SL Letter of the Day: Big Time


"A long, long time ago you internalized our culture's anti-fat prejudice. We all do, of course, to greater or lesser extents."

What a load of bullshit!

Fat is fat and ugly is ugly. Almost always they go hand in hand.
This guy obviously doesn't think fat girls are ugly. Quite the opposite, in fact.
@1...Your post is meant to be ironic, right?
"I need help understanding why I want to fuck dumb ugly bitches I won't love. Yeah, I like to fuck 'em but after that fuck 'em, you know? Hey, where you going?"
Who are you and what have you done with Dan Savage?
To play devils advocate here, BATL here says specifically he's attracted to "thick, big-butt/tit, ugly trashy girls," not specifically fat women. BATL doesn't necessarily say he thinks all overweight women are trashy, stupid and ugly, but that he's attracted to ones that are. If anything, from his letter, it sounds like he's more attracted to the trashiness of said girls then the fact they're overweight.

Personally I find that while 99% of the time I'm attracted to, both emotionally and sexually, smart, creative, confident and active women. But sometimes, particularly in between relationships when I'm at some bar or club wasted, I can find myself drawn to women who fit the "slutty blonde bimbo" stereotype. Sorry if that sounds like slut shamming, I'm actually attracted to and respect smart sex positive women, but by "slutty blonde bimbo" I mean the kind of female characters you see in cheap straight porn, young, dumb, sexually irresponsible. It's not something I'm proud of, but it's a position I find myself in. I suspect a lot of men find themselves feeling the way I do, and maybe this thing for the 'fat trashy ugly" girls BATL has is his personal manifestation of it.

Or maybe he's just attracted to overweight women and is ashamed of it. I don't know.

(Spoken of course as if this isn't a re-run)

Dude may still not be attracted to them so much as getting off on how little he's interested in them when he "uses" them for sex. Might not even be possible for him to have a healthy relationship with the same fat girls he's seeking out.

If he gets comfortable and respectful with them, his libido might drop again to where he is now.
I agree that BATL needs to have his shit handed to him, but I disagree with Dan: I don't think that BATL is an asshole because of his derogatory attitude towards fat women, or at least not exclusively. I don't think that he's hating on the women he's attracted to only because they're fat, but because their fatness, along with their 'ugliness,' their 'trashiness', their 'hickness' and the like are all traits that are tied to his fetishized and prejudiced imagination of lower class women. What struck me about BATL is that he is into women who he describes as "trashy" or "hicks," and that their being fat seems to be part-and-parcel with their 'trashy' or 'hick' identity. Trashiness, stupidity, and hickness are often used as prejudiced descriptors for lower class status. I think that, like weight, class is something that is fetishized/sexualized in our culture. Talking openly about class status or class prejudice is extremely taboo: a person of a 'higher' class having a relationship with someone that they see as emblematic of 'lower class traits' is also taboo. BATL describes the 'right' woman for his attraction as an 'intellectual' (a dog-whistle for 'person of a higher-class'), but he's not turned on by this culturally acceptable sort of person. BATL needs to stop thinking about women who are 'thick' or 'fat' and ALSO women who are 'hick' or 'trashy' in a prejudiced, dehumanizing way.

I love Dan's advice, and would be interested to hear how he talks about issues of sex, sexuality, and class status!
@1: You sound like the LW, six years later, divorced, sexless and officially belligerent.
@4: Lawl.
@6: Right, and all that is about meeting a fantasy, it's not actually carrying it through to a relationship and beyond.
Oh, is it time for the Two Days Fat Hate again so soon?
I'm with @7 - he wants easy, he wants power, he wants distance. There's a lot of the same traits of a pedophile here, but his kink isn't for any certain type - just the class of people he thinks he can get over on.
I love this fucking response. Dan Savage for the goddamn win.
Well, it's not as though gay men don't do the same kinds of things with different parameters, Dan. White guys who want to get low. Sex tourism within the U.S. or out of it. There are white guys who want to go into the ghetto and get fucked by black guys they wouldn't want to be seen in public with. Hell, Dan, there's a major race wedge in West Hollywood where dinge queens are being ostracized because it's assumed that all the black men that these white guys are sexing up are down-low AIDS carriers.

