It’s hard out here for a chub.
Yes, I’m chubby. Some may even call me–gasp!–fat. Is that a bad thing? No. It’s not even an insult. (Now, call me a smelly fat person and, yes, we might have some problems.)
And it also isn’t a sexless death sentence filled with Netflix (no chill), seven cats and carpal tunnel. In fact, moving to a metropolis like New York City has exposed me to a chub-positive dating life I didn’t know was possible. That doesn’t mean I haven’t hit–and still continue to hit–roadblocks along the way. There have been some doozies, and the more I chat with plus-size folks, the more I realize we all share many of the same doozies. From fetishes to backhanded compliments, the plus-size dating terrain is rough. Let’s explore why below. (But take my word for it: There is light–read: people who don’t just want to make you immobile–at the end of the tunnel.)
The backhanded compliment.Whisper
Every plus-size person has heard some variation of this phrase in their lives. This is nothing but fatphobia dressed up in a pretty pink bow. The people who’ve said this probably had good intentions (or were just oblivious), but it’s this brand of soft-core body-shaming that encourages the idea that plus-size bodies aren’t worthy. That we aren’t good enough exactly as we are. The next time you’re tempted to say this to someone on a dating app or a close friend, please refrain. It causes more harm than good, which leads us to…
“You have such a pretty face!”Nick Jr.
End of sentence. Congratulations, you just turned me into that Nickelodeon character who is literally just a face. Saying, “You have such a pretty face” comes with the implied, “But your body is ugly.” If you think someone is pretty, just tell them they’re pretty. (And if you don’t, then STFU.)
Thinking anyone hitting on you is joking.Giphy
I once had a ripped tennis player approach me in a Manhattan club and start flirting with me. My first reaction? Where are the cameras? You’re actually talking to the other ripped tennis player behind me, right? Your group of friends are cackling at this very moment, aren’t they? Thanks to scarring pop culture references like Martha Dunnstock in Heathers and the widely-promoted notion that fat is ugly, I’m now skeptical of any person who approaches me. Is that my own psychology? Probably. I’m working on untangling that, but I definitely developed this mindset from somewhere. The bright side? People (typically) aren’t that cruel, and if someone hits on you at the bar, they probably mean business. Everyone is just trying to get laid. There isn’t any time for games. Even still, this is certainly a hurdle for us curvy folks, one that can only be conquered by self-love.
It’s one thing to have a foot fetish. It’s another thing to have a body fetish. Objectifying someone’s entire body or identity dehumanizes them. Who they are doesn’t matter to you. You should want me now, 50 pounds heavier or 50 pounds lighter. If I have to worry about you ditching once I lose 15 pounds, please swipe left. You’re the guy who doesn’t even remember my name at dinner because you’re too focused on my waistline–which, unfortunately, happened to me two years ago. There is a major difference between objectifying my body and adoring me for it. One still allows me to be me.
Anyone with a bio like this is a grade-A douche who isn’t worth your time. It’s cool if you’re not into me. Just don’t be a d-ck about it.
One-night stands are totally fine. What is suspect, though, is someone who constantly insists on quickie sessions at 1 a.m in favor of meeting for a drink. If you ask someone to meet in public more than three times and they decline–but are always game for a private romp in the sack–you might have a secret sex individual (SSI) on your hands. SSIs are (probably) fatphobic SOBs who are ashamed to be seen with you in public–for whatever reason. Run from them…fast–no matter how sexy they are.
Realizing that you are enough.Giphy
This is tough. Again, pop culture and society constantly tell us that our bodies aren’t lovable. So, when you finally begin dating someone who is crazy into you, it’s weird. We’re basically programmed to think, “How can someone like that be into someone like me?” Stop thinking that. They’re not doing you any favors by dating you. This isn’t pity love. It’s real love. And you deserve it. We all do. Also, they’re just as lucky to be with you–a wonderful, complete and worthy individual–as you are to be with them. Repeat this like a mantra until you believe it. I’m not there yet, but I’m getting close. You will, too.