Sometimes I’m deeply embarrassed by my gender.

The really sad part is that many men would consider this woman to be too fat. Click to embiggen.

It’s a cliche to say that men are selfish pigs, but there seems to be a lot of truth to that statement. Whether it’s sexism and the defense of it that seems to be rampant no matter where you look to polls that reveal that Half of Men Would Dump Their Girlfriends for Getting Fat:

According to Ask Men’s annual Great Male/Female Surveys, half of all straight men say they would dump a girlfriend who got fat. 20 percent of straight women say they’d dump a boyfriend who got fat.

I’m hoping this is because most of the respondents were young and immature — the fact that they asked about “girlfriends” is what I’m latching onto — but I’m worried that’s not the case. Had you asked me back in my teens if I could see myself marrying someone like my wife, I would’ve said no. I was immature and placed more emphasis on outward appearances than I should have.

Fast forward to my early thirties and you’d find that I’ve had a fair number of relationships over the years in spite of not being a strikingly handsome man. All but one of them was broken off by my partner at the time for various reasons that all roughly boil down to my being an immature asshole who didn’t really know what a loving relationship really was. This included at least one person to whom I was engaged for a year because I thought she was The One. I don’t regret any of those past relationships because each one helped me to grow into a better person for the next one that came along. Well, I do regret that it took so long for me to get my shit together because I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with some truly wonderful women over the years and I feel slightly bad about inflicting my (at the time) stupidly immature self upon them.

When my wife and I started dating neither one of us was what you would call svelte. If you asked me what it was I found attractive about her at the time I’d be hard pressed to tell you as she’s very different, both physically and in personality, than any woman I had dated previously. After having had so many relationships that didn’t work out I went into the one with her with a very different and relaxed attitude. At first I wasn’t sure if I was in love or not because it was a very different feel than the past relationships. I think it’s the first time I really keyed in on what love was really like.

The upshot of all that is simply that I love my wife for who she is and not what figure she has. Any concerns I have about the shape of her body is strictly for reasons of health rather than aesthetics, and it’s a concern I hold for myself. I’d like us both to be thinner purely for the health benefits it would bring, but my love for her is not dependent on her having a slim build.

There are a lot of wonderful women in the world who have far less than perfect bodies. It’s a shame that so many men seem willing to pass up what could be a wonderful relationship because they’re hung up on the shape of a woman’s body. And it’s downright hypocritical if the man in question isn’t exactly a great example of being lean and mean himself.

12 thoughts on “Sometimes I’m deeply embarrassed by my gender.

  1. I can’t help but be reminded of my husband with this entry. I wasn’t exactly tiny when we met (about 145)and when I had my son I shot up to 190+lbs and have stayed there through my pregnancy with my daughter. Now I hover between 180 and 190 now as all that baby weight just doesn’t want to move. My husband is 160lbs roughly but very thin and muscular from his martial arts and sports training.

    Anyway, the point is one day he came home talking about a couple from work. The husband was tiny and the wife was fat…he called her really fat…and said he doesn’t want me to get fat because he doesn’t want to be the tiny husband with a fat wife. I laughed and told him he already WAS the tiny husband with the fat wife. He sputtered and said, no I wasn’t like that…then I reminded him that I was only a few pounds away from 200. He sputtered again and said that it was different.

    All in all I think these surveys are misleading. If you ask a single man or even a man in a relationship who isn’t really “in love” with their partner, of course they are going to say they would dump them for something like that. But then again, if they are in love they may say that and not even realize that their SO isn’t “ideal” to begin with. You know, Rose Colored Glasses. Or maybe it is misplaced macho-ism.

    With all that said my ex-hub used to make fun of me when I weight 115. I would get in the car and he would talk about how the car bounced from me being fat. There are going to be jerks out there…but they aren’t really limited to men.

    It is good you are speaking up though. One of the ways to fight the stereotypes and let others know it is ok not to think like the media tells us we should think. For all the talk on how damaging the media portrayal is on women, it is just as damaging for men.

  2. I wouldn’t blame it all on your gender. It isn’t always men who make these mistakes.
    My grandmother was a wonderful person; she and my grandfather came to live with me and my father when my mother died when I was two. She only wanted the best for me, but she chose to articulate that in a bad way (for me, at least). She was a tiny person (5 foot and never more than 100 lbs except when pregnant), and I guess I seemed too big for her comfort. In my teenage years, she chose to show her concern by concentrating on how “my weight would hold me back from having a happy life.” After a while, I started to believe her and felt my life would always be bad. I saw myself as only a fat girl who would never be worthy of love. (When I look at the photos of myself as a teenager I can see she was just wrong – I was bigger than she was, but not by enough to make it a big deal. It my relationship with food had been less stressful, I might weight less today. You can’t just undo years of coping mechanisms.)
    It took me a long time to see that she was seeing only the part of me that seemed ‘wrong,’ not the other parts of me that made me perfectly able to have a happy life. It took me almost two decades to see that I have plenty of good qualities that make me desirable, and it is those qualities that make us good partners – compassion, humor, intelligence, curiosity, kindness – the list goes on.
    Women can be just a wrong headed about weight and it’s overall importance in our lives. And since they are our mothers and grandmothers, they can wield a lot of power over us girls.

