Weight and Dating- Thoughts from a Southern Girl

So, I apologize in advance for taking so long to complete this series.  But, hey, life happens.  In any event, I do want to thank my friend Harold Fisher from “The Daily Drum” for even asking me to be a guest on his show.  If I can be honest, when he first approached me, I was a little put-off.  Mainly because I’ve never referred to myself as “plus-sized”, although I know what size I wear and am well aware of the fact that I am not what one would call “skinny” or “average” or whatever “nice” word people use when referring to a woman’s size.  But because I thought it would be fun, I could experience something new, he and I had talked about my coming on the show for awhile (for a totally different topic) and I’m slightly narcisstic (who doesn’t like a little shine?!), I thought, “What the heck?!” and told him I would come.  I did have a great experience on the show, and hopefully Harold will invite me back again… *wink, wink*

For those of you that tuned in, you know that Harold was very narrow in the topics that he wanted to discuss, so I couldn’t share all of my thoughts with the airwaves.  I mean, the show was only an hour AND I wasn’t the only guest.  To be fair, I’ll answer the questions I asked every one else and expound on some things I wasn’t able to share on the show. 

While I could never date a morbidly obese man,  I have been attracted to plus size men.  One of my first crushes as a teenager was a big dude.  And yes, I have dated plus size men-actually 2 within the last 2 years.  The first guy, who I’ve know for a while, is my age, and while he’s not your typical “plus-size” guy, he has a belly.  He does bike regularly and participates in other forms of exercise, but for the most part, he’s always been a little pudgy.  The 2nd man I dated, I only went out with once.  He’s a little older (with a protruding belly), and while he does coach a sports team, I’m not sure of his exercise regimen.  But one of the things that made him very unattractive was his breathing.  After we had dinner, I noticed that he was breathing rather heavily…and we were just sitting down.  To me, that was a total turn-off.  I’m not sure if that was related to his weight, but I’m 99% sure it was.  Now, would I encourage my overweight mate to lose weight?  Honestly, it would depend on the circumstances.  As others have stated, if his health was in jeopardy, absolutely.  But if I were to encouage him to lose weight, then I would need to turn the mirror to myself as well. 

When it comes to dating, I like to feel like my mate can protect me physically.  Not saying that there would ever be a time when he would need to defend my honor, but if he had to, I want to know my man can take care of the job. I know for a fact that’s why I prefer taller men (think 5’10” minimum).  Yes, I’m only 5’4″, but a girl needs to feel protected (plus, I like to wear heels-I wore heels so much the last guy I dated thought I was 5’7″).  And I don’t particularly like skinny men.  If your waist is the same size as Prince, we have a problem.  As I stated on the show, my weight has never been a topic of discussion for anyone I was dating, meaning no man has ever brought it up.  I think men know that there are some topics that must be treaded lightly with women, and her weight is one of them. 

Well, those are my thoughts on weight and dating.  If you haven’t chimed in yet, feel free to do so.  Or if you’ve already chimed in but want to respond to something I’ve said, feel free!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Weight and Dating- Part 5

Here’s the final installment (minus my thoughts) on Weight and Dating.  Today, we hear from J. Rose, a married, 29 year old man from Atlanta, GA that currently lives in Mystic, CT. 

In regards to finding overweight women attractive– It really depends on your preference in women and what you consider overweight. Personally, I’m not attracted to really big girls but I don’t mind a thick chick…or as my dad would say girls that are “a hamburger away” from being big.

In regards to dating a plus-size woman- Again it depends on what you consider a plus size woman. I’m pretty positive I have never dated a plus size woman. Maybe they’re plus size now but they weren’t when we dated. I have dated my share of thick girls though.

