Dating Tips For Fat Guys

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About Harris O'Malley

Harris O'Malley provides geek dating advice at his blog Paging Dr. NerdLove, as well as writing the occasional guest review for and appearing on the podcast The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen. He can be found dispensing snark and advice on Facebook and Twitter (@DrNerdLove.)

Dr. NerdLove is not really a doctor.


  1. I personally think A look’s better than B in example box. How many men are that airbrush perfect, and thin? Just sayin..

  2. Uh, the guy on the left in the photo is not fat.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Harris doesn’t call him fat.

      He calls him burly. And he DOES have a hugely devoted female fan base, included me. If you see the other article on this series on GMP you’ll see like 40 comments on him, including mine. I get all tingly in behind the knees for him.

      • FlyingKal says:

        Exactly, the guy is called “large and burly”.

        So, why is he brought in as a model in an article called “Dating tips for fat guys”?

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          I chose it as the lead photo because let me tell you what comes up when searching for a photo on open source sites when you type in “Fat guy” or “big guy” or “Husky” … It ain’t good.

          He’s using it in the middle of the piece because this guy doesn’t fit the “I’m a model” form that mainstream America wants us to believe all women want. It actually makes perfect sense.

    • agreed. that guy is not fat! he looks like he could kick guy b’s ass, too. i think guy a looks kind of hot, in heavyweight brawler kind of way.

    • I agree the man on the left isn’t fat. However, if a woman was around his size, she would most certainly be called fat.

  3. Do you have a pictoral guide to style for a TALL + large frame + overweight male?

    Btw, Seth Rogen, etc are celebrities, with money, so comparing them to the average guy earning middle to lower class levels of income won’t work. How many women will date a POOR fat man?

    • From Wikipedia, “Rogen began dating writer/actress Lauren Miller in 2004. The two met while he was working on Da Ali G Show.[10]” According to filmography, at that point he had only had small roles in Donnie Darko and Anchorman.
      Just remember, at least some celebrities found love and got married before they hit it big financially, when they were up and coming comedians and actors, which I’m sure you know is not a lavish lifestyle. (Louis C.K. is another example.)

      I can offer a little sympathy on the Tall + Large thing, though. My husband is 6’2″ (and if I recall you’ve said you’re 6’7″ or so?) and has a thick neck and long arms. Finding dress shirts for him is a major pain in the rear end, JCPenney and whatnot leave you digging through the stacks for that elusive neckline while the Big & Tall stores (do you have those in Australia?) are TOO big and tall for him.

      • …are TOO big and tall for him.

        has hubby tried altering the dress shirts himself.
        there are youtube vids that would help him, or he could see if there are low cost dress alteration shops in your area.

      • Yeah we have kingsize big n tall here, but it’s 2000km away so I have to shop online for it and it’s pretty pricey!

        Of course some fat people find love but comparing to the celebrities is a bit strange, even if they only had small roles. I’d still like to know how successful overweight men who are poor are in dating compared to more well off overweight men.

  4. I appreciate the overall message of trying to encourage fat guys to not let their fat get them, I really do.

    On the other hand your examples aren’t quite mirroring what (at least some of) these fat guys are lamenting about.

    Usually what I see when it comes to “women will date fat dudes” line of encouragement is mention celebrities and guys that the burly gentleman you have pictured above.

    I think like any group who has a hard time seeing themselves in a certain position they would like to examples that are as close to them as possible.

    The burly gentleman you have pictured doesn’t really match up to the guy that doesn’t have much in the way of musculature. The men that you name are celebrities. I wager most of the lamentations we hear about “women don’t date fat guys” isn’t coming from celebrities.

    (I guess for comparison we could say that women are/have been represented in comedy….and then name off Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Carol Burnette, Ellen DeGeneres, Kathy Griffin, and Rosanne Barr. See the issue?)

    But the rest of the post is on point especially the “Don’t Hide Yourself” point. Its really easy to want to back up against the wall and pretend not to be there (which is pretty hard to do when you’re easily the largest and tallest person in the room). When you hid the fear wins. Don’t let the fear win.

