Does size really matter?
November 23, 2011 8:49 AM   Subscribe

Men: Would you date an attractive, big girl?

I know men have their preferences on the size of a partner, but I've been thinking about this a lot lately.

I'm a big girl - 5'3", 310. Very cute face, very stylish, and I would be, by general societal standards, a very hot girl if I lost the extra weight. I've been out of the dating scene for many years because of my own self-consciousness about my weight. But I've had a few encounters lately that make me wonder if this is largely MY hang-up and not mens'. (A couple of very attractive, professional men have been interested.)

For what it's worth, I'm a SWF, 34, no kids, have a good, professional career, have my shit together, little baggage, own my own home, I'm drama-free, laid back, funny, intelligent and very easy to get along with. And I'm confident in all areas of my life except for that one, and I try to exude that confidence, even despite my own hang-up.

I guess my question is, would the weight be a deal-breaker for you? Are these two instances lately a fluke, or is it really not as huge a deal to you men as I thought it was?

Also, please no comments on "lose the weight!", "get healthy!", etc. This is not the thread. I know what I need to do. Thanks.
posted by Falwless to Human Relations (68 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
"Would you date an attractive, big girl?" I married one, so I guess that answers that?
posted by Blake at 8:50 AM on November 23, 2011 [9 favorites]

It's mostly your hang-up. I'm 5'6'', probably about 275-280...and married. And poly. And never at a loss for friends, lovers, hookups etc.
I went to therapy for a while, to help deal with my obnoxiously low self-esteem. I worked on being able to be assertive and stand up for what I needed in relationships. That did more for my sex and dating and married life than losing 40 pounds a few years ago.
Stop assuming your weight is going to be a deal-breaker, stop assuming that people being attracted to you is a fluke.

People will date you, sleep with you, love you, cuddle you when you're sad, make you breakfast in matter what you weigh.
posted by d13t_p3ps1 at 8:56 AM on November 23, 2011 [20 favorites]

Whatever you are, there's probably a guy out there that's into it. I can and have dated women like you.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:57 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

To be really blunt:

An awful lot of men will not date you. Yes, your size will be a dealbreaker for many guys, who will not even give you a second look.

On the other hand, so what? I have two couples in mind, friends of mine, of a big woman with a guy who's of average weight. They're happy. Hell, one of them just got married. She's still big, he's attractive in a more 'conventional' way, they're totally into each other.

Yeah, it'll be a deal-breaker for a lot of guys. But that's true of lots of things in dating; I'm intensely nonreligious, and that's been a deal-breaker for some women. I have a beard, and that's been a deal-breaker for many. But even though a lot of women go "ugh, beards are gross," the flip side is that I find myself dating women who find the beard extremely attractive, in ways that the other women aren't saying "ooh, clean chin."

So as a bigger, attractive girl, yes, you're disqualified from a lot of guys. But that isn't actually the question you should be asking, because we all have qualities that are deal-breakers for some people and huge advantages for others. As you've noticed, there are definitely more than a few guys out there who, I absolutely guarantee, will find you really attractive and dateable. They're not a dime a dozen, but they're absolutely real and they absolutely want to meet you. Go find 'em.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:57 AM on November 23, 2011 [47 favorites]

Some men will. Some men won't. You wouldn't want to date the latter anyway, would you?
posted by supercres at 8:58 AM on November 23, 2011 [6 favorites]

Haven't married her yet, but otherwise what Blake said. She's secure about herself, and that's good enough for me.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:58 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Honestly, no, I wouldn't even consider dating someone of that size. It's not a calculated decision, I just don't biologically respond to women who are overweight to that extent.
posted by Patbon at 8:59 AM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]

Its a big deal to SOME men, its neutral to others, its a positive to some others. That is way attraction works, everyone has their own kind of secret set of attributes that sets them smiling as well as those things that for whatever reason don't do it for them and then, of course, a whole multiude of things that are relatively neutral. Find yourself a guy that does it for you and then see if you do it for him.
posted by stormygrey at 9:01 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

I have a girlfriend who is approaching 400lbs, and men trip over themselves and push (thinner) me out of the way to get to her. She OOZES confidence and sex appeal and that seems to be the ticket.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 9:01 AM on November 23, 2011 [4 favorites]

I am myself a bit young for you, but aside from that, hell yeah. Something that I think gets lost in our cultural understanding of attractiveness, is that most straight dudes are, at their heart, not attracted so much to some cultural ideal of women but to women.

You might find this previous answer helpful, her husband is really not an anomaly at all. Its worth it to find a dude who is honestly responding to you biologically, there are plenty of us out there who are aware enough to respond to all sorts of parts of the body that you will definitely have.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:02 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have a friend around your weight, also attractive/fashionable, and she does get male attention. At 25, she's dated one guy from the internet and is currently dating a guy who was a friend of hers first. And yeah, a lot of guys are not into it, but she chooses to focus on the ones who are.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:04 AM on November 23, 2011

Is another way of reading this question: "do I need to loose weight to find a man?"

