For women, the association with obesity with asexuality largely stems from the assumption that fat women have chosen not to make their bodies attractive, chosen to be unfeminine, to avoid sexuality and sexual relations, The image of keeping men away with a “wall of fat” is a popular expression of this psychological interpretation of obesity. In this the media offer assistance Typically the media caricature fat women as loud clumsy, hostile aggressive and indelicate. But the physical bulk of fat women need not have acquired this image. In other societies or historical periods a fleshy woman has often been viewed as sensual, graceful sexual and particularly feminine. "Such A Pretty Face" Marcia Millman
What large woman or even very fat man doesn’t experience problems in dating ? I am haunted by a memory of the comment (“You better lose weight or you’ll never get a boyfriend”) which came from a full-figured friend of my mother. My family was visiting her and I got the message at a pool party, sitting there fourteen, forlorn and vulnerable in my bathing suit. With my smug mother nodding her agreement I slunk into the bathroom and cried for half an hour.
“Why!” I wondered aloud “did boys seem more interested in bony girls when hugging a soft girl seemed more enjoyable? Put bluntly “Wouldn’t it be better to lay on a human pillow than a bag of bones?” They’d forgotten that I know about the outlines of sex only to discover that my later question would prove prophetic.
I’d find myself wavering when boys asked me out: They’re not serious they want to make fun of me” Often I was correct but I lacked the confidence and self-esteem to say “yes”; I’m sure this policy helped me overlook men who wanted to know me as a person. As a result my dating never developed into relationships. Three young men throughout my college career became friends with me but hooked up with one of my thinner female associates, (sadder for me, one of these couples wound up getting married.)
I knew the usual scenario at that time, due to my weight I was not even in the running, one potential beau gave it to me straight: “You are a good friend but I am just not attracted to you because of your weight.”
One funny thing I noticed is while these men chased after thin women and obtained them as girlfriends, to me I was still a close friend. “I just see you as a friend not a lover” became the standard refrain so much that I began seeing myself as asexual and unmarried for life. By age 20 I’d stopped dating for awhile. Sick of rejection I’d began buckling down to my expected future alone though without such distracting sideshows of my parents questioning why I never had a boyfriend and telling me that something was "wrong" with me and that I was too fat, and therefore did not deserve one.
At 22, I encountered a man who’d always been attracted to large woman and wanted me accordingly. I refused having more conservative viewpoints regarding life, love and commmitment. The discovery of men who were more open to fat women turned around my thinking; even if the hard core fat admirers were a select group, I had problems with, in terms not wishing to be objectified, the discovery that they existed made me realize I might yet be attractive to someone else.
When I hit 24, I approached finding that special someone like a science: tell them I’m fat, I reckoned and those who are truly interested will respond. I was open to also considering other fat men, and went on a single ad date with a man that was 400lbs but we were not otherwise compatible. Having made good male friends, I’d made up my mind to find the lover and husband I so desired.
After a year of many blind dates, I met my present husband. But all that loomed well ahead in the future when I graduated at 21 in April of 1990. Facing a brutal job market, I admitted defeat and moved back to my parent’s home. I’d always dreaded the notion especially when my 20 year old thin sister had met her destiny in the form of a 28 year old upscale professional.
My parents opted to reward her with a then $20,000 wedding in which I had no starring role let alone a supporting mention. That came across loud and clear when my mother said “ We’ll never find a dress in your size [which was then size 22], and you’re too fat to be in your sister’s wedding” My sister signaled agreement though I believed she just wanted to keep the peace I argued to no avail. One friend would tell me regarding those days "In regards to your family, the clearest incidence that I remember was with your sister’s wedding. It appeared that she and your mother didn’t want someone who wasn’t “photogenic” to be in the wedding party or affiliated with the wedding party."
When I point out that my family was very appearance oriented, this is not coming out from left field. Later I would realize the depth of the family dsyfunction regarding the lack of love or care as a person that was shown me then and later and would be able to confront many things, that went well beyond a fat girl feeling rejected but during those days, I thought this was "normal" and "deserved" and it was anything but.
In protest I arrived on the wedding day dressed all in black from head to toes, wearing black lace and silver jewelry in the 'goth' style. Probably not the nicest thing to do, but it made my displeasure known. My relatives realizing the hurt I had suffered had known of my plans; not my mother who got the point just the same. When I look back on this, while some say, "how could you?" I understand exactly why I did it, it was my way of announcing I am a person of worth as well.
The satisfaction such a gesture could not wallpaper my unpleasant daily reality, working a minimum wage child care job, trying to find a better job, between the inevitable daily bulletins: “When are you going to get a real job?” "When are you getting to get a boyfriend?" My brother had experienced a huge weight loss of over 150lbs from a diet of lettuce leafs, cereal and dry skinless chicken breasts. No matter that he gained it all back; I was constantly chided to eat likewise and told I needed to diet too even as I was working 12 hours a day both at student teaching and a part time job. I know this is about the time I started getting sick, the stress, the pressure, everyday wake up feeling "rejected" though a part of me inside, still keep saying inside, I can find someone to love me, I can find self-worth, and people who care.
Those days had too many rejection underlying it all. I want to tell young fat women you can find someone to love you even if the people around you do not, or tell you that you are a "lesser" not worthy of love. The above is something I should have never suffered. When I look back on those days, I think of what could have been if I had refused to believe the messages surrounding me. I ended up married, but wish I hadn't spent my single days in such psychological suffering. I never want to see another young fat woman go through what I did.
SEE: Fat Love