Fat girl with boyfriend

Table of Contents

Pooja Parikh Traveled Across The World For The HS Diagnosis That Changed Her Life Forever

Illustration by Daniella Urdinlaiz / lookcatalog Found on AskReddit.

1. Be funny.

“Humor is the fastest way to the bedroom, my friend.”

—SevensTravels

2. Find a girl with poor eyesight and low standards.

“It’s just a matter of finding the right person: poor eyesight and low standards.”

—MrCda

3. Get a puppy.

“Got a puppy.”

—qwerty12qwerty

4. Good cologne, good hygiene, and confidence.

“Charisma. Shit can’t do anything about my looks. But nice fitting clothes, good cologne, good hygiene, and confidence will go a long way.”

—REDUCE23

5. Be ugly as fuck but funny as shit.

“Four sisters, single mum, not a single male cousin and female friends. I’m ugly us fuck but I’m funny as shit and know how to talk to women, been with my partner four years and hopefully many more.”

—Coxydon

6. Have a chubby dick.

“Confidence, even if feigned, is extremely valuable in that situation. Also, my dick chubby as fuck.”

—Megaladonald

7. It’s called self-confidence and personal hygiene.

“It’s called self-confidence and personal hygiene. It isn’t rocket science.”

—XtremeGuy5

8. Have a massive veiny throbbing…personality.

“With my massive veiny throbbing personality.”

—WadeWilsonforPope

9. Show her your sick dance moves and Kung Fu prowess.

“I showed her my sick dance moves and my Kung Fu prowess.”

—GoTron88

10. Be really really really funny.

“By being really really really funny. That and a little bit of confidence can go a long way.”

—Yuphrum

11. Become a magician.

“Magic. Chicks really dig guys who do magic.”

—Religious_Redditor

12. Get in shape.

“I’m pretty sure my face is jacked, so I just went to the gym more. You can’t have a jacked face and a grotesque body.”

—Reneskirules

13. Join a band.

“Learn an instrument…join a band. Not the easiest of suggestions but it is the one with the most payoff.”

—crastnatingpro

14. Personality to get one, oral to keep one.

“Personality to get one, oral to keep one.”

—Skeetzinsheets

15. Poor eyesight on her part and mad cunnlingus skills on my part.

“Poor eyesight on her part and mad cunnlingus skills on my part.”

—eekabug

16. Be a funny asshole.

“If you’re an asshole to enough potential partners, at some point one of them is going to have issues and be into it. Gotta be a funny asshole though, you can’t just be an asshole.”

—warhawk1856

17. Move to China.

“I moved to China. Totally worked.”

—Muted_Posthorn_Man

18. Have a huge dick.

“By having this huge dick of mine.”

—DudeItsDusty

19. Smoke so much weed that they can’t see you through the smoke.

“I smoke a LOOOOOOOT of weed. People can’t see me through the smoke.”

—thegameischanging

20. Be humble but confident.

“Groom yourself.

Dress well—this doesn’t mean suits or expensive attire, just make sure it fits, color matches, etc. Go to a place like Men’s Warehouse for help until you learn how to do so yourself.

Be reasonably fit. Again, you don’t need a six-pack, just make sure you’re not obese. Most women don’t care if a guy has a little pudge.

Be stable. This means don’t get smashed every weekend, have a plan for your future, and be consistent.

Have interests. It doesn’t matter what they are, passion is attractive.

Be open-minded. Don’t be a snob about other people’s passions or likes, which results in being overly critical. Be willing to explore her passions and likes.

Be positive and optimistic. People like to associate and spend time with people who are happy. No one wants to spend time with someone who is always self-deprecating and/or depressed.

Be humble but confident.

There are many, many things ‘ugly’ guys can do, but this is a great list to start.”

—superbbs

21. Keep looking at her.

“I just kept looking at her…

It actually worked…

Idk why she’s with me…”

—Jamoz330

22. Keep positive and practice good hygiene.

“I don’t consider myself handsome at all but I have been happily married for 25 years. I think the best thing is just to keep positive and good hygiene. There’s always someone for everyone.”

—wolson

23. Go to social events, join clubs, use Tinder and online dating.

“Go to social events, join clubs, use Tinder and online dating, etc. While meeting people, you will meet single women and you will click with one of them eventually. Even if the people you meet aren’t single women, they might be able to introduce you to some.

It really doesn’t matter how you look; somewhere out there is somebody who finds your looks sufficient without any change and you just have to find them.”

—Great_Justice

24. Get yourself some swagger.

“Ugly guy here who does really well with the ladies. My big moment was realizing if I focus on external validation I’m always going to lose. So I focused inward, built my skills, talents, abilities (including my ability to socialize and talking to women—I just reframed it in my head from ‘oh no these people/women are rejecting me’ to ‘huh. Guess I should have been more x or y in that interaction, let’s try again with someone else!’)

After a year or so I sudden I realized my sense of self-worth had increased so much to the extent where validation from other people seemed to pale in comparison to my own sense of self-worth. And all of a sudden I realized I had swagger. And girls really responded to it. In a way being ugly made it even better. It’s like they thought ‘this guy’s ugly how on earth is he so confident and relaxed?! What does he know that I don’t?’”

—festess

25. Change the things about your looks that you can control.

“By making myself un-ugly. Mostly ‘ugly’ people are that way because of factors they can control, mine was pepperoni face levels of acne and super oily hair that looked gross if I even skipped one day of showering. I got tired of using crappy face wash and started seeing a dermatologist, the pill he gave me worked instantly. Got a buzz cut and looked ten times better. As they say ‘the true definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting different results.’”

—thatonecoolkid99

26. Just be yourself.

“This is the most cliché in the book, but by being myself. It took my several years to figure out what that was for me. I am not by any means ugly but I am a little fat, got bald at 19 and I am not very tall (in NL everyone is a fucking giant) so I wasn’t very confident in my teens and early 20’s.

However, the last 3 years or so I found out I am a very positive and optimistic person with a good sense of humor. It’s not that I am swimming in babes but I had my fair share of beauties. Pure beauty wise I am almost always punching above my league.

Having a proper job, degree and manners also helped.”

—FidmeisterPF

27. Just be a good person and good things will happen.

“Just refuse to acknowledge looks as something that matters. Just be unapologetically you, be love, be kindness, be compassion. Just be a good person and good things will happen. Remember that it’s worth waiting for someone who’s able to see through the ephemeral such as looks, and can see into your soul and loves you for that, as well as don’t be so superficial and shallow yourself. Beauty exists in all forms, and you’re beautiful even if the mushy meat sack you’re encapsulated in doesn’t meet ‘society’s standards of beauty’ I believe in you bud, everything will work out.”

—akatomix

28. Change things you don’t like about your appearance.

“Where you can change or draw attention away from things you don’t like about your appearance. Take a before and after photo so you can feel good about taking control.