If so, then the answer is absolutely not. If you are happy in your own body, there are people out there who will respond to that. Those examples you gave do not surprise me, and they're probably not freaks.

But if you want to loose a few pounds and would feel better about yourself for doing so, there's nothing to stop you working on that at the same time as putting yourself out there.
posted by londonmark at 9:04 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's not what floats my boat, but I know plenty of guys who would, based on your description, be all hot and bothered to meet you. Just as with all things dating, you don't need to please all people, just the one or two who work for you.
posted by Forktine at 9:05 AM on November 23, 2011

For those who have trouble visualizing, this site has pictures of people at that height and weight.
posted by phrontist at 9:06 AM on November 23, 2011 [8 favorites]

I guess my question is, would the weight be a deal-breaker for you? Are these two instances lately a fluke, or is it really not as huge a deal to you men as I thought it was?

I have a "type" in terms of what kinds of body shapes and sizes I like, and for me that type tends to be larger women. So it's not that weight as an aspect of attractiveness is less of a big deal for me than for most guys, it's that I don't really find the conventionally attractive skinny woman to be all that attractive from my perspective. Obviously everyone is different in terms of what they consider attractive but that is one data point.

I've been out of the dating scene for many years because of my own self-consciousness about my weight. But I've had a few encounters lately that make me wonder if this is largely MY hang-up and not mens'

You may want to try online dating to get more feedback that there are indeed guys who are attracted to you. One of the best things about it is that even if you are only a good match for say, 10% of the dating population, that 10% has a much better chance of finding you and contacting you online than in real life. You don't really even need to make a big deal out of your weight in your profile (which is what some women do), just have some photos that give a good indication of what you look like and the guys that contact you/respond to your messages will be the ones that find you attractive.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:13 AM on November 23, 2011

Would you date an attractive, big girl?

I wouldn't. I also wouldn't date someone over about 5'7", someone who wears a lot of make-up, someone with fake boobs, someone with large hands, someone with a penis, or someone very tan. A lot of people have a type, and you might not be it.

At the same time, the fact that people have a type is a huge advantage to you. One of my best friends matches your description almost exactly, and she found a TON of guys just by using dating sites targeted at BBW.
posted by coolguymichael at 9:13 AM on November 23, 2011 [4 favorites]

I'm about your size, and I'm married, so I assure you it's possible. We met on a dating site. Two things to keep in mind, though, besides the excellent points everyone else has mentioned:

1) Watch out for the strongly fat-fetishy types, which are unfortunately prevalent among men who like big girls. There's nothing wrong with fetishes or kink, but I have known women who had a rude awakening with their partners when their formerly fat bodies changed. (This goes double if you are interested in weight loss in the future.) Some people are so very strongly attracted to fat women that they forget you're a person and not just an outlet for their fetish. Make sure you find somebody who likes you and your body, not you because of your body.

2) I mentioned I'm about your size, and I'm tall as well. I know this is shitty and anti-feminist and lame, but there is something hard-wired in me (and a lot of women, frankly) that makes me feel way more attractive when my partner is larger than I am. I tried dating average-sized men, and I just can't deal with feeling like I'm going to crush them in bed, or that my hands are larger than theirs, or whatever. You didn't specify what type of man you're attracted to, but might I suggest checking out some of our fat brethren? My husband is a tall, very big dude who's into big ladies, and we fit perfectly together.
posted by timetoevolve at 9:18 AM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]

I'm a thin man and have often dated women with a bigger body type. "Bigger" = bigger than me. If I wanted to date someone with my body type, I'd date a man, but since I'm interested in dating women, not men, I am interested in dating women with more body fat than me. (It's unpopular to admit, but women generally have more fat than men and are generally "curvy." This is as much a fact of life as the fact that women are generally shorter than men.) In the past, my girlfriends have tended to wear around a size 14 dress. I could see dating someone who wore a somewhat larger size than that.

But none of that directly answers your question.

I'm not that great at translating height/weight to sizes. I don't think most people are. It's easier to focus on a verbal description than to think about numbers. I'm trying to imagine dating someone who weighs significantly more than me (I'm 5'10") and is much shorter than me. Yes, I would do this; I've done it in the past. Could I date someone who's 5'2" or 5'3" and weighs around 200 pounds? Maybe. Could I date someone who's 5'3" and weighs 310 pounds? No. I would keep thinking: she should lose at least 100 pounds. And it wouldn't be fair to me or her to date someone while having that reservation the whole time.

However, I agree with the above comment that "Whatever you are, there's probably a guy out there that's into it." Taking a random poll on Metafilter might be interesting, but in the real world, everyone's an individual with their own preferences. So if you're sensing that certain men are interested in you -- great, go with that.

Ancedote: in early 2010, I went on one date with someone who was very overweight. She was by far the biggest women I had ever gone on a date with. Without me bringing up the topic, she admitted she had gotten weight-reduction surgery and wanted to lose at least 50 pounds. I passed on a second date because even though we got along well, I had to admit I wouldn't be interested in her physically. Shortly after that date, she went on a first date with another man (I've seen his photos, and he seems to be attractive and thin). By late 2010, they were married. Meanwhile, I'm still single. So you never know what will happen.
posted by jejune at 9:20 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

But I've had a few encounters lately that make me wonder if this is largely MY hang-up and not mens'.