  3. Kids are the key. If you want an attractive wife, don’t have kids. If you want kids, don’t expect an attractive wife.
    Back in high school I dated a nice hottie, good body , nice face, smart. Didn’t work out because of religion issues. I checked up on her a few years later and immediately after having 2 kids she went from 170lbs to over 240lbs and has stayed there for the last 5 years.
    Another is the same age as me (26) but after having two kids she could genuinely pass as a 52 year old grandmother.
    Another didn’t work out because I didn’t like her going “clubbing”. No kids and she is still hot (though still a butterface).

    I’m not skinny and I don’t dislike curvy women. But there is a huge difference between curvy and FAT and there is no such thing as a “BBW”.

  4. “And it’s downright hypocritical if the man in question isn’t exactly a great example of being lean and mean himself.”

    This presumes that men and women are the same. And they are not the same; they are different. Among the chief differences are how and why they choose their mates. How many women would drop their man if he became hopelessly unemployed? Or lost a limb? Women can be shallow too and I am afraid that “love” and “romanticism” are nearly synonymous for a reason.

  5. I think most of us are immature in many ways. It takes years for us to understand the intricacies of others. We all have our difficulties relating to others. And building a relationship–a lasting relationship–often takes a lot of work that we’re not prepared for when we’re younger.

    I’m glad that you’re happy; that’s a wonderful thing and it’s so hard to find. Congratulations, and I hope you both have many, many wonderful years together.

  6. Wow, that is one hateful poster. Just imagine some straight-as-a-rail woman going along, being herself, not feeling at all self-conscious, la-la-la, clicking along the internet, and *POW* she gets this big pile of contempt dumped on her. For what? Nothing she did. Now as she goes alng she can be all insecure, wondering if all the people she passes are physically repulsed by her and sneering at her. That will teach her to stride along confidently instead of hunching her shudders and keeping her eyes on the ground, like people are supposed to do.
    The poster is doubly clever in its insults. First, it calls her a boy, which I think is deeply insulting to most women. I think some people like to play around with gender, fine, but, me, I am fairly unfeminine and I would be really insulted to hear that I am “like a guy.”. I am a woman so by definition a anything I do is womanly. Second, it compares her to a child, an old trick for belittling people. oh, and as a bonus it associates sexual desire with her to creepy pedophilia. Pedophilia is a good way to arouse disgust.
    I thought that it was ok for a guy to refuse to date a woman because she was fat. You can’t date unless you have chemistry and you can’t force that. You can’t tell yourself, well, clearly this is a worthy woman so I will force myself to be attracted to her.
    However, you seem to be implying that it is common that a guy could be attracted to a woman but will reject her because she doesn’t fit a picture in his head of the ideal woman. That’s interesting. So society is completely messing everyone up by implanting a narrow range of acceptability in everyone’s head. The range is on the extreme end if things, too, so hardly anybody fits it. The fashion industry, in order to have enough models, has to resort drastic physical measures–drugs, vomiting, unhealthy diets, excessive exercise– and photoshopping.
    I think you might be right that a guywill reject a woman he is attracted to. Occasionally in books or on the Internet I’ve read about a woman breaking up with a guy or vice versa because the relationship was too socially embarrassing.
    You spoke about all the fine women you’ve broken up with. It’s funny how that works. It’s not enough to meet the right person. You have to meet the right person at the right time in your life. Both of your lives.

  7. Happy Spider wrote:

    Wow, that is one hateful poster.

    Hmmm. I guess my white male privilege is showing again. I didn’t think the poster was hateful and I have nothing against skinny women. I picked it only because I know a lot of guys would look at the woman in that pic and think she was too fat. She’s an attractive lady, but by many male standards she’d be considered undesirable.

    However, you seem to be implying that it is common that a guy could be attracted to a woman but will reject her because she doesn’t fit a picture in his head of the ideal woman.

    I can’t speak for all guys, but I know that I’ve done it when I was a stupid teenager and I see other guys do it all the time. Not just because she was too fat either. Sometimes she’s too skinny, or her breasts aren’t the right size, or her hips are too big/small, or any of dozen other superficial external reasons.

