For our entire relationship, I have been fat, and Scott has been thin. On day one and every day since. I used to bring it up a lot because I was self-conscious about it. Those days are gone. Since I decided to stop apologizing to society for being fat and live happily in my body, it hardly ever comes up.
But I write on the internet for a living. I spend a lot of time reading about issues that are relevant to people in fat bodies. The concept of fatness takes up a lot of space in my head and time in my day, and I still talk about it in that context. Scott cares about my work, and he listens to me when I explain how complicated it is to be a fat person in the world. He gets me, and I love him.
Scott didn’t choose me as an act of defiance or to make some kind of statement, but somehow there are a lot of people who think the sizes of our bodies tell them a lot more about us than I ever imagined. Since I started writing about life in a fat body, I’ve heard a lot of opinions about fat women and the “kind of men” who love us.
Instead of just telling you how my husband feels about loving a fat woman, I thought you’d like to hear it from him. I presented him with some of the myths and misconceptions I see every day about loving a fat woman. Here’s what he had to say.
Myth: You are exclusively attracted to fat women.
“I’m attracted to women of many shapes and sizes. I don’t think there’s anything weird about it if someone is only attracted to fat women, but that’s just not me. If, for some reason, I ever found myself dating again, I can’t imagine size being a factor in whether I chose to ask a woman out. I just don’t care about it that much. There are other physical things that matter more to me than size. Just have the body you have. If you’re awesome, I’ll see that. If you’re unkind, I don’t care how hot other people think you are. I want no part of that.”
Myth: You wish I was thin, and you’re settling for me because we are too far down the road to start over.
“I don’t wish you were thin. I’ve never known you thin. It’s never mattered. I don’t know why it has to be so complicated. Just like everyone else, I met a person I liked, dated them and decided to marry them. I loved the way I felt around you, and I thought you were beautiful. Nothing has changed. I love how being with you makes me feel. Some guys put a lot of stock into how hot other men think their partner is, but I don’t have time for shit like that. I just want to like who I like. And I like you. I don’t care who thinks I shouldn’t.”
Myth: Sex with a fat woman is difficult, boring, or otherwise unenjoyable.
“People say that? What is wrong with people? This is sex we’re talking about. Do they know how it works? Why would your size make it boring? It’s my favorite thing. Sex with you is phenomenal. But I don’t think that’s because of or in spite of your size. Sex with anyone can be good or bad. Chemistry, enthusiasm and communication matter more than the size of your partner’s body. A woman could have a body most men would drool over and still be boring in the sack. There is so much more to it than that. There is nothing I’ve ever wanted to do in bed that we couldn’t do because of your size.”
Myth: Men date fat women because we are so starved for attention that we are easy to control, passive, and willing to overlook bad behavior.
“I don’t think anyone has ever accused you of being easy to control. You have no time for disrespect, and I could see that the minute we met. That’s a big part of what I loved about you early on. You had goals and standards, and it made me want to earn the right to exist with you in your space. I feel like you appreciate me and you’re grateful for how I love you, but not because you don’t think you deserve it. It’s because you know you deserve it. I can’t control you, and I wouldn’t be as attracted to you if I could.”
So…when do you think about my size the most?
“When you’re having a tough day with self-love, that’s when I remember your size. You’re so smart and beautiful and confident, but the whole world is constantly telling you that you should be thinner. When you can’t find anything to love about your body, I feel helpless. I can’t love you enough for both of us, and that’s hard. I know women of all sizes can struggle with their bodies (because society really shits on women unless they’re impossibly perfect) but it’s harder for fat women. It’s irritating to me when people can’t acknowledge that.”
Here’s the annoying reality: My size will always matter outside the four walls of our home. As long as body shame and weight stigma exist, I will live a different experience than a thin person. It’s not accurate to say my size never matters to Scott. He sees me suffer sometimes, and in those moments, every contributing factor matters to him.
But loving me isn’t hard or political or complicated. It’s not a statement. It’s just like loving anyone else. Fat people are just people. It’s time for fat bias and diet culture to die a fiery death, so we can live our lives without these assumptions, myths and misconceptions hanging over our heads.