This week’s Modern Love column comes courtesy of Paula Derrow, the articles director at Self magazine, who speaks about dating men who weigh more than she does:
I have outweighed most of the men I’ve loved in my life. To be fair, most of them have been thin: my first boyfriend was 6-foot-2 and weighed just 135 pounds, and he was followed by a string of maddeningly slender sorts.
Unlike Derrow, I haven’t often dated men who weigh more than me. I wouldn’t be described as overweight–I’m pretty muscular and athletic looking after years of participating in sports–yet I don’t like the idea of dating very thin guys (of which there are many, especially in my part of Brooklyn). From speaking with other friends, I know that I’m not alone in this. Irrationally, we talk about being afraid of “breaking” a guy who is thinner as though a few extra pounds could actually cause a bone fracture. And when I do date guys who are thinner than I am–or at least that is how I perceive them–they are usually quite tall. I want to feel smaller than the guy I’m dating at least in some capacity–mass in one direction if not the other.
I do recognize that this sort of prejudice is quite silly as are several of the other “deal breakers” people come up with. I am also disappointed in myself as a feminist for so deeply internalizing societal messages about my body that I believe that I should be smaller than a man and would potentially discount a man if he is too slim. I shouldn’t want to feel small–I should want to feel strong and powerful even if that comes in a large package.
Ms. Derrow, fortunately, did not prove as irrational or as shallow I sometimes can be, and ended up marrying a slender man.
And while we’re being completely anti-feminist, here is the John Mayer video for Bigger Than My Body.