SL Letter of the Day: Convention Wisdom


Reminds me of a line in some tacky tv show where an infertile white man being arrested for stealing a white baby was whining that he just wanted a child who looked like him, did that make him a bad person? And the cop answered No, it makes you childless.
Wow. She sounds really unpleasant.

She "lowered" her standards to date ONE guy who apparently wasn't conventionally attractive enough, so she's not doing it again.

Yeah, she's really looking hard for something that works. It's not at all that she likes to be able to complain.
I have the exact same problem, ICHTT. But in my case, I KNOW it's partly my attitude in addition to my weight. I've built quite a complex around it, so I'm afraid to actually act interested in guys I like (for fear of rejection). Are you putting yourself out there, or are you (like me), waiting for the handsome prince to come and ask YOU out? I wonder if you'd have luck if you asked THEM? Good luck; I haven't managed to make myself go for that yet.
I've got a crazy idea for the LW, if you aren't obese, then maybe you have about 25-35 lbs to lose, right? Cause unless you are very tall, being more overweight than that would be sliding into "obese" territory.

Suck it up, work your @ss off for 6-7 months, lose the weight, and see if you get asked out! Then you'll know for sure if the issue was your weight or not! And if it wasn't the weight, you can choose to stick with it if you like the way you look and feel, or let it creep back on if you were happier before.
don't underestimate geeky, socially awkward guys. they might surprise you if you give them a chance.

and it's quite likely that the reason they're approaching you is not because they deem you to be in their league - but that they actually *do* find you attractive. they're unconventional in other ways, it stands to reason that their beauty standards may be unconventional as well.

i think dan is correct - you have set yourself up to fail.
Sit around sulking if you want, but there are a lot of good men you dismiss out of hand and your clock is ticking. Time has a way of slipping away while you fuss over things you can change if you really wanted to. And you sound tacky. Get some class.
(I hope Mrs. Hernandez won't mind if I discuss this)

My wife is also larger than the "conventionally attractive" standard (which I'm going to assume refers to the body ideal that is typically portrayed in the media) yet a lot smaller than the women you'd see in BBW porn. While I'm not claiming to be anywhere near Brad Pitt in the looks department, I'm relatively thin, fit and well-groomed. Let's put it this way: I've dated plenty of conventionally-attractive (read: thin) women in my life and no one acted like I was totally out of their league.

I think her features are amazingly beautiful, but that's not all there is to it. She is the horniest woman I've ever met, and the very definition of Good, Giving and Game. She's also confident and comfortable in her own skin. That was really appealing in terms of wanting to pursue a relationship with her. Dan and your friends are right, attitude makes a difference.

And keep in mind that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. I always laugh when friends brag about how (conventionally) hot their wives/girlfriends are, then turn around and complain about never getting laid, or being treated poorly, or money problems related to their partner's spending habits. Being "conventionally attractive" or being with someone who is doesn't automatically mean you're better off, but it sounds like you think it does.
If everyone went with the "I'm only attracted to people who are hotter than I am" one one person in the world would ever get laid, and only if he or she decided to relax standards for an evening.
@ Hernandez, that is awesome.

Also, reminds me of a caption I saw once on a photo of a conventionally hot girl: "Just remember, no matter how hot she is, somebody somewhere is sick of putting up with her shit."

She sounds - and I'm by no means certain, but this is the vibe I get - like an early 20-something just figuring herself and her tastes out. Hopefully she'll mellow out some as she matures a little more. I did, and it included developing more confidence in my attractiveness, which in turn made attractive people more attracted to me. Dan's right, I think: the problem is probably not her weight, but her attitude.

And, you know, if she's that fucking bothered, maybe she should hit the fucking gym? Jesus. Don't write in to Dan and include the most obvious solution to your problem in the letter, please. If you can't be bothered to work for what you want, maybe the problem is your priorities.
as an overweight woman it took me a long, long time to let go of the idea that i didn't attract men simply because of my weight.. years ago i wrote dan this exact same letter, minus the part about lowering my standards and being disappointed.. while i still harbor a bit of anger towards the social lie that we tell kids that it's what inside them that counts (not that it doesn't but it matters quite a bit what you look like, is my point), i can see how much my attitude, in several ways, was the problem... if you expect men to not be attracted to you, whether you realize it or not, you are putting out that vibe... i can tell you from more years of experience that feeling sexy absolutely makes men see you as sexier.. and i do get hit on by cag's and usually reject them for other reasons at this point.. stupid and thoughtless is worse than doughy in my book.. it is hard to lose weight, harder than anyone who hasn't dealt with it genuinely realizes, but that doesn't matter as much how you feel about yourself... and i'm not saying that doing whatever it is that would make you feel sexy is all it would take as if self-esteem is some magic cure that will land you a hot guy in no time.. it's just that your real and final question - is your weight the best explanation for your situation? - has to be answered with a no, not all by itself it isn't.. plus, if more than one of your friends says its your attitude, doesn't that mean it must have some merit? but i do wish you fat girl solidarity luck with it all :)
Honestly, none of my single male friends are attracted to overweight women at all. I know one dude whose wife is overweight, but he's always been quite heavy himself, doesn't eat right, doesn't exercise. The vast majority of young, single men -- even those who aren't in the best shape themselves -- want women who take good care of themselves physically, women who will look good on their arm. That's the way 98% of straight guys are. That's just life.
Research has demonstrated time and again that everything else being equal, people tend to end up with partners who are about as attractive as they are. This isn't just true for women, it's also true for men.

From what I've seen, men can trade up by being rich, powerful, or really funny.

Likewise, I've seen women trade up by being smart, socially connected, sexual wildcats, or by going for an older man.

Sure, LW could hit the jackpot, but odds are against it.
I...I don't know. I want to be able to sympathize with the LW, I really do, because fatphobia is a real problem and too many people hate other people just for being fat, which is as stupid as racism.

On the other hand, I remain unconvinced that someone who doesn't take care of themselves really has the right to *only* want to date people who *do* take care of themselves, because that's kind of just...unfair.

You shouldn't hold other people to a higher standard than you hold yourself. I think this is what I'm trying to say. If you're going to expect something of other people, you need to expect it of yourself as well.

