pardon the pun, but you are just a glutton for punishment, dan. this will generate another stream of scathing comments, and a generous portion of them will go to you in addition to the site you cite. inciter!
The tagline should be amended to include the word "wilfully." A horrible accident or flesh-eating bacterial infection can make you unattractive, too, but that's not disrespectful, right?
But it is disrespectful to become unattractive to your life partner!! Why is this so hard to understand?
You know it blows my mind that they don't burn all of their fat off with all of the energy they burn defending it.
And this helps you how, Mr. Savage?
The fativists (is fativist a word?) think your position ignores the fact that fat people are a persecuted group, and that in fact the things you say are a form of persecution. So by showing that you're not the only one who thinks fat partners are being disrespectful only reinforces the belief that fat people are persecuted. It isn't just Dan Savage after them. It's society itself, filled with widespread prejudice.
In other words, you can't win. And that's the real problem with this whole issue: you can't win. It's a no-win issue. Figure out how to get out of that, and you'd really have something.
In before the fatty activists start wailing (whaling?).
I want to repost this, because I still cannot get over it:
It's a fat activist site complaining about Dan Savage and trying to TEACH you how to love someone who is fat. Because you can totally look at fat people, tell yourself that they are attractive, and suddenly they are.
They say not to compare this to trying to teach people to be ex-gay. Because it would totally work to get you to want to make yourself think fat is hot when you didn't already, but it wouldn't work if you were trying to think women were hot when you didn't already.
Go eat a Volkswagon Beetle under the Fremont bridge, Dan.
Aurora Bridge, I think you mean.
Dan, you have really done your reader's a great service with your research into this issue.
Oh, come on now - this is beating a big, fat, bloated, artery-clogged, dead horse.
But, it is entertaining.
Fight the good fight, Dan!
@2 - if one's spouse had a huge facial tumor it wouldn't be their fault, but if they refused to have it removed, that would. It's not the willfullness involved in becoming obsese that matters. It's the capacity to willfully reverse that state of affairs that does.
Dan, you are flaming the comment war fires with your last few posts. I wonder which one will hit 80 comments first?
I LOVE IT.
The more Dan posts about this, the more I think the fat activists have a point.
The real question is:
Dan, if your husband got fat, would you ditch him...?
I only ask because it's so much easier to pass judgement on a faceless blob, rather than someone you love... unless you're shallow of course.
If Dan is going to throw major attitude over a mustache, I think he'll pull the plug when it comes to Terry getting nasty fat. Yep. No doubt.
In HARD's case, he loved his wife, but he was no longer attracted to her.
If Dan's husband became fat, and he wasn't willing to do anything about it, Dan would individually have to decide if this has an effect on his sex life. For a lot of people it doesn't.
You don't dump the person for getting fat, you dump them because you're in a sexless marriage, because you can't get it up for the fatty the other person has chosen to become. If you can get it up for the fatty, then there's no reason to leave.
Well at least mine won't pull the plug. I was porky when we met, and I'm still porky now.
As for all you twink boys that wanna remain 20 into your 50's.... good on ya. Pluck and primp away. It's hilarious to see what kind of treatment I get by the beautiful people... until they find out I'm a tax attorney. So my theory is not that it's how fat my belly is but my wallet. Of course they go away when I tell them I've got student loans till the year 9000.
I might keel over a couple of years earlier but you know what... it will be with a smile on my face.
Dave, you both need to come back to the gym with us... I miss my lock buddy.
Dan is smart! He does not get fat because food does not interest him near as much as stirring up trouble!
It gets so ridiculous that it crosses over to the humor zone.
Don't worry I fall into the trap often too but then it just gets to a point of stupid and somehow very comical.
It's comical until it hits a personal nerve or I get CRAMPS and I'm in a bitchy mood!
Dan- just curious- why are you so worked up about this topic? People bitch about your advice all the time.
