Ask Professor Foxy: Does My Size and Not Flirting Keep Me Alone?

This weekly Saturday column “Ask Professor Foxy” will regularly contain sexually explicit material. This material is likely not safe for work viewing. The title of the column will include the major topic of the post, so please read the topic when deciding whether or not to read the entire column.
Hi Professor Foxy,
I’m 22 years old and I’ve never been in a relationship (or even a hook up for that matter) and I am really starting to feel lonely. There are many reasons for why I think this is but for the most part I think its because I am overweight and most of the guys I like are not. Being a feminist, I try to tell myself that that shouldn’t matter and I should find a guy who likes me for me, but on the other hand I feel extremely hypocritical because I know I would never find an overweight guy attractive (I actually tend to prefer skinny guys).
The other problem is I just don’t really know how to flirt. I feel like there is some sort of code way of talking to guys when you like them and I just never learned this. I have anxiety issues and when I realize I like someone, I get nervous around them and avoid them, assuming they will magically come to me. So, basically my two main questions are: 1) is it unfeminist to want to lose weight for the main purpose of attracting guys? and 2)How can I show a guy I am interested without over or under-doing it?
Thanks in advance,
Lonely

Hi Lonely -
Although I vowed not to bare the intimate details of my life in this column, I cannot help but respond personally as one not-thin woman to another. I have never been thin and get what it’s like to walk through a world that tells you that you are inherently unattractive for the size you wear.
I don’t doubt that some men will reject you due to your size, but others will not. Still others find women of size the hottest thing since butter on bread.
But I’ve found that bigger is better only when you sell it that way. Simply put, you have to think yourself Hot Stuff.
What about you do you find attractive? Yes–society, media, etc. says women over a certain size are unattractive, but I call bullshit. For many of us–size irrelevant given the malarkey all women are taught– it is believing that we are hot that is difficult.
So how do you find yourself hot? What body parts do you like on yourself? Close your eyes and run your hands over your body . . . isn’t there something lovely about how soft you are? What do you wear that feels sexy- playing dress up can help us see the erotic parts of ourselves.
There are thin men out there who date bigger women. The trick is finding them. How are you looking to meet men? Have you tried personal ads? In ads you can put it out there that you are bigger and what you want in a man. It helps lower the rejection factor.
For me, a basic tenet of feminism is not to beat yourself up over your likes/dislikes. Yes, there is some hypocrisy in being attracted to a man of a certain size, but your attraction is there and we can acknowledge our own hypocrisy and then move on.
Losing weight is something that has to be done for you. I would urge you not to focus on your size or weight, but instead on your health. How far can you run? How heavy a bag can you carry? Those numbers are often a better reflection of our health than the numbers on a scale.
As for flirting, there is not some magical code, and frankly, lots of people don’t “flirt” at all. Men are just people. Talk to them, have a conversation, laugh. Somewhere in there, you will likely find that you are flirting. Nothing magically leads to another, but a good conversation can lead to a good relationship and/or good sex. Put yourself out there; try to be clear about what (and who!) you are interested in.
The risk of rejection is part of dating, regardless of size. The trick is to realize that being rejected is part of life. Only by putting yourself out there in all your fabulous size are you going to meet someone. I’m not saying it is easy, but only by putting ourselves out there do we get what we want.
If you have a question for Professor Foxy, send it to ProfessorFoxyATfeministingDOTcom.

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159 Comments

  1. Honeybee
    Posted May 11, 2009 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I personally hate the whole argument that “it’s ok because X group isn’t treated as bad as Y” and thus I reject this post.
    So if Asians face less racism then blacks, we should just ignore racism against Asians?? That seems to be what you are saying.
    We aren’t going to win people over to these ideas unless we apply them equally. If even feminists are making exceptions, so will the general public.

  2. chirizca
    Posted May 11, 2009 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Exactly. I met some really cool people on OK Cupid, but I also met people that just weren’t for me. I think the point is to give Lonely ideas and options and she can figure out for herself how she wants to proceed.

  3. sparky17
    Posted May 11, 2009 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    no, its actually pretty true across cultures. a narrow waist compared to a full bottocks/thighs indicates more estrogen and more ferility. im not disagreeing that there are cultural ideals of beauty, but from a broad perspective, we are born with the basic ability to look for adequate mates. Men may not be thinking “her hip ratio tells me she looks nice and fertile” but thats what their brains are signaling them when they find someone initially attractive.