This will help you to build a more confident and enjoyable personality to be around. That confidence will also help you to accept the things you can’t change.

Here’s my personal examples:

I’ve got bad teeth, a flat head, a doughy jaw line, and a crooked nose.

Thick glasses draw attention to my eyes and away from my nose. The right haircut and beard give a more aesthetically pleasing look to the shape of my face and head.

Haven’t done anything about the teeth yet but the confidence I’ve gained from unfucking these other traits of mine makes me more confident. I spent time in front of a mirror smiling, as if for a photo, and I’m totally cool with it now. I accept it and look less like I’m uncomfortable and hiding something when I smile (whether it be naturally or for a photo).

Obviously, personality goes a long way as well but being comfortable in your own skin is a very important first step.”

—timklotz

29. Learn to cook & be self-sufficient.

“Groom properly (every day, routine).

Buy well-fitting clothes & smart shoes.

Get measured by a tailor (hire a tux) and invest in 1 or 2 well-fitting suits (blue, black, grey).

Look after your body.

Learn to cook & be self-sufficient.

Those are the easy ones. I spent years in retail / hospitality so I have developed good conversation and sales skills, I’m outgoing and good at engaging people, I’m confident and try to be funny (but not too hard). I laugh at myself, I am brutally honest and always open but most importantly I’m secure in myself, I don’t hide behind anything.

I’m not rich but I am fiscally responsible, I’m average looking, I have alopecia on my face so can’t grow a beard or stubble. Obesity and heart disease are common in my family but I’ve definitely done better than someone with my looks should have!”

—ACBirnie

30. If you’re interesting, it doesn’t matter what you look like.

“Be interesting. Have things to talk about. What people who moan and complain on the internet about not attracting girls seem to universally fail to understand is that looks are only a small piece of the puzzle. If you’re interesting, it doesn’t matter what you look like. I promise you that.”

—fdsaf3

31. Learn how to dance.

“I wouldn’t call myself unattractive, but I definitely wouldn’t say I’m particularly attractive either. On top of that, my social skills aren’t the best.

Despite that, most of the girls I’ve dated have been these incredible European dancers (am American) that are basically straight out of a classic heterosexual male fantasy. Hot accents and everything. The reason I can get away with this is that I learned how to partner dance well. Given three minutes, a good song and a good dance floor, you can make a pretty strong first impression and a pretty strong connection if you know how to lead properly and enjoy yourself.”

—LibertyJorj

32. Be hilarious as fuck.

“I wouldn’t say I am bridge-troll ugly, but I am by no means better than average. Cameras hate me.

Anyway, I was half-drunk after a night of drinking Jager. My buddy was bummed out so I went up to a girl I thought was hot and who would clearly reject me out of hand. And, since it would be publicly, my buddy could then laugh the spectacle and feel better.

We’re married and have a kid now.

Also, I am hilarious as fuck. And hung like a…hilarious person.”

—soomuchcoffee

33. Stop acting desperate.

“Stop trying to get a girlfriend.

Girls don’t like when a guy is actively trying to get close to them so shy away. Strangely, they like is even less when a guy is not trying to get close to them and the start approaching you.

So speak to women that you meet like you are talking to your sister. If you can relax around her then just do the same thing. If you have never had a sister, then treat them as though they are your best friend’s sister (also out of bounds).

Basically you are treating them as friends, (dare I say ‘equals’) that you can trust. Girls like that.

And don’t succumb the first time that they hit on you.”

—pleemorr

34. Listen while giving massages.

“I’m a trained massage therapist who’s also a good listener.”

—Coelacanth1938

35. Be comfortable in your own skin.

“Be a good conversationalist, be fun, and be comfortable in your own skin.

These attributes will help you out in most facets of your life. If you are a joy to talk with and be around, people (including women), will want to spend more time with you.

I’ve seen so many what I call ‘lopsided’ couples where one person is far more attractive than the other and it turns out that the person that married up (or dated up) is usually really cool and charismatic. Sometimes they both are, but it is more so the less attractive one in the pair.

Source: I’m not that great looking, I’d say I’m average, but I’ve got a descent sense of humor and try to be a nice and fun person. My wife married down for sure, because she is gorgeous.

Fun Story: One time I was waiting for my wife to get off of work when she managed a cell phone kiosk in our local mall. There was a guy I knew leaned up against the counter talking to her. I was just standing around and listening to him and realized that he was flirting with her, when she starts dropping hints that I was her (at the time) boyfriend. After about 10 minutes he got the hint and looked at me, then looked at her, then looked back at me and said ‘Are you…is she?”, I said yes, she’s my girlfriend. He then apologized and as he walked off kind of shook my hand like ‘way to go, man”. I don’t know if he said that because she looks like she is out of my league or what, but that’s how I took it. Lol.”

—FragMortuus

36. Be passionate about something. Also, be tall.

“While I’m not exactly ugly, I wouldn’t consider myself good looking either. I’m 32 and have had bad skin/scaring acne for about 20 years and I have an almost comically huge nose yet I’ve always managed to out kick the coverage when it comes to dating good looking women. I think I knew very early that my looks alone were never going to get me anywhere with the ladies so I better start compensating in other areas. I taught myself how to cook, work on engines, play guitar (which has actually worked against me on occasion) work out etc. I just tried to become a well read and intelligent interesting person until I was confident that ladies would WANT to get to know someone like me. It also helps to have a passion for something. I don’t know why that is sexy to women, but more than one has stated that as being a major reason for getting intimate with me.

Seriously though, upping your game in the kitchen is probably the best advice I could give to a young man. Learn how to cook. Watch some Gordon Ramsey videos on some basic things you need to know and start learning. I had a little leg up when it comes to this. I’d always be in the kitchen with my Italian grandma cooking when I was a kid. She always said you shouldn’t ever have worry about finding a decent woman just to get a decent meal. Also, I used to watch the Food Network in high school like some kids would watch MTV. Having a beautiful lady over on your second date to cook her a meal is almost always a home run. You’re on your turf so hopefully no more first/second date jitters for you. Go find some old episodes of Molto Mario and do what he did. Be entertaining while you make her a meal and she’ll love it. Get her to help even. It’s always worked for me. Hell, one time I met a girl at a bar and got to talking about mayonnaise and how homemade was so much better than store bought. She didn’t believe I could make mayo. I brought her to my place, made her mayo and that was it. Sexy times were imminent.

Up your game in the kitchen.

Also, be tall. I’m 6’2 and for some reason that does it for some women.”

—DoubleBirdStyle

37. Be funny and charismatic in social situations.

“Serious answer:

Personality aside, I’m probably like a 4/10. I have like 0 chin/jaw, and my hair is thinning pretty bad. There are a couple of key components for me. The big one is that funny and charismatic in social situations. People look to me to keep conversation light and entertaining, even if we’ve never talked before. The second one is that I’m a singer/actor. It’s not so much that I do that specifically, but it shows that I’m passionate about something and active about pursuing it. Most girls don’t care what it is you do, as long as you’re passionate and excited about it.

