My grandmother is many things. She’s a seamstress, she does flower arrangement, and if you listen to her increasingly boastful proclamations, she’s also an olympic level ice skater, a singer of the highest caliber, and one of the greatest political minds of her (or any) generation. All of these are open to debate, but there is one thing, one subtle art that she has mastered beyond dispute.
The backhanded compliment.
She is such a master… I’m not even sure she’s aware she’s doing it.
I sat in front of her, trying to gather some of her perfect formulations, and I caught this beauty.
We were visiting, and it happened to be easter weekend, so we were, naturally, going to St. Tim’s (Pederasterium) so everyone brought nice clothes to wear. My sister brought a dress and high heels, her boyfriend brought slacks and a shirt, and though I did not bring anything, Grandma Mickey herself bought me an outfit. This dress was somehow found lacking, so Grandma took Sami out to buy a pair of slacks. They came home, and Grandma asked what top would go with the slacks. Upon seeing it, she replied.
“Well, the boys have nice clothes, anyways.”
Samantha was visibly crushed.
Later that night, Samantha was dressing for a party, and Grandma came over to inspect. She looked at the pants, shirt, sweater, and jacket combo that Sami had on and was visibly impressed.
“Samantha, you look very cute.”
The uninitiated would imagine that this was her making amends, but those nearest to her know the truth. She waited a perfect beat, and continued.
“I think the more you cover up your body, the nicer you look. Skinnier.”
Samantha turned and left the room, fuming.
The look on Grandma’s face at this point was… beatific. You could sense the satisfaction of a job well done. A child saved from a terrible life of being comfortable with her body.