You Prefer to Date Fat Guys So You Don't Feel So Bad About Yourself

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A sex therapist says women will fantasize about a hot bod all day long, but in reality, they'd rather be with a fat guy, because it makes them feel less garbage-y. In other surveys, what wouldn't you do for love, looking how you look?


Before we parse this buttery brick road, let's get a few things clear: Yes, the story is the in the Daily Mail. Yes, the story is about a survey. Yes, that survey is a promotional survey for the DVD release of Bad Neighbors, starring Seth Rogen and Zac Effron! Yes, the survey is being interpreted by Tracey Cox, who is referred to as a "sexpert." But here's the thing, it's kind of exactly the way we think things are, when in fact, everything about that interpretation treats men and women like monolithic types with rote sexual responses and desires, and bodies as good or bad, desirable or undesirable, to the point of farce. Women are inhibited and insecure; men are free and easy.

A sample:

Three in four British women would choose a man with love handles over one sporting a six-pack.

That's 23 million of us who find muscular men a turn off; 96% predict a date with an abs-obsessed bloke to be positively dreary.


But when it comes to real life, we don't want chiselled perfection in our bed.

The question is: why on earth not?

Why don't women want some hot, buff, perfect-bodied man lying beside us?

The sad answer is this: we're worried we won't shape up.

Seventy-four percent of women in the survey said they'd feel self-conscious taking their clothes off in front of a perfectly toned man.

Look, I don't know about anyone's life or how they really feel deep inside or what the hell makes anyone do anything at all, ever. All I know is I wouldn't date this guy pictured in the story, but not because he has a gut, but because of his horrible sunglasses.

Image for article titled You Prefer to Date Fat Guys So You Don't Feel So Bad About Yourself

Seriously. Yes, we get it: Men and women have different currency in the world, and women have to be prettier than men have to be handsome. That creates a host of weird bullshit issues for all of us. But on an individual level, we're still INDIVIDUALS.

Here's the deal:

This survey is very confusing.

Seventy-four percent of women in the survey said they'd feel self-conscious taking their clothes off in front of a perfectly toned man.


I have a few minor questions: Do I know this toned man? Is he a stranger? Why am I taking my clothes off in front of him? Are we going to hook up? Have we talked beforehand? Does he like Arcade Fire? Is it obvious we're attracted to each other? Or did the survey just point to a strange but toned man and tell me to disrobe?

There aren't two choices in the world when it comes to types of dudes.

There's not only fat or abs-obsessed, Seth Rogen or Zac Effron. There's fat, there's thin, there's medium, there's stocky, there's lanky, there's Win Butler, there's a million possible things in the middle of schlub vs buff-as-marble that make up a dude body type. I get why the survey would want to ask to choose for the sake of promoting the movie. I don't get why we'd interpret it as truly relevant to people actually getting together, when there are a bazillion other real-world factors that affect these things. Fuck, at this point whether or not someone requires caffeine in the morning would be just as critical to a love match as body type.


FURTHERMORE: Who were these women surveyed? What is their body type? Are we really to believe that even super buff ladies who put in the time are ALSO too afraid to get naked in front of toned dudes? No, because they did not survey women, they surveyed the comic strip Cathy.

There's a reason muscular men are a turn-off for a lot of ladies, and it's not female insecurity.


Look, I'm a woman who happens to not go gaga over super buff dudes. I'm not saying there's nothing to being with someone less attractive, or that some men and women aren't into that. But the assumptions here are ridiculous: What the culture at large seems to "agree" as objectively attractive is wildly wildly different from what everyday people like in another person. I would pick Seth Rogen every day of my life over Zac Effron, because I like jokes and hate the letter 'z.'

Also: Why would a date with an abs-obsessed bloke be dreary? I can imagine a few reasons. Working out takes a lot of fucking time and literal energy, and you really gotta get in there and shape that shit, and care, and take supplements prolly, or think about your strategy and workout plan and exactly what percentage grade your lunge is, and that means one thing: You're gonna talk about it. A lot.


I would rather date — and seriously try to actually know and LOVE and be good to — that guy with the crazy list of girlfriend demands than talk to someone about how they feel about how their workout is going or how much better their body looks today with X effort.

The survey didn't necessarily ask who the woman would bone, it asked who they would date.


Dating involves a host of factors. Hookups can be much less considered, or rather, much more considered for different reasons.

Sexpert Tracey Cox said: "Mr Non-Perfect is a relief to any woman who steps on the scales, every day of her life, and finds her mood is affected, every day of her life, by what they say."


I feel bad for that imaginary scale woman. Is she real? I think the reason any person is looking for a less looks-obsessed mate is not because they are insecure, but because they are taking multiple factors into consideration, like how much being super in shape matters to them and, oh I dunno, PERSONALITY. INTERESTS.

Yes, women carry around much more baggage about their looks in terms of cultural approval than men. For an interesting counter to this, consider a piece at The Cut about a woman learning from Tinder use that she has a fetish body type that a lot of dudes are way into. In it, she discovers that being liked immediately for her body over her personality was both liberating and reductive, though she never actually goes so far as to conclude that the men who like her body are in any way insecure. Rather, it's just their thing.


But consider this Reddit AMA "I love fucking fat men. AMA?" with a woman who likes sex with bigger men. She answers in response to a question about whether there is any awkwardness during sex:

I haven't found my encounters with big guys any more awkward than with skinny guys. Sometimes big guys need a little bit more reassurance that they're attractive, and they freeze up when I try to take their shirt off.


I think if there is anything useful we can conclude from this charade, it's that we all carry some kind of baggage around about our bodies — I, for instance, have always been a few inches taller than most men I've dated, because I'm a few inches taller than most men. But for every person with a thing they got stuck with is in the way of their love life, there is likely a person who likes that thing.

And yes, we are all just trying to understand each other and the world, and chirpy little generalizations about what men and women deal with make us feel like it's all sorted and quantifiable. Yes! Men go out and get that sex no matter what, and women are dying a slow death inside of fear and insecurity. To wit, the sexpert says "I've yet to meet one man who has let feeling fat stop them having sex."


But not only is this shit depressing, it isn't real: It obscures reality and replaces it with a breezy bullshit way to look at the world that helps no one. Men's sense of self may be wildly different than women's — I bet they do care less overall about their weight, or at least put way less energy into thinking about it, the culture backs that up. But it sure as shit doesn't mean nothing gets in the way of them performing sexually.

But presenting this as a world where men can have their cake quite literally and still get tail, while women deny themselves food and sex and hot bodies because they feel like gargoyles who simply can't engage with their own desire, will do nothing to help men and women understand each other, themselves, sex, or anything else, Or the movie Bad Neighbors, for that matter. WTF is that about even.


Illustration by Tara Jacoby.



This guy is super hot:

But so is this guy.

It's not all about the abs, people!