The third and final thing is to be attentive and caring on the first date (assuming you’re already getting that far). She wants to know that you’re a good listener, and empathetic.”

—yakebaj

38. Learn how to make good cocktails and an amazing sandwich.

“Learn some skills and have some interests (plus grooming).”

If you think of yourself as an ugly loser with nothing to offer, it won’t come across very well. If you are someone who knows how to make good cocktails and an amazing sandwich and goes to concerts / the theater / other cool things, you can think that you’ll make her a cocktail and take her out on the town for a fun night—in short, have something to offer. Something other than ugly desperation.”

—AgoraiosBum

39. Just treat women like normal people.

“Just treat women like normal people. Don’t neg them and don’t put them up on some weird creepy pedestal. Just ask normal questions and have normal conversations. Might sound crazy but women aren’t as shallow as you think, or as they are perceived to be, talk to them and 99% of the time they talk back. When I was younger me and my friends all fancied this girl, I was the fat one of the group and didn’t think I stood a chance so when we spoke I wasn’t trying to impress her I just had a normal conversation. 15 years later we are still together have owned a house together for ten years and have an eight-year daughter.”

Source: big fat bald fucker who’s just a postman with a smoking hot mixed race (I say that as don’t think a woman will judge you on race) girlfriend of 15 years who used to model (actual model as in get paid not pay to model).”

—permalink

40. Find you a girl that loves pizza.

“Idk if I’m ugly, but I’m pretty good at figuring out what girls want. I usually just offer them food or Starbucks to get my foot in the door. Find you a girl that loves pizza.”

—sir_lerm

Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/FX

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Dear Polly,

How do you make yourself ready to drop your defenses?

Let me explain. I’m a single lady in my late 30s who has been pretty much on my own for the last few years, since my only long-term relationship broke up. I have a decent-ish career and a fairly active social life. I guess I should start dating, but the idea of Putting Myself Out There in That Way fills me with dread — blame it on a childhood where I was mocked for having crushes, followed by a post-childhood where dudes I felt sparks with would date other people because I was too chickenshit to make anything even resembling a move. (The long-term relationship came about in a kind of roundabout way — the old “hanging out at the same bar turning into spending a lot of time together and then developing into a Thing after resistance on my part” plot. Which is not very serviceable at my age.)

I watch friends of mine find partners and I feel like they’ve been given access to a manual that will only be open to me if … well, if I lose weight. I’ve always been heavier than normal, but after maintaining in the 12–14 range for a long while, through all the teenage and twentysomething trips to Weight Watchers and ambient sucking-up of information that I don’t even want to read from the beauty-industrial complex, I have landed in that gray area where the top of “regular” sizing and the bottom of “plus” sizing overlap. I have spent most of my dating-age life hoping to ignore my corporeal self in the hopes that it’ll go away, somehow, or that my other characteristics — my wit! my compassion! my ability to throw a really good party! — will at least serve as mitigating factors. I haven’t even watched That Episode Of Louie because I feel like hearing the words in Sarah Baker’s monologue spoken aloud, instead of just in my head, will make me legit break down.

“I’ll lose the weight,” I think sometimes, “and that will make people less repelled by me.” But I have trouble exercising because my schedule is unpredictable and sometimes I need to be working for unbroken stretches to tackle big projects.

And in my darker moments (which often come after I screw up my regime in some way), I despair and think that I’ll never lose it because what’s the point. Friends suggest people I should date and I laugh it off because yeah, right, who would want to take a chance on me? I develop romantic interests and subsequently get super anxious when I’m around them; all that energy eventually settles into friendship, which is fine! I have met lots of great people, and I have been very lucky in that sense. I am just tired of feeling like a fuck up, even WITH the high divorce/etc. rate. And the idea of putting myself out there on OKCupid or a site of its ilk is low-level terrifying for multiple reasons, from the sociopathic spammy way that some dudes operate to someone I know finding me on one of those sites and rolling their eyes at the idea of me being even casually dateable.

What is wrong with me? Why am I so freaked out by even voicing the desire to look for someone out loud? Am I just preemptively rejecting anyone who would love me for me? Or am I just being practical?

Signed,

I Wanna See Me Be Brave

Dear Brave,

Fuck being practical. Practical about how you measure up to the other women on the dating market? Practical about the imaginary notion that people are repelled by you and roll their eyes at the idea of you being even casually dateable? Practical about exactly how your dress size will mathematically compute in the mind of the modern man?

I would rather live in the real world, which is ruled by a wicked laugh and a faint whiff of honeysuckle and a chilled pint hitting a man’s lips, along with the vague sensation that he’s brighter and stronger than he usually is, because he’s sitting across from a woman with beautiful eyes and a sick sense of humor who really, really gets him. The reason the beauty-industrial complex kicks up an acidic taste of contempt in so many of our mouths is that it can never quite capture the intoxicating magic of real-life intrigue and attraction and romance. Flat, glossy images of size-0 teenagers can’t come close to conjuring the sensation of being alive in the company of TRUE charisma and sensuality and courage, that electric feeling of being close to someone confident and witty who, for some unfathomable reason, hasn’t been loved nearly enough.

Sure, the most skilled artists of the high-end fashion world choose models with odd, alien faces and ask them to jut out their hip bones or their elbows, in an attempt to throw our perceptions slightly off-kilter, in an effort to demonstrate that something more mysterious than fuck-doll mathematics is going on in their pretty pictures. But even these images can’t quite stir up the same electricity as real life. Real-life beauty is a blur of motion, a flash of disbelief, an assured gesture, a long sigh that sings with intelligence and self-acceptance. We can’t capture in two dimensions, or reduce to a series of numbers, the feelings that real human beings experience in the company of a woman with the confidence to own exactly who she is, to show where she’s been, to listen closely and understand completely. A woman who loves her life, who can laugh at herself, but whose head isn’t crowded and noisy. A woman who can focus and make room — real space — for you, and bathe you in her generosity and her compassion.

Jesus. Now I want to get in your pants.

The point is: Fuck practical, if “practical” is searching for your statistical match — weight, height, race, IQ, income level — instead of meeting real, imperfect human beings with souls that erase all of those numbers with their originality and warmth. If that’s practical, then practical is the territory of unimaginative warthogs.

I know it’s hard. And I know that I don’t know exactly how hard it is. I have a plus-size friend who tells me there is nothing — NOTHING — like showing up for an online date and reading on the guy’s face, “Oh, you’re too big for me.” She tells me I can’t possibly know a thing about that feeling, and I trust that she’s right.

