived first and was put in my room.

When I arrived several days later, I was told that the first guest to arrive is usually given the larger room — so I stayed in the craft room.

Shouldn’t they have saved my room for me because they knew I was coming?

— Displaced in Va.


DEAR DISPLACED: Shouldn’t you have offered to give up your room to your family’s guest?

Yes, you should have.

Let it go.

DEAR AMY: A young woman in your column didn’t know how to respond when her boss said she resembled a celebrity.

Years ago I worked in a factory that had administrative offices on both sides of the shop floor, so office staff often passed through, going from one office to the other.

There was one shop worker who always had a big cigar in his mouth, and he would often whistle or make a smart remark to the women workers who regularly walked through the shop.

One day, after he had said something to a woman as she was walking through, she stopped, looked and said, “You know, you remind me of a famous movie star.”

The guy kind of puffed up a bit and laughed, and before he could respond to her comment, she continued, “Yeah, you look like Lassie.”

He deflated pretty fast.

— Tom


DEAR TOM: It occurs to me that as the workplace has become more “correct,” we’ve gained in terms of people’s public behavior, but we’ve lost some absolutely priceless withering comebacks.

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Filed under: Lifestyles