On Fatness, Dating and Getting Comfortable

Being fat, especially being a fat woman, is something of a unique experience. People do not like to hear the word ‘fat’ from the mouth of An Actual Fat Person. Some hate the idea of fat people owning their own bodies, while others assume it’s an act of self-hatred.

One’s own fatness particularly comes to the fore when dating. It took me a good few weeks into using Tinder when I first downloaded it over 3 years ago, to recognise my strange swiping habits.  I would only swipe right for men who were, or at least appeared to be, fatter than I was or equivalently fat. I find all types of men attractive but the fear of rejection from the ones whose bodies didn’t look like mine was overpowering.

Online dating can be a terrifying experience when you are fat. I was diligent in ensuring I had full body shots and that my profile was also linked to my Instagram account just to ensure that I was being truthful and honest.

God forbid I should be accused of being a catfish.

As a fat woman, you are frequently put into situations where you have to use the word fat negatively as part of social convention. One of the most degrading things fat women experience is assuring our thin friends that they are not fat when they say that they ‘feel fat’.

Fat is not a feeling. You cannot ‘feel’ fat. You are fat. I am fat. It is a body type. By attempting to placate their anxieties about their body we must disparage our own. We already feel uncomfortable with how our friends see fatness, and this is amplified even further when we think about the people who will see us naked.

The difficultly in navigating the dating world with a fat body extends beyond online dating. When talking with men in bars/clubs, men who are evidently interested in me, I have found myself wondering if what I am wearing is too flattering or if where we are standing is too dark.

I have literally been standing in front of someone with my fat body hoping that they can tell that I am fat, which they obviously can. I reiterate: being a fat woman is a unique experience.

I re-downloaded Tinder last summer after being in a relationship for over two years. As I grow older, I become more in-tune with and accepting of my body. This extended to me swiping right on anyone I found attractive and not just people who I thought wouldn’t find my body unfamiliar territory. I still only said yes to about 1 in 25 men though.

I previously assumed men who were interested in me either romantically, sexually or both, did so in spite of my fatness. My face is alright and I’ve got a pretty good sense of humour so I assumed that these were my draws. My fatness was something to be overlooked, to be tolerated instead of celebrated. Quite unsurprisingly, this is not true. My body is attractive to some people. Why should I even say some people? My body is attractive. What a world.

Once again this was a realisation that seemed to come with gradually ageing and learning. I am 22 and I am still getting to know myself.

It’s sad that fatness is still so ingrained as something unattractive for so many people, but at least it is not for me anymore and the way I see myself. Now, of course everyone has preference, but being so averse to a thick thigh could mean missing out on some pretty hot lays.

Written by Amy.