But I just want to tell you one thing that I do know, a message for humans of all sizes: You are not looking for someone who loves you for the sum of your quantifiable qualities. The guy who won’t sleep with you because you’re overweight is not a far cry from the guy who will only sleep with you because you’ve got a hot body. Either way, you feel like the main event, the REAL YOU, is a footnote. And plenty of us waste a lot of time dating people who like us for the wrong reasons. The problem is, it can take years to figure it out, to solve the puzzle and say, “Oh, Jesus, he only likes having sex with me. He doesn’t even listen when I open my fucking mouth.” Or: “She just likes my wallet and my easygoing nature. Meanwhile, she refuses to spend time with my family and is flat-out mean to me when she doesn’t get exactly what she wants.” Dating someone who wants you for the wrong reasons is disconcerting, it’s unproductive, and it’s the antithesis of true love.

Everyone wants to be seen and loved for who they really are. Or they should want that, even if they can’t want it, deep down inside, because they don’t love themselves enough to believe that they are enough.

There’s nothing like being loved for exactly who you are. This is not outside of your reach, or anybody’s reach. Not to state the obvious, but men who like you for YOU roll with whatever you’re serving up. Men like to be turned on (hello, understatement), and if they dig the cut of your jib, they are going to find something hot about you to focus on. They are not sitting at their desks with a copy of Photoshop, zooming in on problem areas. Sure, some men may not imagine themselves with anyone larger than a size 6. Maybe they’re following the lead of our unimaginative warthog culture, so their imaginations are filled with extreme close-ups of extreme wax jobs. And maybe if you ask them, they’ll give you images and numbers and figures that make them sound like looks mathematicians. But even then, what a man thinks he wants and what a man actually ends up wanting is often separated by a wide and mysterious sea.

I know a lot of people are haunted by that Louis C.K. Fat Girl monologue. And I know that feeling of meeting a guy and thinking, “Hey, look! We match!” and then finding out he only dates supermodels. (Why? And … how?) But that speech feels a little hopeless to me. No One Dates Fat Girls. I understand why it would be a relief to voice that feeling. But it falls in line with Older Men Only Want Younger Women and Successful Women Can’t Find Love and No One Wants a Short Guy and a million other self-defeating mantras. Once you start down that road, you might as well just move into the glossy fucking magazines and sit right next to the teenager in the feathered get-up and weep into your hands. Do you want to live in a two-dimensional, imaginary world, or do you want to live in the real world, which is full of surprises and real love and magic?

I know some people found that episode emancipating. I don’t want to diminish that. I just want to say: DON’T LIVE THERE.

Don’t live in that two-dimensional, reductive space where you already know what’s going to happen next, where you imagine that all affection for you is just pity, where you think people are rolling their eyes at the idea of you as remotely dateable, where you accept less than you deserve from a soulless mathematician.

Being hot in two dimensions is all about sanding off your edges and minimizing anything that’s big or pointy or just unusual or unique. But being hot in the real world is all about magic. It’s not about BELIEVING IN MAGIC. It’s about tuning in to the OBJECTIVE, PALPABLE magic of real life. It’s about knowing all of the magic you carry onboard, everywhere you go. You can make a million and one mistakes in your life, but as long as you never lose sight of your magic, people will be drawn to you.

That doesn’t mean you won’t sometimes feel totally below average and wretched and lame. That part often depends on your mood, what you ate for lunch, and a few lunar-phase issues we won’t delve into right now. You will get older and maybe even uglier and you will die some day. I’m not just being negative, it’s science, I looked it up. But — do you see? You don’t HAVE to lose a lot of weight and arrive at some improved, imaginary place BEFORE you’re “ready” to date. You can be magnetic and magical and also be average and wretched and lame. What you need to do, more than anything else, is feel good and vibrant and relaxed and gorgeous in your own skin.

So don’t go on a crash diet just to find love. Don’t tell yourself that you’ll only deserve love once you starve yourself for a while. Even if you’re wildly successful at losing weight and then wildly successful at finding a man, you’ll still be at risk of wasting a decade dating men who have no interest in the real magic of you, beneath your rocking-hot ass.

Here’s one practical thing I do want you to do: You need to exercise every day. That’s my recommendation to you and every other person reading this, no matter what size they happen to be. Because people — especially very smart people — require exercise to stay sane. They do. Exercise will help you feel vibrant and relaxed and gorgeous in your own skin. Exercise will improve your chemistry and that will improve your view of yourself. You also need to remind yourself that you’re up for a challenge, that you can do something hard, even when you’re swamped with big projects and you feel like shit and you just don’t want to. You need to give yourself that gift every day.

“What kind of a gift is THAT, to sweat and pant like crazy?” you ask. It’s a gift that sometimes looks like punishment, but that’s actually a sensual thing, a way of feeling vigorous and alive. I’m not saying you have to do something extreme. You can walk fast for an hour, or do some kind of low-impact cardio DVD for 30 minutes. You can do P90X3 or Tae Bo and bask in the warmth of Billy Blanks’s wonky eye. You can join a gym and do Zoomba or whatever the fuck. Personally, as someone with kids and way too much work, I like the DVD thing. It’s really fast and you never have an excuse not to do it.

The primary goal here is to feel connected to your body. Exercise won’t make you more lovable. You’re already lovable, that’s the point. Exercise will help you to feel that.

After I had my second daughter, I felt creeped out by getting older. I was sluggish and I had dark circles under my eyes. I felt clumsy and dorky and ugly inside. My head was cloudy half the time, because I wasn’t in the habit of eating green things, and I was half-heartedly running a few miles twice a week at best. My career felt stalled out, but writing seemed pointless.

I knew what I needed to do to feel less old and defeated. I needed to exercise every day. It can’t be a choice, or I won’t do it. I have to treat it as the default, and skip it only occasionally.

As a writer, I’m trapped in my head most of the day. Exercise helps me to acknowledge my body. And I do mean ACKNOWLEDGE. Because when you’re sort of blocking your body out of the equation, because it’s too big or its textures aren’t photogenic enough for your poisonous two-dimensional taste, that’s a way of not existing. That’s a way of holding your breath. That’s a way of valuing what you’re told over what you feel. That’s a way of making no space for yourself.

You need to make some space, and breathe, and feel how good your body can feel. You need to savor your senses a little. Smart, busy people like you, who overthink things sometimes, need that. Daily exercise will give you a tiny feeling of control over one dimension of your life — not how you look, but how you feel.

Speaking of control, you write, “Why am I so freaked out by even voicing the desire to look for someone out loud?” You’re freaked out because it’s insanely hard, to admit that some part of your happiness might belong to the fates, that some part of your soul’s dearest wishes might rest in the hands of a world that has a PROVEN tendency to mistake bleached teeth and a bony ass for SOUL.

It’s okay. Some people won’t like you. Some people will reject you. That’s fine. That happens to everyone. The goal is to adapt, to learn not to take it personally. You know in your heart that you’re not looking for just anyone. You’re looking for someone who is turned on by YOU — your charms and your flaws and all of the magic inside of you. Maybe there are only a few people out there who can really appreciate YOU. That’s okay. You don’t need to appeal to everyone, or even 90 percent of the guys out there. You’re hunting a rare species. Most of us are. Recognize that and don’t read into every rejection.