  5. I wish you had included something about these men not doing to others what has been done to them…
    I haven’t been thin since puberty, and having a baby certainly didn’t help the matter. I tend towards men who are the “physical equivalent” of myself, but I find that a lot of them are still only interested in the thinner women and then whine about no one wanting them. Yes, I know we can’t really control who we are attracted to, but just because I like looking at eye-candy doesn’t mean I want it to cuddle up to at night. If you want women to be more open-minded, then you need to practice what you preach.

    • I’ve tried to be attracted to women my size, it just didn’t work. I dunno why but I do not find overweight women appealing at all. Mind you my version of overweight is pretty damn big since I’ve been to the obese level. I am most attracted to thin and petite women, and I just have absolutely very little attraction to overweight women. Maybe it was because I was told over n over n over that fat is ugly from very young n copped a lot of bullying over it? I dunno. I don’t whinge however about not having a partner, it’s annoying but I manage. I find it more annoying that my tastes aren’t as wide as others though.

      I tried being with someone who was bigger, tried to force myself to be attracted to her and it failed miserably and because I couldn’t reciprocate the feelings…she ended up hurt. I felt horrible about it. We can’t force ourselves to like someone, can’t force attraction for people, to me it’s pretty much like trying to force myself to turn gay. Now I have friends who are thin who loveeee big women and are turned off by thin women that I find absolutely super duper hot, it’s pretty strange! It could be that I just haven’t met any bigger women with an awesome personality that I am attracted to, granted most bigger women I’ve known for some reason had quite a lot of issues (women that were single, and just the few that I’ve met, not all women) so maybe I just had bad luck and it was more personality that turned me off.

      I guess we all have tastes and they don’t have to match our own body type, I am very tall, big, cuddly but muscley, I am overweight, hairy, and I wouldn’t date someone that looked like me because I’m not gay, nor do I find lots of masculine body hair attractive. We don’t HAVE to like someone that looks exactly like us, we don’t HAVE to date people with a similar build, similar income, similar level of fat, similar “number”. I will not just “settle” for someone and end up not being that attracted to them, because that’s just wrong. I’d rather stay single n wait till I find someone I truly like so there’s less chance of people getting hurt. I do understand though as a bigger man it’s going to be much harder to find a woman who is attracted to me since society is pretty fat phobic.

  6. I really like the point of your article but take exception of the labeling of women who like a certain body type as being jerks. Would you think a woman is a jerk if she wanted a burly, teddy bear type and ignored thin or highly-muscled men?

    We all have preferences about who we are and aren’t attracted to, including preferences about physical attributes. Does that mean we are all jerks? Are some preferences shallow and others not? I don’t believe so. Just because a woman isn’t attracted to a large body type doesn’t mean she assumes he is mean, or dumb or not worthwhile. She just doesn’t feel attracted to him. How about we accept that some people aren’t attracted to other people and that is okay? Granted, it isn’t a license to be mean. But simply not being attracted to someone does not make you a jerk. Why the need to judge other people as bad if they don’t like who we are? What does that make us?

    What I hope you meant by that comment is that at least we can identify who we aren’t a match for right away…

    • You don’t become a jerk for preferring a certain body size/type. You become a jerk when you are a righteous asshole to people who are NOT in that body size/type.

      I’m one of those women who digs big guys with lots of body hair; that alone doesn’t make me a jerk. But if I were to go off on a rant about how ugly fit men are, how disgusting I find their gleaming muscles, how utterly un-sexable and repulsive they are to me, THAT would make me a jerk, especially if I said it to the face of a man who was trying to hit on me. (None of that is true, by the way! Just using examples. Though I’m ashamed to admit I did once speak that way of buff men, I’ve outgrown that kind of shaming.)

      Basically, go ahead and like what you like, be choosy, but if you don’t want to be a jerk, don’t go out of your way to denigrate that which does NOT attract you. If someone’s body disgusts you, for pete’s sake keep it to yourself.

