Many years ago, I started chatting online to a young woman whose father happened to have worked for Wildcat Engineering & Design, where I was working at the time. We made a little game of it that I would find out who her father was, her phone number, and give her a call. She bet me that I couldn’t because he hadn’t worked there in a couple years. I eventually narrowed it down to two names, both of which turned out to be wrong because she thought her father was a Machinist rather than a Welder. Once that was cleared up, I got it right. It’s one of those things that would have made a “good story for the grandchildren” if we’d had any. Which, of course, we didn’t. What did happen was that I found the mall where she worked, clandestinely stopped by, bought an ice cream cone from her, and we never really talked again. She was… substantially overweight.

Maybe she had a thyroid problem. Maybe she had a crappy metabolism. Maybe she was actually healthier than some of the slimmer girls that I had either dated or wanted to date who smoked. In the end, though, it didn’t matter. What mattered was that I didn’t find her attractive and the weight was the primary reason for that. She was a nice enough girl, though her personality wasn’t really enough to overcome that. There are cases where I did indeed date someone quite heavy, but notably in those cases I was the one that was doggedly pursued and I was the one that “stopped calling” once I determined that, for whatever reason, it didn’t seem like it was going to work. I don’t think I ever directly attributed it to weight, but I do suspect that in both cases if they had been less overweight I would have less hesitant.

I would like to think that if I met (or got to know) a perfectly wonderful person that was overweight, I would be able to get past it. I think that I could in some cases, particularly if they gained weight after I fell in love with them, but my track record doesn’t bear it out. Not just because of the three girls mentioned above, but because of a fourth. Someone who was a really, really great friend at a time that I needed one. Someone who listened to me whine and get petulantly angry but who nonetheless always listened and was there for me. One day, I decided to consider investigating things further. Her DMV profile said that she was 5’2″ and 270lbs. I never followed up on that.

None of these had anything at all to do with health. None of these were about her “failure to take care of herself” or because she “didn’t respect her body”. I may have told myself these things at one point in time so that I could look myself in the mirror, but the reality of the situation is 20/20 clear in hindsight. I didn’t want to date a substantially overweight person. I had no problem dating someone that was as overweight as I was or even a little more. In some cases I actively pursued people that were more overweight than I was. But not much more, and none that fell into the “morbidly obese” columns on the BMI chart. If I myself had been morbidly obese, I suspect that my expectations would have adjusted. But one of the benefits to being somewhat rather than gargantuanly overweight was that I did not have to adjust my expectations downward.

That I am superficial enough to care about weight is not something that I am particularly proud of. I wish I wasn’t. But it is the way that I was built. Further, all of the social conditioning I have received about not judging a book by its cover is not sufficient to counter the social conditioning component of (middle-class white) America’s (and much of the world’s) aversion to dating fat people.

My old flame Tracey Roberts made a comment several years back that stuck with me. In the years after she and I parted ways, she entered into depression and self-esteem desolation (for which I may have been a factor but was not a primary one). She gained considerable weight. On her LiveJournal account, she said that she is told over and over again that any man that cares about her weight is not worth her time. To which she commented, “I don’t think it can be true that 90% of men are not my time.”

Now, we could turn this around and say that the reason she had trouble finding a man was not the weight but rather the depression that played a role in it. Also, we could say that the men were off-put by the health implications of her weight or because she didn’t take care of herself. The problem with all of this is that, well, it’s bunk. The depression that put the weight on subsided, but the weight was still there. The self-esteem problems the weight caused were caused by the weight and the reaction of people (men, primarily) to it, so it’s equally hard to say that the self-esteem caused by the fat-averse is grounds for the fat-averse to be fat-averse. As for taking care of herself, she put a lot more effort into that than a lot of naturally thin people. Maybe she was eating late-night cakes and outsized portions at meals (I wouldn’t know), but she also hit the gym quite regularly (that I do know). I’m not saying that she was incapable of losing the weight, but it wasn’t the case that she wasn’t trying even if she was failing.

