Will hidden fatness hurt my love life?
August 24, 2007 6:27 AM   Subscribe

I'm gay, new at dating, and kind of overweight (though not morbidly so -- say ~ 20/22% body fat), though my face doesn't show it. I'm afraid dates will like me, in part based on that deceptive face, then discover my fatness during a moment of intimacy, and be repulsed. Am I being paranoid?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (20 answers total)

just a guess - the gays who care about that also have "weighdar" and they can discern your outline through three layers of clothing, just like those machines at airport security checkpoints. being a little overweight isn't a problem here on the straight side; my women are reassured that i won't blow away in a strong gust of wind.
posted by bruce at 6:45 AM on August 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Now, I seem to recall having heard in high school health class that about 20% body fat in males is actually around the ideal number (with women being closer to 30%).

Of course, the same goes for gay guys as for women, I'd assume: if he won't talk to you on the basis of your body, he probably isn't worth dating anyway.
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:18 AM on August 24, 2007

A bit of a belly can be a total hidden bonus, as far as I'm concerned. Don't fret.
posted by creeky at 7:25 AM on August 24, 2007

Your weight will only be an issue if you are self-conscious about it.

Don't obsess about it, be confident, and it won't be an issue. 20-22% body fat isn't "FAT" anyway.
posted by Gojira at 7:28 AM on August 24, 2007

If they're shallow enough to care about your weight, then you don't really need them in your life. Don't settle for second best. :)
posted by Solomon at 7:28 AM on August 24, 2007 [2 favorites]

Take your shirt off as soon as possible -- "Hot in here, isn't it? Mind if I get more comfortable?" as soon as he walks in -- or wear a skin-tight leopardskin shirt and ask him if it makes you look fat. Wait a few seconds with a straight face, and then laugh your head off and explain why. Remove all doubt about whether he can't deal with a little chubbiness and find out whether he has any sense of humor. Take pictures, just in case you last together, but even if you don't.
posted by pracowity at 7:29 AM on August 24, 2007

Sweetie, if your dates are that shallow, then it's the size of some other part of your body they're most interested in. :-)

Seriously, I don't think people will judge you based on your percentage of body fat. Assume that someone who is attracted to you is, simply, attracted to you. Take it at face value and go from there.
posted by Robert Angelo at 8:30 AM on August 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Nobody's perfect, and you're one of those fortunate people whose flaws aren't immediately apparent at first glance. A good face is a great asset: meeting people in the first place is the hardest part of getting started with dating--being cute helps.

Yes, you are being paranoid.
posted by kittyprecious at 8:31 AM on August 24, 2007

Gym rats are gym rats are gym rats. If they are liking you for your face and not your abs you've got a different set of things to be worried about. And about 15-20 years before you have to worry about those things!

Just be healthy in your habits and let the chips fall where they may. In other words, work it!
posted by FlamingBore at 8:37 AM on August 24, 2007

Of course it's always good to watch your weight and exercise regularly, but it's never a good idea to be obsessively self-conscious about your appearance. I used to be that way several years ago about one particular feature and had to be told repeatedly even by people who didn't know me well that they never really noticed or cared ... in other words, it was pretty much all in my crazy, overanalytical head! I agree with the other posters, if someone likes you, they like you, warts and all! Good luck in finding Mr. Right!
posted by cscott at 8:48 AM on August 24, 2007

Also, this goes without saying, but even the most beautiful people on the planet who show up in People magazine every year have bodily flaws we never see. Ever run into a celebrity on the street? Well, Matt Damon was right near my apartment filming a portion of "The Bourne Ultimatum." Now he's never been that attractive for me, but let's just say he's shorter than he looks in the movies and could benefit from a trip to the dentist ... So, NO ONE is physically perfect
posted by cscott at 8:56 AM on August 24, 2007

When you first enter the dating scene, it's stressful. If you're that self conscious about it, just start jogging and eating a little better. Even walking will make a difference. Just do it for 30-45 minutes each day. Walking is an easy thing to add to your daily routine and you'll look and feel a lot better.
The dating market is just that--a market. You're a commodity and you have to "sell" yourself. Being self-confident is a huge turn on, so do what you need to do to exude that quality. Whether that means embracing your 20% body fat (which isn't fat by straight standards, but might be considered "gay fat" by the gym queens, twinks, and club-hitting scenesters) or tightening up a bit to boost your confidence, do what you need to do to feel better about yourself.
posted by HotPatatta at 9:03 AM on August 24, 2007

I'm going to be sort of repeating the stuff everyone else has said, but I find that quantity matters, when it comes to reassurance.

Anyway! If you meet a guy that's too dumb to figure out whether he's attracted to you before your shirt is off, he's really not worth sleeping with. Don't worry though, body-image nervousness is very very normal. Go out, enjoy yourself, meet some boys. Your face is not "deceptive". Chances of the scenario you're worried about happening are slim, but if it does, you'll be ok. There's always more fish in the sea.

