Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

August 6, 2008

The Big Question: Mama Said Knock You Out Edition

Filed under: The Big Question — Miss Plumcake @ 3:26 pm

In Nick Hornby’s excellent novel High Fidelity the main character Rob realize when it comes to relationships

… you’ve got to punch your weight. Charlie was out of my class: too pretty, too smart, too witty, too much. What am I? Average. A middleweight. Not the brightest bloke in the world, but certainly not the dimmest: I have read books like The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Love in the Time of Cholera, and understood them, I think (they were about girls, right?)

and it got me to thinking about big girls and how our perceived lower value in society affects who and why we date. I have been having a fun summer *thing* with a wonderful young man who happens to be Just Plain Hot.

And Scottish.

And a firefighter.

(yeah okay, now I’m just bragging. I don’t care.)

I rarely date guys who are Just Plain Hot. I’ve never been much of a sucker for a pretty face. In fact, my idea of happiness involves Lyle Lovett, the Federal Suite of the Hay Adams Hotel and a giant plate of huevos rancheros after, and what I’ve noticed as I’ve been bopping about town with my new friend is that I’ve been getting some pretty evil looks from other women, as if it was against the natural order of things that someone that good looking could possibly be with a Girl Like That.

So today Plumcake Wants to Know:

Do you “punch your weight” when it comes to dating? If so, what does that mean? Have you ever had any positive/negative experiences about dating someone who might be traditionally considered “out of your league?”



  1. This has been a semi-regular occurrence in my life. My fighting weight has been between 250 and 290lbs (thanks thyroid cancer, you’re a gem). Before I met my current consort, I dated a lot of men. Of varying shapes and sizes… including a personal trainer, a free climber, and a Spanish linguist- all three who happened to be quite striking. And my, there were looks. Not just glances, but head-turning lingering gawks. It was weird. But ultimately not my problem. And still not my problem. But I do think it takes a secure man to deal with such situations.

    My boyfriend of 4 years is quite handsome, and height weight proportionate. He is very affectionate, and we are often holding hands and smooching on the street. People look- sometimes with curiosity, other times animosity. My favorite moment was when we were standing on a street corner waiting to cross. A women in a nearby car was scowling at me, I can only assume because of my weight. Just as I made eye contact with her, my bf reached over and casually stroked my (rather prominent) tummy. The woman’s jaw literally fell open. And I laughed and laughed.

    Comment by luckycharmer — August 6, 2008 @ 4:25 pm

  2. I’ve always pulled my weight. When I was slimmer, I dated slimmer people. I’m larger, and so are my partners. Now, one gentleman of my familiar acquaintance is in the “how the hell does he land THAT many” zone, but he has the unglamorous job of a tech geek and gets mistaken for Jerry Garcia. Doesn’t change his good fortune with women.

    Comment by Lysana — August 6, 2008 @ 5:32 pm

  3. Scottish firefighter? Lucky bitch.

    I think I must not be in any league at all, because I hardly ever get asked out.

    Comment by Patia — August 6, 2008 @ 5:34 pm

  4. Ahhh, dating. Ok, must not romanticize too much… “Marriage is fun and exciting…marriage is fun and exciting…marriage is fun and exciting…”

    Anyway, I always dated “out of my league”. I think it came down to confidence, wit, and grooming. I guess being fat all my life forced me to develop a personality.

    Comment by Sara — August 6, 2008 @ 6:54 pm

  5. “Marriage is fun and …”

    Thanks for the reminder, Sara.

    I’m married and definitely not looking. Also at the age of invisibility (50’s) to many people, regardless of weight.

    Anyway, I recently had lunch out with a male friend. He’s delightful and flirty and gorgeous (for my age range) – think Paul Newman at 50. We were being served in a small restaurant when a woman seated alone behind us started asking him about the dishes we’d ordered. I swear that I did not exist for her in any sense at all at that point. He politely answered her then put his hand over mine on the table and winked! She backed off, but if looks could kill…

    Date whomever you like. If necessary, you can always learn the accidental drink spill, “oh I’m so sorry, did I just dump my bloody mary all over you?”

