Rosie Green: Size does matter – when being teased

My best friend and boyfriend are critiquing my culinary skills – they’re not favourable reviews.

Jen laughed and said, ‘If you go to Green’s for dinner you need to have eaten already.’ She went on to recount a cake disaster story (whenever I bake there is always an ingredient left over. In this case, butter, which, it turns out, is pretty critical).

This was followed by a detailed account of the dinner party when I tried to serve Delia’s crystallised oranges. Problem was, the sugar didn’t caramelise but sat atop the fruit slices in a white gloop that one guest compared to… well, I won’t say.

My boyfriend then regaled her with the ready meal I’d attempted to pass off as my own creation. The cunning transfer into a Le Creuset dish did not fool him.

They are bonding over my shortcomings. On the one hand, I like that they are getting on and are comfortable enough with each other to tease me. On the other hand, I do not like it at all: my teasing tolerance levels are low.

David Venni

An only child, I am not used to merciless sibling jibes. My cousin once ribbed me about a fashion fail and I locked myself in his new girlfriend’s bathroom. For an hour.

As an HSP (highly sensitive person) I feel things, good and bad, deeply. Does this make me precious, or an egotist? I mean, self-important, vain people don’t like being teased, do they? Can you imagine Melania taking the mickey out of Donald? ‘Hey Don, I see you’ve gone the full creosote today.’

Being able to laugh at yourself is an attractive trait. I want to be the person who can take a joke– a good sport. Research says these people are more likely to be happy in relationships because teasing can be a sign of affection. It’s a love language.

My friend is married to a Scot and she says that it’s the only way he shows affection. Not for him hearts and flowers – instead it’s merciless ribbing of her nun shoes, parking skills and ‘Big Bird’ feather cape.

Is this the verbal equivalent of whacking a playground crush?

I like the fact that my boyfriend and I have passed the polite zone and can now, almost a year in, tease each other. I couldn’t be in one of those celeb-type relationships where they just gush about how inspired and humbled they are by each other all the time.

The boyfriend now regularly goads me about my size eight (OK, nine) feet. He points out that they are the size of the average man’s, then suggests I go for a pedicure because once they start with a foot file on my neglected heels, I might go down that critical shoe size.

I reckon teasing is a sign of intimacy; it shows that you feel comfortable enough to push the boundaries. And, please forgive the sweeping gender stereotyping, I also think that men are used to a higher level of teasing (aka insults).

The nicknames they call each other still astound me. There’s the guy who thinks he’s a bit gangster being called 50p. The short, lightweight mate who gets the moniker Beefy. The work colleague called Gearstick because of his skinny body and big head.

But when does teasing become toxic? After my post-marriage therapy sessions, I’m all about articulating where my boundaries are on this. When the boyfriend crosses the line I’ll say, ‘That hurts my feelings’. I tell him he can do the same thing when I make him sad. ‘What,’ he says, ‘when you put your big size nines in it?’


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