You are a wicked laugh and a faint whiff of honeysuckle and steam rising off asphalt. When you smile and your eyes shine, everyone around you feels the electricity and they want you to stay close. You are the center, the magnet, the fulcrum, the crux of the matter, because you don’t need to be all of that. You don’t need to be the center of everything.

Even so, you haven’t been loved nearly enough. The fact that you haven’t been loved enough? THAT is part of what makes you beautiful. That will feel so lucky to some lucky guy. That will feel like such a miracle, to stumble upon someone who’s been so underappreciated for so long.

Your weakness, your need, your clumsiness, your disappointment, your anger: These things also make you beautiful. And your courage — you know how courageous you are. You know how lonely you’ve been, how fucking let down and sad you’ve been, all these years. But you keep throwing yourself out there, sticking your neck out, offering up whatever you happen to have at the moment, mixing up cocktails, turning up the volume, dancing like a lunatic, throwing your fucking head back to laugh that wicked laugh of yours.

You want to see YOU be brave? Look in the mirror. You are already brave. You need to see yourself clearly, so the world can see you clearly, too. Recognize how beautiful you are, and the world will recognize it, too. The spirits of the dead are feeling you, they are feeling you and cheering you on. “Damn girl,” they’re saying, “DAMN, you are good.” They feel you. Now tell the living to wake the fuck up and feel you, too.

Polly

Got a question for Polly? Email [email protected] Her advice column will appear here every Wednesday afternoon.

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5 Scientific Reasons Why Women Love Fat Guys

Why do women love fat guys or, if you prefer a different descriptor, chubby men or, ahem, husky men? A growing body of research suggests that women are attracted to men with a little more weight for a number of reasons backed in science, ranging from assumed trustworthiness to increased sexual stamina. High-five! Now, remember that being overweight comes with a number of health risks, including heart disease and erectile dysfunction. But science suggests that if there’s one area in which bigger guys don’t seem to struggle, it’s the love department. So what is it about a chubby guy that makes women swoon? Here are some reasons.

Everyone Looks Thin Next to a Fat Guy

Let’s face it — for every one study that says men aren’t judged for their bodies, there are another 10 saying that women are positively flayed for theirs. So partnering with a man who’s not obsessed with his body might make a woman feel a little more secure about her own. This, of course, on top of the literal comfort of cuddling with a man’s cozier bod.

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Fat Guys Are Thought to Be Funnier

There’s a substantial amount of evidence that women are more attracted to men who can make them laugh. (In tribute to everything wrong with the world, it doesn’t work the other way around.) While all fat men aren’t necessarily funny, pop culture has socialized most people to believe that they are until proven otherwise. This leaves overweight men with the option of either working out at the gym or working on their material.

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Top 5 Male Body Shapes Women Rate in the Bedroom

Top 5 Reasons Why Women Rate ‘Overweight / Plus-Size Men’ Between the Sheets

  1. They seemed more eager to please me than themselves: 42%
  2. They were more caring and gentle: 42%
  3. They made me feel less self-conscious about my body: 27%
  4. I had better orgasms: 19%
  5. They were more adventurous and willing to try new things: 14%

According to the Metro.co.uk Survey of British Women

Fat Guys Are Considered Trustworthy

The saying “never trust a skinny chef,” may have less to do with food than people think, according to research out of the University of Missouri. This study found that skinny politicians are less trustworthy too, compared to their fatter counterparts. These findings make a case for why the Democratic presidential candidates should eat more carbs, and for why women might be into big guys. Sure, trustworthiness is not exactly the same thing as attractiveness, but it definitely adds to the appeal of larger men.

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Love Handles Can Handle Longer Lovemaking

Husky men are better in bed, according to a survey of 2,544 British women. Thirty-eight percent reported that overweight or plus-size men were superior lovers. It’s not totally clear why extra cushion improves the pushing, but research suggests stamina might have something to do with it. Men with noticeable bellies and higher BMIs last 7.3 minutes longer in bed than slimmer men, a 2010 study from the International Journal of Impotence Research found. Hey, that’s 7.3 fewer minutes needed to spend in the gym.

Attractive Fat Guys Are a Product of Evolution

“Those who could store fat easily had an evolutionary advantage in the harsh environment of early hunters and gatherers,” Garabed Eknoyan of the Baylor College of Medicine wrote in 2006. “This ability to store surplus fat from the least possible amount of food intake may have made the difference between life and death.” Indeed, in early human history weight was a status symbol: It meant that you had the resources to survive, and share with a spouse. Although modern women are more likely to be attracted to money than food, old habits die hard. It’s possible, Eknoyan writes, that traces of this instinctual attraction for fat linger, even when it doesn’t come with a mansion.

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Why Women Love Fat Guys: The Bottom Line

If a partner makes you look good, is trustworthy, great in bed, and funny, well, what’s not to love? Chubby men have plenty of science-backed reasons to be optimistic about their dating prospects right now. Now, go on, get out there.

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Brian gets tired of my self-hatred. He has limits, he’s human, and more important, he’s a human who loves me and finds me attractive, and is frustrated with having to defend those choices to me, of all people.

Once, we were at a bar, and I saw a very large woman sitting at the edge of the bar. “Do you think she’s cute?” I asked Brian, in a way that clearly indicated she was not. It was a petty, mean question, and one I already knew the answer to. But I found myself wanting to hear him say it, like I could trick Brian into openly admitting that his idea of beautiful — and that his ideas about me — were so obviously, incredibly wrong.

“Yes, I do.” Brian said, not taking the bait. “She’s very pretty. What is your problem? Do you want another beer?”

One of the things I’ve come to understand is that, when you’re single, hating your body is more or less a victimless crime, if you don’t count yourself. When you get into a relationship, however, it becomes a constant referendum on the tastes and judgment of the person who loves you.

The other problem was that, the more that I poke at myself, the more Brian pokes at himself as well. While he is objectively not a very big person, he’s succumed a little bit to the 10 to 15 pounds everyone gains when they are happy and in love. But one morning, I saw him looking at himself in the mirror, grabbing the small pudge from his stomach, and agonizing about how much he felt it made him into a terrible person.

“That’s ridiculous,” I said. Because it so obviously was — he was trying to grab handfuls of his tummy for emphasis, but was struggling to even get one hand full.

“No, it isn’t,” he shot back, in that angry, desperate tone of voice I have so often used. “I am just a fat person, now.”

No, you’re not, I thought, and I wondered how many times Brian had felt like this: frustrated, annoyed, and helpless as he watched me tear down a thing he loved.