I have been out of town for the past few days so missed the chance to comment on the past few "Dan Savage hates fatties" threads. But, here is my recent fat-related story:
Yesterday, my husband and I had a layover in an airport and only had a few minutes to get something for lunch. The only thing that was near our gate was a Burger King. I really, really wanted a cheeseburger and fries, but as I age I have had to make a concerted effort to alter my diet in order to stay the same weight (I am average sized - 10 or 12 - but could easily be a 16-18 if I didn't work at it). So, I had a veggie burger (no mayo). Husband gets a chicken salad.
We sit down at our gate next to a family of five, kids in early teenage years, who had also gone to Burger King. They were all eating double whoppers with cheese, onion rings, etc. The parents were overweight, and the children were getting there. The mom was the largest and had a big glob of mayonnaise stuck on her cheek.
This prompts a discussion (later) between my husband and I about how sometimes its really tough for us to not eat the kind of stuff we'd like to eat (especially when hungover and in a rush at the airport) and for me to make time to go to the gym when I work all the time.
Why do we bother? Obviously, there's the health aspect of it and feeling good about your own appearance. And, of course, we agreed with Dan's pont that it's a matter of respect for your partner that you not "let yourself go" before your time.
But, more than that... I want to be attractive to my husband, and he wants to be attractive to me, and we both know that neither of us would be attracted to the other if we doubled in size over a period of a few years. Yes, it's hard (harder for me than him, for sure), but, duh, relationships are hard work sometimes.
I thought your original advice was spot-on, Dan. The problem was, it was delivered in your usual no-BS tone, so that probably got under the skin of the people who are complaining about it. A nicer tone might have placated the masses, but that's not exactly what you do, is it?
I'm going to the gym
Nooooooo...I can't stop reading the comments but if I have to hear OR Matt whine about being seduced by fat chicks any longer I'm going to have to stab myself in the eeeeeeeye!!!!
Since some commenters have already mentioned it, I'd like to point out that for all intents and purposes it doesn't matter how your partner wound up unfuckable. Whether it's by breast cancer, quadriplegia, or just grody fat, if your partner is unfuckable and you can't deal with that, just leave. Make no mistake, you're a shallow motherfucker, so you might as well just admit it.
I think it does make a difference @25... and it has to do with the whole wanting to be attractive to your partner thing. I want to be attractive to my partner, therefore I work hard to stay that way -- this reflects the fact that I respect him and our relationship.If I was just like, eh, fuck it, and started eating fast food and those Trader Joe's dunkable chocolate chip cookies as much as I actually want to, it would probably indicate that I didn't give a shit whether I was attractive to him anymore (and therefore, he would be justified in thinking, she doesn't respect me or our relationship anymore, maybe this isn't working out).If I was in a car accident and lost my legs or something, that respect for him and our relationship would still be there.
Dear Dave Coffman,
I love you, and I'd fuck you too. (And not for the free tax law advice either.) Thank goodness I have my porky partner to fantasize with.
Mmmm-mmm-mmm, I do love those few extra pounds...
@19: Yep, agreed we need to do that. I wanna get in there as well.
Y'know, this argument is another variation on the eternal high sex drive/low sex drive debate. Remember when Dan asked all of the low-sex-drive people in relationships to justify their demand that their higher-sex-drive partners just GIVE UP sex in the name of love? A
And notice how there was no follow-up? I guess that Dan didn't get many answers.
And this too-fat-to-fuck debate is very nearly the same thing: non-fat partner is having his or her sex life taken away by their have-become-fat partner who says, "If you love me, you'll just have to deal with it."
Finally, the comment keeps coming up that people who dump their mates because they are no longer sexually attractive are "shallow." Hoo-hah! How wrong and wrong-headed that is! SEX is ENORMOUSLY important for the vast majority of adult human beings. When something affects deleteriously the sex life of an adult, they get pissed-off and unhappy and start acting out in all kinds of ways.
Valuing one's sex life and wishing to maintain it at the level one likes are NOT shallow. For one partner to insist that the other partner engage in sexual conduct they find unsatisfying or actively disgusting FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES (note I leave the exception of being GGG and occasionally, if not frequently doing something icky to please their partner, and by so doing strengthen their love and mutual bonds) is a relationship-killer.