  4. sparky17
    Posted May 11, 2009 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I don’t diagree that culture influences things. Maybe because in countries where bigger ladies are more attractive has to do with the fact that there is not as much available food. The US has an overabundance of food. It’s everywhere! Maybe its more attractve here to be thinner becuase its so readily available that we don’t need to store our fat.
    Also I think I watched a documentary on girls being put into fattening hut. Most of the girls they talked to did not want to do it, and one woman who had already been through it cited that she had health concrens related to her gaining so much weight. Makes me sad that ladies have to do stuff like this :-(

  5. jacqueline.allain
    Posted May 11, 2009 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    If a man on this website said he would rather date skinny women than fat women, he’d get shot. Why is it okay for women, then, to express these same superficial opinions?
    Everyone seems to be skirting around this issue.
    To the writer of this letter, if you really want a man, maybe you should lose some weight. I’m sure there are lots of fat men out there thinking “I’m so lonely, I really want a woman.. too bad I’m fat.” And guess what! These fat men, many of whom are probably very cool, funny, and sweet, would get turned down by you based solely on their appearance! It’s not fair for you to hold prospective boyfriends to your high standards of physical attractiveness, while simultaneously failing to meet those same standards.

  6. Aesthier
    Posted May 13, 2009 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    Super props to all those commenting up until the “health” debate.
    I will go out on a limb here simply because as someone else said this is a mental growth issue and in doing so I hope to open myself to some criticism and very possibly some “personal” growth.
    I am 37 and currently not so confident in my own appearance. I am not obese but with each year it become hard to ignore the fact I feel less and less in shape. Being highly self critical it all spiraled into a great ball of drama about a year ago. I went to a therapist, among other things, for the abundance of self loathing I had for myself. The hypocrisy of desiring a mate who I found visually appealing while my feelings about my own physical make up were conflicting eventually made its way to the discussion. Her suggestion was to “go hogging”. That term dropped my jaw to the floor especially when coming from a “professional therapist”. It bothered me so much that I called the one person at the top of my secret advice listing. My older sister.
    Once I had divulged the situation to her she asked me why in the world I had gone to counseling for such a trivial thing. I am me simply put. Being an artist I am drawn to beautiful things but also beauty is in the eye of the beholder. She was right, I cannot change that which I consider to be beautiful, and therefore attempting to is contradictory to my nature regardless of what it defines beauty as. Since then I have quit trying to go against my grain for “benevolent reasoning” and learned to just be myself and appreciate those things that I find such beauty in.
    I like most men have a variety of body styles I find visually appealing. However (and I would hope this is true for the rest of my brethren) I also have a variety of personalities I find appealing.
    A woman’s (I am hetero after all) rating on the possible friend/mate listing can sway a lot dependent upon the amount of traits they are compatible with on both the mental and physical lists.
    For example a female who hits high marks on the visual might be able to get away with a less compatible personality (not much though as I find getting older good communication and mental compatibility rates higher.)
    A female with a very compatible personality could be outside the bounds of the visual appealing listing.
    As I am not so good with words this may have come across the wrong way however gut feeling is most people use something similar subconsciously. Females, Males, Heterosexual or Homosexual.
    Neither visual nor personality outweigh the other its just a way to identify where your ideals lay when choosing prospective relationship material.
    As a side note once I became comfortable with the things that I saw as beautiful, and to hell with what society thought, I found that those two lists began to expand to things/people that I previously would not have considered. While I still don’t think of myself as attractive per say it did make me much more comfortable in my own skin and led to a change in confidence.
    Love yourself for who you are and eventually someone else will to.

  7. nattles_thing
    Posted May 14, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Kind of does, considering that she did ask about losing weight to attract men, and Prof Foxy said to focus on her health. And while a lot of fat acceptance conversations do get derailed by people shrieking about how it’s totally unhealthy, it’s actually relevant here.

  8. jjgirl23
    Posted May 14, 2009 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Uh huh, sure..

  9. Jpowell
    Posted May 25, 2009 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    Lonely,
    There have been a lot of great things said here. I’m just going to add that four months ago, I was 21 and in the same boat as you. Like (nearly) exactly the same boat as you. I am now in love with someone who loves me (for who I am) and couldn’t be happier.
    “… a good conversation can lead to a good relationship and/or good sex.” This is one of the truest things I have ever heard.

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