I have this argument with a friend of mine all the time because she constantly holds the guys she wants to date to a higher standard of behavior than what she is willing to do, and I take issue with that.

LW, if you want to date attractive, fit men who aren't chubby chasers, then you need to be fit. Sorry. But if you're going to hold them to that standard, you need to hold yourself to it.
Oh, and I've also seen outgoing men and women trade up by finding a partner who's very hot but very shy. Unfortunately, shyness seems to be a deal-breaker for LW as well.

Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. Thus there is a good chance that you are some guys type. So you need to start thinking of yourself as desirable and own your curves. If not you run the risk of being your own Achilles heel.

You also need to be self-aware enough to know if you allow yourself to reject others, then others have the same right. There is nothing inherently wrong with having a "type", but if you are not careful you're going to miss out on some great guys for superficial reasons. Never forget that time, gravity, and death show no mercy.

Good luck.
You know what attracts men? Women who appear to be having fun, who laugh, who are confident, who smile, who are friendly and open. One dear friend of mine has struggled with her weight for pretty much forever, but she's the funniest, happiest damn person I've ever met, and she attracts attention from men no matter where we go. Anecdotal? Yes. Sufficient sample size to prove a point? Yep.
@17 also makes a good point. A bunch of studies, and anecdotes, and word of mouth, have all shown over and over that the most attractive thing to both men and women is confidence.

My favorite is a study done with videos, of men wearing Axe vs. not wearing Axe. Just video, but a large sample size of women found men wearing Axe more attractive. Because they believed they were more attractive, so they acted more confidence, and that came through in their behavior in the videos.

Confidence is always sexy.
LW, a bit of practical advice: go online. OKCupid is pretty good, and I'm sure there are smaller, niche dating sites for whatever demographics you happen to belong to (race, religion, hobbies, etc). Get a couple pictures of yourself that show off all your best features and don't attempt to disguise your weight - like, if you have the means, do yourself up like a 1940s pinup girl or a Rubens model.

Work on your profile to make yourself seem like the most awesome person in the world (because you are, in fact, awesome!). Don't mention your weight in your profile - the pictures you've posted should do all that speaking for you.

More men will see your profile on a daily basis than you could hope to meet in an entire weekend of barhopping. The ones who aren't attracted to your body type will screen you out; the ones who are will message you. Do the same thing on your end - look for guys whose pictures and profile both attract you, and send him a message. Keep in mind the 1 in 10 Formula: Out of every 10 profiles you read, you'll only end up wanting to message one of them. Out of every 10 messages you send, only 1 will turn into a date. Out of every 10 dates you go on, only 1 will merit more dates. Out of every 10 guys you date casually, only 1 will end up being relationship material. It's a numbers game, and the only way you win is by playing. Some guys you find attractive might not message you - maybe the attraction isn't reciprocated, maybe they just aren't online much, maybe they just got a girlfriend and have yet to deactivate their profile. Just keep at it. Eventually you'll find an attractive guy who is just as attracted to you, and you'll forget all the people who didn't message you.

Don't assume that the geeky or older men are hitting on you just because they think you're desperate. They may be honestly attracted to you. An older man may also be a man who's more secure in his desires and feels less of a need to date a slender woman to earn the approval of his peers; and so he's going for the sort of woman he really desires, which is you.
The average CAG wants the average thin, hot woman, not you. So there are three ways to go as I see it, without giving up on your very own CAG.

1) Get fit.

2)Start being the aggressor, ask out lots of guys, but prepare for lots of rejection. Don't let it get soul-crushing, you are just playing the numbers until you find that rare guy who is into bigger women.

3) Go online, spell out who you are and who you are looking for. I recommend OK Cupid. Free, and the best of them regardless of price.
I've seen "BBW" where the girl could only be called that only if an American Apparel model is the standard for "normal weight." I'd be interested in seeing photos of the LW and the guy she "lowered her standards for." Eh, not going to happen.

I think balderdash has it nailed - she sounds young.
Well, I'm BBW. And I can say that since my separation from my husband I've hooked up a few times. Still see one guy semi regularly. And almost all of them were guys I would have considered out of my league before. Maybe they wanted me because I seemed easy, or good enough to fuck or something else. Or it could be because I'm funny and smart and good at making dick jokes on the fly. Who knows? I haven't dated anyone, but that's because I haven't found someone I wanted to date. Not the other way around. So really, either you have insane standards or you're putting off a vibe most guys don't want to have anything to do with.
...yeah, this LW turns me off too. Nothing really horrendous/glaring here, but some indications of an inability to reconcile her desires with a couple of realities. If you want a conventionally hot guy, then do the work to get conventionally hot. You say you have a pretty face. You can work for the rest.

Or don't. But then don't b*tch about your choices.

Sorry to sound harsh, but this letter kind of touches a nerve, really. She wants the world handed to her on a platter. Try being a less-than-conventionally-attractive straight guy sometime. You have no idea, girlfriend.
@12 that's crazy, I know plenty of guys who are into bigger women. And plenty who aren't into my physique-of-a-12-year-old-boy. It takes all types.
In fact, I feel like I know quite a few more women who are with guys who are WAY below their league. Mind-boggling.
Yeah. It's not just some weird taste you have, ICHTT. Almost everyone likes those CAMs ("conventionally attractive" kinda implies that, you know), and that's why those guys get to pick who they date and they usually pick CAW.

As a rule. Of course, exceptions exist. But they are uncommon, perhaps rare.

You are overweight. Overweight is less desirable. It may not be right or fair, but it is what it is. You don't get the luxury of being as picky as you are. If you want to have a chance at getting in a few good relationships, be excruciatingly truthful with yourself about where you fall on the dating scale (say 1-10 in terms of conventional desirability), and date guys within a point of your position, up or down. Sure, if you have unconventional attractiveness to men (You're a gamer girl, for example, or otherwise have appeal to a special subset of men for a reason not looks-based), go after better-looking men who value that special unconventional attractiveness. But when it comes to ordinary men, you will learn to be with and love someone a lot better if you accept that to most of the customers coming in the shop, you're not really what they are looking for.