      • I agree. Having a particular preference is just having a preference. It’s how people talk about it or use it that’s good or bad. It becomes obnoxious when people take their particular preference and spin it up into a whole big aesthetic theory and start assigning value judgments to their preferences. Like what I’ve heard a few times that men who are attracted to breasts got that way because they weren’t breastfed as babies so are missing some crucial maternal experience. WTF?

        By the same token, people should not overreact to someone who simply expresses a preference. Saying I’m attracted to A and not to B should not be taken as an attack on B. And it doesn’t mean I’m objectifying A, either, for that matter, or that I only care about A.

  7. Actually Jenni the Vast majority of men i know have little issue with a woman’s weight, it’s her health they are more concerned with physically (can she participate in the stuff i like to do), is she fun, is she sane, Does she like smooth jazz, cigars, and a few drinks (direct quote from a friend). If guys are judging you for weight ( just like if girls are judging guys for weight) then they obviously aren’t worthy, and at first this sounds like one of those “but that doesn’t get me dating now” comments, but reminder, it also keeps you from being with the wrong person when a good person comes a long. there are worse things than being alone

  8. Let me add my voice to the “he isn’t fat” crowd when looking at the underwear model on the left. I don’t know what his measurements are (and I’m not concerned), but a male plus-sized model is typically at least 6’3″ and wear an XL. Since I’m 6’3″. What you have done, in equivalent terms for female models, is compare a size 0 fashion model (male models are typically around 6′ and wear a medium) with a size 10. Average for American women is size 14, so that comparison would leave many women still feeling fat. Since average for an American man is about 5’10″ and weights about 180, yielding a BMI of 26.6 or so, I have to say that the “burly” underwear model is going to just not apply to the average fat guy.

    I also take umbrage at the descriptor of “burly.” Burly means hefty, stout, etc. The underwear model is probably a bit less than average. Why not just call him average? Or “more realistic?”

    I’m glad that you pointed out that health problems can lead to weight gain, and not simply the other way around. I was a bit disappointed that you didn’t come out and say, “If you’ve been trying to lose weight, and can’t, see a doctor.” A lot of doctors are stuck on the “exercise more, eat less” routine, but lab work is a MUST for anyone who is going to up their exercise, particularly if they are carrying extra weight that might hide a health problem.

    I think your fashion advice is total crap and is designed as a one-size-fits-all approach to men with literally thousands of body sizes and shapes. I have larger-than-normal thighs for my size, a tribute to my younger days as an athlete, and I would have to buy pants two sizes bigger in straight-leg to get them over my thighs – at which point they are skin-tight on my thighs and baggy on my ass. A V-shaped ANYTHING will only draw attention to your chest rather than your belly if your belly is actually smaller than your chest. Otherwise, it looks like a three-dimensional arrow coming right at the viewer, which just makes a guy look even fatter. It’s hard to call anyone sloppy if they are wearing a “sharp ANYTHING.” A vest is NOT magical. Some look downright stupid, even if they fit.

    Really? An oversized WATCH is going to make someone not notice that I’m six-three and have a BMI over 30? Is this, by any chance, the “watch” that Flava Flav used to wear around his neck?

    @MJO – the vast majority of men that I have known would laugh at the idea of dating a size 14 or above. There are all kinds of snide remarks that are made about heavy women, and they rarely have to do with what type of music they listen to. It’s about their weight.

    @Jay Blevins – you are right. We should be able to simply be attracted to one person or the other without feeling ashamed of how we feel – and without shaming the people we are not attracted to. It really is very simple to not be a dick.

  9. My husband is 6’2″ and 285 or so pounds. There are only two things about his weight that bother me. One, that I know diabetes runs in his family and that by being overweight, his risk for developing it increases. Two, sometimes he exceeds the weight limit for certain physical activities I’d like to do together. I’ve always wanted to go ziplining but that usually maxes out at 250lbs or so. And we tried to take up indoor rockclimbing together only to find that I’m not really strong enough to be his belayer (I’m 5’5″ and somewhere in the 160-170lb range, I stopped weighing myself months ago). Neither of these things is a dealbreaker, not even close, just minor disappointments. More than made up for by the feeling of snuggling up against his large frame or feeling his weight on me when we get frisky. ^_~

    All I can say about the general women/fat/dating/marriage etc. thing is that out here in the U.S. Midwest, if people were as choosy about weight as the popular mythology would have you assume, everyone would be single and bitter. Which is to say, in my everyday life mingling with other non-celebrities, there are pLENTy of examples of average/thin women with fat men, and vice versa. Actually every combination you can imagine.