Both. Some guys will simply not be into you. That's ok, probably not worth your time. Point is, some guys won't be bothered by your size. Pay attention to them, ignore the rest as best you can.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:20 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Anecdotally, I have never had trouble meeting attractive and worthy romantic partners (not through online dating but just through day-today living, in person) who were into me and I'm fairly similar to you physically. I got hit on a lot in college and even still today; it happens in the grocery store, at parties, wherever. I don't think it's a BBW thing. I just live my life as an independent, bright, upbeat person who's clean & smells nice and tries to be good to people. I've been married for 15 years to one of the guys who liked what he saw; he's scary-smart, attractive, and is of average-to-thin build. So to answer the question from your side... nope, I'm proof that the weight isn't a dealbreaker. Consider it a handy way to filter out the guys you wouldn't want to be with in the first place. ;-)
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 9:24 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

i'm an inch shorter than you, but that's about the size and age i was when i took up with a very nice guy for a couple of years. so, the number of guys is definitely greater than zero. We weren't really matched for a long term relationship, but it was good. (I'm in a committed relationship now that's been going on for over a decade, but that's with a woman, so kind of out of scope for your question)
posted by rmd1023 at 9:24 AM on November 23, 2011

Strict answers to you specific question(s):

1) Yes, I feel pretty confidant that would be a deal breaker* for me. I had to go back and read the numbers you supplied and (I mean no offense by this)... they suggest a significant outlier when it comes to height/weight combinations. It would be difficult for me to see past that.

2) There are all kinds of men, who like all kinds of ladies. If people who were actually attracted to women were the ones telling women what was attractive about them, advertising and all media would look very different. There are without a doubt men who think you are very cute, and further, also men who would think you were the Feminine Ideal. The advice you have received about ratios of all these people is significant, as are any references made to the concept of the Big Beautiful Woman, and its related concepts (Thank you kindly, Mr. Google).

That said, most people are probably not going to be interested in a lady of your dimensions. Happily, you do not need most people to be in a rad relationship. You only need one (apologetic nod to our poly compatriots). The two hunks you talked about? If they're into you, they're into you. To call them flukes seems to suggest that they "accidentally" found you attractive and cool, which of course is not how that works.

And finally, confidence makes up for a lot, but of course it can't, and doesn't, do everything for everybody.

*I think there are, when it really comes down to it, very few actual deal breakers. Cheated on me with my Dad, trying to build a time machine in order to kill me in the past, etc. Those are deal breakers. Everything else is just plusses and minusses, with some qualities or behaviors being worth so many negative points that they almost always overwhelm someone's other bright spots (hates physical contact of any kind vs. Nobel Peace Prize winner, etc.)
posted by Poppa Bear at 9:28 AM on November 23, 2011 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Just another data point of a girl who's also quite cute and fashionable and even bigger than you. Yes, there will be plenty of dudes who are into you. Some specifically because of your size/shape. Some just because you're awesome. If a guy isn't attracted to you, it doesn't make him bad or shallow, it just means that everyone is attracted to different people. No big deal. Move on. If there was a 1:1 correlation of people who were mutually attractive to each other in this world, there'd be a lot more sex all around, I'm sure.

The most important thing is not deciding for other people whether or not they are or should be attracted to you.
posted by ferociouskitty at 9:29 AM on November 23, 2011 [9 favorites]

I am a type that some men don't like too (very tall, thin, non-curvy, pale), but there are men out there who love my type. I am married, after all! You will find a man who love you for who you are, but you have to love yourself first. Sounds like you are doing fine!
posted by two lights above the sea at 9:31 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

It honestly depends on how you carry the weight. I've been in situations where I have seen two women of the same weight and felt that one was all curves and sex appeal and the other was fat and unattractive.

It is a tough call but, yes, for many men your weight would be a deal breaker. They are probably in the majority. But, there would also be a fairly large group of men who would not care or who would be attracted to you specifically because of your weight.
posted by asnider at 9:31 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: This sentence really struck me, ferociouskitty: The most important thing is not deciding for other people whether or not they are or should be attracted to you.

I think that's exactly what I have been doing, and you're right - why am I deciding for them?

Thank you, everyone, for your awesome and honest responses!
posted by Falwless at 9:32 AM on November 23, 2011 [21 favorites]

I think the answers you're going to get on this will be selection biased: You can ask the question anonymously, but we don't ANSWER it anonymously - and most people on Metafilter don't want to be seen as the super-shallow [NO FAT CHICKS - CAR WILL SCRAPE] guy. We all want to believe in a just world where this sort of thing is irrelevant.

Married one(5'6", 220lb), divorced her. Married her because she was a great person, divorced her after six years because her crushing self-esteem issues and their fallout (...and her self-denial about them, and the resulting couples therapy, and her incessant need to prove herself to others, and etc...) basically buried me. She burned herself out trying to prove she was just as good as everyone else in the face of a society that told her she wasn't - and while I wasn't the only person she blamed for it, I was the one person it was safe to take it out on. Over and over again.