But to put a finer point on it, even if she had a thyroid problem and the medical documentation to prove it and if she was otherwise healthy (normal blood-sugar, blood pressure, etc) and the medical documentation to prove it, how many of the men that would cite health concerns as a reason not to date her would seriously reconsider? I would wager quite few. Actually, I would wager a number barely statistically significant from 0%.

No, the main reason that we are averse to dating fat people is that we do not find it aesthetically pleasing. I am coming out and admitting it. A lot of people won’t. They will try to turn it into a health issue or a discipline issue or a moral issue and everything they can to avoid admitting to being that superficial. And though I don’t think the health aspect of it is entirely a ruse (many such people won’t date smokers, either), I think that if it’s true that they would not date someone with a thyroid problem that they can’t seriously attribute it to health, discipline, or morality. Rather, we attribute it to those things so that we can feel better about ourselves. I don’t think that everybody is necessarily lying, unless we count self-deception.

I am a believer that there are “noble myths”, meaning that there are certain truths that we are better off ignoring or glossing over. A part of me wonders if that may be the case with dating fat people. Because the more we openly admit that it’s an aesthetic preference, the more validity we assign to it. We grant cover to human-nature-can’t-be-denied types and reinforce the validity of assumptions and behaviors that, while we can’t eliminate, we can try to minimize. While I don’t think that anybody should be socially pressured into dating people that they are not attracted to, I think that allowing it to be more freely declared leads to a greater social stigma on dating a fat person to the point that someone that would otherwise keep an open-mind would discriminate on that basis not based on their own preferences but because of concern regarding society’s reaction to their decision. I also worry that lending cover to people that believe that discrimination on weight and appearance is perfectly acceptable would allow some men whose wives had gained weight (and vice-versa) to rationalize infidelity the same way that certain commenters on Half Sigma wanted to give Mark Sanford a pass because men are hard-wired to be attracted to younger, fertiler women.

On the other hand, the use of health, discipline, and morality already allow for some of what I fear would happen in a society where discrimination against weight were considered even more okay than it is now. It provides a respectable face to a generally unfortunate (if not entirely avoidable) aspect of human nature. Strip that respectable face from it and more people might approach it the same way they do, say, an undesirable height or facial feature. It may not change their behavior, but it would add a little more compassion for those left behind in the dating arena. Further, to the extent to which we add a stigma to announcing that we don’t want to date fat people because they’re ugly, we’re making it so that only the more callous and indifferent people will admit to what’s really going on. That allows overweight people to take the moral high ground rather than see their dating handicap for what it really is. And, the myth of the health/discipline/morality rationale leads quite frankly to questions like Tracey asks.

The answer to Tracey’s question is actually yes. Men that won’t date a fat woman are not worth a fat woman’s time. The same goes for nerds who are frustrated with women’s unwillingness to date nerds. But the answer is also no. That men or women won’t date you does not make them immoral, bad people. It makes them, well, people. It does no good to judge people on the basis of a test that the vast majority of everybody will fail.

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29 Responses to I Avoided Dating Fat People For Reasons Having Almost Nothing To Do With Health

  1. Peter says:

    According to the General Social Survey, fat women get plenty of sex. It’s fat men who aren’t getting any.

  2. trumwill says:

    Yeah, but sex is not the indicator of romantic success for women than it is for men. A guy might be willing to have sex with a woman, but that’s different from a relationship or genuine affection. That men are indiscriminate with sex does not mean that they are indiscriminate in regards to appearance.

  3. web says:

    Aesthetics change, but (general) indicators of unhealth do not.

    Point of fact; the “rail-thin” aesthetic being pushed by much of the media/fashion industry today was not always the case. There used to actually be products like this pushed to help girls/women gain weight because being too skinny was viewed to be just as unappealing.

    If you look at baroque paintings/portraits of “beautiful” women, most fall square into the medium area, despite the stereotype (undeserved and largely due to cultural shifts towards waif-thin again) of their being “fat.”