I say to the gay guys, if you wouldn't date you, why would a much hotter guy? ICHTT, if you wouldn't date the male version of you, why would a CA guy want to date you? After all, you're "just not their type" and they "don't feel like [they] need to settle". That's an ugly sentiment, but at least the CAM have a right to it. You don't.

1) There are whole cultures, countries, continents where bigger women are what's hot. If you find a Latin American man he might call you "gorda" like he wants to take a bite out of you. I see bigger white girls dating black and hispanic men a lot, because those cultures appreciate curves more than white anglo culture does.
2) Get sexy in your bigness. Take a belly dancing class. Join a roller derby league. Find things that celebrate the sexiness of big to help you kick that no-hot-guy-is-gonna-be-into-me, self-trash-talk shit. Anyone who feels sexy and exudes confidence gains 10 sexy points. Go.
Nice Girl?
In my experience, most men are reliably into women who have some amount of curve and look reasonably healthy. I am not a man - but I know that when I look at women, I see a big difference between women with large breasts and ample hips with good posture who can obviously walk five miles or go out dancing, and women who have 20 or 30 pounds of fat sitting on an unhealthy frame. I don't know which kind of woman the LW is, but I do know that healthy is generally attractive and sexy, and unhealthy is generally not.

The two women I know who get / have gotten the most play I've ever seen have been amply proportioned and also extremely fit.

It is also worth noting that large breasts are heavy; they can easily weigh 20 pounds, and can be weight that it is difficult or impossible to lose. Focusing on increasing muscle tone and cardiovascular health is a much better idea than obsessing over pounds.
The choice between the sweet insecure guy she dumped and the underwear models she wants is total humbug. There is a big difference between lowering your standards and accepting that the people you date will have flaws. She doesn't have to settle, but she does have to woman up, build some fucking character instead of comparing herself to her "mean thin friends", and accept that Ken dolls only date Barbies.
@27 - Totally got a case of the Nice Girl Syndrome.
The rule is the same as always: ICHTT: you're absolutely entitled to seek out whatever you want, and you're absolutely _not_ entitled to find it. No one sheds a tear for the overweight, funny-looking guy who can't find himself a supermodel to bang, and why should they?

Also, I'll second balderdash's statement that you sound young. You might feel differently over time - my taste in women broadened a bit as I grew older, as it happened.
Appearances matter, of course. And indeed it is a bit condescending of the LW to demand from her prospective patterns standards that she doesn't want to adhere to herself.

Just as the has the right to think chubby, less-conventionally-attractive guys are not her type, men (some? many?) also have the right to think that chubby women like her are not their type.

And just as the chubby, less-conventionally-attractive guys suffer because of that, and face the problem of either changing their appearance or then changing their standards, so does she.

Many people have already given good advice to her; I'm not going to repeat it. I'm just going to say, to the LW: your extra pounds are probably just as important to prospective date partners as their own extra pounds would be important to you.

And, of course, there's the attitude. Yes, the attitude is important; please take into account the advice above about changing your attitude. But as far as the extra pounds go, I insist they are as important to others as they are to you. If you're willing to disregard a guy because he's fatter than average, then you're basically using the same standard of beauty that maybe affects you.
I'm chubby, as opposed to overweight as well (5'1" and 125ish pounds), and guys aren't attracted to me either (and yes, I work out and eat right, I just can't lose the weight. Body fat is pretty low though, so yay.) My friends also always come back with the "oh it's all in your attitude and confidence!"

But I have never understood this reasoning. I have seen some truly awful-personality/attitude people gets tons of attention. Some of my friends are even more insecure about their looks or complain about their weight more than I do, and get lots of male attention.

How does the "oh it's your attitude" theory explain that??
As somebody who's engaged to an avowed chubby chaser, but who is also only maybe 20lb overweight, let me assure you there are CAG who are attracted to "chubby" not BBW. There are numerous forums for people who like a spectrum of overweight women.

That said, the guys who are attracted to curvy, chubby, and BBW are looking for confidence, same as everybody else. In other words, if you're ashamed of your body, if you slouch, have bad posture, dress poorly, can't speak intelligently, you're not going to be seen as attractive. Go look at Christina Hendricks - she's revered for being stylish (and have enormous bosoms) but she only pulls off the weight she does because of her style and confidence.

So yeah. Convince yourself that no guy could ever love you, and you're right, he won't. Have style and confidence and you'll turn heads (to a point) regardless of size.

Yes. Fat women are less attractive to most men than thin women. Don't like it? Too bad. Lose some fucking weight. It's not hard. Exercise and eat less. That's what I did. In a year I dropped 50 pounds. Now, getting dates is easy.
@15 - That's the secret - shy people take a little more effort to know but they are tremendously rewarding. That 'meek' guy might just be a little low on self-confidence - something a girlfriend could really boost. You'd be amazed at the transformation that can take place with a shy person once you gain entry into their world and help them out of their shell.

As to what most guys find attractive - believe it or not - most men I know prefer something in between super skinny stripper porn and fetish BBW porn. Men like full breasts, curvy hips and round bottoms. Think Christina Hendricks or Marilyn Monroe.

I know it can be difficult to lose weight - and some women will always be 10-20lbs over that no matter what they do. However there is a big difference between a woman with a healthy lifestyle (one who hikes and can play sports etc.) and one that is primarily a junk food binging couch ornament.

Get out of bars, join a hiking club or get into activities like recreational sports that have an abundance of men, and I guarantee you there will quality men who are both interesting and interested.
People like people who make them feel good and that they enjoy being around. If she's dismissing others - not trying to date them, but dismissing them - because they are not up to her standards, this hypocrisy is going to be felt by others who will dismiss her just as easily. That is entirely her problem.

And yes, many of the people she feels attracted to will not return those feelings because of her weight problem. That is entirely their problem.

So her problem is, really, how can she become attractive to the people she's attracted to? Changing her attitude might help, but a combination of attitude adjustment and losing some fucking weight would take her much further than whining about it.

