“Hey Jess, do you ever feel something like buyer’s remorse after indulging in a huge meal? Like, you wish you could return it all, receipt in hand, and, like, forget the whole thing ever happened?”
“Like, only every time I eat. I mean, I don’t have an eating disorder or anything, but given that men are attracted to beanpoles, and given that I’m, like, single, you begin to think dieting is adaptive, you know?”
Kristin examines her latte with visible concern.
“Shit, I don’t think they used sugar-free syrup. Taste this.”
Jessica takes a sip with hesitation and purses her lips.
“Yeah, I don’t know. Even the sugar-free stuff has tons of carbs, sweetie. If you’re trying to slim down, you really shouldn’t use that junk.”
“What did you eat today? I totally need to go to the gym and do some cardio. I ate, like, a huge sandwich this afternoon and I’m feeling like such a fucking heifer.”
“You swallowed? Have you tried that trick I taught you?”
“Yeah, I took a box of Dunkin’ Donuts home last Sunday and tried chewing them for the taste, but it’s just not, like, satisfying, you know? So do you spit it into the trashcan or into a bag, or what? I mean, aren’t you afraid someone will find out?”
“I usually use a plastic grocery bag and take it our myself. Not that it matters. When my parents clean the catbox, they use those things and it looks about the same. Kind of lumpy and shit.”
“That’s gross! So what do you normally buy to chew?”
“Well, it like depends. I usually go to Trader Joe’s and buy something salty and something sweet. Like, recently I’ve been on a huge toffee kick even though I know it’s like terrible for my teeth. Then I’ll get some chips or something. I mean, it’s a little weird, but it’s better than being bulimic, you know? That like messes up your organs and stuff.”
“Jess, what else do you do to stay skinny? You’re so much thinner than I am.”
“It’s kind of sick, but I used to wear a tight rubber band around my wrist and smack myself when I wanted to eat something bad. Like I’d reach for the cookie and WHACK! I think it’s called conditioning or something. But, um, yeah, that Thinspiration bullshit doesn’t work. All of those skinny chicks just make me feel bad and I’m totally grossed out by pictures of fat people. Same thing with food porn. Doesn’t really do it for me. I guess another thing I used to do was eat a couple bites of a meal and then cover it with salt to make me not want to eat anymore. Or… what else? Oh, I kind of have a constant zero sum equation like mapped out in my head of what I eat and what I work off. I don’t know. Well shit, in middle school I just ate salads until I could feel my collar bones poking out.”
“Maybe I just want to be thin because it’d be, like, really fun not worrying about what I’m eating, you know?”
“Yeah, I totally do.”