    In many regards, I think that a certain portion of it is not just societal. Humans have a great, built-in instinct for spotting disease or abnormal. We get that “weird feeling” from zombies, creepy little china dolls that look “a little too human”, or from anything else crossing the uncanny valley, because our innate sense of “this is wrong” is set off the same way it would be set off to see certain people with communicable diseases (such as rabies).

    This is why The Polar Express just looked wrong, and why rotoscoping doesn’t work as well as hand-drawing animation (beyond the usual change in number of frames; one reason the producers of Lilo & Stitch opted to have their animators re-create the Hawaii’an dance by hand from film reference rather than merely trying to rotoscope it).

    In the same vein, part of Parker & Stone’s greatest genius (though they did it for humor) was to make the faces of their puppets in Team America:World Police as realistic as possible while making sure that the wires on the puppets/objects were pretty much visible at all times. On their own, the faces would probably have fallen into the uncanny valley, but combined with puppet movement and obvious wires (a signal to the audience to “let go” mentally) it worked well.

    With the question of people being “morbidly obese”, there’s a reason we put the word “morbid” in there. Yes, there are outlying exceptions (people who are “otherwise healthy”, have a thyroid problem, etc) but as an aggregate whole, it is an indication of an existing problem. I don’t think that separating that from the “aesthetic” is either wise or necessary; the “whoa that looks unhealthy” and “whoa that’s unattractive” are two parts of the same whole reaction.

  4. trumwill says:

    I can agree that there probably is an indicator-of-health rationale underneath the aesthetic preferences, in the same way that there is for, say, acne.

    At the same time, though, the dating arena does not just discriminate against the morbidly obese. They have it the worst, of course, but it’s a more extreme variation of what people that are overweight or obese suffer from. A lot of people view people heavier than themselves as unattractive. For thin people, overweight and obese people fall into that category. For overweight people, obese and morbidly obese people do. And on and on. And everything likes to hide behind health. It makes me skeptical even when people (typically but not always in the obese category) only seek to discriminate against those that are morbidly obese.

    Being obese is a bigger turn-off to more people than smoking is, for goodness sakes. For most people who claim otherwise, it just isn’t about health. It isn’t about discipline. It isn’t about morality. It’s about aesthetics. Except, unlike burn victims or the deformed, obesity provides a self-reassuring rationalization that there’s nothing wrong with it. Indeed, it gives them an opportunity to moralize.

  5. web says:

    Like it or not, however, personal-hygeine habits tend to be “contagious” and moreover, the more slobby tend to be “more contagious” than the neat/fit. So, with some rightness to it, someone who seems to be sedentary (or moreover, exercise-averse) on first glance is not going to be attractive (aesthetically) to someone who maintains a certain level of fitness.

    In other words, the thought “I’d ask her to go for a walk through the park with me but she’s liable to break her ankle at any moment” crosses the mind.

    Is that an attractiveness or hygeine/fitness thing? I think it’s both.

    You mentioned acne. In the one sense, acne happens. Teenagers get it especially, and some people with certain complexions have it happen fairly regularly. Some peoples’ skin takes a lot more maintenance and still breaks out no matter what they do. On the other hand, if you see someone with massive, massive acne, then again (barring weird outlying cases) there’s an indication of a certain lack of hygeine leading up to what is also an unattractive condition.

    Also, it’s not just “what you look like” but “who you grew up around.” If your family members (like many of mine) tend towards the pudgy, pudgy seems normal. If your family/friends clique is entirely beanpoles, that seems normal.

    A lot of people view people heavier than themselves as unattractive.

    A lot of people have tilted worldviews in many regards. A lot of people believe they themselves are more attractive than they actually are, at least to most of the rest of the population. Very few women want a man shorter than they are, leaving shorter males at a decided disadvantage in the dating pool (because there’s nothing wrong with a 5’2″ girl dating a 6’2″ guy, but you get weird looks the other way around). Sometimes you just chalk it up to “that’s life.”

  6. john says:

    Not dating fat people because they’re unattractive makes a lot more sense to me than doing so because they have health risks. If someone is fun to be around, good to talk to, shares my interests, et cetera, but isn’t attractive, that’s great. They can be my best friend, and I’ll have sex with someone I’m attracted to – even if she has health problems. The only health problem I’m worried about is VD.

