College Advice: Is it Wrong to Like Skinny Women?
I have a problem that’s so big that I don’t know if you can help me, but I’d appreciate whatever you can say. I’m at the end of my rope. I’m a single straight guy, 29, 5’9″, 242lbs. I live in Brooklyn. I have a decent job with good hours, and I have a nice, clean apartment. I’m educated (hold an MFA from an ivy), have nice friends, and have a great life in almost every respect. I’m not a cocky asshole, but I’m an outgoing, generally confident guy, and people usually like me. I don’t like to brag, but it’s important that you understand that self-esteem isn’t my biggest issue right now.
My problem, as you may have guessed, is sexual. Or romantic, rather. Or… both. I weigh almost 250 pounds. This makes me unattractive to women. In college, I weighed a lot less (160), and had decent luck with girls. I still fantasize about some of the women I’ve been with. But women like that wouldn’t go near me now, because I’m just not that desirable.
I’ve tried dating women who’re “in my league,” i.e. women of similar proportions to me, but I have to admit that I’m just not all that attracted to them. I find it hard not to flirt with their thinner friends at parties. It makes me disgusted with myself. I’d hate to have anyone I was dating think that way about me. (Who knows, maybe they already do.) I have to fantasize about other women to enjoy sex with these girls. And I’m not even all that picky. A woman doesn’t have to have a particular complexion to turn me on, and I’m not into heroin-chic or a anything like that. I just need to be able to see a waist, you know?
I’m not even sure if I need that or just desire it. There was a girl I fell hard for a few years ago who was pretty heavy-set, but I was so crazy about her that I still found her really sexy. However, she was in better shape than most of the women I’d dated when we met, and a few months into our relationship she started dieting and lost a bunch of weight. And dumped me. I still miss her.
I’m a big Dan Savage fan, and his advice always seems to be: if the sexual aspect of a relationship isn’t working, then leave. But he never seems to take into account the question of whether the person he’s writing to can do better or not. Some of the women I’ve been with are undoubtedly better people than I am: smarter, funnier, sweeter, happier. I respect them deeply and want to earn their respect in turn. But I find it hard to have romantic feelings that aren’t related to sexual ones, and I’m still, idiotically, attracted to large breasts and small waists and dimples and all of that. Should I just accept that some of my desires are never going to be fulfilled? Am I a terrible person because I can’t accept in others what I ask them to overlook in me?
- Fat And Troubled
The first thing I think you need to do is accept your sexuality as it is — accept your preferences and accept that they’re not going to change. Or at least, that they’re not going to change so radically that your problem will resolve itself. You’re an adult. Your sexuality has already been “formed” in the synaptic connections in your brain. It’s like speaking a language. You can learn other languages, but you’ll always think and dream in the language(s) you grew up with. Similarly, you can develop the nuances of your sexuality, acquire new turn-ons and try new things, but you can’t change its foundational framework.
Once you accept that your desires and preferences constitute your orientation, and there’s not much you can do about that, I think you’ll realize that it doesn’t make sense to be ashamed of them. The first step for you now is to stop feeling badly about wanting what you want. As long as you make the distinction between what you want personally and what has value (i.e., as long as you treat women equally respectfully regardless of their weight — something you seem to be doing fine at), you have nothing to apologize for.
However, if you can’t change what you “accept” in others, you’re going to have to change “what [you] ask them to overlook in [you].” That’s the one possibility you don’t consider in your letter. Of all the obstacles that could obstruct your love life, weight is a lucky one, in a way, because you can change it, with effort. It’s better than having oedipal issues, or a scat fetish, or an ugly face, for instance. You liked your body in college, so you know you’re not saddled with genes that prevent you from having the kind of body you want. Hire a nutritionist and a personal trainer and for six months, don’t cut yourself any slack. Get into hiking, canoeing, biking, rock climbing, anything. Reward yourself periodically with nice, simple clothes that fit your new shape. Get healthy. Get to the point where you feel that the women you’re attracted to could plausibly be attracted to you, too.
I don’t mean to imply by this advice that thinner is always better. There are health risks to obesity, but there are a wide spectrum of healthy body types. However, we live in a society that prizes thinness (especially you, FAT — Brooklyn practically has a fetish for it), and the result is that most of us find, when we grow up, that those ideas about what’s attractive have seeped into our sexual subconscious and irrevocably influenced our desires. We can make an effort not to impose those views on the next generation, but for most of us, it’s too late.
There are always exceptions, of course. There are thin women who prefer heavier men and thin men who prefer heavier women (and the reverse, I’m sure). But I wouldn’t advise you to go looking for women who’re into “big guys.” I’ve had friends who’ve had relationships of that type, and they’ve invariably gone badly — because it’s not good for a relationship when one partner is aware of being considered radically more desirable than the other. It’s not impossible to surmount those issues, but it’s difficult. And there’s always the chance that you’ll end up with someone who manipulates you because she knows her prospects, if you break up, are better than yours.
There’s also the chance that you could meet someone “in your league” who’s attractive to you. It happens. It almost happened to you once already. But again, the odds are low. Anyway, you can’t plan for that kind of thing. Wait for the right one — wait for love — but be smart about it. Maximize your odds. Make yourself the kind of person that the kind of woman you’d admire would admire in return — both intellectually and physically.
You’re young. You’ve accomplished a lot already. Tackle this last hurdle. It’ll be worth it.
Send your questions about college life anonymously to VeronicaMittnacht@thefastertimes.com.
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