Harsh? Come on. She's obviously not comfortable with herself and she's longs for some idealized fantasy world where everyone can see what a wonderful person she is in spite of the measurement of her waistband. Her choices are then to actually BE that wonderful person where everyone can recognize how beautiful she is on the inside, or eat right and become beautiful on the outside. (Whether she chooses to fix the insides will only matter if she wishes to KEEP the interest of any of those beautiful men she's into.)

Obviously, she is not happy being fat or she would not be writing. She wants the world to change to meet her demands, but that just doesn't happen, and her unhappiness comes from that dissonance with reality. (Thank you, Buddha!) Suck it up and lose some weight! Get some willpower and try some of the low-carb or keto diets that help lose fat pretty quickly, and see if it makes a difference. Your attitude will probably change just from feeling and looking a little better, and even if you don't become some skinny Minnie, you'll probably find your love luck turning.
"You know what attracts men? Women who appear to be having fun, who laugh, who are confident, who smile, who are friendly and open."

On this week's episode of "Things Fat Chicks' Friends Tell Them,"
@28 I agree with you 100%. That pretty much EXACTLY describes my preferences.

I'm (male) not a model, but in good shape and reasonably self-confident. I would (and have) dated women who are a bit chubbier - a pretty face, intelligence, connection - all that is more important. But at least for me, not being overly concerned about conventional beauty norms is an important quality. If I got the vibe from someone that she cares about those norms, that would be a _huge_ turn-off.

(I feel obligated to add, that I actually ended up with a wife who is a good deal prettier than I am. I like to think that one of the things that sold her on me is that I'd also be with her if she weren't as gorgeous as she is.).
There is no question that you'll have a harder time of it because of the extra weight, i.e. fewer guys will cross a room to seek you out. But all of the people I've been intensely interested in were not love/lust at first sight. And by the time it got to that level of interest, 25 extra pounds made absolutely no difference to me.
Good lord. Just lose some weight, since its so important to you. And for anyone who wants to lose weight, please keep in mind that >90% of the effort is in diet. You have to eat better. I highly recommend a ketogenic diet. It is very effective. And you get to eat lots of meat. (heh,heh....MEAT!). Go here ( and read the FAQ and other links on the right side.
Does she mention her face anywhere? The face has led me to bed with many a Botero painting. And driven me away from many a conventionally attractive body.

Personality clearly could use improvement.
Okay, LW, first the negative comment. You want to attract the kind of superficial CAG who'd rather have the meanest but thin bitch on his arm. How is that an accomplishment or worthwhile goal, except on the shallowest terms?

Now the positive comment. Go hunt down Sugarbaby ( ), a delightful mid 1980s German film about a very plain overweight woman (even worse, she works for a mortician and is snubbed by her neighbours) who sets her sights on a good-looking subway driver. Her goals are to improve her looks and build up her self-confidence (while using saved-up vacation time) though - most important to note - she doesn't lose any weight in the process. But she keeps her focus on the goal until she succeeds.
Didn't read all the comments here, so may be restating things, but as a guy who has knows something about something, dated a lot, been married, seen a few things, here are some points:

1) a vast, vast majority of men don't want to date a woman who is proportionally more overweight than they are. It's not attractive to them and even if they'd consider it, peer pressure from male friends would prevent it.

2) if you aim a little higher than your weight/attractiveness would dictate, you can achieve some success if YOU are the pursuer, but those same dudes will almost never approach you.

3) I like being around women that are happy, smile a lot, and are confident, in addition to other more personal qualities (like hating republicans). I won't speak for other guys, but I think many like those qualities too: dark, moody and insecure get old fast.

So... change the things that you can: I suspect weight will be easier than attitude, but try working on both. Then get out there and talk to dudes a little more attractive than you, but not too much more.
It's easy to fall in love with hot people. And by fall in love I mean have sex with and having sex with someone is often a way a relationship begins.

It's a bit harder with people whom you find less hot since the non-sex stuff takes a bit more time.

But, no matter what, in a relatively short time that physical attraction will wear off and unless there is something more to it the relationship will die.

So sure, a relationship with someone a bit less attractive than you like will not be as amazing right off the bat as someone hot, but once you get past that initial period, and assuming you are compatible on the rest of the shit, it will be as good.

So here's an important distinction, along the lines of what @28 said:

You can be overweight and still fit, and you can be "skinny" and out of shape. For most purposes, in almost all instances I'm aware of (the exception being actual fat fetishists and feeders), it's the "out of shape" that's unattractive, not the weight. For my part I've always been attracted to larger, curvier girls, but the one's I'm interested in are always the ones that are active and clearly have a healthy body with some extra padding on it. People who are sedentary tend to have a flaccid, unappealing lack of muscle tone - that "doughiness" that ICHTT was complaining about.

Don't worry so much about weight and size. Worry about health. That's what makes you attractive or not... and it's also what makes you feel good, and thereby makes you confident, and thereby makes you appealing.
Don't hold others to standards of beauty/fitness to which you are too lazy to hold yourself.

I like conventionally attractive guys, too. And I was fat. You know how I attracted one? I changed my diet and lifestyle and started getting a modicum of fucking exercise.

Having been a fatty for much of my life previously and literally worked my ass off to get into good shape, I can't have any sympathy for these types who bemoan their bodies without being willing to change their unhealthy habits to lose weight. It's hard work, but totally worth on a number of levels.
I married young, have not ever much pondered if I had a "type" since it's moot at this stage of my life anyway. What I've always told anyone who asked was that I never rejected a body attached to a head I was interested in. Sort of like you said, "not CA" wasn't part of my criteria at that point.
"So let's cut to the chase here—the best explanation for my not bagging hot dudes is my extra poundage, right?"

Let's see now... You yourself refuse to date fat people. Damned proud of that attitude, even. And you...well, you...suspect...that some operationally significant portion of the population feels the exact same way you do? And even though your friends all say, "Oh, no, that's not it," you think you must be right?

Honestly, lady, I'm at a loss here: what do you hope to accomplish by your hypothesis, let alone your letter?

Given the accusations of fat-phobia leveled at Dan in the past, I have a hard time believing this isn't a fairly transparent attempt by a glitter-bomber (is there an equivalent to glitter-bombing for fatphobia?) waiting to pounce.

