Disclaimer: This post is inspired by a recent twitter issue where a man went on 3 dates with a fat women he knew he wasn’t attracted to, originally under the guise of “trying to give someone a chance,” which is admirable, but later he admitted that he was put off by their second date and only went on the third “because he wanted to get to 3.” It became clear that he only was going on the dates for his own confidence boost and not because he thought he might be able to become interested in this girl. It got me thinking about my experiences of dating as a fat woman. While this is inspired by that tweet, these are things I have been thinking of putting into writing for awhile. This is just my own experience, and I don’t speak for all fat people. I also know that some people may consider me more “curvy” than fat — I think when you consider yourself fat, and when a few men each month on dating apps remind you you’re fat, this is a distinction without a difference. This is my experience from my perspective. This isn’t a post I wrote fishing for compliments or insistence that I’m not that fat. Please don’t respond this way, even though I know it comes from a well-intentioned place.
Dating while fat. It’s not something I thought I would have to do. Part of the reason I gained so much weight to begin with was because I moved out of the city, where I walked so many places, and into the suburbs to live with my boyfriend. My weight definitely was an underlying reason for some of the issues in our relationship; while he tried to refrain from making comments about me specifically, he would make rude comments about celebrities that had gained weight and I couldn’t help but think he must feel the same about me, even though he insisted he hadn’t. Even though I felt okay about the way I looked for myself personally, I felt like he must not be as attracted to me because he was so judgmental of fat people. Despite this issue, he still was a decent boyfriend and I was still surprised when we broke up two years ago (not due to my weight, due to a combination of issues of which I’m sure my weight played into some, but I don’t want to come across like he broke up with me solely for being fat). Suddenly, I was thrust into the world of dating — where people are much more judgmental over your appearance than a guy who has known and loved you for a few years is going to be.
I feel as though I am a self aware person. I know that most super conventionally attractive guys are not going to be into me, which I can only assume is due mainly to my weight as I feel as though I have a cute face. That’s fine with me. I send my friends funny/good dating profiles sometimes and when they are excited about the profile, I comment that sadly the guy and I weren’t a match. They often say “maybe you’ll match later,” and sometimes that may be true, but often if the guy is really hot, I know we won’t. Looks-wise, I am aware when guys are out of my league and when they think they can do better. (I am strictly talking about looks, which sadly fuels a lot of initial online dating interactions; personality-wise, it’s the men that should be worried about being in my league!). Once in awhile I may stumble across a really hot guy who is into, or at least doesn’t mind, my body type, and that’s great, but for the most part, it’s just not going to happen. This alone is a hard thing to explain to people — a lot of people’s first reaction to something like this is, “Well why don’t you just lose weight?” It is hard for people to understand that YOU can feel comfortable and confident with how YOU look, while also recognizing that other people may not be as okay with it as you are. That doesn’t mean you feel the need to change to conform to other people’s expectations. It just means you are okay with being considered less conventionally attractive.
Despite not being a lot of guy’s types, I have gone on plenty of dates with very nice men over the last two years. Many of those men ask for second dates; I turn down way more requests for second dates than I have my own request for a second date turned down. I don’t say that to brag, I just am trying to make a point that I am aware it isn’t impossible to date as a fat woman. I go through periods where I don’t date a lot, but that is because of my school or work schedule, or just because I don’t feel like dealing with dating. When I want to date, I can. I may know I am not going to match with the hottest men on the apps, but personality is MUCH more important to me than looks anyway. I am pretty open-minded about looks and not superficial at all about what men do for a living, where or if they went to school, etc. While I have some pretty strict standards for personality (fairly socially liberal, seemingly funny/witty, ability to have intelligent conversation, not a Trump supporter, doesn’t mind how sarcastic I am, etc.) in general I have given a wide variety of men a chance, and that may be part of why I feel like most of the guys I meet end up being really nice. I try to keep an open mind, which is something I think everyone should do as much as they can, but I do think is extra important when you have a characteristic that not everyone is into, such as being fat. But, just because I am open minded doesn’t mean I give EVERYONE a chance. And this brings me to the point I really want to make here.
I don’t expect all men to be into my body type. I understand that some men may look at me and know that they just can’t be physically attracted to me. That is totally and completely fair. While I think we should try to challenge our naturally-held dating preferences, and attempt to date outside our “type” from time to time, we can’t force ourselves to be into someone we just naturally feel no attraction toward. When I see someone on an app that I KNOW I am not going to be into, I just don’t swipe on them. Now that OKCupid shows you someone’s first message even if you haven’t matched, I have received a few nice messages from men that I just know there is no way I would ever be physically attracted to, so I don’t match with them. I feel bad that they seem to have the personality I am looking for but I just know I wouldn’t be into them in that way, so I choose not to waste their time. On the other hand, sometimes I see a good bio or I get a good message with someone I am on the fence about. I may not be immediately into the way they look, but I know that under the right circumstances I COULD find them attractive, if they came across a certain way in person. THOSE are the people I will give a chance. And I think this is something everyone should be better about — I don’t think we should make such snap judgements on people’s looks all the time. I think it is good to push the limits of our “preferences” and try to give someone a chance to see if there is chemistry in person. If what we have been doing isn’t working for us, it is good to date different people and try something new. But it is a fine line between giving someone a chance and continuing to date them because you feel like you can’t get anyone better at the moment, or because you need to go on a few dates to boost your own confidence; the latter is not okay.