I myself, alas, am a black guy that white guys want to cheat on their boyfriends with, and they all love keeping me as a dirty little secret. Until, that is, that they find out that this little trashy piece of black plays in symphony orchestras, composes theatrical scores, is college educated, and (especially) moves in many of the same social circles they do.

It's all good, though, because I don't date seriously anymore, if for no other reason that I am no longer interested in keeping my expectations up, and it gives me free time to learn stuff that will make me even more undesirable to dinge queens.
@14 Dan doesn't say that there are not similar dynamics going on in any given subculture. He is addressing this LW, and the subculture the LW is talking about. The statement "It's not as if..." is a red herring. Do you imagine that the LW would be persuaded from his disgusting opinion of "fat, trashy, ugly women" by a discussion of how some white homosexual males feel about black homosexual males? I don't.
@15, I value @14's account of the experiences which embittered him in the gay dating scene, and I was informed by hearing them. No need to dismiss his personal narrative as irrelevant.
Way to go asshole.

You've really offended Danny.

You know, his mom was a thick trashy gal.

@16, @15, I found @14 relevant. Not that Dan was necessarily saying LW's behavior has never been seen in the gay community.
This guy is no different then all the married guys who write Dan about their periodic impulses to suck dick. No interest in a relationship with men, not generally attracted to men, and yet the nagging urge for a dick in the mouth won't seem to go away.

And the advice should be the same - tell the wife, and see if she's willing to open this particular door in their relationship. Or, just do it on the sneak.

As for all the moralizing on behalf of the fat, ugly, trashy bumpkins, please, can we cut the hypocritical bullshit?

As an aside, I was dragged to some shitty bar in the unincorporated Kirkland area a few years ago, and Jesus Christ what a crazy night. If you're a guy just looking to get laid, those are the places to go. They had all variety of hick there - fat, thin, ugly, hot - and all of them are ready to go. Like, walk up and just start kissing them ready to go. Downside - the cab ride home was like $75, during which we passed two very busy DUI check points.
@15: I find 14 a very apt depiction of what the sort of disdainful novelty fucks the OP is seeking out. Better to appeal to him with honesty and "fail to dissuade" than pretend he's seeking companionship and gloss over the extreme imbalance.
Dan: if this is the best you can do, maybe you should take a break for a year or two.

Honestly. No point in hanging on so long you become as judgemental and bitter as H.L. Mencken.
I don't mean that it is totally irrelevant, just the phrase "It's not as if...". Preface it with "The same thing can be seen", or similar, and it is a useful comment. I still don't think it would work as a persuasive argument for the.LW, although it may be a good side note for him as well. The reason "It's not as if" is a red herring is that Dan never claimed gays or any other group had some sort of special defense against internalized hatred. I have seen him call homosexuals out on it before (usually males, probably because there is more pressure to internalize societal condemnation).
@14-20: It's not the secretive, not-in-public nature of the LW's attraction that objectionable, it's the contempt he expresses for objects of that attraction. The conflation of thick and dumb- the way he lists "intellectual" as if it's only a quality of the fit and conventionally attractive-is bullshit presumption. If your desire can't be expressed without shitting on the object of it (not literally of course), you're not just sexually fucked up, you're an asshole.
Where do people like the LW come from? What happened to him? Where can he get counseling? What made his so sick?

Doesn't he know he can be deported from places like Saudi Arabia for being too attractive. And doesn't that put a whole new slant on desirability?
As a dude with a similar backstory and sexual inclination, he should ask the wife to trash it up/gain weight. The rant is misguided.
Anti-fat prejudice is a powerful thing. It can infect both men and the assholes that comment in the threads of those men's hateful letters.