Assuming, however, for the sake of argument that you are legit, I have to say that yes, your friends are right: It IS your attitude. And the specific problem with your attitude is that you have written off three quarters of the population as undateable after giving exactly ONE of these lower caste guys a chance. They aren't _all_ going to be painfully shy with pitifully low self-esteem. You might find someone who is quirky and funny and makes you laugh and treats you like gold, and wonder of wonders is a fucking tiger in bed given the least bit of encouragement. (Years of pent-up demand can be put to good use, after all...)

The other thing about the attitude is the part that Dan mentioned: if you are convinced nobody wants you but the ones you don't want, you probably are putting out the wrong vibes at social events. Frankly, if you want to score a hot guy, go chase a few.
This reminds me of that Millionaire Matchmaker episode with Robin Kassner (shut up, I was on a plane). Youtube it. Insane.
@24 -- Oh, compared to someone with the "physique of a 12 year-old boy", I'd probably be considered "bigger" myself. I'm a 34D and curvy, but I'm not overweight. And yeah, I know plenty of guys who are into voluptuous women -- as well as petite women -- but overweight women? Not so much. Just being honest.
I've known plenty of bigger girls who got all the play they wanted. They were cheerful, happy, vivacious and fun. Or they at least put on a good show of it. And they were aggressive.

I've also known women, some heavy and some not, who had little dating/sex experience, and as they got older, they relied more and more on increasingly unrealistic fantasies about romance and relationships. It's as though the longer they went without the reality checks that socially and sexually active people experience, the more they filled in with schoolgirl fantasy.
I'm sure it also applies to aging guys who get more and more unwilling to "settle" for "less" than they're beating off to, but I've only known women like this.
@50 exactly. Is it also possible that the whole "I like people who aren't into me, but people who chase me aren't attractive to me" thing is about being scared of dating/risks taken in dating/putting yourself out there in general? If she only dates people she can reject, then she never gets rejected, right?
I think Dan gave a good answer, but I also think this woman sounds really smart. Based on her letter, I'd date her, and most days I think I'm within the realm of conventional attractiveness.

Too bad I'm a woman.
If she is as young as she sounds, another factor may be that the men she's dealing with are *also* assholes, as men in their teens and 20s tend to be. They probably have no idea what they really want other than "durr, hottee!" and are more likely to cave to peer pressure, meaning they aren't going to "demean" themselves by dating women even within their own league.
@54: It could also be, if this is Low Self-Esteem Theatre, that anyone who is attracted to her, whether a hottie or not, automatically falls into the undesirable category.
@keshmeshi, true facts. Young guys - as Dan has often mentioned - are a lot more likely to claim to want whatever they think their peers expect them to want, even if they'd actually be into bigger girls, or guys, or whatever.

And I don't think that kind of (self-)deception is deliberate, either. The allure of a status symbol is very real, and people probably don't even realize that its being a status symbol is why they want it. There may also be the added element of insecurity; someone (looking at you, ICHTT) may tell him or herself that they cannot settle for anything less than the "best" even if it's not what they really want because they don't want to compromise their sense of self-worth.

People need time to grow up and figure out what they actually want; some people need more time than others.
I guess I missed the part of the letter where she said anything about CAGs being unfair or shallow or vapid for not being into her, so I don't understand why it would occur to anyone to give her a hard time about that. She also isn't vilifying UAGs. I just see a woman who has a pretty good idea of why her rate of success with those guys isn't so great and is surrounded by idealistic (or faux-idealistic) friends who feel more comfortable blowing smoke about it, so she's looking for some straight talk. So...great.
I'm a bigger girl, and I felt the same way about not being able to attract the kind of guy I liked (not CAGs per say, but not the bottom of the social barrel) when I was younger. Well, after 10+ years of an unfulfilling marriage I've ditched the people suck for not seeing the real me attitude and am just focusing on the social relationships I DO have. And yeah it's lonely at times but I'm overall MUCH happier. And you know what? A handsome, smart, funny and surprisingly 10 years younger guy has become the new love in my life. And he finds me incredibly sexy and fun, and I bet a lot of that has to do with the attitude adjustment. :) Just my two cents!
I was the male version of her until 2 things happened:

1) I lost weight and got in shape.

2) I accepted the fact that I wanted people who were much better looking than me. This meant also accepting the fact that *they weren't going to go for me and I needed to "lower" my standards.*

She frankly sounds like an asshole (like I was), and needs to grow up and get in shape.
My boyfriend isn't a chubby chaser, but he's said time and time again, he'll never date a runner - ick.

@28 - I'd like to echo #28's comments. By the end of this year I hope to be strong enough to climb to safety during a natural disaster or out run a zombie. Right now you could consider me an early casualty.
My last two girlfriends (current and most recent ex) are fat. They're also both really smart, funny, honest, strong, sexy, and confident. I'm lucky enough that they asked me out, and showed interest in me.

My partner was overweight when we married, and a little later decided that she didn't like that about herself. She changed her diet and started exercising. In 6-8 months or so, she lost forty pounds. It was a lifestyle change, even more impressive because she has fibromyalgia.

I don't know what my point is.
Hmmmm.... There's something about this letter that seems fake to me. Does @50 have it right? Is this person baiting Dan/trolling for some reason?

Perhaps I'm biased in favor of my own group (Big Girls) but my experience has often been that, having had to deal with a lot of crazy bull-shit re: our size, Big Girls are often a little more mature and realistic about our expectations for others. (And I don't mean that in a gross, "They'll do ANYTHING" way, either.)

This girl scares me!
Oh for fuck's sake, this whole page is full of terrible advice, including Dan's very careful non-advice. I will give you the skinny, from experience. I'm way beyond chubby; I'm seriously fat, so my advice might be more pessimistic than fits your situation.

Anyhow, more men than you would think are sexually attracted to fat chicks, and even more are willing to round up, sexually speaking. Men are not as choosy when it comes to sex as they pretend to be, at least the straight ones aren't (I'm just glad I'm not a gay man). But most won't want to be seen in public with you. So even if you've been enthusiastically fucking the same guy for months, good luck getting a dinner and a movie. They get ashamed.