And if you're feeling down, listen to some Imogen Heap. :)
posted by kavasa at 9:18 AM on August 24, 2007

We talked about this a little bit before, in a question about the perceived shallowness of young gay men as dating partners here.

While I can't say I've been in your shoes, I'm a mid-20s gay man who's been avoiding the dating scene for a while partly because of fears about how my body (I'm probably 15 pounds heavier than I'd like to be, totally non-muscular, and rather small) will affect my chances, which makes me discouraged, which makes me not date...a vicious cycle. I'd go on a huge rant here about how diversity in body size or fitness in general in gay-targeted media is vanishingly tiny, but I'll spare you that and recommend that while looking for non-lame dates, you:

- try neighborhood pubs/bars instead of big-city megaclubs
- try groups that have some entry barrier (a club, a class, a volunteer group) that keeps people who can't commit to the group out, and which don't provide instant gratification or value physical ability over other traits
- let your friends know you're single
- try doing healthy things which don't involve a focus on losing weight, but instead aim for overall well-being: getting rid of your TV, clearing out the clutter in the desk drawers, developing a better balance between work and non-work life, calling up Aunt Marjorie, taking more vacations, walking to the store instead of driving.

If you feel challenged and invigorated by the things you do every day, I assume your energy levels will be higher, and it'll be hard to avoid wanting to share that with someone. And who wouldn't want to date such a well-put-together, has-his-life-in-order kind-of guy? The weight might fall off as a consequence of your healthier lifestyle, but it's not as if you were really aiming for that in the first place, so it's really just an added bonus on the way to a life of a little more confidence and a lot more, uh, lovin'.
posted by mdonley at 9:45 AM on August 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Am I being paranoid?

posted by davidstandaford at 10:03 AM on August 24, 2007

One of my gay pals used to use his position on waitstaff at a diner in order to scope out which dudes could really put it away. He was a bit of the buff Teutonic ideal, but dug the chubby guys. He thought they were more "manly."

So, hey, especially within the gay dating scene (just from what I've seen of my pals' pecadillos), there's always some guy whose fetish is YOU. (I mean, seriously, I know a dude who only gets into serious relationships with stubbly Latin men under 5'8", with a preference for South America over Central America. How weird is that?).
posted by klangklangston at 10:54 AM on August 24, 2007

bi, here, and a little less new at dating, but everything else applies (oh, and I have braces), and I can pretty safely say that you're being paranoid; there will be as many people who like your shape as there will be who don't.

that said, I've been exercising on weight-loss grounds but I'm finding benefits to it all over the place, so that's definitely an option.
posted by heeeraldo at 11:01 AM on August 24, 2007

paranoid or not, just lose that extra weight if it makes you uncomfortable, it's not like you wish you'd be taller and there's nothing you can do about it. eat less and/or better, go to the gym, you'll also find plenty of potential partners. and anyway if you pick up guys at the gym, they've already seen you naked in the locker room, so they won't be "shocked" (as if) at what they see

relax and good luck, and be safe.
posted by matteo at 3:34 PM on August 24, 2007

I'd like to echo all the comments that have already been posted and add my own: I'm personally attracted to "bigger" guys (in every sense of that word) and bigger gals, too. TMI, I know, but just being a little (or even alot) husky doesn't mean that love and sex are impossible.

It will help your health in the long-run to loose some weight, but don't fret over the body-type stuff. Somebody out there finds you hot, and that somebody is probably closer than you think.

/so, uh.... can I have your number?
posted by Avenger at 3:49 PM on August 24, 2007

It really depends on what guys you're looking for. Some guys are total body fascists, and you need to learn to avoid them. In my dating experience, I really feel like there are two types of gay guys: the really shallow ones for whom appearance is tantamount, and everyone else (for whom appearance is one element of the equation, but so are personality, sense of humor, intelligence, etc). The problem is that sometimes the former are easier to find than the latter. My advice would be to really think about where you meet guys: I think you'll probably be much happier meeting guys through friends of friends, or at more lowkey bars than you would with guys at mega-clubs or more fleshy websites (e.g. manhunt, craigslist, myspace).

Also, for what it's worth, almost no one is completely happy with their body. No matter what their appearance, virtually everyone wishes they were a little bit taller/shorter/bigger/smaller/etc. So don't let that fear prevent you from trying to meet people, because trust me, you're not alone here. Also, much as the media makes you think that every gay person likes the exact same body type, this couldn't be farther from the truth... everyone has their own very individual taste in men. I'm a skinny little runt, and I meet plenty of guys who would rather be with someone a bit bigger; trust me, the grass is always greener....
posted by stilly at 10:29 AM on August 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

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