I’ve thankfully been in a relationship for over two years now–I say thankfully, because it’s tough out there (well, that and I’m very much in love with my boyfriend!) The more I talk to my friends, the more I realize that men have no idea how to talk to fat girls. So I figured I’d create a handy how-to list, which will hopefully be helpful to those ready to pop on out of the fat closet, or who already have but aren’t having much success. This is written in a pretty heteronormative manner, which I apologize for, but the experiences I’m most familiar with are men trying to chase women.
This is loosely based on my own experiences as well as the experiences and suggestions of many girls I’ve talked to. Do you have more suggestions? Feel free to comment!
1) DON’T mention her weight.
Mentioning this first because it’s SUPER important, and it’s the first thing guys tend to mess up on. Look, I’m a body positivity advocate. I identify as fat. I realize that attraction is important and some people are attracted to fat bodies (which is totally cool!) All that being said: weight is just something you shouldn’t mention to anyone in a first conversation, fat or thin. I’ve seen so many opening lines, especially on dating sites, along the lines of
‘you’re cute, I love bbws.’
‘I’m a chubby chaser.’
‘I’ve always been attracted to bigger girls.’
Here’s the thing. JUST STOP ALREADY. It makes us feel like you’re talking to us JUST for our body. Especially on a dating site. You don’t need to have the username ‘bbwlover2012′, you don’t need to talk in your profile about how you’re looking for a fat girl, or how you define yourself as a chubby chaser*. You probably think that it’ll make fat girls more likely to contact you first, but honestly it’s hurting your cause more than anything. It makes you sound like all you care about is our bodies, that’s the most important part to you. It’s REALLY bad to make a girl feel like you’re objectifying her straight off the bat. So during a first conversation, don’t qualify why you’re talking to her. You don’t have to state that you’re attracted to larger bodies. Guess what? You talking to a fat girl, showing interest, and that says all we need to know! You wouldn’t message a thin girl and say ‘I think you’re hot, I’m really attracted to skinny girls’, would you? (I hope not.) I don’t want to speak for all fat chicks, but we’re looking for something pretty specific. Not someone who likes us because of our body, not someone who likes us in spite of our body. Just someone who likes us. All of us. So if you see a fat chick you’re interested in, try to find some common ground and base conversation starters on that. You both love Lord of the Rings? Excellent! You’re both into the same band? Great! Look at that, you’ve found a conversation opening!
*(Note, saying things like ‘real women have curves’, ‘only dogs like bones’, ‘skinny girls are gross’ are horrible things to say. You are more than welcome to have your preferences, but putting down other body types or other people’s preferences is NOT okay. And it doesn’t win you any points.)
2. Fat girls are girls too.
It may seem silly to mention, but it actually is important. Fat girls aren’t magical, mystical creatures. There’s no special way you need to talk to them, no different procedure, here. I get that question from time to time. ‘How do I approach a fat girl?’ Just like ANY other girl! We’re real people with real personalities and feelings. Just talk to us. We’ll appreciate it. Trust me. As fat girls, we spend a lot of our lives being treated differently–and it’s usually not in a good way. We’re not looking for you to make up for it. We’re just looking for you to get it and not do more of the same! As much as it may seem counterintuitive since I’m writing a whole post on how to date a fat girl, but a lot of this can be boiled down to this simple statement: date a fat girl the same way you’d date any other girl.
3. Don’t be offended if she’s suspicious.
Again, can’t speak for all fat girls, but lots of us have had a lot of bad experiences when it comes to dating. Men who’ll talk the good talk but won’t be seen with us in public, men who’ll have sex with us but make fun of fat girls to their friends, men who think we’re ‘desperate’ and ‘easy’ and just a quick lay. That can be a real self-esteem killer for us, and it can make us gun shy. So we can tend to be a little leery when a guy professes interest. Don’t take it personally. If you’ve managed to stick by rule number one, you might get a question like ‘So you don’t care that I’m fat?’ from a girl. This can be a tricky one to navigate. Just try to assure her that you’re attracted to what’s on the inside and the outside!
4. Be humble.
This might sound harsh, but you have no idea how many men expect some kind of reward for being attracted to fat girls. Well, you don’t. Maybe it’s not socially ‘in’ right now, but the fact of the matter is, PLENTY of guys like fat girls. Lots of them don’t want to admit it. Lots of them don’t tell anyone. But believe you me. If you don’t think there are guys out there who like fat girls, you are so wrong. I understand that it can be hard, you’re afraid of your friends or your family ragging on you for dating fat girls. But if you think that’s bad, try being the fat girlfriend. We get worried if your friends are going to judge us or snigger. We worry if your parents are going to tell you ‘you can do better.’ Any time you think it’s hard for you, remember it’s a lot harder for us.
5. Take her out in public.
I mentioned that most of us have had bad experiences, being the ‘secret’ lover, not ever getting to meet a guy’s friends, and it’s really quite painfully true. The fact that I have to add this piece of advice kind of makes me sad, but I feel it’s important. A lot of times when a fat girl is out with a guy in public, people assume that they’re ‘just friends.’ There’s such a stigma out there that fat girls never get the guy. Take her out to dinner, to the movies, walk around town. Hold her hand, put your arm around her. Looking couple-y doesn’t hurt! If you’re scared of what people think? You don’t deserve to have a fat girlfriend.
6. Be aware that sizeism is completely real, and don’t invalidate her experiences.
There are lots of folks out there who hate fat people. The vitriol some people have for others based purely on body size can be quite frightening. Understand that us ladies live in a culture where every magazine, every commercial, every ad is telling us that our bodies are wrong. We are not represented in media except as comic relief or the ‘before’ picture in a diet ad. Different fat girls have different experiences, but we’ve all experienced a lifetime of discrimination. Be sensitive to that. Chances are, she’ll have bad body image days. Chances are, there will be days when someone says something vicious and it’s hard for her to shake it off. Be aware that there’s a whole system of oppression working against her, and it’s hard sometimes.
7. Talk about it.
‘Whoa there, hold on!,’ you’re saying. ‘Didn’t number one say NOT to talk about it?’ Well yeah. Not at first. But the truth is, fat is one of those defining features that can’t really be ignored. It’s not who a person is, but you can’t ignore it either. Living in a fat bodies shapes many experiences for a person, and it’s important to understand and be sensitive to it. Different girls are at different stages of comfort and acceptance of their bodies (and frankly, that goes for all girls of all shapes and sizes!) Understand that some things are a little tougher for us. We can’t go into any old store in the mall and find an outfit. Sometimes booths aren’t the best ideas at a restaurant. There are probably things you haven’t thought about that she might be embarrassed about. It’s important to communicate these things and make her feel that she has a safe space to express these feelings.
8. NO QUALIFIERS.
“You’re not fat, you’re beautiful!”
“You’re so confident for a bigger girl!”
No. No no no no. If she calls herself fat, let her. If she wants to call herself chunky, or curvy, or voluptuous, let her. It’s her body to call what she wants. And if you’re going to compliment her, don’t do it in a backhanded way. Acknowledge that she’s both fat AND beautiful. Fat AND confident. Fat AND stylish. Fat isn’t a bad thing to be, and both of you need to realize that.
Your mileage may vary on any of these points, of course. All girls are different, all girls want slightly different things. There’s never going to be a one-size-fits-all list, especially when talking about such a large group of people! (pun not intended, yikes!) But overall it just comes down to being sensitive, perceptive, and attentive. Frankly, these are good values to have anyway!
Hope you’ve found this list helpful!