Dating as a plus-size woman is difficult. It's easy to understand why: A bigoted fear of fat bodies colors interactions between plus-size women and their potential partners. There's also the subtle — and sometimes overt — ways fat women disparage themselves.
Plus, there's a lack of help available for fat women who want to date often and effectively. The internet is full of twisted advice on how to, essentially, take advantage of larger women by exploiting their insecurities for personal gain.
All of these stacked cards make it seem impossible for plus-size girls to find love. Seeming impossible, however, doesn't mean it actually is. Fat women should enter the dating arena with confidence, a vision for what they want, and tools that will help them find a partner who loves, cherishes, and respects them — and their bodies.
So, here are nine tips from a big girl to big girls about dating and finding love:
Take up as much space as possible.
Plus-size girls are often taught to hide our bodies. We internalize those teachings, and it shows up in everything from using a pillow to cover our stomachs to avoiding clothing that isn't considered "flattering."
It's time to unlearn that. When dating, take up as much space as possible. Wear the crop-top that makes you feel sexy. Don't order salad out of habit — instead, eat the food you want to eat.
After all, you have to be comfortable with your body before expecting a potential partner to be.
Be willing to take risks — even if it might come with rejection.
All women are socialized to believe that being a damsel in distress is the surefire way to nab a partner. Fuck that. Make the first move.
If there's a cute person you're attracted to, approach them. It's OK if you get rejected. "I'm not interested" isn't the end of the world — but driving yourself crazy with the shoulda, woulda, couldas is unnecessary torture.
Ask them out.
Don't settle for the person who wants you. Go for the person that you want.
Do not settle. You don't have to leap for the first person who shows interest. You are a hot commodity who's deserving of a partner that fulfills your innate sense of attraction.
Furthermore, if you're not attracted to the person approaching you, feel free to say so.
Promote your flaws.
You're not a perfect person and no one should expect you to be. So, from the beginning, flaunt your flaws.
For instance, don't purport to be someone who prefers phone calls when you're really comfortable with texting. Let your partner know what your preferences are — and stick to them.
Recognize the difference between being desired and being fetishized.
There's a fine line between being desired and being fetishized, as Revelist's managing editor Lauren Gordon recently reported. Spotting the signs of fetishization, like being encouraged to gain weight, being repeatedly referred to as a BBW, and having a lot of conversations that reference the size of your body, is important.
You want someone to be attracted to you, not obsessed with the fatness of your body — unless that's something you're interested in.
Dump anybody who attempts to malign you because of your size.
Backhanded compliments, weight-related jokes, and any other behavior rooted in fatphobia shouldn't be tolerated — period. Your size does not make you a punchline or a punching bag.
Be unapologetic about having sex, even if it's on the first date.
There's nothing wrong with getting busy on the first, second, or third date. You're two consenting adults who shouldn't be anchored to sexist understandings of "purity" and morality.
Of course, it's important to practice safe sex and openly communicate about sexual boundaries. Then, have fun and let loose in the no-judgment zone.