We wouldn't be having this conversation at all if it people's sex lives weren't enormously important to them.
No, it doesn't make a difference. It's about fuckability. According to Dan, if you so inconveniently become unfuckable to your husband, he has permission to demand that you change (if possible), to cheat on you, or to leave you.
And I actually don't have much of a problem with that. When my father ditched my mother after she was stricken with breast cancer, it was the best thing that could have ever happened to her. She was able to spend the last five years of her life without that asshole around.
I do think, however, that shallow people should own up to what they are and be upfront about it with their partners. Before getting married, anyone who has a problem with future unfuckability (whether "intentional" or accidental) should make that clear to their future spouse. The spouse can then make the decision whether to take the risk of being abandoned or (in the case of the shallow spouse being too cowardly to leave) resented.
(I don't know why I bother) but, Julie, what if a fat person IS eating healthy, working out and they are still fatter than when they first met their spouse? Who decides what is acceptable?
How hard should they work to show that they "respect" the relationship? Two hours a day at the gym, three? Should they roll back hours at their job to spend more time working out, get their stomach stapled, start a meth habit? What if they respect the relationship, are healthy and they still get fat? Who decides?
It's just that most fat people are not just couch-potato layabouts, is the problem. 95% of all dieters regain the weight within 5 years. 96% of all ex-gays become gay again within 5 years. Why is THAT so hard to understand?
@30 The truth is most straight guys will have sex with anything that has a vagina.
They are sitting at slog acting like they have a choice of women and if their partner gets fat they will leave her.
They all need to get naked sit in front of the mirror for a few hours and understand that nobody wants them and getting any girl let alone a fat girl is not that easy unless they want to pay for it.
It's all really silly and you are right SUPER SHALLOW.
As if all these people are like Americas next Top model.
Looks always fade and things all go down and sag.
I would rather be with somebody fat and happy and fun to be with than a miserable guy only into his looks.
We can't change anybody so why not accept them for how they are.
@31. I am (trying) to eat healthy and work out and I weigh more than when I first met my spouse. It happens over time, I understand that. People age and gain weight and look different then they did 20 years ago. Everyone understands that. However, it's hard for me to imagine a significant change in weight over the course of 5 or so years, without some corresponding change in behavior.
In other words, I find it hard to believe that someone would gain more than a few pounds a year if they maintained their current lifestyle (whether they currently be healthy and fit or not). Normal changes in metabolism and ability to exercise as strenuously as you age are not going to cause you to gain 10 pounds a year (unless something is medically wrong with you, of course). You have to reduce exercise levels and change your diet to cause the kind of step change in weight we're talking about here (e.g., 50 pounds in 5 years). [Pregnancy is the obvious exception to this line of thinking since it affects people's bodies in vastly different ways].
You're "how far should we go to maintain weight" arguments are a little hyperbolic to me, given that, in your example of someone continuing a healthy lifestyle, they're not going to need to resort to meth to lose the natural weight gained over time.
@29: What Hairhead said.
@32... I think many people get that different people have different "set points". I have never and will never be a size 4, no matter what I do. Some people will be a size 4 no matter how many cheeseburgers they eat.
But, we are talking about change in weight here (at least, that was the original topic that started this whole thing). Over a relatively short period of time. It is totally possible to have a healthy lifestyle and still be overweight. But, if you keep that lifestyle, you're not going to go from 175 to 225, for example, in five years.
At risk of controversy, I'm going to repeat something a friend of mine (a woman who was activist in the feminist community, as I was at the time ... still got my Lifetime membership card to NOW) said once:
Men marry women expecting them not to change.
Women marry women expecting them to change.
Fine ... I'm converted ... thank you @24. Men suck, women rule. Everything that is anything at all in a relationship is totally governed by what the women says ... if the husband is too fat he must loose weight, he must be more sincere .... the living room furniture ... blah blah blah.