Never would date one again - Not because of the weight, but because of the social weight of the weight. You may not be feeling it now, but a lot of people who've been through this will assume that that won't hold through the years of rude comments, the casual hatred, and getting passed over for promotions again, and again, and again...
posted by Orb2069 at 9:35 AM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]

I have a friend who is frustrated that most dating sites top out at "a few extra pounds."
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:35 AM on November 23, 2011

For pure brutal honesty, I would say no. Why? Because being over weight is unattractive and I would have to have some sort of phyiscal attraction. I don't mean to offend, but I think a lot of guys would agree, as would women whom consider dating men.
posted by amazingstill at 9:35 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Brutal honesty: There was a time when I would seek out "big girls" because I perceived them as, well, easy. And, well, my experiences proved this to be fairly true. Yeah, I was that guy.

So, that said, I'd probably avoid men who are "in to" big girls. I know I'm not the only one who played that kind of game. We all have our preferences with attraction, but I'd be wary of anyone who fancies such a specific physique. They should like you because you're awesome, not because you're big.

I have since reformed, and I did learn several things: most importantly, "big girls" are women, too. I learned I could certainly date and fall in love with one (I did.) And I'd totally date another one — provided she's in to foreign film, indie music, design, photography, cats, travel, and Canadian accents. Or at least a few of those things.

Feel free to MeMail me if you'd like any other blunt insight from a former douchebag.
posted by bhayes82 at 9:43 AM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]

It would be a deal breaker for me. Deal breaker for me because at 310 the implication (which I am sure may be wrong in some cases) is that their lifestyle is very different from mine and as result we would not be I attend the gym, do yoga and eat very healthy....of course it is quite possible that someone like you may be doing all those things but from experience so far that hasn't been the case...

I have to say lots of friends of mine would have no qualms dating someone with your size with the caveat that you would have to be very confident and probably as pretty as you say you already are.
posted by The1andonly at 9:46 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

My sister-in-law is about your size. She has a gorgeous husband and still gets a lot of male attention. She's also really bubbly and friendly to everyone. I didn't know her when she was single, but I can imagine her flirting with lots of guys. If she thinks negatively about her size, you'd never know it.
posted by desjardins at 9:52 AM on November 23, 2011

Dude, I was (am?) you. I am 5'4 and I am currently sitting around 260lbs but was 335lbs. I have a pretty face, good attitude, good career, lots of friends, very social, etc. all the things you described about yourself. I spent some time wondering whether I would find someone who could see how clearly awesome I was/am, just like you are, but I never let that stop me. I flirted with any single person I found attractive and left it up to them to decide whether they found me attractive and guess what! I went on a lot of dates and the bulk of the people I dated were usually very good looking! I also got hit on more at bars than a lot of my "skinny" friends in part because I was/am confident and open and friendly.

Basically, you just never know. Some people are turned off by the weight, some are turned on by it, some are indifferent to it. You can't tell what category people fall in to so just put yourself out there and let them show you. I know I hate being judged without having people know anything about me, so it seemed unfair for me to do the same to them.

For what it is worth, I just found my life partner, and he is a very cute guy that I wouldn't have pegged for a guy that liked "big girls". I talked to him about it and his response was, "I never really thought about it. I guess I don't care about size, I just go with whatever I'm attracted to and don't question it. You are sexy and confident and make me lusty and all sexed up so it is all good." I think you'd be surprised at how many men have that opinion.
posted by gwenlister at 9:54 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

Can't say for certain but most likely it would be a deal-breaker for me. That's just me though and there are a lot of people of all different body types for whom it wouldn't be an issue at all. If someone is going out on a date with you then they don't have an issue with the weight so don't let it be one for you.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 9:55 AM on November 23, 2011

Also, feel free to memail me if you want to chat about it. I am very very well versed in the big girl dating scene and am happy to impart any wisdom (as well as some epic horror stories) or offer any kind of encouragement.
posted by gwenlister at 9:59 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would say no. Why? Because being over weight is unattractive to me.

Fixed that for you.

We'd be in an awful mess if there were an objective way to measure "attractive" and "unattractive." I can think of several couples I know who would not be happily together and in love if being overweight were objectively, irredeemably unattractive to everyone.