Dan, rock on. This was great.
@23: THANK YOU. I can't believe that needed to be spelled out. Oh wait, I totally can.
Jesus Christ. Speaking as an attractive woman who happens to be about 40 pounds overweight, this is what keeps me putting myself out there to date. Men are such assholes.
Yeah, he's an ass, and not just for his preconceptions about the objects of his desire. Also for this:
"hoping that I'd become sexually attracted to my wife"

He married his wife under false pretenses. He was NEVER sexually attracted to her. He knew, going in, that their marriage was on shaky foundations. That is so incredibly unethical.
@23/27: "It's not the secretive, not-in-public nature of the LW's attraction that objectionable, it's the contempt he expresses for objects of that attraction"

Who are you even arguing with? Of course that's why he's terrible, that's what we've been discussing.
I think it's about power.
@28 Same here. I don't know any guys who would be worth the effort of presenting myself as a girl.
@30: It seemed like the secrecy was the focus of that discussion, not the contempt. All I was arguing was that keeping those encounters private and casual (if not one-time only) is just a symptom of that contempt-and that the contempt was the main issue. His liking to have anonymous one-nighters with a certain type is fine on it's own; his need to debase them while he does it is the sick part. That's all I was saying. Sorry I included your comment in that observation, but yours was the last on that subject.
Dan Savage wrote this? Where's his usual fat hate?
I'd just like to clarify that not only does a fat woman deserve better than this guy, so does his skinny wife.

Please let her go and figure out your crap without taking any more hostages of any size.
Full of win. Absolutely nailed this one. 'cowardly, hateful piece of shit.' That pretty much covers it!
Is anyone in Seattle more puritanical than Dan Savage?
p.s.: LW you have a secret desire to fuck ugly fat chicks. I have a secret desire to rent a nasty little apodment. Maybe we could help each other out?
Okay, poor choice of phrase, but the underlying logic...
@35: how is it hypocritical to decry fatphobia?

It is when you're fat "phobic" yourself, like most of the people here including Dan. And by "phobic", I mean that you're simply turned off by fatness as a physical attribute.

the casual implications between being overweight and trashy or dumb that the LW draws are extremely problematic

LW simply stated that he gets a boner from women who are fat, trashy, and dumb. He didn't say that all fat people are trashy and dumb, nor has he made any other generalizations about fat people.
Fucking fat white trash women when you've got a smart woman who takes care of herself is like trading in your Ferrari for a ford festiva.
Even when I'm not carrying a few extra pounds I have a very curvy figure. Some men have the inclination to talk down to me, stare at my chest, objectify me, or otherwise treat me as a bimbo until I set them straight(a public service I kjndly provide). There is a definite bias towards overweight/curvy women amongst ignorant jerks in our culture. Amazing how the commenters true colors show and their lack of shame. I feel sorry for any woman, thin, fit, athletic, or otherwise, that would be stuck with such losers!
Another fine example of a vintage letter & advice that would be much more intriguing if the original l.w. were to chime in here & let us all know where his life is now. Did he dump his wife or has he remained married to someone who "looks presentable" while cheating with the type of women who turn his crank.
@44 True, that.
@ Are these women 'trashy and dumb'? Because I'm really not sure we should be taking the LW's word here, especially due to the utter contempt and disrespect he shows the people that turn him on.

As abusurdist1968 points out it's entirely possible that these 'thick dumb girls' are intelligent, educated women who just committed the unforgivable crime of not being pretty enough.
@41 Not being attracted to fat people is not the same thing as fat phobia. It really isn't. Fat phobia would be using insulting language, associating fat with unrelated negative charactaristics, treating fat people as.lesser, and so.on. I will not pretend there is not a lot of it in society, with our worship of youth and thinness. Simply not being attracted, or being actively turned off by fat, is not fat phobic.