    You spoke about all the fine women you’ve broken up with.

    It would be more accurate to say they dumped my dumb ass. I only broke off one relationship out of the many I had. Most of the time it was the woman realizing I wasn’t quite ready for prime time and deciding to cut her losses. For which I can’t blame them.

  8. I know a lot of us are rather shallow when it comes to picking mates but I think a huge part of that is programmed into us our whole lives by almost every thing we see. When was the last time you saw an overweight person, of either sex, in film or on television where the size of the actor wasn’t relevant to the character’s role. Fat comedians are acceptable though for some reason.
    The same beauty industry that creates anorexics also creates unrealistic standards.

    When you are young and stupid f%&k skinny chicks. When you have matured marry a fat woman. It seems to me that fat women, particularly those who have always had weight issues, instead of spending all their time trying to match an almost impossible image grow personalities instead. Beauty fades, character doesn’t.

  9. Oh this is interesting. I was wondering why i have days that i literally am disgusted i am a woman…i believe it may be that i feel i’m not good enough for my husband. Even though i would say, visually, i would seem reasonably attractive to men in general. My husband is shorter than me, i’m white, he is dark. We never go anywhere together and it is totally destroying myself worth because i feel like i’m not good enough, but only good enough to clean the kitchen, wash the clothes, take care of our kid. So i figure, we rarely go out in publice together because he (my guess) is embarrassed that my tall giraffe height makes him look like a short african pigmy and it makes him socially anxious or he loves someone else or it just because we are plain broke and he RARELY ever puts his spare money into nuturing ‘quality’ time.

    So i somehow feel that i am a useless piece of crap that doesnt deserve to be love or spoiled by my own husband and it has driven me to hate myself for being a woman. It’s killing me inside and he knows exactly how i feel because i express myself quite openly and with anger sometimes while he sits back mostly, when i’m angry, and doesnt say a damm word, and him saying nothing actually makes me more angry and feel more embarrassed and creates more self-hate and hate and resent towards his blk ass…not that i hate him for being blk, just he thinks he is some alpha african male and his arrogance irritates the crap out of me! dont get me wrong, he has his good qualities, he is just frigging clueless when it comes to making me feel loved…maybe the obvious factor really is just staring me in the face ‘he doesnt love me’ and quite frankly probably thinks my purpose is to serve him while my emotional, psychological, mental and physical health go straight down the toilet. I want to scream HELP let me out of this sad marriage but i start to think maybe i’m just a stupid woman that actually is just a spoilt little that should be grateful she has food and shelter. so, i HATE being a woman.

    oh, sorry to go off track, just had to get that off my whingeing naggy female mind. I was 95kgs at the end of my pregnancy YET i am about 175cm tall so, nearly 5months later i got down to 75kgs which was reasonably normal looking yet not the 65-60 kgs i really wanted to be but i didnt try because i felt like my husband never gave a crap about me anyway so i gave up, i thought he makes me feel so unloved now, i cannot find the inspiration to lose weight and he never wants to do anything with me.

    Stupid prick! i hate him but love him but i want to do the right thing for my health.

    I dont know what my rights are anymore as a woman. What do i deserve? i’m so confused.

  10. Tam, if you have the means to do so I’d recommend you try talking with a counselor. Preferably a marriage counselor if you can convince your husband to participate, but if not then someone you can talk to about the resentment and anger you’re feeling. You may find that it’ll help you to work through the issues you’re having and make some decisions about what to do next.

  11. It’s all about emotional maturity and having good character. I’m the tall blonde leggy slim type, it’s been no better for me. I’ve had endless years of wolf whistles, men proclaiming to love me, empty ridiculous, abusive and painful relationships that were draining, bad for health and children, my work and killed my financials. Nothing but hell, and they keep coming. Theres a bottomless pit of men who’ll lie, cheat, manipulate and con you into bed who have no idea what it takes to make a great relationship, nor the character and maturity to entice me into one. I seriously would love an indepth mature loving relationship. I’m done spoiling these pathetic excuses for men when theyre selfish, cruel, immature and pretty much full of it. Their a dime a dozen, as common as dirt, and worthless. I’m mature, loving, responsible great with relationships, i’ve done the work, kind and loving and lots of fun and the so called outside package is great where the hell are all the good men? I’m prepared to go it alone for the rest of my life and i’m only 40. Teaming up with the immature fools is a repulsive and repugnant thought to me..not happening if they were last man on earth. Cmon boys..Man up! There’s a plethoria of great women out there of all ages and sizes and styles and i really feel the males of the species have been truelly not worth the investment. It’s not just the way they behave with their women, theyre conduct of being good fathers is pretty worthless too.

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