I think with weight, there's an assumption that it's something a person could change if she wanted to, which brings up all kinds of moralizing and garbage. You have to find people who won't do that with you--who treat your size the way they'd treat your height or hair color: if they're into you, they're into you; if not, it's not because you fail at being attractive but rather that they aren't attracted to you.
posted by Meg_Murry at 10:01 AM on November 23, 2011 [14 favorites]

My boyfriend likes the big girls (and not in a sleazy way)--his ex-wife was at least 300 pounds. I'm a bit over 200 and haven't had a lot of male attention, but who knows if it was because of my weight or my shyness?
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 10:04 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also (and I promise this is the last one) I have encountered the dudes that are in to me only because I am overweight and I learned to avoid them like the plague. Keep high standards for yourself and people will come up that satisfies them. :)
posted by gwenlister at 10:11 AM on November 23, 2011

I agree with the earlier point that the closer you are to the societal ideal of sexual attractiveness, the larger your mutual attraction overlap will be with other people. But keep in mind that just about everyone has something that kicks them off the ideal man/woman track. Loving someone always happens in spite of, or because of, people's "imperfections." The silver lining here is that your deviation from that ideal happens to be immediately apparent, so you know upfront the people who are going to pursue you are the ones who either like your body type, or don't care, or care a little but like you anyway. Contrast this to the kind of shame and anxiety other people might feel when dating (thin woman with normally-hidden skin condition; muscular man with small penis; etc.). Everybody's got something.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 10:37 AM on November 23, 2011

I'm a (bisexual) woman, but I do want to mention something no one else has. Where do you live? Where do you work? Where do you hang out?

I say this because I live in LA, which in my view and the view of most of my female friends, has a sort of "interesting" dating culture, at least in certain circles (mostly white people who have a connection to the entertainment industry, but it definitely doesn't stop there). I'm the same height as you, a couple of years younger, pretty (although not stunning) confident and well dressed, and (unpregnant) I weigh about 165. I feel invisible on the street and in bars, cafes etc here. It's so dramatic it's sort of funny. I'm sure it has to do with other stuff besides body size, but the dating experience of friends leads me to think that I would have a tough time dating here, would get a lot of rejection through OKCupid etc, and my weight would be most of the issue.

I used to live in DC and travel a lot for work, and I did not have the same experience. When I go to San Francisco, I'm like "Wow, I'm cute! This is nice!" I am honestly looking forward to moving next year so I can feel visible and occasionally attractive again.

I have a friend here who I think is about your weight, and absolutely gorgeous, but she works in the film industry and spends most of her time around industry events and people, and she is so sick of dating here that she wants to move. She is from Minnesota, where she felt the dating situation was much better. Her perception is that many more men in LA see a partner as a status symbol than anywhere else she's ever lived, and some have weird conflicts going on between who they're physically attracted to, and who they're willing to be seen dating. I've heard the same thing from many other women, whatever their personal experiences.

I'm sure I'd still find someone great if I were single and looking in LA, because you don't need the approval of the entire population, just a person or a few people you're into also. And if you're getting positive attention then I guess you don't have this problem, wherever you are. But as part of the general discussion I did want to point out that there can be differences between what men are innately wired to be attracted to, what they're socialized to be attracted to, and what the other considerations that go into choosing a partner mean they're actually interested in dating, and that there seem to be some strong regional and cultural aspects to that.
posted by crabintheocean at 10:39 AM on November 23, 2011 [15 favorites]

I dated, screwed around and eventually got married, all as a tall and fat woman. My husband isn't a "chubby chaser" or a "fat admirer" - he's a normal, extroverted, attractive, and well-adjusted guy with pretty run-of-the-mill sexual interests. It just so happens that he's attracted to me as a whole person. Not me despite the fat, not me because of the fat, but just me. I fully realize that if he was the kind of person to judge me based on my sexual attractiveness before getting to know me, our relationship probably wouldn't exist in its current state because I don't think I could stand to be with someone who deals with women that way. But that's a feminist issue, not a fat/not-fat issue.

Yes, your weight will scare off a lot of people, people who aren't assholes. Lots of men would be justifiably concerned about starting a life with a woman they believe is irresponsible with her health, but you can nip that worry in the bud by staying active and making healthy food choices in order to demonstrate that you do indeed care about your well-being. But you definitely don't have to fit some kind of body ideal to find a happy relationship, let alone someone to screw around with for a night.
posted by theraflu at 10:51 AM on November 23, 2011 [6 favorites]

You gave your stats but they're not even important. The answer to: "Will my weight be a dealbreaker for some men?" is always, always, no matter WHO you are or WHAT you look like, "Yes, for some men it will be a dealbreaker." For some men *my* weight is a dealbreaker, and I am conventionally "thin." Conversely, for some men it is WAY too important that I stay this size, and I've dated one of them, and it is an awful, awful thing if your size is important to your lover, because every time the scale moves, he notices, and remarks on it, and makes you feel criticized and unloved.

So. Weight isn't really a reliable predictor of how attractive people find you. On the other hand, confidence is sexy to just about every man in the world except the scary predators and abusers, so I'd strongly urge you to cast off your concerns and insecurities about your weight and get into the dating scene, flaunting your awesome, badass self. However, for the reasons mentioned above, I'd also recommend you avoid the chaps who fetishize fat, just as I avoid the chaps who fetishize bone, because that way lies misery. You do NOT want someone eyeing you narrowly to make sure you haven't lost a few pounds!
posted by artemisia at 10:52 AM on November 23, 2011 [7 favorites]

Conversely, for some men it is WAY too important that I stay this size, and I've dated one of them, and it is an awful, awful thing if your size is important to your lover, because every time the scale moves, he notices, and remarks on it, and makes you feel criticized and unloved.