Four options here:

1.) Let out your inner domme. Handily I already am kinky that way. If you are dominant at all, consider cultivating those tendencies. The female dominant/male submissive odds are very good for the female dominant, no matter her weight. My current men are extremely conventionally attractive, although I wasn't looking for that, it just happened to work out that way.


2.) Go black. African-American men's subculture favors the idea of chubby being hot, so they are a lot less hung up about women's weight. And African-African men even more so. West African culture especially prizes women who are on the chubbier side, and West African men generally don't think thin women are hot at all.


3.) Resign yourself to a romantic life of hot sex and nothing else. Cultivate a social life with your female friends, get out of the house and do fun things, and make sure that at least he buys you flowers and dinner in.


4.) Lose the weight.

Again, this advice is for those women fatter than the mere chubby stage.
im a thick woman and i have no problem with men. my husband is sexy in shape and looks alot like morris chesnut. but then i kno im sexy lol think positive about yourself it will help
Dan Savage is talking about chubby people. So it begins...
Lots of guys prefer your body type, but getting into a good (enough) relationship can take years and still not last forever.
I only hope that my love sticks around until I'm quite dead, that's not forever but hopefully I'm only halfway there.

Patience, and don't worry too much. Also Craigslist is not pure evil (but be careful).
I have been a bit fat my whole life... 5'2" and between 125 and 160 depending on exercise and will power, and I have never been without a man. Pretty hot men, too. I am married to a great, hot one, now. The only thing I don't like about my marriage is that I don't get to use my in-born ability to get men... Seriously, it has little to do with fat, everything to do with the message you are putting out.

There is a great book called "Turn Your Cab Light On" or something like that that I wish I had written, because it details everything that I figured out naturally. Hello! You need to smile, have fun, pretend like it doesn't matter, but put yourself forward when you figure out who you would like to spend more time with, hedge your bets, practice flirting. I never lacked for dates, and still get hit on all the time, even when I'm not "trying"...

Try this one, turn your head to look at a guy you're interested in. Smile quickly, then turn away. Look back a half minute later. He'll probably be looking.....
A number of the earlier commentors have said essentially this, but I thought someone ought to say so a bit more explicitly.

Learn to send the clear message that you are DTF (and mean it) and plenty of these conventionally hot guys will be interested.

That is, let potential partners know that you are GGG, the rest will take care of itself. Bed a dozen or so and one will surely stick around for the LTR if that's your goal. Truly GGG women are harder to come by than are conventionally hot ones, so only guys who are the biggest fans of variety over availability will want to move on.

Not sure about OKcupid, but even a very mild profile on a site like AdultFriendFinder says that you're DTF. If at this stage you're only able to claim the last couple of Gs, someone will be willing to provide the coaching and practice necessary to claim the first.

If you're not conventionally hot and you don't want to either lower your standards or compromise your morals, you'll probably have to go the conventional route by adopting a cat and developing a passion for romance and fantasy novels.
I have the same "problem," (five nine, 270lbs, attracted to mostly conventionally attractive people) and the way I solved it was throwing myself into an activity/career that I am passionate about (for me, it was theatre), living my life, and developing a sparkling personality. And my conventionally attractive fiance and I met and fell in love due to shared interests and, consequently, how much fun we have together.
Being fat can suck, especially when it comes to your love life, but it just means we have to try a little harder to be the kind of people everyone wants to know.
And hey, if you click with someone, always, always give them the chance! I've had some really positive relationships with guys I wouldn't have even looked at had they not approached me.
Gah! I'm vaguely overweight AND I have a repaired but noticeable cleft lip. I still get plenty of dates and sex and I don't settle for men I'm not attracted to. I date or fuck men I like and some are CAG and some aren't. Not every man's personality is suited to me, so even if he was drop dead, I wouldn't be interested in him if he couldn't have a conversation with me

How do I get dates and sex from this wide spectrum of dudes? I got therapy and learned how to stop being a WATB.
I'm the letter writer - for the record, I never said any of this was unfair. I don't think fairness really comes into play in biological matters. I just wanted something I could point to next time my friends tell me that I don't need to go to the gym or not eat the same shit food as them because it's my lack of self-esteem, and not my body, that's repulsing the hot dudes I want. I also just wanted someone to not blow smoke up my ass, which I knew Dan wouldn't do. I'm really enjoying all your projections and assumptions though, it's very entertaining.
If a person is single, then he or she has the time to eat right and exercise heavily. If the person does those two things conscientiously, then he or she can lose up to three pounds per week. It's simply a matter of willpower and keeping oneself constantly active.

Now, if a marriage and kids are in the picture, then it gets complicated.

So, LW, if you're lamenting your life, then suck it up and get busy. Or, be miserable, but don't ask loaded questions.
Oh, and once you get down to a healthy weight, you can eat whatever the hell you want to (and whatever quantity you want) long as you continue to exercise like mad. That's something to seriously consider if you really like to eat.
@65, that was great advice. I notice in my slightly-fatter impending middle-age that I: 1) attract a lot more submissive men, and
2) that I attract a lot more Black men.

It's a little annoying for me that men assume that bigger automatically means more dominant, since I'm pretty submissive myself. It's pretty funny that you mention that, although I'm sure that wasn't exactly your main point.

@73 Welcome.
@73--yes, your friends are full of it. Not because men aren't sexually attracted to you, but because most men are pack animals and overly concerned with status, and at least in American culture, chubby women are not status symbols for men. The irony is that stick-thin women with implants generally have low libido from lack of testosterone, but I don't feel too sorry for the men.
I work hard to keep myself at a healthy weight and would expect the same from my partner. It's simply not fair to hold your potential date to a higher standard than you are willing to keep yourself.
@73, indeed, your extra pounds are causing a problem, in that they put you in a population with few interested conventionally attractive guys. There are some, as has been pointed out above (and you might consider looking for them; there are specific websites where they can be found); but they're clearly a minority, so, yes, your body type does place you in a situation in which the number of guys who will both satisfy your criteria and desire you is small.

Which is not to say that attitude doesn't matter. But the attitude will mostly succeed with those guys who are attracted to (or are borderline attracted to) women of your physical type. It will make it easier to spot them, and with the right attitude they may be attracted to you rather than to some other woman with the same body type.