I heard one woman claim this defense that men feel that women are there to serve them. Well perhaps that is how a relationship begins but not where it ends ... I do know that my Dad ONLY keeps his weight off because my stepmother would dump his ass otherwise. And one of the reasons why my mother couldn't tollerate him anymore either.
You know what Dan, have fun in the fact that you have discovered one of the quinisential double standards of human relationships.
Man, I messed that up ... but it's funnier ...
No, I meant she said:
Women marry men expecting them to change.
She didn't say anything about women marrying women ... but I wonder about that now ...
Julie, do you have the data to back up your assertion? Do you know that someone won't gain that much weight by maintaining the same lifestyle? Sure that may be how it works for you, but for another person, they may gain 30-50 lbs in five years without changing. That's all I'm saying, how do you know? What makes you an expert in human physiology?
Sure there is some hyperbole in my meth statement, but my point is, when we talk about being attractive to another partner, who decides what is a reasonable effort to maintain that in the face of change?
This whole debacle may have originally had to do with Dan's advice to HARD, and I personally wasn't that upset with his advice. (Minus his digs on fatties and twinkies of course) I may have said it differently, but I'm not Dan. That's cool.
What I do take issue with is the assumption that if someone fat they aren't taking care of themselves. When that point was criticized, Dan seemed to freak the fuck out. Everything following here on SLOG and the majority of comments has been, to put it mildly, pretty jaw-droppingly bigoted.
@40. Well, data, let's see. A quick google search showed a bunch of studies that said that after age 25, the average person gains 1-2 pounds per year. That doesn't really prove my belief that without big changes in your lifestyle you're not going to gain more than a few pounds a year, but, if you assume most people aren't getting more active as they get older, it's a good start.
Oh, and I think there is a big difference between saying if someone is fat they are not taking care of themselves and if someone becomes fat in a relatively short period of time they are not taking care of themselves. The situation with HARD was the latter. It's possible to have healthy lifestyle and be overweight, but if someone gains a bunch of weight, you could reasonably infer that there is a medical problem or that they've stopped taking care of themselves.
@38 Awww OR Matt I wasn't trying to turn you against your Daddy or whatever. I just found you increasingly frantic descriptions of the seduction of your toned ass by hideous fatties hilarious/insanity inducing.
Please carry on your quest to get a skinny girl to do you!!
Oh, I see, a bunch of studies with averages. Averages don't really address my point. I'm talking about outliers here.
Oh for heaven's sake....
If the other in a relationship has gotten fat and you can't deal with it, LEAVE(!) so that the two of you can get on with your lives.
Is it kind of a sign of selfishness to do so? Yeah, probably. It may be like dumping someone because they're getting old. I know one has control over diet and doesn't over aging but still, it's the loss of physical attractiveness that's the key motivator here. And leaving someone over loss of looks shows that it wasn't really a solid relationship in the first place.
Whew! Thanks for setting me straight there Dan. I thought I existed for myself, but I guess I just a piece of meat for my life partner.
Really embracing the idea of reducing people to objects, huh? You are lucky that your partner doesn't take your advice, cause Dan, you could stand to lose some weight, in my opinion.
And you advice says that my opinion about your weight supersedes any opinion you might have about yourself.
@43 Yeah I have lots funny stories ... and no they don't always involve obese women either.
I'm fat. Have been all of my adult life, mainly due to binge eating my way through my angsty teen years. I put on a good 150 pounds between 14-16, and have lost a lot of it making good decisions over the last few years. When you used to be a size 32 and you get down to a 16/18 it feels pretty damn good. Sure, I'm still fat, but not "special order your clothing in a catalog, never take the stairs, invest in a Rascal" fat, at least not anymore.
I'm married to an awesome guy. He is attractive and smart and funny and some would say a little out of my "league" in the looks department, since I'm, you know, fat and stuff. He's attracted to me and I'm attracted to him and I haven't changed a bit since we met, save a failed attempt at the short choppy bang. Before I met him I dated, but not a ton, because most of the men who hit on me where men I wasn't usually attracted to. Chubby chasers tend to skeeve me out, and I'm not big on anyone who calls me boo. And that was my choice. Just because I am fat doesn't mean I had to agree to date anyone who "holla" ed in my direction. Does that make me racist or classist or a biggot of some sort?
