Dating!

I’d been married for years when I started this blog.  That may be why I don’t post about dating much.  But I ran across this blog post and it said a lot of things I agree with.

[It’s] perfectly cool if you don’t find fat people attractive. Anyone who tells you that you are obliged to find any particular set of features attractive is an insecure git who needs the weight of numbers before they can relax.

You may be attractive to a small number of people. That’s cool.

The question is, are those people attractive to you?

If so, then awesome!  […]

If not, then you have that icktacular quandary of deciding how much you feel like changing for them.

Because here’s the ugly truth and the truth of ugly: you’re not going to have a 100% success rate at attracting the people you want. You just won’t, not over the course of a lifetime.
[….]
“Normal” society, yes, rewards skinny people disproportionately. But it also rewards white people disproportionately. And straight people disproportionately. And men disproportionately. And if I’m not fucking careful, I can internalize those irrational hatreds and come to believe that there’s something wrong with me instead of society.

I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. That’s fine. I’m somebody’s cup of tea, and they’re mine, and that’s the important thing.

Last weekend I saw a fat woman with short gray hair wearing a t-shirt that said “I’m someone’s fetish”.

Now, “fetish” is a loaded term. It’s applied to characteristics or actions that society doesn’t think should be arousing. I’ve known people who identify as fetishists and those who reject the term. In this case, it seemed the woman with the tshirt was acknowledging that she was older and fat…and affirming that she’s a sexual person anyway. That’s pretty cool.

The blog post refers to a similar shirt too, so I went hunting. I found the one above in men’s and women’s sizes and another one in men’s sizes. Just in case anyone else wants one.

5 thoughts on “Dating!

  1. Great post. I agree that we can’t, for example, demand that a guy who is attracted only to very thin women somehow force himself to be attracted to fatter ones.

    We live in a world where the most common beauty standard for women is currently a 21 year old caucasian woman with a tiny waist, tiny hips, and disproportionately large breasts. That’s unfair. It would be just as unfair if the beauty standard for women as a 40 year old fat black woman with average size breasts. I don’t pick that counter example to single out that demographic in any way, just to point out that the problem isn’t the particular single body type that’s chosen, the problem is that a single body type is chosen, period.

    How do we gradually move to a society in which general beauty standards have more variety? I think the ultimate goal is that most people of most sizes, most bust sizes, most ethnicities, and most adult ages can wear a shirt, “I’m most people’s fetish.”

    On a more practical level, my kids are prepubescent so the question of what’s attractive hasn’t come up yet. But I’m trying to figure out if there are ways to get my sons and daughters to find a wide variety of body types attractive – so they can focus on the things that really matter, like intelligent, integrity, responsibility, sense of humor, and shared interests. I don’t know how to do that.

    • One thing I would consider is bringing up the fact that attraction doesn’t have to be based on the physical type. For instance, my big things are: humor, intelligence, artistic talent, and a great voice. The men I’ve found attractive (and as a straight woman, they have been men, but the same things would apply if I were bi or lesbian and thus women were included) have come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. The ones I have found less attractive usually had little or non-quirky sense of humor, were less intelligent, had no facility to get creative artistically, or had voices that just didn’t rock my particular world.

      Also, if there’s anything unusual you are attracted to (if it’s safe for work and children!), you can always mention it. Do you have a thing for an particular physical feature (large noses, extremely tall or short people, easy-to-grasp love handles)? Or for an emotional/intellectual aspect that trumps the physical (really great at math, encyclopedic knowledge of Monty Python, terrific with kids and cats, musically inclined)? Did you choose your current partner despite his not fitting your ideal physical type? Don’t be afraid to open up to your kids about things like this. It validates in their minds that there’s more to attraction then whether someone would get hired to model in a fashion magazine.

      • Well, it becomes difficult to discuss things like this without a high risk of inadvertantly insulting my wife, or having her insult me.

        I was partnered with my wife in a song and dance show before we started dating, and that turned out to be the perfect environment for getting to know each other with no pressure. I honestly thought she was cute but not especially attractive as we worked together, but as I got to know her, suddenly she was impossibly hot even though her body missed most of my ideals. I’ll try to explain that to the kids, and hopefully she won’t be too upset that I didn’t find her attractive when we were first partnered.

    • I think the beauty standard would be less damaging if our culture didn’t act like everyone was basically attracted to the same thing, with maybe a few exceptions for weird fetish-y people. Pop culture acts as though what people are attracted to is a lot more uniform than it actually is. It doesn’t help that people are sometimes mocked if they express interest in someone who isn’t conventionally attractive.

      • Great point, of course. I don’t know much of the one beauty standard problem we have is the effect of everyone being taught that we really have just one beauty standard, and how much is the effect.

        I’m certainly attracted to a wide range of body types and features, hopefully that’s common.

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