The thing that I have struggled the most with understanding is that, just like I am not just a fat girl, Brian is not just someone who likes fat girls. He is someone who has made it through this life, one that is inundated with social mores about what is OK and not OK in terms of physical attraction, and he is unmoved by any of it. How he handles this attraction is actually one of the most attractive things about him. He knows that his is not a popular opinion, and wastes no time caring about that fact.

I wish I could say that I am 100% OK with myself. I still do the thing where, when people compliment pictures of myself that I hate, I will wonder just how bad I look in all the other photos they aren’t complimenting.

But I do little things. When a couple of co-workers and I published this post about “one size fits all” clothing last December, I was terrified at the types of things people would say about my body. But when people were so overwhelmingly positive toward me, it reminded me of how important it is not to be your own biggest censor. I let myself believe the nice things people said.

Two years ago, I didn’t even realize they made bikinis in a size 18 — turns out that they do. Lots of cute ones. And this year, I intend to buy one, and wear it to the beach. And I will enjoy that no one will be able to complain to me about my belly fat (without looking like a crazy person). I will enjoy how excited that makes Brian, to see me happy in my own skin. I will let him enjoy the thing he loves without tearing it down. But more importantly, I will work to earn love from me, who is the person who will always play the hardest to get. I will flirt as hard as I can, and I will win myself back.

All is fair in love and war, they say.

It doesn’t matter if you’re fat or thin when you love. Because love doesn’t focus on the outward appearance but on the beauty of your soul inside.

For those who scorn chubby girls, it may be a surprise for them that someone can actually simultaneously be happy and chubby.

In fact, nothing about a chubby girl’s appearance make them unworthy of great love, awesome sex, and respect.

A chubby girl has been through a lot already especially in today’s culture. We live in a culture that defines them as unhealthy, a problem, ugly, and unhygienic.

So, if you like a chubby girl right now, make sure you are serious about getting to know her. The B.S. and disappointments she has faced in the past are enough.

Here are four things you should know about dating a chubby girl:

1. Do not make them the butt of a joke

When you date a chubby girl, make sure you are serious.

Don’t date her if you just want to humiliate her. Don’t get involved with her if you just want to try her out because she’s “big in all the right places”.

These reasons are very dehumanizing and hurtful for them. Most chubby girls develop trust issues when it comes to anyone’s ability to love them.

2. Be prepared to hear unwanted opinions

Chubby girls navigate in a work that constantly tells them of their unworthiness. It simply means that no matter how confident they are, they are still subjected to proving their worth.

You may meet the most confident chubby girl in the world but it wouldn’t change the fact that the society will try to convince them that they should hate themselves.

Chubby girls need support to thrive. If you like a chubby girl, provide her with safety and care. Do not make her feel guilty for oppressive beauty standards that you have no control over.

3. Be careful with backhanded compliments

A backhanded compliment is a remark which seems to be a compliment but is meant to be an insult.

The best example of this is when a man says: “I love a woman with meat on her bones.” it may sound encouraging but when you think about it, it is stripping you down to animalistic meatiness.

Unfortunately, this is the most common pick-up line from people who want to flirt with a chubby girl. It hurts because no one wants to hear that your basis for wanting them is because you aren’t attracted to someone else.

Sexualizing, fetishizing and racializing bigger women carries dehumanization and violence behind it.

If you appreciate her, just tell her straight.

“You’re attractive to me.”

“You’re worthy.”

“You are more than your body, but I love appreciating your beauty.”

(Related: What makes an average guy instantly become ‘hot’? ).

4. Be prepared to challenge fatphobic expectations of your relationship

When in a relationship with a chubby girl, there are some things you cannot do especially if you weigh less than her. You’re probably not going to do that cute piggyback thing couples do in movies.

Related posts (article continues below)

Also, the rules of physics state that you cannot pick her up and carry her in your arms if she falls and hurts her ankle during a zombie apocalypse.

So before you get into a relationship with a chubby girl, be prepared to think about them. Think about the sizing of seats in restaurants or stadiums, how she can’t wear your clothes, how you travel (bus, train, or airplane, what kind of bed we get, etc.).

Related post (article continues below)

It matters because it means you are thinking about how you can be a good boyfriend to her.

Now that you know how to treat a chubby girl, here are the 10 reasons why chubby girls make the best girlfriend around:

1. They are easy to talk to

Chubby girls are interesting to date because of their ability to talk about anything. Since they know they cannot reach society’s standard of being sexy, they’ve often made it a point to focus more on their brains and their personality. So, they can engage you in a variety of topics that will keep you from being bored.

2. They are charming

Chubby girls know that their looks will probably not get your attention like curvy and petite women. However, they make it up with their charming and sociable nature that will click with you in no time. They may not be skinny sexy but they have an attitude to die for.

3. They have a pleasing personality.

This is a generalization but pretty women don’t always have an endearing personality. Think about the movies you watched with beautiful but mean girls.

It may be because they know they’re beautiful in the eyes of the world so they feel entitled. They think the world of themselves, don’t expect them to be all that nice towards you.

However, that is something you won’t have to deal with when you’re dating a chubby girl. Most have a fun and bubbly personality and they don’t feel that the world revolves around them. It makes it easier to deal and hang out with them.

4. Fat girls are warm, physically and emotionally

Warmth can be understood physically and emotionally — they are both. Physically, they feel warm when you hug and cuddle them. Emotionally, they are welcoming and having them by your side feels like home.

5. They are willing to try any type of food

They’re not afraid to gain some weight. You can have food trips with her because she’s open to trying out different type of delicacies.

So if you happen to enjoy trying out new dishes, dating a chubby girl will not dampen your foodie spirit. They enjoy having a good meal so you can expect them to be more than willing to try out different restaurants and cuisines with you.

6. They are affectionate

Chubby girls, just like any woman, loves to hug and cuddle. So if you’re the type who enjoys getting some cuddles, then you can’t go wrong with dating a chubby girl. Of course, you need to provide them with the same amount of affection.

Additionally, they have softer and plumper skin compared to skinny girls. It makes hugging and cuddling them all the more fun.

7. Lying on their bosom is relaxing

When you have problems or you’re stressed, chubby girls are good comforters because when you lie on their bosom, your problems tend to billow away like light smoke.

8. They are open to engaging in any of your favorite pastimes

Chubby girls won’t reprimand you for playing too many video games. They are not shy of participating in your favorite pastime provided it won’t require them to exert any effort.

So, you can watch your favorite TV show or play your favorite video game without a fight. They are more open and willing to bond with you and learn more about your favorite activities.

9. Most of them enjoy laughing

Every man enjoys a woman laughing. Most chubby girls laugh at the easiest jokes you can tell even when they are not very hilarious. Since they’re not too concerned about their appearance, they’re not worried about what they look like when they laugh out loud. That makes them more fun to be around with.

10. She won’t be picked up by any guy.

Guys who date slim women often have to fend off guys trying to steal them away. However, if you date a chubby girl, they don’t conform to some of the men’s standards. So, this is something you’ll rarely experience when dating a chubby girl.