Fat activists piss me off in the worst possible way. They pretend that being fat has no health effects. They act like we all got this way because we are big boned or have thyroid issues. They throw around words like curvy and buxom as if they are synonymous with obese. They label me as a "self hater" because I treat the word fat like an adjective and not a four letter curse and don't mince words when it comes to explaining how I ended up the size I am. And I don't try to deny people the right to decide what they do or don't find attractive. Which I guess is my long winded way of saying have faith Dan, not all fatties are assholes.
Commitment should be unconditional. Only a bastard would leverage anything with, "I'll leave you if you don't..." fill-in-the-blank. Honesty with commitment is the only decent way to help someone change.
Would you rather someone make you change through fear, or lovingly help you change?
Attraction is not love. Commitment is love. That's what marriage means.
@49 and only a desperate person would say, "I'm going to hang around you even though I miserable"
death do us part made sense in the middle ages, when there was a very highly likelyhood death would do you part with famine, war, and lack of longevity of the species.
Compared to what it was, we live like gods and we ALL have the resources to extend the QUALITY AND QUANTITY of our lives.
So if living the last 60 plus years of your life on prozac is the cost of commitment ...
I heard one woman claim this defense that men feel that women are there to serve them.
I believe I said that, and it was in reference to how the mere existence of fat women seems to make some men incredibly angry, not to individual relationships which, I admit, vary greatly.
@44. I'm sorry, I misunderstood, you didn't want data, you wanted anecdotes. Okay... well, I'm sure it's possible that someone could keep up their exact same diet and exercise regime and yet still gain 10 pounds a year for 4-5 years, unrelated to any medical condition. I don't know of anyone like this, but maybe someone else does.
Yes and I agree with you there, the existence of fat women does make men angry ... we subtly differ as to why.
Nope, not anecdotes, outliers. Averages don't tell you anything with out understanding the variance that contributed to the average. Humans exhibit variance in some traits, and weight gain is one of them. And yep, I do know people who that has happened to, (and that is an anecdote)
You really want to point to this site for support? Really?
Gawd. I'm not even going to weigh in (har-har) on the meat (hee-hee) of this debate, except to say that the site cited in this Slog post is so poorly written and designed, I could never take it seriously.
To the poster named "seriously"--quit it with the "averages/outliers/dazzle us with math" bs.
We don't care about the outliers. If you are one of the outliers, and you can't lose weight no matter what the hell you do, then you're excused for being big (although you should still exercise and eat healthily, to be honest).
Frankly, I'm not seeing the leap of logic that leads people to equate "I'd like for my partner and I to do our best to be healthy and attractive to one another" to "My partner is a piece of meat and exists solely for my pleasure."
I'm a dude. If I quit going to work, stopped showering, and started pounding Jack-and-Cokes and lying on the couch all day watching "Judge Mathis," I would expect to 1) become less attractive, 2) see my health deteriorate, and 3) catch hell about it from my wife. And yet when my wife lets her health and appearance go to hell by eating badly and not exercising (as has been happening since we got married--so I know what HARD is dealing with), I'm somehow deficient for being bothered by that/finding her less attractive?
dude, really, you missed the point. Go back and read my posts where I said I didn't disagree in general with Dan's advice to HARD.
If your wife isn't taking care of herself, that sucks. All I'm saying is that people can gain weight and still be taking care of themselves. When somneone say they are so sure that doesn't happen, I ask how they know. Why is it when it comes to fatness, suddenly everyone is a medical, genetic, etc. expert?
And nope, I'm not an outlier, I'm pretty average.
We are only genetic experts with respect to ourselves and OUR family. And even then we aren't even aware of our individual capabilities. I'm a believer that exercise etc. is it's own reward and takes care of itself.
That said, who has not seen overweight miserable people gorging at the fast food restaurant. Who has known many people who just don't even seem to give a shit about themselves and let themselves deteriorate.
