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Savage Love: Let It Go

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I’m a 34-year-old straight female. I am morbidly obese and have been for most of my life. I have never dated. I’ve been on a couple of dates, and only when I asked the guy out. From reading your columns and books, I am aware that some men are attracted to fat women. But since I never received any real sexual attention as a teen/twentysomething, I don’t know how to deal with men in a sexual way or in a way that would develop into a relationship. I also think my (lack of) experience has caused me to become bitter toward men. How do I stop being bitter and learn how to develop a romantic relationship?
—Fat And Bitter

Romantic and/or sexual relationships are something you learn by doing, FAB, so you’ll have to start doing them—you’ll have to start doing men—to learn how they’re done. There are men out there who are into BBW, aka big beautiful women, but folks on Twitter recommended staying away from BBW-focused websites (which tend to be overrun by fetishists) and go with mainstream sites like OKCupid instead.

But maybe dating sites aren’t the place to start.

“More important than worrying about finding people to date who love your size is making sure YOU love your size,” says Jolene Parton, a fat dancer, sex worker and activist. “Self-love can be the hardest thing in the world for a fat woman, but it’s the best way to inspire others to love you and your body, FAB. Getting plugged into a fat-positive community might help you find friends and lovers who love the whole you. NAAFA.org and Nolose.org are both great places to start.”

So let’s say you’ve learned to love your body and you’re ready to date. What to do about the bitterness? Let it go. Resolve not to punish a man who expresses an interest in you now for failing to kick down your door a decade ago. And, yes, men suck, we really do. But you know what? Women can be sucky and shallow and judge people on appearances alone, too. (Ask any short guy.) But it might help you keep things in perspective—and let go of the bitterness—if you bear this in mind: We all have to make ourselves vulnerable to people we’re attracted to, and sometimes those people respond by shitting all over us. Straight women shit on straight men, straight men shit on straight women, gay men shit on each other, lesbians shit on each other, bisexuals shit on everybody. All of us have had our hearts broken or, even worse, ignored, and every last one of us has cause to walk around feeling bitter about men, women or both. Most people let it go, FAB, and you can, too.

One other bit of advice: Be open about being inexperienced. That will attract some guys and scare some others off. Good riddance to the ones it scares off, FAB, but don’t assume that guys who are interested are necessarily nice guys. Some will be, of course, but some might be manipulators who want to take advantage of your inexperience or your perceived desperation. To help you sort the good ones from the bad ones, FAB, convene a small panel of friends to serve as your bullshit detectors. Your own bullshit detectors aren’t gonna be good—they also don’t develop until you start dating—so ask your panel to point out any red flags that you’ve missed. Good luck!

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