How being called ‘fat boy’ growing up still affects my dating life today

It was a cold December afternoon when my grandmother, followed by her hobbling collie Tina, pushed the front door open. She put her bags down and looked at me standing there in the middle of the dining room. “Still fat are you?” she asked in her bitter, 80-year-old French accent. “Hmm.”

That night she and my parents went out to dinner to the only French restaurant in town. I anxiously watched the headlights of their car pull out of the driveway, simultaneously seeing the eyes of my older brother grow wide. “Get ready, fat-so,” he said, “You’re in for it.” He picked up a sofa cushion and proceeded to suffocate me for hours.

The next night the whole family sat around the kitchen table under a dim light. Mom made lasagna, heaping cheesy portions of it onto our plates. Dad, sitting next to the refrigerator, spoke to my mother’s mom in coy French. It was the most talk the table had seen in weeks.