As a result, you can go anywhere without fear of having your girl being stolen from you.

Some thoughts…

Chubby girls, just like other girls, are also human. They are not willing to suffer through a relationship with someone who might be detrimental to their mental health and survival.

So, if you like a chubby girl, just be yourself with them. They aren’t asking for too much — they just want to be fully and radically loved.

Related: What makes an average guy instantly become ‘hot’? .

You may also like reading:

  • The strangest thing men desire (And how it can make him crazy for you)

  • Want her to be your girlfriend? Don’t make this mistake…

  • 3 ways to make a man addicted to you

  • Are you mentally tough? 5 key questions to ask yourself

  • I was deeply unhappy…then I discovered this one Buddhist teaching

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Overweight and dating; the truth can be harsh

MANY years before I got together with my boyfriend, I had a sex thing with this guy that I thought was relationship-material.

He not only had an amazing body but a great personality as well. I was honest when I met him that I was looking for something more than just sex, and he led me to believe that was what he wanted, too.

Between having mind-blowing sex, we ordered home delivery, played video games, and watched movies – couple-y type things but without the label.

But when I tried to get him to go to a show or out to dinner with me, he refused. My frustration grew as the months went on, and one day I confronted him.

“Why don’t we ever go anywhere?”

“We have everything we need here,” he answered while simultaneously distracting me by caressing my shoulderblades.

“We actually don’t,” I said. “I’m hungry, let’s check out that new Indian place around the corner.”

“No! We might run into one of my buddies,” he said moving his body further away from me. The underlining meaning was clear – he couldn’t take the chance that someone he knew would see him with me.

He needed to keep our relationship on the down low so that no one would ever suspect that he enjoyed spending time with me … a fat woman.

It seems a number of men don’t want to be seen in public with a fat girl on their arm.

He was super fit, so obviously that’s the kind of woman that he wanted to be associated with, the kind he could be seen with at the Indian place.

When I realised that he was ashamed of being seen with me, I felt as if I had been punched in the stomach – a place where much of my pain already resided.

To him, I was f*ckable, but not datable, and he dumped me soon after that conversation.

He did me a favour by not continuing to lead me on. Otherwise, I might still be trying to prove to him that I was worth any sh*t he might have gotten from other people. If I was still his secret shame, I might not have met my boyfriend, so thanks, athletic-a**hole.

I had hoped that now, in this day and age of body positivity and acceptance, that men no longer need to hide their desires, and that being labelled as someone who likes fat women isn’t the worst thing in the world.

But I was wrong.

Recently, Model and Fat Activist Tess Holliday posted on Instagram, “Y’all wanna have sex with a fat girl AND enjoy it … Y’all look at porn of fat women … BUT YALL DON’T WANNA DATE A Fat woman.”

Y’all wanna have sex with a fat girl AND enjoy it… Y’all look at porn of fat women… BUT YALL DONT WANNA DATE A FAT WOMAN 🤔🤔🤔🤔#dafuq

A post shared by T E S S 🔥 (@tessholliday) on Feb 16, 2018 at 9:30pm PST

With over 1100 comments, Tess’s followers confirmed that the bigotry, misogyny, and fear of fat-shaming by association was still happening. Her words resonated with them, and they all shared the same truth.

It’s just a sad fact: Many men who are sexually attracted to fat women are ashamed of it.

They’re okay with banging a fat girl, but they don’t want to hang out with her – someone might judge them for it. As fat women, we’re forced to develop a thick skin because people already feel that it’s their right to say anything to us. We’re tough enough to handle it, but some men’s egos are just too fragile, and they crumble.

It’s one thing if you’re not into fat women – everyone has their preferences and not every body type appeals to everyone. But if you find larger women hot and you want to have sex with them but don’t want to be associated in public with them, then that’s emotionally abusive.

If you’re attracted to fat women but date thin women as a cover, that’s just as screwed up as using people to fake your sexuality – it will hurt everyone involved. I knew a gay guy who hadn’t come out to his family, so to keep his facade as a straight person, he’d date very conservative Christian women (Christian so that they wouldn’t expect him to sleep with them). He didn’t think he was doing anything wrong by dating them, but, in fact, he was using them and lying to himself.

“If you find larger women hot and you want to have sex with them but don’t want to be associated in public with them, then that’s emotionally abusive.”

Everyone should have the freedom to express their desires openly (as long as there’s consent from both parties). If you modify your behaviour and wants to what you think will protect you from criticism and/or ridicule, then you need help, because that kind of self-loathing will only grow until it has destroyed you.

If a fat woman wants a purely sexual relationship, that’s great, but it shouldn’t be her only option. Some guys think that they’re doing a fat woman a favour just by having sex with her – that we’re beyond grateful for any attention whatsoever. Because we’re fat, we’re willing to do almost anything with anyone, and that there are no limits to what we’ll do to please you.

No one wants to be on the ‘Try It Once’ list.

Don’t tell me you’re looking for a relationship, or act like we’re in one, when all you really want is to experience what sex with a fat woman is like.

I’ll tell you what it’s like: It’s as amazing and fun as having sex with anyone who’s into having sex with you. We don’t have magic vaginas, and our breasts don’t do any special tricks – well besides the usual, like feed or comfort people.

Fat women are just as hot and sexually gifted as women of other shapes, sizes, and abilities. Being fat doesn’t mean we’re so hungry for attention that we’ll put our own needs aside and do whatever we can to rock your world.

If you’re with someone who doesn’t make you feel beautiful or who isn’t proud to have you on their arm, you need to dump their a**.

Being alone is far better than compromising on what you deserve or being made to feel as if you’re someone’s big dirty secret.

You’re not only datable, you’re loveable, and worthy of being treated with respect and love.

I regret not standing up for myself when I discovered that the athletic guy was only using me for sex. But at least I learned, as we all should learn, that I’m responsible for being my biggest advocate and to never accepting anything less than what I need.

This article by Christine Schoenwald originally appeared on Ravishly and has been republished with permission.”

‘My girlfriend has put on weight and I’m not attracted to her any more’

Dear Roe,

Let me preface this by saying I know this question doesn’t make me look great, but I do genuinely want to figure out a way to address this issue. I’ve been with my girlfriend for four years, and in the past year and a half she’s put on a lot of weight, about two sizes in clothes. She’s still pretty and isn’t obese or anything, but she used to have a mind-blowing body and now I’m not nearly as attracted to her. Our sex life has been affected, as we don’t have sex as frequently or as enthusiastically – because I’m not as enthusiastic, to be honest. And our relationship overall feels boring and stuck because of this. I’m panicking, because I genuinely saw us being together for the long-haul, and now I feel like we’re distant. But I know it’s ridiculous for weight to cause a relationship to end. What do I do here?

