Differently Straight

(Kate Harding asked me to write something about Fat Admirers and I was more than happy to do so. Emphasis is actually hers. You can also find this over here at Shapely Prose.)

My name is Brian and I think fat women are sexy.

They call men like me FAs: Fat Admirers. It’s the modern term for “chubby chaser”. I choose to date fat women. Not because I’m enlightened enough to “see past” their body. Not because I think everyone is beautiful. Not because I think fat women are nicer or sweeter, and certainly not “easier.” It is because I think fat women are hot.

This is a funny thing in our society. I mean, I’m a man attracted to women. Seems pretty mainstream to me, but somehow it isn’t. Sure, I’m straight but I’m “differently straight”. I’m not quite a part of the heterosexual hegemony. The physical ideal I’m supposed to adhere to just doesn’t do anything for me. The sexualized culture that caters to the traditionally straight male doesn’t cater to me. If anything, it mocks and abuses me. What turns me on is ridiculed and condemned in the harshest tones. The mere idea that someone like me could think the way I do is rarely even acknowledged and almost never tolerated. If a man like me even gets portrayed, he’s sick, a freak. In a fat hating society, it is simply unacceptable to actually aesthetically enjoy fat people.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not looking for pity here. Compared to fat people, FAs have it easy. Being open about being an FA is the easiest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. There is effectively no direct harassment I have to endure being an FA. I don’t get threatened or heckled if seen in public with a fat person. I can marry a fat woman in all 50 states. Still, it is different. Unnatural to some — and unwelcome even to most subjects of an FA’s admiration.

I was lucky growing up because most of the pressure to conform went so far over my head, I didn’t even know it was there. I was pretty debilitatingly naïve as a kid. Well, it would have been debilitating if I wasn’t too naïve to notice it. Oddly enough, I think this social flaw wound up benefiting me. I didn’t know enough to know that I wasn’t supposed to think fat girls were cute. I knew that I was different, sure. But I didn’t think this meant I had to hide it. I just thought it meant I was different. By the time I really grasped how unacceptable it was, it was too late. I didn’t respond by cowering in fear, but by challenging the standards. I taught myself about fat acceptance. About the politics behind the way fat people were treated. I was advocating for fat acceptance at 14. Instead of staying in a closet, I was outspoken and I’m profoundly grateful that I was.

Mind you, I wasn’t winning converts in high school. One of the toughest things about being an FA is the some of the harshest receptions you’ll get come from fat women. Fat hatred is so extraordinarily internalized by fat women in our culture, the idea of a guy thinking they were beautiful just couldn’t be reconciled. I mostly weathered this without falling into “Nice Guy” traps, thankfully. Still, a lot of FAs don’t. A lot of FAs keep hating themselves. They think its wrong to be attracted to fat women. They buy into the cultural hate as much as anyone. Others waste energy trying to be a “white knight” pretending they can undo years of social conditioning just by telling a woman that she’s beautiful. Or worse, they grow to think fat women owe them something for their affection. The truth, though, is that probably most FAs remain invisible, thanks to a culture that likes to keep them that way. They are afraid to open up until they are older and have grown too tired of hiding.

Being an FA isn’t something sick or demented. There are men who fetishsize fat, sure, but that’s different from being an FA. Being an FA just means that you see a fat person and you think they are sexy. Some people think it is limiting to be an FA. Really? There is a range of probably 300lbs of what I’m really turned on by and plenty past that which I find quite aesthetically appealing in its own right. “Thin Admirers” like what? A range of 30lbs, tops? The thing is, a “Thin Admirer” isn’t anything. They don’t need to self-identify. No one could pick up on their attraction by observing who they date, because they keep to social expectations. They have the privilege of their preference being undetectable, while mine is evident to anyone who knows me. I can either hide and be invisible, or everyone is going to see right where I stand. Yet, it’s the men and women challenging the status quo who have to answer for their supposedly superficial preference. We’re the ones who are accused of limiting our options, while men interested only in thin women simply fade into the background.

For most FA’s, it’s just a preference. It’s just part of what we’re looking for in a romantic relationship.
There is this idea that the choices fat women have are men who date them because of their size or despite of their size. Both options would suck if you ask me. Good thing being an FA isn’t either. I want to be with a fat woman, yes, but I’m looking for someone I am completely attracted to, mind and body. I’m not martyring myself by dating someone “even though” she is fat. I’m not debasing her by dating her just because she is fat. The attraction is inclusive of the physical attraction, neither because of nor in spite of it.

I don’t really know why I think fat women are beautiful. Its not like I sat down one day and did a list of pros and cons to come to the logical answer. I have a friend who is convinced all FA’s had some experience in their childhood that produced the preference, but I really can’t think of anything. I never had fat teachers, fat babysitters, even fat relatives. There were signs of where I was going as early as 7 years old, but once I got to puberty I was pretty solidly aware. There isn’t an answer to “why?” I just am. This is just how I’m wired. I tend to think that’s probably the case for most FAs. We just are.

I could go on about the unique experience of being an FA. Our sexual development is profoundly impacted by the conflicted cultural stimuli we receive, and I think a lot of it really hurts FAs — though the internet is changing things, hopefully for the better. I may be different, and I may have faced some unique challenges, but I’m honestly quite happy and confident with who I am. I really do think I’m lucky to be differently straight. I wouldn’t trade who I am for anything.


Anonymous said...

I was going to write something long winded about what was awesome about this article but instead of highlighting individual points I'm going to just say you hit everything perfectly.

You pointed out the bad stereotypes (and there is truth behind them) and helped explain the more positive aspects. I love my wife for who she is as much as for the shape of her body.

Thank you for writing this article.

Anonymous said...

it was very inlightening to take a look on the sabject from a male perspectiv and was very vell writen , i injoyd ur article and ur point of viwe
just wanted to mention it in case u read the comments oh and ..
u rock never change :P

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.