Oh God yes. Avoid anyone who comments negatively on someone else's body size, no matter what the type, or who makes positive comments exclusively on body sizes that aren't very similar to yours. I'm skinny-ish, but it would drive me nuts to be with someone who's like "no fat women ever!" because what if I gain weight?
posted by desjardins at 11:35 AM on November 23, 2011 [7 favorites]

I would not. I work out frequently at the gym and I've kept it as a hobby for eleven years now. I wouldn't be able to relate to someone who didn't want to try to be healthy in her life.
posted by DetriusXii at 11:51 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

I weigh more than you, and I'm your same height. I've been married for 13 years, with my husband for 15. I get hit on, all the time, by both men and women. I am ok looking, nothing spectacular, but I am happy and I love people. There is no amount of shyness in me.

Sure, there will be men that aren't interested due to your size, but there are plenty who will be as well. Confidence is absolutely the key.
posted by SuzySmith at 11:51 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's your hang-up. Some people are going to be into you and others aren't. I used to have a hang-up because I am very pale - glow in the dark pale - I don't have to worry about buying the wrong makeup shade because I'm always the lightest one. I've heard a lot of nasty comments about pale people over the years but I finally realized that they weren't directed at me personally.

If you are happy with yourself the way you are, then don't worry about it. There are people who will like you exactly as you are.
posted by fromageball at 11:52 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Every person, if they live a long enough and varied enough life, gets to experience all four sides to this unfortunate question:

1. Being rejected for a reason you don't respect. This feels unfair.
2. Rejecting someone for a reason you don't really respect, but can't ignore. This feels cruel.
3. Being wanted for a reason you don't respect. This feels creepy.
4. Wanting someone for a reason you don't really respect, but can't ignore. This feels weak.

Once you acknowledge the universality of these experiences -- and that they occur on every criterion you can imagine -- the particular set of strengths and weaknesses in the hand you've been dealt will feel less important, and you can get on with the important work of actually finding someone whose strengths and needs match yours.
posted by ead at 12:01 PM on November 23, 2011 [42 favorites]

It would be a deal-breaker for me. That's just too big, I wouldn't be attracted to you no matter what else you had going for you. There are other considerations, besides the lack of attraction. Gluttony is a turn-off and I would conclude a woman that big was a glutton. It's a turn-off to be with a woman who weighs more than me. Lack of fitness, and the lack of discipline to control her eating/weight would be a dealbreaker too. And there are myriad social reasons one wouldn't want to date someone so large.
posted by jayder at 12:51 PM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

There is no way I could ever date a woman who is more than double my weight. I can't even imagine such a situation.
posted by Jurbano at 1:19 PM on November 23, 2011

I’m out of your demographic, but maybe this will shed some light on things nonetheless. I am a straight woman with a few friends and acquaintances close to your body-type who have either found the love of their lives or had/have really wonderful relationships (and know quite a few people with other problems or no apparent problem at all who didn’t and don’t). So, thinking of them, and of my own experiences, but also from many years of observing people, or talking to friends and acquaintances or eavesdropping here and there, I think that the only people who would actually not be at least potentially interested in someone who veers off the beaten track in one way or the other are:

1. Status daters. Depending on what constitutes “status” to any one man (or woman), or what counts for status in his/her circles, this can relate to appearance, earning potential, family or social class of origin etc.

2. Related to this is the fetish or anti-fetish man/woman.
(I don’t want to diss attraction fetishes here – I think we all have them, only some of them are more culturally wide-spread, conscious and non-negotiable than others). I’ve encountered tons of them (and have some myself): people who only pay attention to blonds, or brunettes, or redheads, people who are instantly turned off others who are too big/too skinny, too tall, too small, too foreign or not foreign enough, people with nose-hair, people with moles, too much of an artsy-fartsy person, too much of a nerd, too much or too little of god-knows-what. Seems entirely superficial, but the way someone works is the way they work, and c’est la vie. What I have noticed is that people who have a fetish or an anti-fetish do really not see you as a possible partner. Even if they are an amazing person and wonderful in every other way, and entirely responsive to your humanity otherwise. They still have this blind spot.

3. A special class of fetishist is the health-fetishist (I know you specifically asked for no health-talk, but I think this is relevant). For a complete health-buff, certain things are so against their religion, as it were, that you will not be considered if you are: too big or much too skinny, or average but with an obviously unfit body, or with bad posture, or if you smoke, or if you drink, or if you don’t eat (crazy)healthy, or if you are in one way or the other not another obvious health-buff.. You can get the mellower type, but who is still concerned about health-issues. Obvious signs of potential bad health are scanned in, and then the person rejected as a potential partner with no conscious thought (again, all manner of relevant body types here – too this, too that, not enough of this; but also smokers, people who are over-sedentary, too pale, to tanned, or you have dark rings under your eyes, whatever). Strangely, people who have vague potential health issues like all of the above seem to be more readily discarded than people who have clear-cut actual health-issues. Almost like some fear of the unknown kicking in

4. Another special case is the “character” fetishist. Based on who-knows-what in your appearance/immediately observable behaviour, some people are conditioned to draw conclusions about the whole of you. You talk in a loud voice? Overbearing and not sympathetic. You are overweight? No self-control. Or sick. Average body but with flabby muscles? Too lazy/lacking in self-discipline. You are skinny? Either sick or grand psychological issues. You smoke? Again, no self-control and probably a bit of a slut/cad or distinctly lower class. Etc. And then this judgement is extrapolated to the whole of your life and person, and you are ignored as a possible partner.