  7. web says:

    Attractiveness, on some level, is our nature telling us “my genetics would mix well with their genetics.” At least, that’s the idea. Whether it works well or not is debatable, but the somewhat-indefinable definition of “attractive” shouldn’t be discounted in that sense.

  8. trumwill says:

    There are some people for whom it really is about fitness. Active people want active people. That makes sense. If someone is that is active says “Gosh, I don’t want to be with someone that’s fat because I don’t think that they could keep up” I am inclined to believe that the motivation is health. Likewise if someone says “Well, you know, the last couple overweight people I’ve hung out with were something of a drag because they didn’t have the energy to do things.”

    But that’s not really the case with most people. Most people would choose a skinny lethargic person over an overweight active person. That we may have subconscious mechanisms equating weight with health becomes less relevant when conscious reality does not intervene. Comparatively few people, upon learning the details, will be more or less attracted when the actual facts of their health situation (and SES and other factors) become clear.

    A morbidly obese woman with a genuine thyroid problem is going to run into much worse luck in the dating arena than will a skinny lethargic girl that smokes a pack a day. A particularly active and health-conscious person would date neither, some less discriminating people would choose take either (though likely be more excited about the smoker). This isn’t some people. This is a lot of people. This is the dating market at work.

    That there may be a biological (or sociologically relevant) basis for this preference (just as there could be for a Gannonized view of dating) does not make it fair even in a broad sense excepting exceptions. I’m not advocating that people try to force themselves to be attracted to what they’re not attracted to (which is what a good portion of this post is about), but they’re more often than not being dishonest when they hide behind considerations of health, discipline, and morality.

  9. web says:

    I’m not sure that is the case.

    For instance, I am reminded of a friend who has since moved away and gotten married. His wife is ~5’4″ and ~225 lbs (give or take a bit). He himself is probably under her weight by a good 50-60 lbs.

    That being said, she definitely carried herself (and dressed herself, and maintained herself) in a way that made her attractive. I don’t know if her weight was genetic, the result of “not enough” exercise (she did have a relatively sedentary job), the result of a glandular/hormonal issue, or something else. I do know that she seemed to me to be the “exception that proved the rule.”

    Fundamentally as I see it, most people can get their weight “under control” to a certain degree, whether or not they have the body/genetic structure to be beanpoles. Most people can learn to dress themselves to be attractive, or to maintain their appearance (daily bathing for example). Wherein this falls flat is that, much like your examples of antisocial males/females congregating and reinforcing each others’ perceptions that “all women” hate them/are unattracted to them, many of the grossly overweight seem to give up on the other things that they need to do (daily and thorough bathing, exercise, food choice, proper attire) that would make the difference.

    Morbid obesity” is one thing. The “borderline cases” on the other hand seem to fall into a pattern whereby other negative or less-than-wise behaviors reinforce the idea of “you’re unattractive so why bother.” For example, for some people the idea of wearing a bikini/speedo to the beach is a good idea; for others, they would probably rate as reasonably attractive (or at least much less unattractive than otherwise) with something less revealing.

  10. Kirk says:

    Black dudes don’t seem to have a problem with fat women. (I remember one time in a club, they were all over the fat white girls like white on rice.) In all seriousness, I wonder why that is.

    I mean, are black women fat because black men are okay with it? Or is it the other way around, with black men adjusting their expectations to what they’re given?

    If it’s the latter, it’s pretty interesting because it means that men can adjust whatever it is they’re attracted to. If it’s the former (black women porking up because they can get away with it) then it says a lot about what the default weight of a woman is.

  11. trumwill says:

    Web, I agree that there’s a fair amount that people can do to minimize the damage their excess weight does, but by and large they’re still playing defense. The thin girl, even the waif girl, doesn’t have to play defense.

    Even to the extent that what you say at the end of the fourth paragraph about people being able to make small but effective changes is true, moralizing weight is about the least effective external method for spawning change that I can imagine.

