I go by the term BBW—Big, Beautiful Woman. Growing up, I lived in a small town. There wasn't that much of a dating pool. I was definitely never insecure, but I was involved with church and stuff back then, so I didn't really date. Then I moved away and all that changed.
I think I finally figured it out—that guys were also attracted to bigger girls—when I was 23, 24. A friend of mine showed me on Yahoo! that there was a BBW chat room, so I got on that and started talking to people. There's an entire community. There are dating sites that are titled BBW. There are groups on Facebook for dating and things like that. They have parties—they're just like a big dance with a buffet and a DJ. It's not really about hooking up. It's about meeting new people and hanging out. The girls, we do clothing exchanges. It's a body positivity thing for sure. A lot of these women have had surgeries and have lost weight, but they still stay involved with the community.
I think it's harder for most BBW women to go to the bars and pick a guy up because they don't know if the guy is interested or not. I don't have that problem, because if you're not interested, whatever, that's your problem. I'm not afraid to flirt with somebody. I go out dancing every weekend. So I've never had problems at the bar. If I'm interested in somebody I let them know.
With dating sites like Tinder, it's made it a lot easier to judge people only on their looks. But I also think that it's easier to say, "This is what I am interested in so I am going to message this person," and the same thing goes for men who are interested in BBW women. If that's the body type they're interested in, online dating makes that a lot easier. When a guy sends a big girl at the bar a drink, she might think, "Oh, is he making fun of me?" With online dating, they're not going to message you unless [they're] interested.
I'm 32 now and I normally only date fairly fit guys. My type is "fit with a good job" [laughs]. I didn't decide to date fit guys; that's just who I'm attracted to. I have plenty of guy friends that are not attracted to big girls; they only date skinny girls. And I don't judge them for that because, like I said, I am only attracted to certain types as well.
There is fetishism of the BBW community, so I make it very clear when I start talking to somebody online that if they're not attracted to all body types, I won't date them. That is important to me because I have lost 100 pounds before. If I ever lost more, I wouldn't want somebody to not be attracted to me and I've heard stories of that.
Most of my BBW friends date guys of all sizes. I think some of them are attracted to bigger guys, but actually I would say it's about half and half.
My other friends all understand. But people have given me a funny look, I would say maybe once or twice. I guess it's just part of dating someone a different size than you. One time, I was at a dance with a date and I went to go to the bathroom and when I came back there was a girl in my chair. She just assumed that he wasn't with me or something. It was so disrespectful.
I don't think men judge women for their looks any more than women judge men. It goes both ways. I think most women have to get over their own insecurities and realize that there are plenty of men who find them attractive, and if a couple don't, that's fine.
Those girls don't realize how much fun they are or how attractive they really are. Just because a guy isn't attracted to you doesn't mean there aren't other men who are attracted to you. Find your niche.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.