What could possible be fun about holiday parties when you are an adult? Especially work parties where now I play the doctor’s wife 😉 The last holiday party I attended for Sue’s work (she has 70 physician partners), I was royally snubbed by a few trophy wives after they discovered that I was just another wife, and a fat, gay one at that.
I will admit to being thin-skinned, but I felt humiliated at that party 4 years ago when a gaggle of skinny, bleached blond, boob jobbed, stereotypically never-had-a-job-or-scrubbed-a-kitchen-floor group of women literally turned their backs on me and walked away after this conversation: Them, “And, you are?” Me, “Jan.” Them, “Which side of town do you work on?” assuming no doctor would be married to anyone so fat. Me: “Oh, I’m not one of the partners.” Them, “Oh, reaaaally?” Me, “Yes, I’m with Sue, her partner.” Them, “So you aren’t a doctor.” Me, “Well, yes, I am.” Them, “Oh, Ph.D. or M.D.?” Me, “Both.” Them – silent stares, a unified flip of the hair, eye rolls and glide away to grill the next newcomer. Me, “Nice to meet you. Didn’t get your names.” said to their backs. “Hello?” No response. I was horrified, insulted, embarrassed, and mad. Interestingly the male physicians, once they found out that I was a doc, were happy to gab with me. What was it that made me so upset? Oh, I know – something about women supporting each other. In my professional life women usually bonded together. Here it was a very different story. I felt like I was in junior high.
Fast forward to this year – I am 140-pounds lighter, wearing a tailored, bright red jacket and nail shellac to match. A shimmery ivory camisole lies just above my new cleavage (still hurts, but looks nice). Sleek wool pants barely conceal my peek-a-boo “opera” heels. I hardly look like a lesbian and am not recognizable even to friends who meet us at the swanky resort. Feeling my oats, I tell Sue I am going to socialize (very uncharacteristic of me) and head off to find the gaggle of blondes. She grabs me because there are people who have heard about my breast cancer and want to catch up. Actually there are women docs and one wife who have just been diagnosed or who have had abnormal mammograms and who want to hear my experience. One takes me to a dark corner and asks how the plastic surgery went. I know her; I glance around and give her a quick peek since my lacy bra looks so good and hides the horrid scars and dangling flesh. She applauds and says that she would have chosen the same plastic surgeon and will use him if her biopsy come back abnormal.
I am still in search of the gang who hurt my ego. More people ooh and ahh that I am half the person I once was. Honestly, the weight loss is just part of who I am. My nail shellac is more interesting to me now. I try to be gracious as they ask what weight loss surgery I had – remember these are anesthesiologists. Then they want to know my diet plan. I provide only a few details: eating plan for life. Those who want more usually recoil in horror when I say no grains, starch, added sugar. “What, you mean no bread, potatoes?” “How bad was your diabetes.” (Never had even pre-diabetes.) Now I’m tired of the diet thing. I just want to find the offending creatures. Suddenly I realize that this isn’t very holiday-ish. I have come to the party like some people go to reunions, as revenge. I relax and meet some new people and have a really cool conversation with a doctor’s husband. What a neat guy! We sit down for dinner with a couple we haven’t seen in 2 years and catch up on family and friends.
As I head back to the buffet for more protein, I catch the eye of a blonde who is beyond big with child. I let it go, trying not to
hope think how hard those 40+ pounds will be to lose postpartum. Suddenly, blondes start appearing. I can’t help myself. I pause to look each one in her eyes and say hello. “So, nice to see you again.” And, it really was.