  12. Brandon Berg says:

    I’ve been tossing around the idea of writing a post on this topic myself. I also readily admit that I don’t find fat women attractive, and this is to all intents and purposes the only reason I’m not interested in any sort of romantic or sexual involvement with them.

    I’m not ashamed of this. No, it’s not fair, but it’s not my fault. And I think that acknowledging this is far superior than the alternative. It’s bad enough that fat women have so much trouble attracting men; I’m not going to add insult to injury by pretending that it’s really because they’re bad people just so I can feel better.

    I think this is one form of a much broader phenomenon, namely that people tend to be highly averse to the idea that both of the following statements are true:

    1. Life isn’t fair.
    2. There’s not always someone to blame for this.

    When presented with data that suggest that both of these facts are true, people will either try to blame the victim (which means life is fair) or invent a villain.

  13. trumwill says:

    Brandon, thanks for reminding me of the main purpose of the post, which really was not a defense of fat people. Rather, it’s an acknowledgment that people prefer not date them and while that may not be desirable, it’s there and asking people to justify it leads to false justifications.

    Being that that’s the main subject of the post (and not the false justifications themselves), I’ve changed the post’s title accordingly. The above was the original title, but I thought it was too long. But I think accuracy is more important.

  14. trumwill says:

    Kirk, just so you know I am not ignoring your question. Well, I guess I sort of am as I am disinclined to address it here. I think that there are a number of factors involved that are hard to get into without getting into racial issues I’d rather not go into.

  15. Sheila Tone says:

    Will, I sum it up like this: Being paired up with a disabled person makes life hard. It’s practical, if not moral, to avoid intense involvement with such people. Social disfavor is a disability, much like poverty or being in a wheelchair. Overweight is a socially disfavored characteristic. It also has some physically disabling qualities of its own, but as you noted that’s not a constant.

    Sometimes people with such a disability can compensate for it with other favored/enabling characteristics, such as money and success. Most can’t. So, a life paired with them will be harder. Few people have high enough status on their own to compensate for someone else’s disfavor.

    “On the other hand, if you see someone with massive, massive acne, then again (barring weird outlying cases) there’s an indication of a certain lack of hygeine leading up to what is also an unattractive condition.”

    Web, I think medical science says otherwise. Hygiene doesn’t much affect acne. I agree with your comment re dislike of overweight, though.

  16. Sheila Tone says:

    I’d take a fat rich guy over a skinny poor guy, assuming characteristics were otherwise equally desirable. Being poor is a far bigger disability, unless the overweight person is so big he can’t fit through the door.

    But I’d take a guy with one leg over an obese guy. The one-leg guy could probably still get around better. More missing limbs, and it would matter how effective his prosthetics were. I wouldn’t penalize simply for having robotic parts though. If they effectively compensate, no problem.

  17. trumwill says:

    Very good point about it being a social disability. It actually ties into another post I’ve been trying to articulate about social phobia. On a couple of occasions in my former single life I had been attracted to somewhat attractive girls with strong social phobias. They were pleasant when you got passed their walls, but who wants to date and marry someone who puts up walls so high that few of your family and friends will ever get to know her or be comfortable with her? Regardless of how attractive and not-mean she is.

    I would hang out with such a person, just as I would hang out with a morbidly obese person, if they brought something to the table to compensate, but to hitch myself with them for life is a much higher hurdle.

    The only quarrel I have with what you’re saying (which still doesn’t make it wrong though does make it incomplete) is the Shallow Hal plot. Even if a woman were considered desirable by a lot of others and did not pay a social price for her appearance, I still don’t think I would be attracted to (or neutral towards) substantial excess weight.

  18. Kirk says:

    Regarding obesity being a handicap: we had a layoff at work, and they got rid of three obese people that I know of. They were so fat they couldn’t really do jobs that require standing. One guy had to be close to 500 pounds; he couldn’t even sit on a stool to run a machine, but instead needed a chair. (This essentially rendered him about as useful as a guy in a wheelchair).

    When it comes to work, being obese is no joke.