So--basically you wanted confirmation that men have in average standards similar to yours. Indeed, they do.
I totally agree with all the people that said it has to do with attitude. Having a great attitude won't change anything at all about which men want to date you- Some men will never want to date a chubby/big girl (I'm 30 lbs overweight, but have been slim before. I've seen both sides of this issue). But having a bad attitude, like ICHTT clearly has, will repel the pool of men that might have wanted to talk to her if only she wasn't such a judgmental, debbie-downer. ICHTT sounds like she would be annoying, uppity, rigid and uptight...not a fun date at any size.

Be realistic and adjust expectations, have a better attitude and you might meet someone, ICHTT. If your standards are so high that you can't even personally clear the bar yourself then there is no way you're mentally or emotionally ready to be in a relationship, b/c you're not mature enough yet. Relationships are give and take. You can't just have everything your way.
I was in the same place as the letter writer at one point and I used to be angry that my less attractive, thinner friends would pull guys I could never pull. Sorry, the problem is the weight. I hate to say it because we all want to think that we should be able to rise above that but it's the truth. Even my husband, who I know loves me dearly, would be happy if I lost a few pounds. Not because he thinks I'm a disgusting beast but because generally speaking, people are attracted to bodies that look well taken care of. When you talk about sexual attraction, we all know that you like what you like. Just as as the LW couldn't be with a guy with a doughy body, so it goes for the CAGs that she is into. If you want to pull hot guys, you're going to have to bring your A game and that includes working out and eating right to be at a healthy weight. I can guarantee you that you'll be happier for it.
@73 phatty,

Have fun. Learn to be comfortable in your own skin.

(And, after watching "Supersize Me" last night, stay the frack away from junk food)

@73 - Are there particular hot dudes? And have you tried and been actually repulsed, or are you just assuming that they would be carrying you off if they were into you? There is just no way for anyone who does not know you in real life to know these things.

I think it is a common misconception among women that if you want to get hit on by an attractive man, you just stand there and if he thinks you are hot enough he will hit on you. This is crap. Even positing a situation of heteronormative gender role performance where it is totally his job to hit on you and not vice versa, you have to open that door to him, basically every time.

I recommend cultivating an outward affect that makes it clear that your interlocutor is the most fascinating thing ever to you. More eye contact than necessary, active listening, etc. Also, breasts.
And if you don't think the person is fascinating, that is the problem. My sister is always complaining about how she can't get men, and I really think that it is because she is truly not interested in other people.
73/phatty: I'm the letter writer - for the record, I never said any of this was unfair. I don't think fairness really comes into play in biological matters. I just wanted something I could point to next time my friends tell me that I don't need to go to the gym or not eat the same shit food as them because it's my lack of self-esteem, and not my body, that's repulsing the hot dudes I want.

You're absolutely right, fairness doesn't come into play in dating and mating. Some people are more desirable than others. That's not fair, but it's reality and no amount of complaining is going to change it.

If you don't show up for a game, you're certainly not going to win it. But just because you show up doesn't mean you're going to win. So it is with self-esteem. If you don't have any, that's really going to kill your chances at attracting other people. But just because you have it, it doesn't mean other people (or, specifically, the people you're interested in) are going to be attracted to you. A guy or a woman can be positively brimming with self-confidence but if the person they're interested in doesn't find them physically attractive, they are almost certainly not going to be getting naked with that person.

It's entirely possible that if you had a real positive attitude about your body as it is, that you'd eventually attract one of the "conventionally attractive" men you're interested in. But I suspect you'd be more likely to do that if you worked on getting in better shape. Good luck!
85/Thisbe: I think it is a common misconception among women that if you want to get hit on by an attractive man, you just stand there and if he thinks you are hot enough he will hit on you. This is crap.

Actually not crap. Well, not entirely. A man who is aggressive will hit on a woman he finds hot. A man who is shy will not.

Even positing a situation of heteronormative gender role performance where it is totally his job to hit on you and not vice versa, you have to open that door to him, basically every time.

Yes, a woman has to look approachable to some degree. I'm on another blog run by a woman who, in a post last fall, claimed she has two "very attractive" friends who are "warm and friendly" but "never get asked out." I told her I wasn't buying it. I told her they either aren't that attractive or else they are attractive but act very aloof, not "warm and friendly."

And if you don't think the person is fascinating, that is the problem. My sister is always complaining about how she can't get men, and I really think that it is because she is truly not interested in other people.

That may be similar to what that woman is claiming about her "never-get-asked-out" friends. Perhaps the women don't act aloof, but they might also not be genuinely interested in other people. In any case, they are doing something that is a real turn-off to men.

From one zaftig chick to another: Being shallow and fat is a hard row to hoe. Either lose the weight or re-examine what you want from a relationship (ya know, something besides thin and pretty). If you're ambitious, do both. Because the CAGs who are going to look past your weight are going to be put off by your shallowness.
JrzWrld, it's not "shallow" to care about a person's appearance as long as you care about other "deeper" things -- character, intellect, interests, etc. -- with them. If someone cares only about a person's appearance, then I think it's fair to label that as "shallow."

A couple things:

1) What straight women think a "conventionally attractive" woman looks like is often not at all what men actually like. If you look at movie stars and magazines, you see all these chicks with totally flat stomachs. Most straight guys actually like a little chub because it's soft and cuddly- also, because generally it comes with naturally bigger boobs. So don't necessarily think of yourself as chubby based on media images the standard.

2) It's not just attitude- presentation matters a lot. Wear clothes that fit and flatter you, and make yourself up nicely. If you have a pretty face, you should be able to make yourself gorgeous there at least. I know a lot of chubby people who make themselves look really overweight just by dressing themselves badly (like my boyfriend before I made him over). Don't think that wearing baggy clothes makes you look better, don't think that wearing a size too small will make you look thinner. Figure out what your best features are and dress to show them off.
87 A man who is aggressive will hit on a woman he finds hot. A man who is shy will not.

I guess maybe? I am just saying, it takes a special kind of aggressive man to cross a room and hit on a lady from whom he has received no signal. It doesn't take a particularly aggressive (or non-shy) man to chat up a woman who has looked at him a few times sidelong in the manner someone described above.

