In my early teenage years, I remember hearing stories of boys dating plus size girls as a “dare” by their friends, or men who would go to extreme lengths to stop their girlfriend from meeting his family and friends because he was ashamed of her size. And as someone who grew up bigger than all of my friends, this properly fucked with my head! To the point where I refused to even show interest in guys out of the fear of rejection – or even worse, ridicule. So basically I spent all of my teenage years obsessing over band members and celebrities who didn’t know I exist because they couldn’t hurt my feelings and call me “fat” or “ugly” when they rejected me.
For me, it was extremely hard to watch my friends begin to meet people and and get with guys in clubs because I knew these boys wouldn’t be interested in me – or at least, that’s what I thought. In fact, I hated going out with my friends when I was 18 because all they wanted to do is snog the faces off the Unit 7 (a club near where I live) fuckboys.
That’s not to say no one was interested in me. I was out once in Chelmsford when a guy asked if I wanted a drink and who would say no to a free drink! We kissed a lot and there was a bit of groping. But he later tried to force me to go back to his house and then told me he had been accused of rape. When I said “no” for like the hundredth time, he ended up telling me that it was actually my friend he “preferred”. While I regret that whole experience, it didn’t tear me up as much as I thought it would and it was kind of what I needed to reaffirm that boys do actually want to kiss me.
Given the above experience, I knew I wasn’t going to find the right person for me in a dingy club in Essex. That’s when I turned to Tinder! I know what you’re thinking: Tinder is basically a meeting place for all the douche-iest boys in the world. However, you will be pleased to know success comes from this story. That wasn’t without many, many fails though!
When it came to setting up my Tinder, I did what is maybe the most classic ‘fat girl on Tinder’ move: a collection of full body shots between pretty bomb selfies – if I do say so myself. I can’t be the only one who has seen those “social experiments” where they get a skinny woman to use Tinder to arrange dates with men and then she arrives almost double her size. Then the men end up walking out disgusted that she doesn’t look how she did in her pictures. Well, with this in the back of my mind, I made sure to include all of my best outfit pictures. Thinking back on it now, it’s completely ridiculous that I must prove my size to guys so they can make sure they really want to date me. As if they’re going to look at my face and be like “yeah sure I’ll date her” and then immediately back out as they scroll pass my size 20 body.
Anyway, Tinder was an experience and a half. From unsolicited dick pics to a guy who practically wanted me to be his therapist (and also a guy who sent me a VERY dodgy video with his dog), it was about a year before I actually spoke to someone decent who I could potentially see something happening with.
His name was Connor. And from our first few messages, it was clear we had lots in common. He liked dogs; in fact, he had two shih tzus which was a plus, and he wanted to travel to the places as I did. We talked for a few days and then I got the message: “Did you want to go out for drinks?”
At first I was a little hesitant, it was like all those teenage feelings came rushing back to me. You know, being fifteen and not knowing whether someone actually liked you or they were just saying it to be funny. It was my mum and sister that convinced me to go, otherwise I probably would have just read it and simply “forgot” about it. Instead, I mustered up the courage, grabbed my phone and text him back saying that we should meet up on Friday. And guess what? I didn’t get a text back telling me it was all a joke and I was actually ugly. He agreed to go on a date. With me!
At about 7:30pm, Connor and I met at Missoula in Chelmsford (which has now been replaced – cries) but not without the initial freakout that I was going to be stood up – or he was going to see me through the doors and leave. To calm my nerves, I grabbed myself a Bubblegum Daiquiri from the bar and was told to take a seat because they would bring it over. What I didn’t realise was there were 2 for 1 cocktails that evening so when Connor sat down, there was a bright pink, candy flavoured cocktail sitting in front of him. I’m pretty sure he would have fancied a beer but it was a good test for fragile masculinity I suppose.
Once he got to the bar and we started chatting, it felt completely normal, like I was just talking to a friend. There were no awkward silences. Plus, we were able to joke and laugh like we had known each other for years; we even got talking about mental health, which is very important to me. The best thing yet is that not once did I feel uncomfortable or insecure about my size. I was completely relaxed with him, and I was starting to feel like he could be my person – someone I was actually really into…
It’s been just over a year now and Connor and I are still dating. It’s not to say that I don’t ever feel insecure or uncomfortable about my body but I feel safe knowing that people do actually find me attractive and want to date me. It’s definitely something I struggled with for a long time and thankfully I’m finally over it.
If you’re also struggling with body image but want to date new people, here are some of my top tips for dating as a plus size woman:
Stop assuming all men like the same body type. It can be difficult, especially when the world likes to shove one type of woman in our faces! However, you must remember everyone has their own type and who they find attractive. In the same way, some women like men who are stockier, there are plenty of guys in the world who love a curvy lady.
Confidence is sexy! Yuck, I really hate that phrase but it’s so true. When you feel your most confident, it really shows to everyone you meet – not only your date. Before you go out on your date, give yourself plenty of time to get ready; run a bath and relax, do your hair a way that makes you feel fab and put on your favourite outfit – the one that accentuates all your finest assets. On my first date with Connor, I wore this really cute jumpsuit that I was obsessed with and took extra time (by pushing the date back) to get ready so I felt great.
Don’t be afraid to take the lead. As women there’s something instilled in us that we must wait for guys to ask us out first. This is particularly true for plus size women who often feel like they have to settle for people who like them rather than asking out who they want. Well, I say fuck that! If you see a guy out and about that you want to get to know, go up to him and ask for his number. Or if you match with a fit guy on Tinder, go say hi – don’t sit around waiting for him to pop up.