Dear builders of the world…

Okay, I say builders, but this is a loose term. I really mean anyone who drives a big van with a ladder attached, has a hard hat, and doesn’t wear a top when it’s sunny, even if they have a beer belly or not. This is what I will define as a builder, whether or not you actually build is besides the point.

My first recalled encounter (by recalled I mean, the first encounter that stuck in my mind, I’m sure I met builders at the age of three and stuff) would have been when I was about 15, when my puppy fat decided to regroup as boobs and curves. It was a momentous summer and I spent it outside, stalking boys. I remember walking past builders and getting leered at and thinking: “Oh my God. They must be those paedo things.” 

During my slimmer years (where slim was a size 14 – when the curves came I literally jumped from children’s clothes to a 14) builders were scary men that licked their lips, wolf-whistled and shouted something along the lines of: “Get yer tits out!” In fact, I believe my personal favourite was: “I’d like to speedboat those puppies.” 

Unfortunately, when the fat girl inside me went a little bit mental and took over my body (think invasion of the body snatchers) their ‘affection’ for me quickly changed.

For a time, I went unnoticed. My figure was neither boner-inducing or offensive. I was quite happy. I had a boyfriend. I didn’t need builder love in my life. I trotted around outside without a care in the world.

Then I ate too many pies.

The first time it happened, I was out with the boyfriend. Holding hands. Chatting away. May have been eating an icecream but that is not the point. I was happy. It was sunny. I had no care for what I looked like at all. Then came:

“Your girlfriend’s got a fat ass!”

The worst part was, I actually thought to myself: “God. How mean. Poor love. Wonder who they’re talking about.” The look on Stephen’s face quickly decided that for me. It was me.

I remember standing absolutely still and the icecream dripping down my hand. I threw it away and blinked back tears and felt EXTREMELY sorry for myself. I was wearing white linen trousers at the time and I still cringe when I put a pair on today. Black is good. Black is slimming. White? Not so much.

I remember Stephen being so mad and having to hold on firmly to his arm. My hero was waxing lyrical about how he was going to kill them and, while he’s a big guy at 6″2, I couldn’t help but think: “No babe. I think they would totally fuck you up. They have tools. And a ladder. And hard hats.”

Why can’t they all be more like Bob, eh?

I have to say, ever since then, when I see a builder-type, I automatically freeze up. I tug my top down. I bury my head in my chest. And I hope that they don’t notice me. I don’t really walk with confidence anymore and any shop window or reflective surface is an opportunity to make sure my fat is cleverly concealed. I wear Stephen on my arm like a piece of arm candy. He makes me look good. If I were a male and he were female, people would think: “Oooh, he must have a big willy.” I think the female alernative is a nice personality.

Anyway, this morning, I was walking to work, quite happily. It was sunny. My iPod was blaring out Glee and I was pretending to be Rachel Berry. There was a queue of cars on the other side of the road and I saw a man, in a van, join the queue and turn towards me, leaning out of his window.

I froze. My mind went blank. He was going to say something. He was going to ruin my day. He may even throw a spanner at me.

He opened his mouth and…


I was gobsmacked. I looked around and realised it was either at me or a little old lady in a full-on winter coat. I took a gamble on me. He then proceeded to blow me a kiss and stare after me as I walked past him.

I couldn’t help but laugh. Why? Because for the first time, I could see one of them for what THEY were. A chubby guy in his thirties, with a burnt face (sunblock babe) and what I imagined to be a builders bum squashed into his van. But I don’t point this out to him. Because I have a heart.

Yes, I’ve lost weight, to the point that I actually have just the one chin these days, but it doesn’t change who I am. Besides, I’ve got a cracking rack either way.

NOTE: I am not a builder-hater.

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  • Reply
    27th July 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Hi Charlotte,

    I have to admit that I check your blog several times a day to see if you've posted anything new. I've recently discovered (read: one week ago) your blog and what can I say? I'm addicted. Amazing piece of writing again! Keep up the good work.

    Eva (you even have fans in the Netherlands!)

  • Reply
    27th July 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Charlotte, I tweeted the other day saying how much I loved your blog. But seriously, I FREAKING LOVE YOUR BLOG. It brightens my day, i'm sat with jaw ache from smiling as I read through your posts. I love how you take us on a little adventure every time. I have SO much admiration for good writing and you my dear are a bloody good writer! Keep up the good work.

    Lucy xx

  • Reply
    Vivacia Dreams
    27th July 2011 at 2:37 pm

    men in lorries are just as bad. i once slipped on ice in heels, did a big circle with handbag to save myself from falling and thought i got away with it. until a guy across three lanes wound down his window just to laugh at me.

    i love your blog, thank god for fleur. you are the most humourous blog i follow, dont ever stop. now as a reward for reaching 100followers, please can we see the picture of the spaniard?
    jen xoxo

  • Reply
    27th July 2011 at 3:58 pm

    lol this totally made my day. I have problems walking past groups of congregated men for the same reason except where I'm from, having a 'fat ass' is a compliment! Except I have the fat ass and the thunder thighs and the fatty arms (these I could do without)

    So here, you pass them and they wolf whistle at your fat bum. It's amazing how cultures differ, eh?

  • Reply
    27th July 2011 at 4:27 pm

    This just gave me a good laugh! Your blog is fantastic so open, honest and truthful. Builders (using your term with the accompanying references) freak us all out! I look forward to your posts they are always just as good as the last. X

  • Reply
    27th July 2011 at 4:52 pm

    I think my worst ever builder related experience was when I was out attempting to run one day. It was the middle of summer and I was bright red, sweating, practically on the verge of having an asthma attack and so hot you could probably have fried an egg on my face at which point 'white van man' decided to pip his horn, wolf whistle and proceed to laugh his head off. Needless to say I stopped running and skulked home trying to hide behind trees most of the way.

  • Reply
    27th July 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Haha! I don't think I've ever been wolf whistled at by a builder… however TWO diffent ones, on separate occasions, have basically told me to cheer up!! One leaned out the window and sang "If you just smiiiiile!…" to me, and another told me to "Cheer up love". I know my default facial expression isn't smiley but I must be one miserably looking b**ch!! lol

  • Reply
    28th July 2011 at 7:27 am

    I know what you mean to be frozen when stand close to THAT type of human…

    eh… I'm still trying to loose weight..still trying…

  • Reply
    28th July 2011 at 12:16 pm

    For some reason your blog is one that I can comment on? How strange. Loved this, I agree with above I wait for your posts with a smile already on my face because I know it's going to be a cracker (excuse the pun). I had the odd whistle back in the day but not now I must give off a "don't even think about it face" haha xx

  • Reply
    29th July 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Hello everyone!

    Sorry it's taken me so long to reply. My job is insane and I keep forgetting to get on here and get writing. I'm not an ignorant cow – honest!

    Your builder (with assumed connotations) stories made me laugh my head off. I'm kind of glad I'm not alone in it to be honest. I thought I was being targeted!

    Have a lovely weekend lassies!

    🙂 xxx

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