I have no issue when men aren’t into fat women. We all have things we aren’t into. I don’t like guys with really long hair, or gauged ears. So, I don’t match with them. To go on a few dates with a woman you KNOW you aren’t physically attracted to is wasting both of your time. You don’t deserve a medal for going on a third date with someone that you knew from date 2 you were just not into. Just because a woman is overweight, she doesn’t deserve to have her time wasted. She also doesn’t need your judgement or rude comments. Back when OKCupid was more an open-message site, I once messaged a guy a genuine message based on his profile, and he just responded, “You’re fat.” Is that a fact? Yes. Is it necessary to say in that context? No. He could have just ignored my message. I don’t expect every man to be into me. But I do expect to be treated with respect. I’ve been called a “fat fucking pig,” been told to go on a diet, been referred to Jenny Craig, and a variety of other rude comments on dating apps. Having a “preference” is fine — being rude to someone because they don’t fit your preference is not fine.
The fact is, fat people who are happy and confident in their lives and in dating really rub people the wrong way. People see being fat as a fixable choice, when in reality there are a million and one factors that go into people’s weight and it is the furthest thing from a simple, black-and-white issue. But, let’s say for a moment it IS totally a choice. That it is always, with every single fat person, a simple choice of just eating a few less cupcakes and suddenly you’re thin and conventionally beautiful. Now let’s compare this to things that are ACTUALLY simple choices — like I said earlier, I don’t find myself attracted to guys with extremely long hair. If a guy with really long hair messaged me a nice, genuine message on a dating site and I responded “You have long hair” would that be necessary? If a guy rejected me online and I responded “You have gross fucking hair and no one is ever going to want to date you because of it,” would that be necessary? If I decided one day to try to look past it and give someone with long hair a chance, and we had an alright first date so I decided to give it a second just to see how it went, and then on that second date I came back and said, “His hair is so long, we went for a hike and it was just blowing in the wind all over my face, then he was eating and he kept getting food in his hair and it just really put me off” and then I proceeded to GO ON A THIRD DATE “because I wanted to get to 3” would this be okay?! I really don’t think it would. While my initial willingness to give him a try may be a smart decision, taking it too far and then blaming the guy for having his long hair and that being the reason I wasn’t into him, would be unfair. Some people are also comparing weight preference to height preference, and I actually do agree with that. But again, while I think it is great to give shorter men a chance even if your preference is taller men, if you go on 2 dates and just know that you can not be into them, stop wasting their time. Just because a guy has long hair doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve respect in dating. Just because a guy is short doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve respect in dating. And just because a woman is fat doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve respect in dating.
By all accounts, I would consider myself a catch. I am intelligent. I am witty and funny. I have a job I am passionate about and am good at. I volunteer for worthy causes. I am a good friend. I am independent. I encourage people around me to be the best version of themselves. I am also fat. And not every guy is going to be into that. Just like not every guy is going to be into my political opinions, or how much time I spend at the job I care about, or how independent I am to the point of not making people feel wanted. That is FINE. Those are all men’s choice to make — those who choose not to give me a chance are missing out in my opinion, but if they decided I’m not for them, for WHATEVER reason, then they weren’t right for me to begin with. But just because I am fat, doesn’t mean I am any less worthy of respect, or any more deserving of having my time wasted just because you needed a confidence boost in your own dating life.
Since many men can’t conceptualize how women feel about things unless they put their own loved ones into the scenario, I implore men to consider what it would be like if their sister, or their best female friend, or their daughter, was out in the dating world. What if men weren’t into them because of their weight, or their height, or the color of their hair, or their level of education, or what they did for work, or their political opinions, or whatever other characteristic likely isn’t going to change anytime soon. Would you want men to be rude to them about it? Would you want men to waste their time knowing they weren’t into them? Or would you just want men to not match with them at all, or at least if they are going to try to give them a chance, not go past a date or two knowing they aren’t into it? I would assume most people would prefer the latter. Better yet, think about your best male friend. What if he was short, or overweight, and you knew he was the best guy ever who truly deserves to meet someone wonderful, but sadly due to people’s natural preferences, he has a hard time in the dating world. Would you want a girl to continue dating him so she could “Get to date 3?” Would you want him to receive rude messages from women just because of how he looks? Or would you just want girls who aren’t into him to just make the simple choice to not date him? If you have the type of male friendship where you talk about dating at all, you probably HAVE had these conversations, as I know women do these things too. But just because both men and women do it, doesn’t make it right. It is so simple to just…not be rude to people. Or not waste their time. It takes almost no effort on all of our part.
Because the thing is, fat people, we know we are fat. And unless we are incredibly not self aware, we know not every person in the dating world is going to find us attractive. We don’t need them to. We also don’t need your judgement just because you personally find fat people disgusting, or your condescending comments just because you refuse to consider the multitude of factors that go into peoples weight. We don’t need your pity dates or your additional dates just so you can tell yourself that at least SOMEONE wants to date you. We don’t need your disrespect and we don’t need our time wasted. And if you think that just because someone is a bit larger than average, it means they DO deserve those things, then maybe it is you who needs to take a look in the mirror — because it sounds like you’re the one who should be a little less comfortable with what you find looking back at you.