    Comment by Tanya — August 6, 2008 @ 7:18 pm

  6. We’ve never dated in our supposed league; Sara has it right, though. Mrs. Hendricks developed her personality and confidence over many years, and as those grew, so did her number and quality of dates. We’ve had the looks, too, and sometimes Mr. Hendricks and I still get them. We prefer to think of them as envious of our obvious happiness. We’ve actually had people come over to us and ask how long we’ve been dating! They are amazed we are married. Of course, gin helps.

    Comment by Mrs. Hendricks — August 6, 2008 @ 7:19 pm

  7. Some people are just bitchy all the time and toss dirty looks at people for no reason. I really doubt that that many women are pissy to see an attractive guy with a big girl. They are just pissy, period.

    Comment by wildflower — August 6, 2008 @ 8:11 pm

  8. My sister is a vuluptuous babe (170, 5’5″, hourglass shape) who has never had any problems attracting men. She dates navy SEALS, firefighters, test pilots — actually, she dates whomever she wants. They like her pretty smile, her ready laugh, her intelligence and her joyful personality. I’ve always suspected that it doesn’t hurt that she is stacked. :)

    Comment by class-factotum — August 6, 2008 @ 8:16 pm

  9. Everyone I date is prettier than me. I do get the looks and I just enjoy them, since I am at a disadvantage in general as a big girl. I am a size 22 and 5’6″ AND in my forties and I date more than a lot of divorced women I know. I am convinced it is because I am a southern girl in the north and learned my flirting skills in my cradle ;)

    Comment by bookgirl82 — August 6, 2008 @ 9:24 pm

  10. My husband, when we first started dating, was thin, impeccably dressed, immaculately groomed and oh so cute! I’m quite the fruit fly and many of my gays had big ol’ crushes on Jason. Never did any of them ask what a hottie like him was doing with girl like me. They just encouraged me to keep on workin’ it.

    My female friends, that’s a whole other story. I actually had a GOOD friend, after meeting Jason, ask me, “How did you ever get him?”

    Now, let me confess, I’m fat; not just chubby or big or thick, I’m F-A-T. But I’m also always stylishly dressed, nicely cosmeticked (if that’s a word) and have done at least something with my hair. I’m fully of the opinion that the secret to getting the one you want is all a matter of presentation. Much like the white elephant game at a Christmas party, the prettiest wrapping gets picked first. And if it’s the biggest present with the most gorgeous paper and bow, there’s going to be a fight for that particular trinket. Add charm, wit and intelligence to your package and you’re no longer the booby prize, girl, you are the top tier teddy bear!

    Comment by AmelieWannabe — August 6, 2008 @ 10:56 pm

  11. I’m 20 and I have only been on a handful of dates and never dated anyone seriously..I’m not going to lie..I feel like I’m a beautiful girl… I’ve got a very pretty face..I carry my weight very well (size 22-hour-glass figure-well proportioned)..I don’t get asked out at all..I meet guys online that say I am beautiful the way I am, but I am unable to find these guys in real life. I know its because of my location..I live in a small college town with shallow BOYS who if they were interested their friends would never let them live it down..god I need to get out of this town and find a man, man enough to date me.

    Comment by nicole — August 6, 2008 @ 11:03 pm

  12. I was dating this ridiculously attractive man for a while. Dark hair, green eyes, Quarterback, with a bod to match. When we would go out lots of the stereotypically prefect bodied girls would stare at us, and I kind of got a kick out of it. He was so hot, but he was so dumb. So dumb that when he would speak I would have to shush him or kiss him, because I could not tolerate it.

    So I guess that I’m confirming the myth… well at least for myself. I also don’t think that I could date someone who was insanely more intelligent than me either.

    Comment by sam — August 7, 2008 @ 5:02 am

  13. Bookgirl, a Memphis friend told me that when a big company moved its HQ from NY to Memphis, the male employees were in shock: They were surrounded by southern women who wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without makeup or being nicely dressed and who know how to flirt. I don’t know what women are like in NY, but was in Boston last summer and noticed that the unshaven legs/Birkenstock/ratty hair/serious intellectual look was very popular, which helped me understand why it’s so often that southerners win the Miss America contest.

    Comment by class-factotum — August 7, 2008 @ 9:15 am

  14. I noticed that the larger i got, the less male attention I got. I was lucky, i think, to have found someone in my league when i was still an ‘acceptable’ size. I’ve a think for pretty men, but was usually “the friend” or a wingwoman. The one time I did pull a younger, gorgeous guy, i sabotaged it before he could realize what a raw deal he’d gotten.