And who has never met that oh so "happy" couple where the wife, once enthusiastic, seems to be bored with marriage life and lets her bitterness be subtly known by making their husbands life a living hell ... no it could never be her problem.
This is in no way saying ALL fat people are like this, and fat spouses are negligent miscreants. etc. etc. but it does happen because we all know people who fall into that catagory.
We also know abusive prick husbands, AND we know a few happy fat people who are accepting and loving of who they are. We also know of overweight couples who are perfectly happy eating themselves to death so long as they do it togethor! ... It takes all kinds to make the world work.
You seemed to have missed the point. If love is conditional, we are subject to the fickle whim of our partner. Honesty is off-limits because each comment will expose insecurity. By being comitted to the person whatever they look like, however they act, that fundamental insecurity is gone.
If you aren't committed to the other person, "I'd like you to change" becomes "I'll only stay with you if you change" in their ears. If you ARE committed, your needs and their needs, your life and their life is inseparable. Your honesty is not an ultimatum but a mutual acknowledgement of a common need.
In the end, people want to be found attractive just as much as their partner wants to find them attractive. Talking about that only becomes an issue when it is tied to love and respect and commitment.
Okay, okay. I understand variance and standard deviation. In fact, I used to teach a stats training session at my old job.
So, I found a study that tracked runners who maintained their level of running activity over a 7 year period. Average weight gain for all the women in the study was 0.68 pounds per year (they stratified the data by age, and by miles run/week).
Standard deviation for women was 1.5 pounds. General rule of thumb is that for a sample this large, 68% of the data points lie within one standard deviation of the average and 95% lie within two standard deviations. So, in that study, an estimated 2.5% of the participants gained more than 3.68 pounds per year (assuming 2.5% were more than 2 SDs away and 2.5% were less than 2 SDs away). So, a very small number of people might gain 4 lbs a year, which after 5 years would be 20 lbs. Not exactly the kind of step change I was refering to (my earlier example was 50 lbs in 5 years).
To really prove my point, I'd need to find a study that also looked at people who maintained a sedentary lifestyle and what their mean/SD weight gain was over time. But, I've already spent too much time on this.
To sound utterly pessimestic, I think Joshua you are in love with the idea of love as to the actual person.
And of course you accept the person for the whole package etc. etc. it's not just physical ... but people grow old and fit togethor all the time, people grow old and unfit togethor all the time ... remember you are sharing a life and of course a lifestyle with that person. Commitment and love are not necessarily the same thing ... hell. I was in love, may have been married once had not the whole lifestyle logistics thing stood in the way. Neither one of us was niave to distance. It wasn't JUST because I enjoyed being with that person because I loved her body ... I really enjoyed being there, and caring about her and encouraging the things that she wanted to do to make her a better person to herself and well of course ... vice versa (and we enjoyed working togethor was just a bonus). But like most people should understand, not every relationship that ends is a failed relationship ...
You seemed to have missed the point. If love is conditional, we are subject to the fickle whim of our partner.
Love usually is conditional. To object to this is basically to say that people have some sort of inherent right to their spouses/romantic partners no matter what they do - even if they opt to completely and utterly neglect their partner's needs.
If your partner utterly neglects you, you chose the wrong partner. If both people are unconditionally committed to each others happiness (and continue to be) then irrespective of circumstances they will be working for the good of the relationship. If both people are unconditionally committed, neglecting their partner's needs is neglecting their own.
Certainly love in general is conditional. Otherwise the truly loving would truly love everybody, regardless of who they were. But love as the binding force of a marriage cannot be conditional on, say, how the person looks or how they make you feel at any given moment. That's not to say abandonment (physical or emotional), abuse or adultery don't break that bond. But you can't wake up some morning and say, your teeth are bad, your jokes aren't funny anymore, you're going bald, you lost your job and mope around [fill in the blank] and now I'm leaving you.
@63 .... exactly what I said in 62
you are in love with a philosophy ... not a person.
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