In regards to encouraging his plus-size mate to exercise/lose weight– If you care about someone, you want him or her to be healthy. Everyone can’t change their body type or their size. I’m a big guy and even with exercise & a healthy diet I will never be as skinny some smaller people. It’s just the nature of the beast. I think the important thing is to be healthy. A healthy me isn’t the same size as a healthy you. I understand that it can be a touchy subject for people who are overweight. It doesn’t feel good to have anyone point out your flaws…especially someone who has never experienced being overweight. To sum it up, I would encourage my wife/girlfriend to exercise but I would try to participate in the diet and/or exercise. It’s a touchy subject so I wouldn’t push it. I would offer help and encouragement.

I want to thank J. Rose and all of the other participants for being transparent, open, and honest and allowing me to interview them.  If you haven’t read the other posts on Weight and Dating, I strongly suggest you do.  Tomorrow, I share my thoughts.  And it seems like everybody and their momma is now blogging and talking about this same topic.  I think I started something. 😉  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Weight and Dating- Part 4

Southern Mom is in town visiting, so I’ve been playing hostess/tourist.  While I have a few moments, I’ll continue posting in my “Weight and Dating” series.  Today we hear from Ms. Jenn and Dez.

Ms. Jenn is a 28 year old woman who is born, raised, and currently living in Washington, DC.

I’ve been in a relationship for the past 6 years, and I am a size 18.

I would like to start by saying I’m honored to render my opinions on this topic. It’s the story of my frigging life. I absolutely, positively, 100% find plus size men attractive. My first crush was Ice Cube in “Boyz in the Hood”, and we all know he was rocking a lil baby fat in ‘91. In fact it is my preference to date bigger men…could this be because I’m a bigger gal? I’ve often asked myself this, and I’ve decided that my weight has nothing to do with it. Aesthetically, I enjoy the look of a bigger man’s body, the softness of his belly, and the way his clothes fit him as opposed to just hanging on a thin frame. Again these are just my opinions not the gospel!

So since I feel this way about big men it’s obvious that I will date them. The man I’ve been dating for the past 6 years is plus sized, and I love all 280 lbs. of him! I love the way he looks in and out of his clothes and find that he pays attention to that and shows off for me!

So would I encourage him to loose weight? Only if I was ASKED to solicit my opinion! When my mate got into a car accident 2 years ago, he sustained a knee injury that kept him off work and on the couch for 6 months. Needless to say…he picked up about 25 lbs. Now I didn’t mind it a bit, but he complained about the extra pounds and said it was affecting his asthma. He asked me if I would jog with him and change the cooking until he came off the weight. I did, and within weeks of doing that and him going back to work, the pounds were gone, and I was back to the regular program. I’m just saying its not about weight…its about being comfortable and confident with yourself and going for what you really like instead of being bothered with other folks’ shallow bull. Live life on your own terms and embrace all of yourself.

Dez is a 32 year old newly engaged man hailing from Hilton Head, SC that currently lives in Atlanta, GA.

My response to this subject is that we are living in a superficial world where everyone thinks that you need to be a certain size in order to be found attractive. Females have it extra hard because of the things that we see on television and in the movies, but for me my fiancé is not a size 6 but she has the perfect body for me. I consider my fiancé a curvy female and that is my preference. Living in Atlanta, I definitely see all kinds of shapes and sizes and a lot of females that live here actually work out non-stop. My fiancé works out in order to maintain her figure. I honestly feel that if a person wants to get in shape it should be for the right reasons, such as living a longer life, living healthier, and eating better. Getting in shape shouldn’t come as a result of trying to find someone to date.

Why is it females who are considered plus size are insecure about their appearance? I know plenty of females who are larger than their other halves, but also they are all African American as opposed to other races. African American men tend to like females that have a little size to them. In my book, I feel as long as you are happy with the way you look and you are healthy, a woman should not have to alter her looks in order to find someone to date or to be accepted into society.

Thanks to Jenn and Dez for their participation.  We’re almost done with our series, then I’ll be sharing my personal thoughts.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Weight and Dating- Part 1

As promised, I reached out to my inner circle for some commentary on weight and dating.  Over the next few days, I’ll share their responses, one male and one female per post.  I asked everyone the same 3 questions- 1. Do you think men/women who are overweight are attractive? 2. Would you (or have you) date a plus-sized man/woman? and 3. If so, would you encourage him/her to lose weight?  It was interesting to read people’s responses.  Today, we have Mitch Rapp and Southern Cousin. (Names have been changed to protect identity….DUH!)