    Comment by gina — August 7, 2008 @ 10:45 am

  15. I’ve notice this happen to my parents. They are both in their 50s, but Dad has always looked young for his age. He’s been mistaken for my boyfriend/husband before. I’ve seen Mom get dirty looks from (presumably) younger women when she and Dad are together at a party or something. Women flirt with Dad a lot, too. Dad doesn’t notice it because he’s a nice, oblivious guy who always assumes people are being friendly. Mom just laughs at how pathetic their love lives must be that they are trying to in the way of hers.

    Comment by JR — August 7, 2008 @ 12:44 pm

  16. @ Nicole: look at older guys. I remember when I was your age, I couldn’t understand why the older guys were always checking me out and chatting me up (“ew, you’re in your 30s, ew!”) Now that I’m older, I understand that older guys appreciate an intelligent beautiful woman – regardless of her size. (Although now I’m older, I also get chatted up by younger guys – where were you when I was 20??!!)

    That said, I also chalk it up to the fact I love myself a lot more now than when I was 20. I’ve been a size 30 and now I’m a 20, and I thought I was the shiznit in both places (and got a lot of male attention at both sizes, no doubt because I thought I was the shiznit). When I was 20, I was in a very unhealthy body image place..(and I was a 16, go fig..)

    I didn’t think I understood “boxing above my weight class” because I think I’m fab! Um..but my current bf gives me those kind of twitchies from time to time so now I get it. He is beeYOOteeful. That said, I’ve known him for seven years and it took him six to get up the nerve to finally ask me out, so I think it all balances out. :)

    (Sorry for the novel!)

    Comment by Alyssa — August 7, 2008 @ 12:50 pm

  17. I’ve always been able to snag ridiculously good looking men. I’m a size 10-12 and 5’6″ and pretty athletically built. Men approach me all the time (not to sound like I’m bragging…its actually a little annoying). My guy friends tell me I’m attractive, but I’ve *always* felt that the men I get are WAY out of my league. In my twisted mind, I’ve never really understood:

    1. Why (if rail-thin women are desirable) don’t they mind my shape
    2. What they see in me that I don’t, OR
    3. Why I feel like they are too good for me in the first place.

    Its so funny how our society places so much value on physical appearances. Like pretty people are worth more…

    Sam: I can totally relate to your story. I dated a baseball player in college who was breathtaking…until he opened his mouth. I had to make sure not to break the three-syllable rule when we were talking or he would lose interest and look away. Hilarious.

    Comment by JayKay — August 7, 2008 @ 2:32 pm

  18. @ Wildflower “Some people are just bitchy all the time and toss dirty looks at people for no reason.”

    So true! I work with a couple women like that, they have perpetual stink-eye face. I’ve noticed it even when they don’t realize I’m watching them. I don’t know if they’re always in a sour mood, or that’s just how their “neutral” face is… but seeing it always prompts me to smile, so people don’t think *I’m* bitchy!

    Back on topic, I think self-confidence is a huge factor. Sometimes I’ll lose a tiny amount of weight, but my jeans fit a little better and I feel sexier – inevitably I’ll attract more attention, even though the actual physical change is not noticeable. Now, we all just need to work on having that confidence at any size – presto! Hot men galore.

    Comment by Stella — August 7, 2008 @ 4:03 pm

  19. Bitchy people can be a diagnostic of our own insecurities. When one gives you a bitchy look, you can think, “Oh, she’s racist and doesn’t like my race,” or “Oh, she’s size-ist and doesn’t like my size” or “Oh, she’s pissed because I’m an ordinary-looking girl with this good-looking guy” or anything at all, but generally, the more complicated your interpretation, the more it’s an indication of your issues, not hers. Hers are simple. She’s a bitch. Rise above your own insecurities and thank jeebus you aren’t her. :)

    Comment by wildflower — August 7, 2008 @ 4:37 pm

  20. Plum, he doesn’t happen to know any other hot firefighters who like a big girl, does he? Also, your timing is excellent. I am in the midst of preemptive self-sabotage. This very week a handsome, well-rounded intellectual who is completely my type expressed an interest in me via the interwebs. So of course, I’ve spent the last couple of days telling myself how he’ll run when he realizes how very out of my league he is. I think this is actually because we’re in the same league, so my ground is shakier than usual.

