The Dark Cloud

I know a few fat girls.

During my time dating, and running events for BBWs and the men who are attracted to them, I think I’ve become qualified to make some statements about both groups. Now, while I can’t speak in absolutes, I feel that some of the generalizations I make are universal enough that those who read my blogs will say “Yeah, I know a bunch of people like that”.

The area of self esteem is an issue that, while many BBW’s are willing to discuss with each other, there’s little dialogue with men about this. Here are some quotes from a recent thread in a BBW forum:

“Out of curiosity what holds you (man/women) from dating or getting into a relationship? For me I guess it would be because I am very insecure about my size and how I look.”

“Doing everything completely different and getting the same results every single time…The fear that this will be the one I dont recover from. Imagining a life with him, a possible future and then losing it all. Seeing my kids hearts broken more than mine because they imagine a life with him too. Hoping that this wont have any long term effect on them to see their mother love this man that becomes a part of our lives for only a short time before leaving. That unbearable time of sadness when my little family feels so abandoned and all alone again. We are left to lean on each other once more.”

“I think it general just Fear. Fear of whether he is the real one to break down my walls to protect myself from getting hurt again”.

“……….you could say that I’m being held back by my own insecurity.”

“………….my trust levels are basically at a 0. I’ve never really been able to get that close to someone.”

“The fear of rejection. Finding out they’re not everything they made themselves out to be. Getting my heart broken again after being led on for years … not a nice thing to go through. Not sure I’m over someone completely yet, so really shouldn’t start something new until I’ve put the thought of him 100% behind me. Oh also shyness … sometimes I just don’t know how to talk to guys”

For me, the common denominator here is the lack of confidence. What seems to be missing is a sense of self worth. Part of the challenge of being a big girl looking for a relationship is that the dating pool for fat women seems to exist mostly online. The problem with that is that many of the guys are closet FAs, or are in relationships with other women, or live too far away for a quality relationship. Now, while the recent Village Voice article about guys who like fat chicks gives hope to many that WE (the REAL FAs) actually exist, real men in this community only make up a small portion of the men that BBWs encounter online.

Now, I’d be the first to say that fat women in this community don’t NEED men to somehow validate who they are, and I know a lot of women who have few or no issues with their self esteem. That said, why is it that threads like the one I noted above exist if self worth is not an issue?

I have a friend who was recently “dumped” by his girlfriend. Generally, the relationship seemed to be moving along, although he’d express on occasion that she seemed to pull back every now and then. He simply chalked it up to relationship jitters. One day, she unloaded on him, and basically accused him of being responsible for everything bad in the world. She said she had a hard time believing in them, and said she’d rather be alone than to be involved with someone who had so many faults.

Having come from a similar relationship some time ago, he asked me why this happened, and what he could do about it. We had hours of conversation about WHY it happened, but my advice about what to do about it was simple…………NOTHING.

Here’s why I think this happens. Generally, fat women are told they are inferior……..by their families, by medical personnel, in the dating world, in advertising. YEARS of growing up being told they are flawed takes its toll, and a mindset of “Maybe I’m not good enough” starts to form. So, when a man enters their life who innocently enough simply likes/loves them for who they are, many of the women look at the guy as if he’s somehow flawed as well. Then, by not “buying in” to the relationship, the end of the relationship becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The comedian Grouch Marx had a saying that went “I DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT PEOPLE LIKE ME AS A MEMBER”, and the BBW mindset acts in much the same way.

I’ll tell you what low self esteem can do. A few years ago, a former web model friend had gone on a diet, and lost over 100 lbs. Physically she felt better than she had in years, she was exercising, more active than ever, yet something didn’t seem quite right emotionally. She cried over the fact that she had received what amounted to “hate mail” from men who resented her for her weight loss. She was crushed, and was worried that she would no longer receive any attention from her “admirers” at this new weight, despite her feeling so much better physically. In less than a year, she gained all the weight back, and then some. Now she has attention again, but physically feels like shit, but I guess to her, it’s worth it.

Another, who recently broke away from a long term relationship, is out “playing” in an effort to see if she still “has it” (trust me, she does, and it’s a shame that she doesn’t know it yet).

It would be easy for me to say just don’t be this way, but again, it’s hard to erase years of being told you’re substandard by most of the rest of the world. I think however, there are some basic guidelines that one can take that will offer some assistance.

First, join some groups that discuss body image. There are many resources online, all you have to do is a google search to find them. Take the time to look at some of the YouTube videos from singer Meghan Tonjes’ Project Lifesize. Join the HAES movement. Lobby to the people who run BBW/FA events to host discussion groups over the course of the weekends that they run.

Second, read some self help books. Having a positive attitude is such a wonderful alternative to some of the self loathing that takes place in the community. Remember, confidence comes from within, and no one else can validate you for who you are. Look, I’m an average looking guy, but my confidence isn’t based on looks, it’s founded on who I am. No one is going to run up to me at a bash and scream “Hey look, Brad Pitt is a FA!”, but I’ve still managed to date (and be involved) with some exceptional women over the years. I like to think it’s because I’m a great guy, and treat the women in my life well.

Third, DON’T SETTLE! I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had (and still have) with women who are in relationships or dating guys who treat them poorly, who have the attitude that being in a shitty relationship is better than being in NO relationship. That’s just a bunch of crap. Bad behavior is never acceptable, and accepting it can only lower your own sense of self worth. Guys who treat women poorly are second rate, and if you get involved with a guy like that, what does that make you? I see this behavior at many BBW dances and events, and while one night stands that are based on mutual decision are great, the ones that are based on lies and deception aren’t, and it’s easier to say no to them than to think something good will somehow come out of them…….

Remember, no one can make you better than what you think you are, and if you don’t think much of yourself, do the work so you can change your way of thinking.

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