  19. rob says:

    I think Trumwill is right in his general thrust. No one does overweight, or otherwise aesthetically seriously flawed, people of either gender any long term good by lying to them.

    How fat one is is a weighted(heh) average of past behavior. If a fat person is very active, or eats reasonably, it’s pretty likely that it’s a new habit. New habits tend not to last.

    It can really hurt to be told, or just find out, that you’re ugly for whatever reason. But the ahah moment can feel liberating, or it can at least be a relief to know why you’re having trouble in the relationship market.

    For something like fat, which is moderately responsive to changing behavior, fat people who dislike the social penalty more than they like their current habits can try to change. Some people will find it too difficult, or not even worthwhile. Some people might try to compensate in other areas, which might be more effective for men than women wrt fat. Knowing the reasons gives people more options.

    Some causes of unattractiveness are more difficult or nearly impossible to fix. Baldness and height respectively come to mind. For things that are basically set, knowing that it’s a problem still gives reasons. I’d rather think that I’m single because of amoral things beyond my control than because of character flaws, or ‘not having met the right person’. Maybe that’s just me? I do tend towards negativity, so other people might blame the opposite sex instead of themselves or the cold hand of nature.

    If people should know the truth about why they’re undesired, that still leaves who should tell them open. Sheila says, and I believe her, that single women tend to suffer from telling single guys the truth. No one has that much obligation to help a stranger at personal cost. My personal view is that girls who liked me (but not that way) tended to lie to spare my feelings. Maybe attached women do it to avoid retribution, who knows. I’ve wondered if women do the there’s hope for you thing almost intuitively to dissuade sexual violence. But someone who dislikes me, well what does that she know? Pretty much everyone discounts negative feedback from strangers and enemies. And of course the ‘you just haven’t met the right person’. After a while, one might start to wonder what’s wrong with all the people one’s met.

    Hell, false character flaws and other-sex’s-tastes-suck explanations lead people to do things like identify being nice as a character flaw.

    And that, that leads straight to roissy fanboys.

  20. rob says:

    One reason not to date a fat woman. If she’s in your league fat, she’ll be able to move up the quality ladder if/when she loses weight. So if one is not particularly attracted to fat people, there isn’t much reason to invest relationship time, money, and energy.

    Happened to me. Even typing that I was treated poorly and used by someone I wasn’t attracted to for years until she lost weight and found someone better makes me sound like a loser even to myself. On the other hand, I was pretty happy when it was over.

  21. trumwill says:

    I think the question one needs to ask oneself is “Is she the type of person that would ditch me when she suddenly loses weight.” If the answer is yes, then you probably shouldn’t date them either way.

    The ice is a little bit thinner when it comes to weight-change while in a relationship. Ditching a partner because they’ve put on some weight, for instance, is not the same as not being attracted to them in the first place. It depends on a number of factors including where you are in the relationship (weight gain is not moral grounds for divorce, but dating is different) and how much weight was gained (leaving someone that ballooned up 200lb is different from someone that gained 30).

    The ice is thinner still when the person leaving has lost weight. If the person looks the same (give or take some age and maybe a liiittle weight) as when you fell in love, you should still be in love even if you might have had better options entering the dating pool at that point. There are some scenarios, where both partners are substantially overweight and both set out to lose all manner of weight and only one of the two puts any effort into it, where their footing is a little bit stronger. But when increased availability of more attractive individuals is a reason in itself to leave, the leaver lacked any sort of righteous commitment required to make a relationship work.

    I’m honestly not sure if I’ve seen what happened to you, Rob. I’ve seen some situations of lost-weight-followed-by-cheating/leaving, but it appeared to me that the desire or intent to leave fueled the weight loss. I’m looking at ballpark 20-30lb weightloss. Might be different if someone lost 100-150lb or more.

    Anyway, glad that you’re glad to be free of her, Rob.

  22. john says:

    “I’d take a guy with one leg over an obese guy.”

    I sincerely doubt that.

  23. rob says:

    I think the question one needs to ask oneself is “Is she the type of person that would ditch me when she suddenly loses weight.” If the answer is yes, then you probably shouldn’t date them either way.

