“I like my girls with a little something extra.” “I like all of that there.” Or even the simple, yet ineffective, “I like big girls.” Each and every time I get one of these pathetic, I-can’t-believe-they-actually-think-this-will-work lines, I cringe, smile awkwardly and keep it moving. As I walk away, my mind works overtime, wondering why those type of words evoke such a feeling of embarrassment. And then, why is said embarrassment slowly morphing into anger?
I look in the mirror everyday and even though over the years I have transformed my obese body from a size 26 to a curvy size 18, I still consider myself chubby, fat, plus size, chunky…any of the terms that mean my thighs rub together. These words do not offend me because I’m confident enough in my own truth to know that they only describe me physically and can’t be used to hurt me unless I allow them.
Don’t get me wrong, growing up, these words were like poison and each time they were used, I felt the sharp pain through my veins like barbed wire. The older I got, the more I realized my appearance wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea and that’s ok. But for the dudes that liked their girls “with a little something extra,” I was IT!
In my early 20’s, I dated almost as much as I changed my underwear. My dates would rarely blossom into relationships, but when they would, I’d gain insight on the men that were attracted to my curves. Most of the time, it was the first thing on their list of why they liked me. Ok, I get it. Physical attraction is a healthy part of two people coming together in a relationship, but it’s not everything. Some men like eyes, others butts and most love breasts, but that’s never the only reason they find themselves with a woman who stands out for any of those particular qualities.
There was this one guy, we’ll call him Randy. Randy and I would cuddle for endless hours and during one of our sessions, he grabbed a piece of my back fat, squeezed it and with a smile in his voice, (we were spooning, so I couldn’t see his face) said, “You’re the perfect BBW.” I tried to play cool and I asked him what in the heck was “BBW?” I know it looks like “Basketball Wives,” but this was before the days of reality show brawls and backstabbing. Randy explained the acronym stood for “Big Beautiful Woman.”
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I needed to know more about this “BBW” thing. Back in the days of AOL, Yahoo and BlackPlanet, there were chat rooms catered to specific groups. I found the “BBW” room and it was like being a kid in a candy store (pun definitely not intended) because each and every man in the room was there to meet someone bigger than he was. Standing 5’11 and weighing in well over 300 lbs, I fit the bill to a T. Ok, I can be a “BBW.”
Upon chatting, I was introduced to a number of “freaks–” for lack of a better word. The attention was nice, but sh*t got real…fast. Men asked me if I could come over and sit on them, lay on them or smother them with my weight in various way. I remember distinctly one guy asking me to put on heels and while he’s laying on his stomach, he wanted me to step on his back. I’m no physics genius, but I’m sure my weight (in heels) would kill him! He wasn’t convinced and begged me to make his fantasy a reality. After that request, I’d permanently logged out, never to return again to any “BBW” chat room.
Between my dating of men that couldn’t keep their hands off my love handles and off-the-wall requests from men in “BBW” chat rooms, I was convinced that the men who appreciated my size also had a fetish for fat. You may say, “He’s just trying to show you love and attention because he’s interested and wants you to feel confident about your weight.”
And I say, he’s more into what I am than who I am. While it is nice to be appreciated for what I am, I can’t help but think these men who come after me focus on my fatness because it feeds their fetish. I think the embarrassment that morphed into anger that I spoke of earlier was sparked by how their affections made me feel. Whether their affections were verbal or physical, it was never comfortable. Their touches and their words made me aware of my size, my stretch marks and the feeling of my fat freely wobbling with each move I made.
There’s a way for a man to touch me that doesn’t make my skin crawl. I know because it’s happened before. I met someone who we’ll call Austin who didn’t focus on my size, didn’t ask me how much I weighed in the first five minutes of us meeting, but still appreciated my curves. The difference here was that my fat was not the only reason he dated me. Austin loved my smile, my charm and sense of humor. He called my curves the icing on the cake.
And that’s how it should be. Big girls shouldn’t have to worry themselves over a potential mate’s fetishes. Unfortunately, as a big girl, I have to walk that line between men who love curves and men who have fat fetishes. While it is possible to be a big girl and date a man that doesn’t have a fat fetish, it’s always in the back of a big girl’s mind. No matter your size, no woman should accept a man that wants more to do with her body than her mind.
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