Mitch Rapp is a single 28 year old man from Milwaukee, WI currently living in Atlanta.

The answer is no…and yes.

No because I know myself, and as I have grown and matured I am attracted to a certain “type”.   When I look back over exes and those I’ve dealt with, they all, for the most part fit in a certain “range” from looks to size.  Now they are indeed diverse, but nowhere in there have I dated or dealt with a plus sized (Monique) woman.   The reason behind it is both superficial and fundamental… superficial in the way that I’m not INITIALLY attracted to plus sized women.  I never have been, it could be some deep seated mainstream brainwashing etc, but I don’t think that’s it…cause I LOVE natural hair women, all skin tones, etc etc.  I think it has to do with my own interests… I’m not a fitness NUT but I enjoy working out and doing things outdoors that require a decent level of fitness.  I’ve never dated a workout queen, and don’t need to, but I couldn’t see myself with someone who didn’t enjoy those things sometimes.
Now, I am 28 years old… and to ME the sexiest thing a woman can be, is confident, intelligent, and a pleasure to be around.  All things obviously a plus sized woman can be.
Now, I am not a jerk like the guy in her article who brushed her off and didn’t even wanna speak, but in that environment I most likely will target my “range” of women.  If I dated a plus sized woman it would probably be more of a situation where we were friends and became more, because regardless of what anyone says to the contrary, initial “attraction” for men is 99% physical (absolutely carnal), not contingent on what you do, where you work, your education level… carnal.  From there we sift through the BS… but an initial attraction (like in that lounge setting) is carnal, don’t let any man tell you different.

Do I find plus sized women attractive?  Absolutely.  But (admittedly) it’s different and usually slower… I cannot say with a straight face I have ever looked at a woman Monique’s size and been physically attracted to her.   I may have thought she had a beautiful face/smile carries her weight well, etc, but never have I been ,“Ooooh… she’s sexy.”  So again, the attraction would be on things that happened more over time vs. that initial attraction.  (Truth is, it’s the same thing with any woman I date now, cause I am no longer dating strictly for “fun”.)
Would I encourage a plus sized woman I date to lose weight… that’s kind of where I have an issue with SOME plus sized women… I’d want a woman who WANTS to lose weight on her own and asks me for help.  If I have to say, “Come on you need to hit the gym” and she doesn’t want to… it would never work.  Which is more a reflection on the personality traits vs her size.
I definitely think I can and possibly will end up with a thick woman (not fit, but not obese) cause in the end, I’m more concerned with can you be a good mom, do we get along, can I marry you, than I am how fit they are now… cause truth is, I think after 90% of women have babies it’s a wrap anyways.  So I’d rather be with someone I enjoy being around/mesh with than someone who’s “in shape”.

Southern Cousin is a 34 year old married woman from Hilton Head, SC currently living in Pompano Beach, FL.

Some. Some men and/or women can be plus-size and really take care of themselves – e.g. bathe, dress well, coordinate, carry themselves well. They’re confident in who they are and it shows in the way they carry themselves. There are others who are overweight and are embarrassed, which translates into their either wearing very frumpy clothes, recoiling in the corner, or smelling sour in the rolls of their fat. There are yet OTHER overweight people (that I see daily) who are embarrassed that they are unable to get the weight off, so they mask how they feel about themselves in tattoos, slutty clothes, thus subjecting other people to have to blatantly look at their insecurity issues. Therefore, the former of the three are the only overweight people who I would find attractive.