    That said, I have dated only handsome men (save one blind date from hell), and I was out of THEIR leagues, regardless of size. I’m a pretty girl, and well-proportioned, smart as a whip, and full of Southern charm. Being fat definitely adds a nice layer of anxiety, so I tend to settle instead of going for what I really want. This strategy is SERIOUSLY flawed.

    Maybe it is a geography thing, because I’m way more popular up north than I am here…

    Comment by Sara — August 7, 2008 @ 8:02 pm

  21. Yeah, I think it has more to do with your level of confidence than anything… I’ve just been dating for a little less than a year (was married for the previous 15… YAY for divorce!!) and haven’t found any trouble. It helps that I am way confident and flirt without even realizing it.

    Comment by Catherine — August 8, 2008 @ 12:52 pm

  22. JayKay – I know it’s so horrible though. I just kept thinking… ‘You are so hot. Maybe if I just look at you and nod you’ll think we’re having a conversation and I won’t really have to listen’. Also body and man-wise I an in a similar position to you, except most of the time I just tend to think it’s my je ne sais quoi or badass-ness that attracts them.

    Comment by sam — August 10, 2008 @ 3:44 am

  23. It was funny.

    When I was a teen-aged lass, I knew I was overweight, and suffered very much from feeling as though I was not attractive as the smaller girls. Yet I had this, odd distant feeling in my belly, that if they could not see that I was fine, they were not worth so much as a passing thought of sorrow that they were so blind.

    Out of Highschool, I started to date. More often than not, the young men I dated felt superior in some way, seeing through my fat to date me, but reminding me in their discomfort, embarrassment, or lack of desire, that I was unattractive.

    I spiraled into letting myself be mistreated because I began to belive these silly men and their silly views. Then one day, I met a very… very attractive young man. Striking, Handsome, and Funny… And from the first moment he thought I was an utter Goddess.

    I suppose there is a lesson somewhere in there. Mostly its about ladies (and gentlemen) who are not Vogue-Slim, having faith in their attractiveness, and thinking that people who don’t find them attractive are barely worth a shrug, let alone any kind of self-torture over not being good enough.

    Comment by Katherine — August 11, 2008 @ 6:49 am

  24. When dating thin, sexy guys, I have definitely had moments where my mind starts running out of control: “OMG, everybody’s thinking of that old nursery rhyme, Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean…“, and I have definitely felt out of place or like I was reaching way above my “station”. However, I have found it to be universally true that guys like a feminine body, the only variation being what degree of plushness turns them on. And sometimes the most muscled, toned boys are the ones who dig “soft” or big girls…after all, “opposites attract” isn’t just a Paula Abdul song. *g*

    (That being said, there are the guys who let peer pressure push them around and tell them that if their girlfriend doesn’t run 5 miles per day and can’t fit into a size 0, then she’s not worthy of respect, dignity, or common human decency. However, I would rather cut off my right arm and my left boob than be with one of those guys!)

    If all else fails and I can’t stop myself from having a crisis of self-image, I just remind myself: this guy is with me for a reason, and for me to second-guess his decisions is to tell him that his judgment can’t be trusted. Who am I to second guess? ;)

    Comment by Elina — August 11, 2008 @ 6:10 pm

  25. I’m totally 20 days behind in reading posts, but I had to share…

    When I was in college, I had this thing for the athletic boys. I dated two (now NFL) football players, a firefighter, a professional wind surfer from NZ (who was just on the olympic team), and a professional scuba diver. And I’m the same size 24 now that I was then. We got LOOKS like you wouldn’t believe. It was glorious! Problem was, I’m a HUGE nerd. And even though the last two had degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering, they weren’t up to snuff.

    After a brief stretch of “I-think-I’m-gay” boys, I stumbled upon the stash of hot nerds. All really tall, all dark curly hair, all brilliant and all absolutely as nerdy as I am. I knew that TallBoy was the one when he taught my dog to sneeze on command. There is no bigger nerd. And yet, we STILL get those looks sometimes. Bless his heart, he notices every time and makes a big point to wrap his arms around me and give me a huge smooch.

    Comment by Deana — August 31, 2008 @ 6:59 am

  26. Cam on nhiu nghen.

    Comment by Quynh Anh — October 18, 2008 @ 1:12 am

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