We view this with incredulity. Every fat woman knows that her views on what counts as fat are suspect. (Some fat women have been known to consider size-12 Michelin women to be perfectly acceptable.) The idea that fat women en masse feel confident enough to demoralize skinny women strikes us as unlikely. So what are these dieters dealing with?
We believe that the missing piece of the puzzle may be found in a conversation that we had with a fellow sojourner at an establishment that was then offering up hourly tribute to us for the advancement of our cause. After lunch every day, this young woman, a size-three pixie, would lean back in her chair, and the Litany would commence.
Her: Oh my god, I'm so fat.
Us: [Insert any piece of dialogue here. "Are you?" "Why?" "I'm on deadline."]
Her: I'm so full. I can't believe I ate the whole thing. I'm so huge!
Us: ["Then why did you eat the whole sandwich?" "Do you realize you do that every day?" "Don't you have Crohn's?"]
Her: I'm swollen out to here. *puffs out her cheeks and holds out her arms to indicate that she is blown out like a baleen whale, or possibly is pregnant with the baby from Spirited Away.* They’ll have to roll me down the stairs.
Us: ["Take some Tums." "Don't eat so much next time." "My foot is on fire."]
Her: I feel so bloated.
...and so on and so forth. Nothing we said made any change in the neverending round of the Litany. Then one day we tried a slightly different tack:
Her: I'm full out to here. I feel bloated.
Us: Yeah, you are pretty bloated.
Her: ...I didn’t say I was bloated, I said I felt bloated. *pause to rally forces* I'm so fat!
Us: That's true.
Her: You're so mean today!
Us: I'm only being agreeable.
That day's Litany ended early.
We suspect that skinny women do not realize that they say "I'm so fat!" as often as they do--that, in fact, many do not realize that they have said it at all, having trained themselves to say it automatically every dozen breaths. Therefore, they are shocked and appalled when real fat women don't argue.
We have also observed that "I'm so fat!" makes no one happy. Skinny women take no comfort from it, fat women feel insulted by it, no men either fat or skinny know how to answer it. Therefore, for the greater good of all, we have changed the official call and response. The correct litany is no longer:
A: I'm so fat!
B: You are NOT fat.
A: Yes, I am! Look at my [body part]!
B: You have a cute [body part]. I’d love to have a [body part] like yours, instead of this great fat [other body part].
A: You do NOT have a fat [other body part]! ... and so forth.
The litany is now:
A: I'm so fat!
B: Yeah, you’re looking pretty bloated.
A: Not THAT fat. It's just that my [body part] is looking kind of jiggly.
B: You’re right. And so is your [other body part].
Choir members are encouraged to invent new calls and responses as the spirit takes them. Our only regret in instituting a new litany is that just as our minions' creativity is at its most fervent, the litany will cease to be.
We will find something else to entertain ourselves. And fear not: Should the female minions of the world ever need a campaign of severe demoralization, we will doubtless bring back the old litany in all its splendor. We are, after all, a great respecter of the classic tortures.