I have dated a plus-sized man. I had already fallen for him prior to meeting him, but honestly, if I had seen him in public, I never would have talked to him. He was sweet and smart, but he was overweight and angry that he was unable to be as thin as he was before. The weight had snuck up on him and he didn’t really know what to do about it, so he didn’t carry himself well (falling into the last two aforementioned descriptors). He was even more annoyed because here was his girlfriend, thin and active, but here was he, overweight and ordering another pizza. Lots of times in public, many people looked at us like, how did he get her?! And he was visibly annoyed by that. Even my friends made fun of him (not to his face) because they told me that I could do so much better. I don’t know if it was the social pressures or what – but the more we went out and the more intimate we got, the more unattractive he became to me.

I didn’t encourage him outright to lose weight or exercise, but I would invite him to do so. When we went out to eat, I would watch how much of what I ate and hoped he would follow suit. Sometimes he would, sometimes he wouldn’t, but I didn’t make a big deal out of it. I would invite him to exercise with me – again, sometimes he would and sometimes he wouldn’t. But I didn’t make it a big deal. Yes, we eventually broke up, but not ONLY because of his weight, but I do think that it did play a bit of a factor in our relationship. He felt ridiculed a lot and it was hard for him to be intimate a great deal because of his weight. He didn’t want to go to a lot of places in public because of what people said about our being a couple and that started to eat at the relationship.

As an aside: Not eating right and not exercising is not healthy, period. You could be Angelina Jolie thin or Gabouray Sidebe heavy and still be “fat” in both instances. Healthy is more attractive than anything else and that is the bottom line.

Thanks to Mitch and Southern Cousin for their responses.  Feel to share your thoughts, whether you agree or don’t agree.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

* The article Mitch is referring to is a blog piece written by Brittney Cooper.  Click “article” to read her commentary.

The Whole Weight Thing

This past Friday, I was a guest commentator on “The Daily Drum”, which airs Monday through Friday on WHUR 96.3 in DC.  The topic was plus-size women and dating and whether a woman’s waistline was directly related to her dating life.  This show was directly related to a post written by “Crunk Feminist Collective” blogger Brittney Cooper.  I may share the link of the show with you all in the near future, but for now, I want to take this post in a different direction.

While the host, Harold Fisher, was pretty adamant about where he wanted his show to go (and kept his questions in alignment with that), there were a number of places this conversation could have gone.  For example, rather than JUST talking about plus-size women, we could have (and should have) discussed plus-size men.  Just as there are men that will not date overweight women, there are just as many women that will not date overweight men. 

It seems recently with posts from Jozen Cummings at “Until I Get Married“, Brittney Cooper at the “Crunk Feminist Collective“, and Alice Randall at the “New York Times“, there seems to be this influx of Black women and weight issues.  I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone of when before it was Black women being single. 

So, as I’m known to do sometimes, I’m going to take this a step further.  I’ve decided to interview 10 people, 5 men and 5 women, married, single, childless, parents, to find out their ideal body type in the opposite sex.  Since it’s going to take me a while to reach out to the people I want to interview, it may be a few weeks before I can post all of their thoughts.  I don’t know if it’s because it’s summertime or maybe the world needs another way to pick on Black women (oops, did I say that???), but maybe’s it’s something that needs to be discussed. 

If you’re interested in being interviewed, feel free to e-mail me at evolvingelle@gmail.com.  I can tell you I already have 2 men and 3 women, so slots are filling up quickly. 🙂  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

P.S. I realized I didn’t give that much commentary.  In case you missed me on the show, no, I don’t think a woman’s (or man’s) waistline is directly correlated with her dating life.  First, as my auntie Casey used to say, “There’s a taste for every shape.”  Sure, we have “types” that are aesthically pleasing to us and that are going to grab our attention.  A man wants a woman who’s confident, sure of herself, and enjoys life.  But if a woman is unhappy at 250 pounds, unless she makes changes on the inside, too, she’s going to be unhappy at 150 pounds.  Same for a man.  Oh, and my type?  I need a man with some meat on his bones-but not so much meat that he has issues breathing or walking or doing simple day-to-day things without taking a break every 5 minutes.