Oh, and another thing I have noticed re. the pure physicality of attraction is that men tend to go for the hour-glass figure regardless of size – so someone big/bigger but with a bit of an out-in-out-in figure will be often preferred to a more straight-down slender figure, and to a more round-but-with-no-actual-curves figure (this is also somewhat statistically-speaking – some people clearly prefer the androgynous type and some the more rounded type).

Other than this, people tend to get interested where there’s a spark, where there’s fun to be had, where there are signs of potential interest, where there is understanding, and peace, and comfort, and respect etc. And actually, even for the categories above, I know at least one person who shed the blind-spotting and fell for one of the previously blind-spotted set (however clichéd, sometimes love/understanding attraction does conquer all, even one’s own prejudices/blind spots).

So, from hearing quite a lot of people moon over another person who happened to be bigger, and from seeing a lot of bigger people, men and women, end up in beautiful relationships – do not be the one who dims your own light and don’t throw yourself amongst the shadows. When you like someone and someone likes you, or professes to do so, take the precautions all of us (should) take, be aware of your boundaries etc. Other than that – keep a sparkle in your eye, enjoy the flirting, enjoy yourself, and enjoy them (this is my own mantra…).
posted by miorita at 1:22 PM on November 23, 2011 [8 favorites]

Mod note: Few comments removed - please don't turn this into every other argument about overweight people and answer the OPs question and/or move on from this point forward. Thanks
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:46 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would not be attracted to you, and lack of attraction is a deal breaker for me.

But I'm one guy. I'm not sure polling the audience can be all that helpful here. Two guys asked you out recently. Like every other aspect, different people like and place different weight on different things.
posted by J. Wilson at 1:54 PM on November 23, 2011

Your dating pool is smaller. There's a big contingent of men who will only date women in a specific size range. Guys who don't care about weight are happy to date small women and big women. There are guys who especially like to date big women. You definitely are date-worthy, and there are terrific guys who want to date you.
posted by theora55 at 2:31 PM on November 23, 2011


have a good, professional career, have my shit together, little baggage, own my own home, I'm drama-free, laid back, funny, intelligent and very easy to get along with

is quite rare and special makes you a rock star. you are totally dateable.
posted by ms.codex at 2:52 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

also, on the weight issue: see Pierce Brosnan and wife, among other examples.
posted by ms.codex at 3:00 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

You're looking at this superficially. Some men will like to date you, some won't. But many of those men who will date you will not see you as a longer term partner. People dating at your age, both men and women, are thinking more often than not of finding someone to settle down with and start a family. Yes, I know, not everybody, I'm generalising. Consciously or unconsciously, even the men who find you very attractive will be thinking: how is a woman this size going to run around after kids as they grow up? And, what kind of example is she going to set kids if she can't control her own eating? I'm not trying to be harsh here, and I don't know what your life plans are, and of course the men you meet will be many and varied. But if I were looking to date a woman your age and had any kind of family-making plans, then no matter how hot I found you, those would be my thoughts.
posted by londongeezer at 4:36 PM on November 23, 2011

I just asked my 3 most open-minded, pro-feminist male friends over IM if they would date someone of your height and weight and they all said no. They basically all explained that fat women aren't attractive to them, especially at that level of morbid obesity, which has serious health implications. I've known them all to date women up to size 12 or so, though. FYI these guys are all smart, kind, fit catches with great jobs, and have dated/ will date significantly older women, women of different races and cultures, and women of different educational levels, so they are hardly into only one type of feminine beauty, inner or outer.
posted by devymetal at 5:28 PM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]

would the weight be a deal-breaker for you?

Honestly, yes (and I'm six inches taller, 165; have dated someone your height, about 200; and it didn't end because of her body). Interesting, though that someone said she is a very different "type" that some men don't find to be attractive... and I find her type to be extremely attractive.

A sense that as someone else said, there is some hard-wiring; it's not people, I know, and some different senses are involved, but I detest eggs and mushrooms and nothing will change that.

If someone's reaction is that they are not physically attracted to someone, hard to imagine that they can decide they are (though there is the thought that the heart has reasons that reason does not know).
posted by ambient2 at 5:51 PM on November 23, 2011

She OOZES confidence and sex appeal and that seems to be the ticket.

This. For everyone, not just a specific body type, or even a specific sex. Over the years, I've received a surprising amount of attention from women who (ultimately) wanted to be with me for physical reasons, and despite my personality. From the perspective of an "ideal" guy, I'm not, other than crossing the 6' barrier and having blue eyes; I'm thin, I'm pale, I'm (now) balding, and I'm lanky and awkward at times. Yet some women seem to dig that, even though there are just as many (or more) who have no interest in me whatsoever.

