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Friday, January 22, 2010

Fat Men, Fat Women and Relationships

So it's rare on TV and such to see shows that pair an obese woman with a thin, muscular, hot man. But it's pretty common (as Smallwife said) to see shows where an obese man is paired with a fit, hot wife. Starting with the Honeymooners back in the 50's, and now we've recently seen it in shows like King of Queens and Family Guy (which is a cartoon, I know, but still...). It's an odd thing. Usually if there's a fat wife in a show, she is also paired with a fat husband (Rosanne is a good example, although not recent).

I know TV is fiction and can't possibly reflect real life, but I see a double standard. I'm not saying the evil patriarchy has anything to do with it or anything like that, it's just an interesting thing I've noticed about our pop culture. That it's somehow more okay for a man to be fat than a woman.

To me, a fat man is just as unappealing as a fat woman. Some people seem to think that fat men are like "teddy bears" or are "more cuddly." I tend to disagree.

I've never really been attracted to fat guys, even though I'm fat myself. In fact, I bet most women in the FA movement don't like fat men either. What they want is a double standard of it being okay for women to be really fat but you rarely hear them mentioning men. There also seem to be more male "fat admirers" than female ones.

My fat rolls are gross. I put them there myself, but I'm taking them off. I think fat is gross and unattractive. But right now at my current weight (and especially at my weight before) I do not EXPECT for the people I find attractive to also find me attractive. I figure I can start expecting that when I start to look close to what I find attractive. This seems like a sound policy to me. In the meanwhile, I'd rather be single and work on myself than settle for a fat guy and be in a relationship.

Fat is a sign of poor health and poor willpower to me, and I think it's a genetic thing that we find certain traits (health and wellness) attractive over others (sickness and fatness). A prospective partner who looks healthy (and you can usually tell healthy-slim from unhealthy-slim/skinny-fat) will ultimately be more attractive. When I was younger and more naive, and before I met my most recent ex (first real, serious relationship), I was pursued by a guy who was really fat. I was pretty fat at the time, and I kind of felt like I should "give him a chance" because since I was fat, I figured being paired with another fatty was what I should accept, and at that point I was lonely for a relationship. We dated briefly, and I found out quickly that I was repulsed by his body and his lazy, slovenly ways. Also, unless he was covered in cologne or had just showered, he had a strange odor to him that just turned me off. This was right before the first time I lost a major amount of weight. Seeing his body made me look at my own and realize that it didn't have to be permanent, that I could do something about it. Unfortunately I went for the quick fix and the starvation option, and I lost the weight very quickly but it didn't prove to be permanent. It's taken me about 6 years to finally get it through my head what had to be done, and now I know this time it's for real, forever, and permanent.

But my experience with the fat boy really did lead me to my philosophy today. I know I can't exactly expect a romantic partner who I find 100% attractive if I'm not on par with that level of attractiveness myself. Attraction is complicated and is made up of many elements regarding the spiritual, emotional, mental, and yes, the physical. It all has to be there or you don't have the real thing, in my opinion. I won't, however, settle, and I won't get into a relationship with someone who has those bad habits, whether they be chronic obesity, alcoholism, hard drug use, smoking, etc. I'm getting to the age now where if I get into a relationship with someone, it's going to be the real deal, and if a red flag pops up, I want to nip it in the bud before I get too serious with the person.

Life is too short to be unhappy. If my lifestyle change is to be permanent and forever, I need to be with someone who will support that. My job is to hold up my end of the bargain and not let myself go either. I feel like if I were to just give the fat boy a chance and be with him, it would be another "project" relationship, where I feel like I can help the person change. That doesn't really work, and it's not really healthy. A person has to want to change themselves, and my love, no matter how strong, could never change someone's bad habits unless they want to.

So recently a guy I know who is very much on the upper spectrum of overweight confessed to a crush on me and asked me if I was interested. I haven't really gotten back to him on that. I know my answer will be no, because in a discussion we were having with a mutual friend who's also working on losing a lot of weight, he said that he feels like his weight is a part of who he is, therefore he doesn't want to lose it. I don't believe that's true of anyone, I don't think your weight should be your identity. Your identity lies on the inside and is shown through action. Also, he never cleans his apartment because he's lazy about housework, and he has kind of a crappy attitude about some things. I think his fat reflects some of his negativity about life, and I'm not sure which came first, the lazy or the fat. I don't know him terribly well yet. What I do know is that he came from a home where his mom always cleaned up after him and let him eat however much he wanted. He's a serious mama's boy too. These are all some very serious red flags to me. It tells me he doesn't want a girlfriend, he wants a mommy. I refuse to be someone's mom in a romance. Other than the negative traits, his positive ones are quite nice. He's creative, smart, and can be a lot of fun. He has a good job and is working hard at earning a degree. He's kind to his friends and strangers. His outlook on society is a little dark, but mine can be as well (although I'm markedly more optimistic while still trying to maintain my realism). But without dealing with the negative traits, I don't see him as a good catch, and I see it as a disastrous possibility that he'll become one of those project boyfriends, and I'm done with that!

That being said, how does a reforming fat girl reject an unrepentant fat guy? To me, the fat is just one turn-off about his personality. The fat is a physical manifestation of weak personality traits. Yes, it's gross to look at and blubbery to the touch. But to me the biggest turn-off is what it represents. That's why as my fat melts away I feel more at peace with myself, because the laziness, apathy, and weakness I refused to fight for so many years is finally going away as I work on myself as a person (spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically), and the fat melting away is a physical representation of the positive changes I'm making to my life. So as I get more relationship-minded, I feel like I should hold out for a partner who reflects those positive changes and will not be an enabler. I also plan on being 100% honest to anyone I end up being with about my issues with weight over my life, what it represented about my life, how I reformed, and what I plan to do to stay on track for life. I'm not just one of those fat women who loses weight just to get a guy then packs it right back on the second I feel secure. To me, that's using, and I won't use someone I claim to love.

This kind of brings me back to the fictional, TV representations of fat men with hot women. I think the majority of fat men know that this is fiction, but I think some of them have been delusioned by this fantasy. The guy who recently asked me out seems to have a bit of this delusion. He has complimented me on my weight loss and says I look really good, etc. But this sends me a mixed message that he's okay with being a tubby lardo, but that he likes his women to be hot.

What do you think?

posted by Namaste on the My Fat Spouse Forum


  1. I wouldn't necessarily say that the guy is suffering from some sort of delusion. Some thin girls will date heavy guys and vice versa. It's not like everyone in the world has a hang up about it. Really, there's not much of a mixed message. Guys kind of tend to compliment girls when they're hitting on them. If he likes you, what else should he do? Asking if you'll date him if he promises to go on a diet would be a weird pick-up line. ;)

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