    The general question, “Is he/she the sort of person who will leave if something better comes along” is important for anyone going into a serious relationship. Honestly though, isn’t the answer ususally yes? Even if the answer is often no, everyone’s options are constrained by who is willing to date them.

    I’m not so much bitter, I likely would have done the same thing, as I’m upset that I let myself be used as a stepping stone. Since I would have done it to, it wasn’t a great relationship. Also, everyone recasts memories, and she likely remembers it differently than I do. And well, even I don’t think I was a saint.

    Also big changes in relative status break lots of relationships. This joke is apropos. A man comes home and tells his wife. “Hey, pack your bags. I just won the lottery.” His wife’s ecstatic, “Oh, honey that’s wonderful, should I pack for the beach or the mountains? The man is confused for a second, and says “I don’t care! Just get out!”

    it appeared to me that the desire or intent to leave fueled the weight loss.

    There was a New York Magazine, not New Yorker, article about people who lost significant amounts of weight from bariatric surgery. When women who were thin when the relationship started lost weight, the couples tended to stay together. Women who were overweight at the start tended to leave when lost weight. It makes sense. most men don’t like fat women, so fat women have to settle for lower quality men. When they lose weight, they can do better. So they do. Perhaps the women featured in the article got the surgery to lose weight to re-enter the dating market.

    Amanda Marcotte, over at Pandagon has said several times that men react badly to their SOs starting working out. Probably from the implicit assumption that they’re planning to leave.

    Don’t get me wrong, outside marriage, no one is under any obligation to stay in a relationsip. And in marriage, well, never been there, don’t have much idea.

  24. trumwill says:


    As much as I want to respond directly to everything you say, I think this topic actually deserves its own post. I hope to get one up next week.


    It doesn’t seem incredible to me, so long as lost-leg guy is functional. Particularly if the guy lost a leg in a noteworthy way. But even if it was diabetes, by virtue of the fact that he isn’t fat most people would believe him/her when he/she says it was genetic in contrast to blaming excessive weight on being big boned or a thyroid problem. Some of that may depend on how obese we’re talking about, though. I am assuming pretty obese (Beamus-style), though she could be talking about my weight range for all I know. Either way, interesting stuff.

  25. Abel says:

    Physical attraction is important in any relationship. What Person A finds attractive isn’t necessarily what Person B finds attractive. Some people are attracted to overweight people while others aren’t.

    Personally, I’ve found that I have to be attracted to a person physically before I can take the next step and see if we connect in other ways. It’s not being shallow, rather, it’s making sure the relationship has everything it needs to succeed long term.

  26. perpetua says:

    I wonder if there is some sort of genetic marker that leads to the protection of the genes by selecting mates with similar traits or something. I don’t find these above appealing and feel “spine tingling” aversion. I don’t know if it is from knowing a bully this size as a child or what it is. Images of wrestling (sports) flash to mind or cupids. I don’t know if it is Nature or Nurture. I just figure that different people like different things & for me this is just not one of them. I don’t like being treated differently because I am smaller & I didn’t treat those larger differently but, in sports or other things I would like to be with people of the same pace or speeds. I don’t have the most patience & would help any to make the “event” go by faster which makes me feel like I am not giving them the proper chance :(. Also, when you watch someone disrespect their body by loading themselves with amounts that could feed 5? How are you supposed to feel when you are trying to stick to a reasonable amount? I have been in situations where I don’t think of the persons size at all and they have to point out to me that they are 3X my size & therefore will need more room or go at a different speed. I try my best to be respectful and change my thoughts but do I have to force myself to like it?

  27. Fat Lady Sings says:

    As an overweight woman who has struggled with it her whole life, I can tell you that no matter how you spin it, the way we are treated is completely unacceptable. I have felt invisible, except, of course, at times when I would rather have been invisible–when guys would decide to make disparaging comments. I have been called: ‘butterball’; ‘fat fuck’ and ‘fat ass’ (by the same guy); ‘fatso’, etc, all by complete strangers. And then there’s been pointing and laughing, looks of disgust or judgment (from men and women). People feel like they can say what they like, but I wonder how they would have reacted had I reacted.