You came to me with a genuine question, so let me ask you one in return: if you met your partner now, and there was no chance of a romantic or sexual connection, would you want to be their friend? Would you want to hang out with them and talk to them, are you interested in their thoughts and ideas, are you drawn to their charisma?

If you are thinking about settling down long-term with your girlfriend, the answer needs to be yes. Because yes, physical attraction is important, but in the long-run, appearances and bodies change. In the short-term, people get dodgy haircuts and grow unfortunate moustaches. And over time, people’s bodies change because they put on weight and lose weight, they get pregnant, and they get sick or suffer injuries. And the inescapable fact facing all of us is that people age, and that changes us, too.

Your partner has put on weight, and her appearance has changed – and yours will too, over time. Or you’ll go through periods of illness, stress, grief, and a myriad of other reasons that will mean at certain points in your life, you won’t feel sexually engaged or you may not be at your most attractive.

Loving each other as individuals, not just as sexual partners, is what’s going to sustain you

It’s at these points, that genuinely liking your partner as a person, not just a body, is going to see you through. And I don’t mean in some romantic, butterfly-in-the-stomach, breathless worship sense where you think your partner is a magical goddess. I mean, knowing your partner intimately, knowing their flaws-and-all self – if sex was off the table, would they still be the person you choose to spend most of your time with?

Relationships go through sexual dry spells, and many people go through periods of not feeling crazily attracted to their partner, and in these times, loving each other as individuals, not just as sexual partners, is what’s going to sustain you. And I’m concerned that if your whole relationship and sex life has become stagnant because some of your physical attraction is lessened, that connection might not be there.

While you’re examining that connection, it’d be worth examining what ideals of beauty you’re valuing, and how narrow they seem to be. Going up two sizes doesn’t indicate a shocking amount of weight gain. If you’re only ever going to be content with “mind-blowing” beauty, you’re not just going to hurt your partners, you’re going to limit yourself by devaluing great people.

Socially condition

The beauty, film and pornography industries work together to socially condition us with ideals of beauty – but these aren’t innate, and can change. We can change them. In the 1990s, we worshipped the gaunt skinniness of “heroin chic” models, now the “on-trend body” for women is one of curves all over (still unattainable for many, but now in a different way, hurrah!) These shifts happen through exposure, representation and celebration – and you can shift that yourself. Start looking at and reading about body positivity, and deliberately selecting media that allows you to appreciate other types of beauty – and bring this to your view of your partner. What makes her sexy now, and how can you appreciate it?

Regarding your girlfriend’s weight gain, it’s worth having a conversation with her about it – one that focuses on her feelings, not yours. Trust me, she knows she has put on weight. But a sudden increase in weight could by a side-effect of a few things, including illness, medication, stress or depression, etc. If this is the case, she could welcome your support in addressing the issue and she may be planning on losing the weight. You could support her by suggesting therapy if necessary, helping her out generally so she has time to go to the gym, or exercising and eating healthily together.

Many women feel incredible amounts of pressure to achieve and maintain a ‘mind-blowing body’ – and it’s not always healthy, physically or emotionally

But I will also say, weight gain isn’t always a sign of something negative, and when within a healthy range, shouldn’t be viewed as such. Weight gain can be the sign of a medication doing its job to fix a hormonal imbalance or thyroid issue, for example – or it could just be self-care. Many women feel incredible amounts of pressure to achieve and maintain a “mind-blowing body” like your girlfriend had – and it’s not always healthy, physically or emotionally. Over-exercising and undereating are not healthy. Maybe your girlfriend has reprioritised her confidence and self-worth so it’s less focused on her body, and so she’s shed some unhealthy practices in order to embrace herself, even if that also means embracing a few extra pounds.

If you can’t embrace that with her, then maybe you shouldn’t be with her. She will find someone who will love her at this size, and at others. Ask yourself what you will find, and what you’re really looking for.

Roe McDermott is a writer and Fulbright scholar with an MA in sexuality studies from San Francisco State University. She’s currently undertaking a PhD in gendered and sexual citizenship at the Open University and Oxford.

If you have a problem or query you would like her to answer, you can submit it anonymously at irishtimes.com/dearroe

How can I get a fat girlfriend?

Here’s the thing… most people don’t like to have their bodies fetishized. You may prefer a fat woman, and that’s okay. You’re allowed to have preferences. But what happens if you start dating a fat woman and she loses weight? Whether by her choice or due to illness? Would you break up with her? Find another still fat woman instead? Our looks can change for so many reasons, often beyond our control. That includes body size, though it’s hardly limited to that.

Relationships need to be based on more than just physical appearances if they are to last and have any substance. My husband had a “type” before we met, and it was nothing like me. To be fair, I also had a “type,” and he was nothing like it.

But we fell in love anyway… and now I cannot imagine being with any other man than him. In fact, I frequently think about some of the men I found attractive before him and wonder why I ever thought that…

So I’d encourage you to build a relationship on more than looks. Find someone you connect with emotionally. That is far more important if you want something that lasts.

In a reality-TV landscape full of revenge bodies and weight-loss challenges, few shows capture the nuance of what it’s really like to be a fat woman in America today—even fewer if you consider dating shows. TLC’s My Big Fat Fabulous Life is one of the few that actually subverts shallow, reductive tropes, but the network just announced a new show that feels like a thousand steps backward.

I woke up this morning to the Twitter-sphere ablaze over an upcoming TLC show called Hot and Heavy. The title made me think I was getting some steamy makeout show. But as I began to read the tweets and show description, my pervy excitement quickly morphed into anger. Hot and Heavy, I learned, is a reality show about hot guys dating fat girls in what the show calls “mixed-weight” relationships.

I, like many others on the internet, immediately felt disgusted. What the hell is a mixed-weight relationship? The term itself is highly problematic. It suggests that all romantic partners are the same weight with identical body types, which is obviously absurd. Aren’t all relationships mixed-weight relationships? Why do we feel the need to specifically highlight a show about fat bodies and thin bodies? Are we as entertained by tall people dating short people? Or brunette people dating blond people? No. We don’t make television shows about the trials and tribulations of someone who is 5’5″ dating someone who is 6’1″. So why are we endlessly obsessed with the dynamic of fat women actually being loved?

I was particularly horrified by portions of the trailer featuring the characters Joy and Chris. Their relationship is introduced with Chris saying, “I love every inch of Joy,” and then quickly adding, ”There’s lot of inches to love,” while he laughs—making an expression of love a joke at her expense. She awkwardly laughs, gives him a side-eye, and under her breath says, “Ew, what?” It’s followed by a clip of Chris’s friend berating the couple asking, “Is it a sexual thing?” implying that Joy could only be loved if she was being fetishized. But the worst part was the camera crew following along as Chris’s friends bring him to a strip club to “try and persuade him to like other girls.”

“He could get any girl he wants and ends up being with Joy,” his friend says in shock.