To use an unrelated, less.socially charged example: I am turned off by body hair. Does my preference for smooth skin make me hirstute phobic? Of.course not. The same goes if my preference for (or against) was hair color, height, or any other trait. People are allowed to be turned on by what gets them going without criticism (as long as their partners are.consenting, and are capable of giving consent). It is how you treat others that makes for a phobia, not who you want to fuck.
How on earth does one have a "good sex life" with a person one is not sexually attracted to? Or rather, how can one convince themselves of this and not see that one of the two statements must be untrue? This is what fascinates me most about these kinds of letters...
My first thought has been expressed by Ms Shake - (Why) doesn't the wife deserve better? It may not be as satisfying as whacking a Fashionably Unacceptable Prejudice (which is not to comment on how justifiable the unacceptability is, just that it's fashionable to whack), but I'd call it a flaw in the response not to take Fit Wife into consideration.

The tricky part is that anything LW does might cut off the option Fit Wife prefers. If he just keeps on saying nothing, she may be desperately unhappy. If he leaves her because she deserves better, she may be happy settling for him or perhaps even prefer a marriage without attraction. If he confesses to her and lets her choose, she may like things just fine as long as the truth is unspoken.

Mr Bruno - It's all in the subjective nature of "good". If one has sufficiently low standards... and anyway, we only have his description; she might not agree with the adjective. But if we're going to suggest contradictions, I'd nominate his declaring himself madly in love with his wife
Being overweight is not synonymous with "not taking care of yourself." One of my closest friends is a rather large woman and eats more healthily than most people I know. There are other problems in her body preventing her from being thin. In contrast, a very skinny friend readily and frequently admits that she eats like crap and has a number of health issues. And yet if you saw them next to each other you'd assume the thinner of the two was the healthiest.

I am sick and tired of size being used as an indicator of health. Assumptions get us nowhere here.

Finally, this seems like a good time for one of my favorite quotes from the movie Kinsey. "I always thought ugly was an ugly word."
I think Dan has diagnosed the symptoms correctly but misdiagnosed the disease. He doesn't want a big girl, he wants a "real girl". One with only a high school education; who doesn't run in the grad school/academia world; that prefers Miller 64 to a trip to wine country; that dines at Chili's instead of 3 sprigs of parsley for dinner. A trip to middle america (or the suburbs) will reveal that unequivocally, people there are bigger than urbane city folk; but that's just a small portion of his desire. A big girl who was still active and intelligent would not turn his crank. It's the entire package. Dan, listen to your writers!

Whether or not having a thick/full/overweight/fat partner is your cup of tea ... it should be obvious that the casual implications between being overweight and trashy or dumb that the LW draws are extremely problematic. Also, your description of women in a bar as "all of them are ready to go" sounds, for lack of better words, predatory and objectifying.

Welcome to Savage Love comments.

I think that #23 hit the nail on the head.
@7 nails it and @51 is describing the type better.

@48 - You don't have a good sex life - but when you're young enough and the testosterone is ragin', pretty much anything will get you a boner, and you close your eyes and imagine.

This dude's issues are all around insecurity. It's easier to really let loose and enjoy himself with someone he's not intimited by.

I will add, though: "never make a pretty woman your wife" - you know, good looks are not a great indicator of good lay. And often women who's bodies don't conform to the current cultural norm/ideal are way hot in bed, let loose and are ultimately much better lays. Of course, you can even discover - heaven forbid! - that someone you have a good intellectual, spiritual and emotional connection to is a much better lay because of it.

I'm gonna say the LW isn't really all that madly in love with his wife, though he might be madly in love with the image of her as the "right kind of woman".
I dated this guy during my sophomore year of college. Privately he was mad about me. Publically he told everyone I was stupid and worthless because I was chubby. In rooms with other people, we would call me a basset hound (I'm actually cute as all hell--blonde, baby-faced, some serious T-and-A curves from a lifetime of dancing and sports), that fucking me would be like "fucking a nerf ball" that "I couldn't seduce an elephant," etc.

I told myself that he deserved my pity and I held out hope that over time the truth would win out.

It never did.

