Photo by nataliej via CC

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.

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