But you are right, some guys will do all the initial work themselves. Not that I myself would want to have anything to do with those guys. But that is just me and one of my filtering methods.

90 and make yourself up nicely

Ew. I haven't worn makeup since high school (other than mascara once or twice). It is so messy, and so bad for your skin! I don't think that making oneself up nicely or otherwise is really necessary.

I mean, I am just a woman of probably average attractiveness, maybe less. I don't try very hard, and yet I have really never had a problem getting as much play as I was interested in, since I figured out how to ask for it. I enjoy the company of men and really like sex; those are the only things that I can think of that I do that "hotter" women of my acquaintance who have man problems don't do.

Well, that and I have no interest in fratty jerks. :) Hot men yes, fratty jerks no (I don't care how cut they are, it is just not worth it).
I think the best thing you can do to improve your success with conventionally attractive guys is to focus on making yourself an awesome person to be around. Go to fun group activities and let yourself have a good time without worrying about whether the guys there are into you. Organize events with your friends. Volunteer for a cause you care about. Get into books, music, homebrewing, or whatever. The more cool stuff you do, the happier you'll be about your life, and the more people will want to hang out with you.
I guess maybe? I am just saying, it takes a special kind of aggressive man to cross a room and hit on a lady from whom he has received no signal. It doesn't take a particularly aggressive (or non-shy) man to chat up a woman who has looked at him a few times sidelong in the manner someone described above.

I suppose we disagree, slightly, on the "special kind" thing. I think aggressive men, by definition, have that kind of attitude. To them, it doesn't matter if they've gotten a look or signal of interest from a woman they find attractive. They're going to hit on her.

I do agree with you that any man, even a shy one, will be willing to chat up a woman who has clearly signaled that she's interested in him. The key there, though, is clearly.

I am just a woman of probably average attractiveness, maybe less. I don't try very hard, and yet I have really never had a problem getting as much play as I was interested in, since I figured out how to ask for it.

This woman I mentioned previously argues that women of average attractiveness have a much easier time attracting men than do women who are very attractive because men are intimidated by very attractive women. In fact, this is why she claims her two "very attractive" friends "never get asked out", because men are too intimidated by them. I think that's true to some extent -- some guys are going to feel that way about very attractive women and they'll feel more comfortable with a woman who's more average-looking -- but I also feel there's no shortage of aggressive guys who will cheerfully hit on any woman, even very attractive ones.
My technique for getting play as a fatter gal is indeed putting the message out there. That doesn't mean spraying the message that I am available indiscriminately all over the clubs, but it does mean acting friendly, open, interested, and whatever sexy means to me toward to the person that I am interested in.

Roma has the right idea: guys need encouragement often times. If you get off on being pursued, then you might be a little bit out of luck if you are a fat. Or as a grandma I know says "The girl pursues the guy, until he starts to pursue her!".

I know a whole bunch of sexy fat girls who never lack boyfriends, and cute ones too, b/c they act attractive and friendly and put it out there that they want the dude that they want.

Don't be afraid to work for what you want. It may be true that some CAG women may get hit on a lot, but whatevs, wouldn't you rather work for what you want a bit and have some fun?
Most 'conventionally handsome' (wtf is that?) guys are going to go for 'conventionally pretty' girls. Your largeness is not going to be conducive to the 'going for' on their part, which lowers your odds to finding what you want.

This doesn't matter though. You either have to be like Orca f*cking huge or have a face that could crack a sink if you can't tart yourself up and get laid on a Friday night. Chicks with any sort of social aptitude know how to do that shit; it's in the handbook.

Think tight lycra and stripper shoes.

See, but that's not your problem. I don't even have to know what you look like and I know it's not your problem. You have a shit attitude. That's your problem, straight up. Only people with shit attitudes would ask a question like that.

You also probably find your own body image disgusting, yet for some reason you don't motivate and fix the problem. Don't even think of it as getting into fuckable shape, think of it as living healthy. That keeps the ordeal from feeling cheap, (Hint: I'm telling you to hit the gym).

Whatever, f*ck you. You're an asshole and you know this. Fix yourself and stop crying on the internet.
To them, it doesn't matter if they've gotten a look or signal of interest from a woman they find attractive. They're going to hit on her.

You're so right!
I wasn't even thinking about this kind of man, because to me those guys are SO undesirable that I think of them more as an icky obstacle to interacting with people I like than as someone whose interest I could potentially reciprocate.

Various men I have spoken to about the kind of women they are interested in claim to actually not find "CAGs" attractive. Maybe it is a deeply-layered headgame in which they convince themselves that they don't think those women are hot because they are secretly intimidated by them. I don't know. Maybe I just hang out with strange men.

I stand by my earlier thought that the most important part of being attractive is being healthy and happy. That doesn't guarantee that you'll appeal to everyone, but it does improve the chances that you'll appeal to people who are attracted to people kind of like you.

The other thing you might try is approaching CAGs you're interested in & letting them know you're up for a no-strings-attached fling. Many guys will take an offer like that from a woman they might not consider dating at first glance. If you can then totally rock THEIR world and sexually satisfy THEM in ways CAG girls don't, they might then hang around for a bit.

Hitting the gym & losing some weight would probably increase your chances,
but you don't need to be totally skinny to be attractive.
Sexual attractiveness is largely about being (or at least appearing) healthy & energetic,
not about a particular body type.
If she shouldn’t have to settle, why should the CAGs?

The most obvious reason to start settling already is that she seems unhappy with the lack of action she’s getting.
Being a Conventionally Attractive Guy by today's standards means having the kind of body you get from working out. People who work that hard to make themselves attractive are completely justified in expecting a corresponding level of effort in potential mates. You don't want these guys for their personalities -- you want them for their hot bods and square jaws. So why is it so unfair for them to turn that around on you? Either get on the Stairmaster for an hour a day or give it up and date in your league.

Or don't, and keep right on bitching to your friends about how all the hot guys are too shallow to see your inner beauty.. I'll bet they're not at all sick of hearing it.

Has she tried going on a dating site specifically for bigger women and men who are attracted to them?