I am fat. According to the way the world defines it, I am a fat person. My husband is thin. He ran 16 miles last week. He never has to worry about his pants fitting or people sizing him up when he walks in a room. He is thin. I am not. This isn’t a judgment; it’s just a statement of fact. I am a fat woman married to a thin man.
He does not get a blue ribbon for loving me.
It’s time we stop congratulating men for being attracted to women who aren’t conventionally beautiful.
Last week, in a move that is sure to surprise no one, a batch of beautiful engagement photos(picturing a fat woman and her thin partner, Stephanie and Arryn, respectively) went viral. The reaction was everything you’d expect, but mostly all about her body positivity and him loving her. In Stephanie’s words:
“Throughout our relationship, there has never been a time when he made me feel self-conscious about any part of myself. To him, it doesn’t matter if I have not washed my hair for a week or shaved my legs in over a month,” she told HuffPost. “He loves me for who I am, and for who I make him want to become. He has always told me that he doesn’t care how I look, that I’m beautiful regardless.”
Oh well, isn’t that just wonderful how he loves her regardless of how she looks.
It’s almost as if, I don’t know, that’s what love IS?
The photographs are gorgeous for a number of reasons — location, subject matter, undeniable passion, some pretty sweet tats. And yes, the bodies are beautiful. But the fact that Stephanie happens to be fat is not, or at least should not be, front page news.
She’s fat. He’s not. What’s your point?
I’ve experienced this, too. When the public sees you, said public feels either obliged (or entitled) to comment on everything, from your body to your sex life to your presumably failing marriage.
I have been told I’d be lucky if my husband ever “f#cked me.” I’ve been told there is “no way he is attracted” to me. I’ve been told that I’m “lucky he loves me at all.” Not only am I fat, I’m crazy, too. How lucky am I to have found a partner who is willing to love me despite my obvious failings as a human.
When I got tired of hearing this bull, I wrote an article about our sex life.
Because yes, we have one. And yes, contrary to what the public at large may have you believe, it is good. Fat be damned.
I haven’t always been fat.
I met my husband when I was 11.
I was very small then. We were very cute.
We didn’t get married then (though we did do the “will you be my girlfriend” thing).
When we started dating as 35-year-old adults, I was thin.
I was very very thin.
I had an eating disorder. He didn’t know I had an eating disorder, but he did love me, it didn’t have anything to do with my being very thin.
I recovered from that eating disorder. We had two babies. And, as you would expect from someone who has to stop eating to be thin, I got fat again.
I’m fat. He’s not. So what?
It’s hard to tell from this photo, but I am definitely fat. He is definitely not.
We are a happy couple. I love him for a multitude of reasons, including, but not limited to: his ability to make coffee and fix almost anything, his absolute adoration of our children, his wonderfully intelligent brain, his very sound and responsible social, environmental, and political views.
Also, he has really beautiful eyes.
If his eyes tragically fell out of his head, I would still love him.
I would not deserve praise for loving an eyeless man. I might deserve praise for putting up with the coffee grounds all over the kitchen, but not for the lack of eyes thing.
He does not deserve praise for loving me despite my fat.
I love him because he is my husband.
He loves me because I am his wife.
We wrote our wedding vows, in which we opted to say things like, “I will always make you laugh” (him) and “I will always bake you cookies” (me). Nowhere in our vows did it say, “If you get fat and I stay married to you, I get a prize.”
No. I AM the prize.
Relationships don’t get to be celebrated because one partner is in some way exhibiting perceived moral high ground by simply loving their partner. This goes not just for fat, but for all the things that happen to our bodies: wrinkles, stretch marks, weird skin tags and other anomalies, loss of memory, mental illness, postpartum urinary incontinence.
If your partner does not love you because you are fat, that has nothing to do with your fat, and everything to do with them being an ass.
There are no trophies in love. The award is the act itself.
Photos courtesy of the author.