    Men, ladies, do not buy into the idea that love and sex are limited commodities. There’s more than enough to go around. Really. I promise.

    • Sex is easy. Even the picky guys will sleep with a big girl just to get their rocks off. But they aren’t going to be taking her out to dinner. And I have heard it out of many mouths: what would my friends say if they saw me with her? True, those aren’t the men I want to be with anyways, but there are 100 times more of them than the the ones who take a chance on what’s inside… even if they are in the same position.

      • Jenni, then frankly it’s those guys loss. My wife does not fit the “standard” body type, yet to me she’s the most beautiful women in the world. Why she’d pick a guy like me I’ll never understand.

        That being said, your complaint is not just something men do. I know for a fact that women do it also to men.

    • At 6’6 I can’t drive go karts unless I make one, and I’m also past the weight limit too so I can understand that. I can maybe get down to 260ish if I really work hard but any lower than that and I’ll probably have to start losing muscle tone to drop the weight.

      We’re very close to both diabetes 1 and 2 cures, there is a vaccine for type 1 and type 2 is showing major promise with gut flora being able to reverse it.

    • FlyingKal says:

      Hi KKZ,
      I’m happy that you are (mostly) happy in your relationship. I just wanted to offer some advice on the climbing issue, which in my opinion shouldn’t be a problem.

      1. I regularly see climbning partners with what seems to be 80-100 lbs weight difference. If the issue is solely that you will be lifted from the floor whenever your partner weights the rope, most climbing gyms have ring-bolts in the floor for the purpose of the belayer anchoring him/herself.

      2. If the issue is more that you’re not “strong enough to be his belayer” in the meaning that you won’t be physically able to hold on whenever your partner weights the rope, there are braking devices that have higher-than-average friction, or ways to arrange a regular device to give higher friction and braking power, that should take care of that.

      Maybe you already know and have tried this, but otherwise I think you should be able to go and at least give it a try. Wish you all the best.

  10. Lisa Foye says:

    One thing that always sticks out to me as a missing component of any discussion of weight is the fact that a person has to start somewhere. What I mean is the assumption that a fat person isn’t doing anything to not be fat. For instance, I have recently been going to the gym (daily) and eating healthier. I’ve started practicing meditation and yoga. It’s only been a few months since I’ve started working actively to lose weight, but guess what? I’m still fat! I likely will be considered fat for quite some time throughout my journey to fitness. The point is many people who fat-shame aren’t aware that perhaps the person they’re mocking has already lost 40lbs or that they’re already starting to make these improvements to their overall health. Telling men and women “of size” to work out/eat better makes the assumption that they haven’t started to do so already. “Well, because you told me to lose weight, I am going to either instantly become the most glorious physical specimen you’ve ever seen or I will hide my disgusting visage and not appear in public until I can be mistaken for a model” is the implication from such advice.

  11. This issue has been addressed in the comments to some extent, but it bears repeating. The guy on the left looks like an athlete–specifically, a linebacker or a tight end. Though he is presented by way of contrast to the underwear model, his physique is equally unattainable for many or most guys. An actual fat guy would provide a more meaningful contrast.


  1. […] Dating Tips For Fat Guys — The Good Men Project Will Date Fat Men. Large dudes will frequently lament that their size automatically disqualifies them from dating – they believe that there is simply no way a woman could possibly like somebody who's body isn't rippled and shiny like a buttered ear of corn. ….. Usually what I see when it comes to “women will date fat dudes” line of encouragement is mention celebrities and guys that the burly gentleman you have pictured above. I think like any group who has a … […]

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