Such is the way of the world, and of our species, and the trick seems to be allowing yourself to be attracted to whomever you're attracted to, and to accept that if someone says they're attracted to you, they might actually be telling the truth. I think it is this, rather than specific physical attributes themselves, that make things difficult for folks who don't fit the "ideal" standard; many end up with low self-esteem that makes them less confident, and many people reject them for not meeting the "ideal" even though those same people really are attracted to them (leading to relationships that are all about the physical for a while but don't stick for the long haul.)

As to your polling question: for me it wouldn't be a deal-breaker, but a lack of confidence or kindness or (to me) sex appeal or certain other attributes certainly would be.
posted by davejay at 7:55 PM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think the picture posted by phrontist is a little weird (but still a very helpful thing to post), but this is another similarly sized woman from the same site.

Dear OP dude, I am 33, about your height, less than half your size, but I recently gained 20 pounds on medication, that i'm now starting to lose because I felt disgusting with it on. Even with it on, I'm not over a size 6-8, although I was a 2-4 for years. At 6-8, I'm wearing all black open cardigans and am uncomfortable. That's me though, and way more about me than any guy. Guys seem fine with me at this weight or the smaller weight, but I'm making myself less attractive to them with my stark self consciousness.

If you're happy with yourself, that's sexy and it will work for you and whatever awesome guy you find. You sound awesome and with-it, so go girl!
posted by sweetkid at 8:57 PM on November 23, 2011

ms.codex - I agree with your general point, but I have to point out that Keely Shaye Smith looks to be about a size 12 or 14 and maybe 185 if she's 5'8". The OP is over 100lbs heavier. I was going to link to's great height and weight chart, but it seems to be down.
posted by crabintheocean at 9:19 PM on November 23, 2011

As others have said, every guy differs. This is just one personal data point...

I can't tell. I'm attracted to slim, medium and some quite large girls, but I have a kind of cut-off point: I need a waist. If there's a kind of even vaguely hourglass-ish shape, with breasts and bottom and something narrower than that in between: fine. But if the body shape just widens all the way down, then I don't feel so much physical attraction.

But as someone who's successfully lost and kept off a significant amount of weight, this is really important: do not put your love life on hold until you've lost weight. Even if you're very successful at weight loss, it takes too long. You don't need every guy to be into you, you just need one guy to be into you, and there are plenty of guys who are attracted to bigger girls. Also, weight isn't as a big a deal as it may seem in your mind. I've dated girls who are maybe 20 pounds "underweight" and maybe 120 pounds "overweight", size isn't that big a deal to me compared to whether she's smart and has a sexy voice.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:24 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

The answers in this thread may help you. It's not QUITE the same situation as yours but the essentials are the same.
posted by Ziggy500 at 2:02 AM on November 24, 2011

I was more than 250lbs all through college (and 5'3), and now am now am about 160. I have noticed a pretty drastic change in the attention I was getting, but it was equal parts physical and mental. I've kept the weight off long enough to have had a few years where I was very confident and a few years where I was not exactly my most forward self. It's way more important to know you're sexy in your head than to be under a size 14.

My boyfriend has dated women much thinner and women much larger than me. I kinda find it a little funny that after my years of worrying that my size was going to stand in my way, i ended up with a man who would have loved me no matter what.

So yeah. If you lose the weight, you'll get more attention because you'll make the "attractive- window for more dudes, and it's harder to find dudes who are attracted to large women, but they are around.

A side note about the size being a factor in finding a person attractive. I truly believe it's a lot less about the size as much as it's a lot more to do with the outward expression of health.
This is burned into our brains, so please don't feel bad or bitter at the dudes that can't jump the gap. I try to remember that even at my heaviest, I wasn't into big dudes. big fat hypocrite? oh yeah, and I knew it. But the dangly bits want what the dangly bits want.

posted by Blisterlips at 6:12 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mod note: A couple of comments removed; posters need to answer the question, not debate other answers.
posted by taz (staff) at 8:47 AM on November 24, 2011

An old friend of mine is heavier than you and up until recently she was working as a prostitute on Craigslist (the the police busted her). She had no shortage of customers so from that I would say there are definitely men who would be physically attracted to your body type out there. Whether that translates to dating I couldn't say (and whether you'd want to date any of them is another matter). But there are definitely men out there who would dig your body at your current weight.
posted by hazyjane at 9:50 AM on November 24, 2011

I follow a tumblr called Fuck Yeah Chubby Couples, because it makes me smile to see happy and loving couples who look like me (i.e., fat). If the media isn't interested in depicting us, we're just gonna have to depict ourselves!
posted by brookedel at 1:01 AM on November 25, 2011

Well, I'm married, but if I weren't...
Yes, in a heartbeat :-)

If you were thin, THAT would be a deal-breaker.

There are many men who feel the same way, so you'll be fine!
posted by humpy at 3:26 AM on November 25, 2011

« Older Can I please work from inside a sheepskin cocoon?   |   Mentor? Mentee? Mentos? - How to make the most of... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.