Yesterday, on my way to the car after work, I saw a woman in the parking lot. She was perhaps in her late 50’s or early 60’s and was significantly over weight. She was facing away from me, bending over to get a bag out of her car. Since she was wearing quite a flimsy pair of stretchy white pants, I was easily able to ascertain that she was wearing thong style underwear!

Although I had to salute her for the zingy way she was living her life, I must admit that my first thought was, “Eww, is she wearing a thong?” I was also not impressed with the pants or the cellulite that could be seen through them.

Then I felt guilty. I thought, “Look, she’s parked right next to the yoga studio. She’s probably going to a class there. She’s taking good care of herself. You are so very shallow.”

Then I started thinking, “But that is really gross.”

Then I started feeling guilty again.

Then I started to feel guilty because I didn’t feel guilty enough.

Then I started thinking about aesthetics. Why are things, living and non-living, beautiful? One could argue that overweight people are not considered beautiful because being overweight is not healthy. But being overweight is considered attractive in many cultures and in the past was associated with being wealthy, not having to do manual labor, and having ample food to eat.

Now this woman was also older and youthfulness is part of our cultural ideal. Now if I imagine a younger woman, of the same size, in the same outfit, I can’t say I would have been positively impressed.

So instead of offering this woman some of my famous granny panties, or riding on this sling shot of guilt I’ve created for myself, I have one thing to say to this woman.


All people are worthy of my respect and this is not contingent on something as trivial as underwear choice.