When he learned after my senior year that I had applied to graduate school, he told a mutual friend that I should have consulted him first because if he couldn't get in, I sure wouldn't. I was at the top of our college class, won countless awards, earned two complete degrees, and got a full fellowship to graduate school. He was a B student and a mediocre writer. It never occurred to him that I might have been intelligent.

He never saw me as a person. He only saw the self-hatred he projected onto me because he couldn't deal with the body type that turned him on.

It was the most hurtful relationship I've ever been in, but the upside is that it taught me to pay very close attention to what potential dates and even friends do or do not say about women's bodies. The tiniest whiff of fat phobia (which, yes, is not a matter of preference but a matter of presumptive contempt) and I break things off and don't look back. There's a big difference between not being sexually attracted to a certain body type and presuming than any fat person is a worthless, incompetent, stupid and lazy second class citizen.
What I'm hearing is: "I only want to screw women I disrespect". That's a little scary. On the bright side, he can always have sex with a trashy imbecile whenever he wants - he just has to masturbate.
Whatever the letter writer is attracted to is irrelevant. What matters is his attitude towards who he is attracted to.

If you are only attracted to people you have total disdain and contempt for that is just an indication that you are royally fucked up and damaged. If he loved fit, pretty, blond model types but saw them as all vapid, selfish and vain and not worth his time outside of bed it would be just as fucked up.
@42: I once had a boss who could afford pretty much any reasonably priced car, he wanted an old green corvette with gold trim. Why? Because it seemed to attract the "right" women. At least he was proud about the (barfly) company he kept, I suppose.
@57: Yep. It's not that his type is fat. His type is contemptible, and fat/dumb/trashy is just how he defines that.
@58 I respect a long-running beater. It's a sign of well-adjusted priorities just as a shiny new ride is the unmistakable sign of the douche. Still, carshare + bikeshare membership is better.
@56! Thank you for ending the thread with a smile on my face.
@29: "He married his wife under false pretenses." Yes! There are lots of parallels to the closet cases who marry a "beard" causing her to wonder for years what's wrong with herself that her husband isn't attracted to her.

People don't have to be madly in love and sexually attracted to each other to marry. But if they are not (and especially if one is acting as if he was), he needs to disclose long before saying, "I do" and give her the choice as to whether to have that kind of marriage. And, if someone is "hoping that I'd become sexually attracted to my wife", the wife-to-be needs to be in loop and decide if SHE wants to roll those dice because the odds aren't good. I don't know any couples where that hoped for attraction developed. Affection sometimes, tolerance or resignation to an imperfect status quo more commonly, and, often, the unattracted partner dumps the undesired victim at an age of about 40.

@42: I don't think that was the point of the letter, but on your automotive analogy: "like trading in your Ferrari for a Ford Festiva", perhaps better would be, "ignoring your racing bicycle to go cruising for the night in a very used AMC Pacer."
this is the Dan Savage I remember. Awesome response, calling that fuck out! I love big girls, always have. I married the one I fell in love with and after 19 years of marriage still have the best sex I've ever had. And @1, eat shit and die you shallow douche bag!
Step 1: make sure not to get your wife pregnant.
Step 2: get into therapy.
Step 3: explain the situation to your wife; face up to the likely divorce.
Step 4: more therapy.
Step 5: meet a smart chick with a big-butt & big-tits.
Step 6: tell her your fantasies, and watch her role-play dumb hick just to turn your crank.
Step 7: appreciate the hell out of her and satisfy her fantasies.
@35: your description of women in a bar as "all of them are ready to go" sounds, for lack of better words, predatory and objectifying.

I personally wouldn't describe those women as "predatory and objectifying", but if that's what you think of people trying to get laid, I'm not going to argue with you. I certainly never felt threatened by them.

@41: Not being attracted to fat people is not the same thing as fat phobia. It really isn't.

