Ah, to be loved conditionally.

Shaker Jessmo forwarded this advice column, which is one of the most vicious examples of fat hatred I've read recently (which is really saying something). A woman writes in asking about her relationship, which has been devoid of any physical affection at all for more than a year, because she's gained 40 pounds. The "Advice Goddess," Amy Alkon, responds by scolding, shaming, ridiculing, hectoring, and ultimately blaming the woman (delivering a heaping dose of men are shallow dick-thinkers who only like skinny women, unless they're creepy fat fetishists on the side).
In two years, you've put on the equivalent of a 5-year-old child about to outgrow his car seat. That isn't going up a dress size; it's going up a tent size.

Love might be blind, but male lust usually has a weight limit. There are those guys who are fatty fanciers, but a guy who got together with you 40 pounds ago probably isn't one of them. Male sexuality is highly visual.

…I'll let your friends go on about how your boyfriend's a horrible person, and how love should transcend all. The reality is, it often doesn't. Besides, you didn't get cancer; you got a trough of Haagen-Dazs, stuck your snout in, and didn't look up for two years straight. Now, maybe your boyfriend's affection strike is utterly unconnected to your weight, but chances are, he's angry and resentful that he's got a girlfriend whose panties are beginning to resemble a parasail.
"It helps to accept that, as a woman, you need to do the very best you can with what you have," Alkon eventually concludes."Sure, inner beauty counts for a lot, but it isn't slimming. And while the average guy doesn't want Kate Moss, he isn't into Kate Moose, either."


Look, no one is obliged to find another person attractive. No one is obliged to be attracted to every body shape, any more than one is obliged to be attracted to short people, or tall people, or people with blue eyes, or people who wear glasses. Preferences are personal, and you're not a bad person if you're not attracted to fat people. (You're not a bad person if you are, either. That there is such judgment and suspicion associated with a thin person's attraction to fat people, or one fat person, underlines how being fat is treated like a moral failing in this culture.)

But, to quote Meowser from an old thread: "If changes in the physical attributes of your partner would affect how you felt about them, if their being altered physically in some way would make you not want to make love to them…don't get married. [And/or don't make lifetime commitments or of some other description.] Just don't. Do the world a favor and stick to serial monogamy or unwed polyamory, so you can dump your lovers with impunity when they stop meeting your physical standards (and they you, of course)."

The couple in the letter aren't married. They've been together two years, but haven't kissed or had sex in over a year. The affection-withholding boyfriend should have broken off the relationship ages ago, for the reasons outlined in Meowser's comment, because every day he stays, he's communicating a commitment that he evidently shouldn't be.

Waistlines get thicker. Hair falls out. Skin loosens and wrinkles. Boobs get droopier. And get removed to save lives. Spines get damaged. Limbs get irreparably injured. Disease or injury or disability can change a life in an instant or after an inalterable journey across years…

If your partner's body changing for any reason is going to cause you to withhold affection, don't make forever promises, or continue to tacitly communicate a commitment you don't intend, because no one stays the same forever.

And to expect a partner's body not to change is to deny your partner hir humanity.

* * *

One of the best things Iain ever said to me was "I wouldn't give a shit if your mind were stuffed inside a Dalek, woman! But as it happens, I find you extremely attractive." He didn't do that "I wouldn't give a shit if you were a ________________" thing and fill in the blank with the most hideous example of humanity his mind could conjure, thus making me file away a note: "Don't become that." He didn't put beauty on a sliding scale to make me feel beautiful, or feel like he loved me despite anything; he went for a robot joke. It was so uncontrivedly charming—and I have always felt secure with him because of it.

As it happens, I also feel precisely the same way about him.

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