    I have always been active and ate the same things as my siblings, but my sisters never had the kind of weight problems I’ve had. At some point, once I’d already been fat for years and depressed about it for just as long, I would binge on candy. Sometimes I didn’t care about what I ate since it all seemed hopeless. But usually I did–I still do. I’ve always liked healthy food, as evidenced by my excellent blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Doctors always seem surprised. I’m not, because I take care of myself. I don’t even have a driver’s license.

    Anyway, as it turns out I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, a hormonal imbalance that affects millions of women. It can cause infertility, obesity, hirsutism, ovarian cysts, and insulin resistance. At 19, I went on birth control and almost immediately began to lose weight. Then I developed anorexia/bulimia. And my depression worsened dramatically. I exercised all the time, although I didn’t lose as much weight as one would think given how little I was eating and how much I was exercising.

    I always felt like an outsider, even with my sisters, with my extended family. With friends. You can’t talk about it, though, because people just act like you’re whiny and lazy and paranoid, offering unsolicited weight loss advice that won’t help because they don’t know what they’re talking about. And that’s because they know you’re right, but they don’t want to admit it; not to you, not to themselves. Girl friends wouldn’t invite me for most girly things, so I never learned to put on makeup or any of that. Guys slapped me on the back and treated me like one of them, which was fun some of the time, but grew old as I grew up. I didn’t have dates to dances in high school or college.

    But I lost weight, enough to feel good about myself some of the time. Enough to start getting looks. Enough to get used over and over and over and over and over…and guys come back because you can’t get what I’ve got anywhere else. I even had a boyfriend once, who loved me, called me an angel and a goddess, and said I was the prettiest girl he’d ever seen. Except that, according to him, he wasn’t attracted to me from the neck down. Having sex with me was a sacrifice. But I stayed because after a lifetime of being teased, overlooked, ignored, dismissed, unwanted and heartbroken, I had come to understand that I wasn’t attractive from the neck down (well, minus the lady parts) and that I could not expect a man to treat me any better than this boyfriend treated me. He told me the reason I had more success with older men was due to their lowered expectation, which meant, to me, that I was but a lowered expectation. A booby prize. That every rejection I ever had experienced and ever will is justified.

    On the other hand, I see how so many guys look at me. The hunger. The longing. Men that I was with 5 years ago still contact me, wondering when I’ll be in town. And the girls I’ve been with…mmm good times.

    Those men, though, who want me so badly they get hard just thinking about me; who genuinely like me because I’m intelligent, sweet, beautiful, sexy, warm, talented, open-minded and have a great personality; who connect with me on deeper levels; who know that I am a great person, a great friend and a great lover because they have experienced each of these aspects if me–not one of them has thought enough of me not to use me for their pleasure.

    Maybe I’ve been a fool to hope that I might find a guy who will see that my beauty far surpasses my flaws. But I have to keep hoping.

  28. Cat says:

    This post is painfully refreshing. Thank you. It dictates exactly what I believe in my head, but society won’t let me speak from my lips. I live what you’re expressing. I get the same “rejection” for the same “cover-up” reasons, only I don’t let them reign. I demonstrate open and truthful expression on all levels, and (no matter how painful) I demand them it return. I am a big woman…a REALLY big woman and I hate to be patronized. Don’t tell me its gourmet chocolate, when it smells like sh**. In my experience, its hard to get people to be truthful and trust that (on my part) there will be no hate connected to it(I can’t speak for the world’s opinion of them, but I don’t care to either). It would be easier if people understood how powerful and expressive body language is. With body language, everything that needs to be communicated is done before he or she utters the first word. I hate to be whispered a lie, while the physical truth is screaming in my face. So, I can appreciate you laying it all out as you have. Brave man.

  29. Winona Ayala says:

    I’m sure that it’s not only you who experienced the same. Do you have some fat men dating advice that you can share? Please post them here, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

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