Let me try again. Dan et al berate LW for not having the courage to date women whom society considers to be undesirable. And yet if Dan et al encountered LW and his hypothetical fat girlfriend in a social setting, they would judge her, and they would judge him by his association with her. That's hypocritical, and I also believe it's also fat-phobic, although certainly not in its most extreme form.
@62: ...*implying* that those groups are mutually exclusive. Yes, you have to do a bit of reading in the subtext, but it is there.

Huh? A group defined as having attributes A, B, and C is mutually exclusive with a group defined as not having attributes A, B, and C. A person can't have an attribute and not have that same attribute at the same time.

What you're trying to say is that LW has implied a correlation between A, B, and C. But that is nowhere in the text you quoted or anywhere else in the letter.
Does the wife get to step out with somebody who actually finds her sexually attractive?
@63: I don't think this is a closet case, he wants to have a "hot wife", he's mostly attracted to the persons he finds beneath him. Leaving that behind and requiring better treatment for his conquests would change the dynamic.
@65: "Step 5: meet a smart chick with a big-butt & big-tits."

This guy is desperately afraid of dating a woman smarter than himself. It's not really about her size in the end (pun unintended.)
@71 that's what the therapy's for...
I'm not sure the letter writer would be sexually attracted to an intelligent, classy, woman no matter what her size; Dan focused on the "fat" part, but that was one small part of what he said. He used the word "hick", even, which in my area definitely describes a very particular type of person, fat or not. I think a lack of intelligence and sophistication is just as important to him as her physical characteristics.
Like @73, I think most of you focused on the "fat" part and ignored the rest of it. He has a fetish for hicks/rednecks. The psychology behind that could take many forms, but it's not quite the same as desiring fat women and being ashamed of it.

And while all of you railing on this guy may well be right about his character flaws, but I can't help suspecting that many of you would be more forgiving of, say, an educated career woman who had a fetish for subliterate, "trashy" men that she would never want as a husband.
@70: I agree he's not a closet case as in a gay man posing as straight in a straight marriage. My point was that there are parallels:

1) He wasn't honest about his sexual attraction to something his wife is not and probably never will be,
2) his lack of attraction to his wife, and
3) his affection and appreciation for his wife is not in question, nor is it for the married gay guy - they each married someone they respect and love as a friend, but don't find sexually attractive.

The LW says he's "madly in love" with his wife and in that, it's better than the mixed-orientation marriage in which the uninformed spouse may be "in love" while the closeted spouse is "in like" only.

Maybe it's just me, but what I consider "in love" hasn't happened for me with anyone I wasn't attracted to. So I wonder if he is really "in love" with his wife or more in love with the concept of being married to the hot, societally-approved wife.
I read this totally differently than a lot of people did. Maybe because I've never been fat or teased for being fat.... I'm not sure. But what I understood is that what turns his crank are women that are not ONLY fat, but are also dress like a strong contender for a People of Walmart contest, talk like they dropped out of school in fourth grade and have the manners to pick their nose and inspect it in public. I didn't take his letter as hatred or disdain towards them, more like horror at his own taste. I think that a curvy woman with fashion sense, mad cooking skills and a good job would be unappealing -- he craves the loser attitude, the cheap fashion, the poor hygiene, et al.

Did anyone else read it the same way?
@76: It's hard to take "ugly" and "trashy" as anything but disdain. But you may have a more generous view on people than I do. Nonetheless, "horror at his own taste" is still pretty condemnatory on his part, don't you think?
I've got a $50 bill that says the LW is divorced, sitting in a bar, and trying to suck his gut in.
@78: Should we assume "dive bar"?
@56, I love you, your comment is priceless.

Good on Dan for calling this guy out on his bullshit. Having such disdain for the people you're attracted to is pathetic and seriously creepy. I sincerely hope this guy's wife has divorced him and that no chubby 'hick' chick ever gives him the time of day.
@14 has it exactly right, I suspect. Dan could be right: it could be internalised fat-hating, but it sounds more to me like it's all about class. LW has a thing for women of a particular class -- lower middle class whites -- and has a full set of stereotypes to fill out the fetish/attraction. What that means, though, I do not know.