1."Hey big guy." Oh my god, there is nothing worse than being referred to as "big guy" when you're a big guy. You wouldn't go up to a larger woman and say "Hey big girl," so why is it OK to say it to dudes? Many of us are uncomfortable about our size so drawing attention to it—especially in a public place or as a greeting—doesn't make us feel more masculine, it makes us feel embarrassed. Try "buddy" or "man" instead. (Please don't try "big buddy," though. That just sounds creepy. As does "buddy man." You know what? Just learn our names.)
2. "You have the best personality." Thank you! I appreciate that, especially if it's just a nice compliment that doesn't come with a "but" after. One of the most difficult things for a fat dude to hear, especially when dating, is that they have a great personality but no redeeming physical characteristics. I know people are all "looks don't matter," but they totally do. And when you try to de-emphasize looks as much as possible, it makes people feel like you're with them despite their weight, which is kind of a problem.
3."You're a guy, so you'll lose that weight quick if you want to." I've actually lost a lot of weight in the past year by going on a medical fast and eating 800 calories per day, but I'm lucky. Just because it's true that men lose weight faster than women doesn't mean we all drop it by just not eating an entire pie at lunch. I know plenty of guys who struggle with their weight while also trying to eat healthy and exercising.
4. "You look like a chubbier Daniel Padilla/John Lloyd Cruz/James Reid/literally anyone." Yeah? Well you look like Derek Ramsay with hair. I don't know what you're trying to tell me here, but why you gotta let me know I look like a "fatter version?!" No one goes around saying "You look like a small-assed Kim Kardashian" or "You look like Drew Barrymore if she'd gained a little weight." None of us look like those celebrities anyway, so you don't need the qualifier.
5."You just need to be more active! Have you tried football?" No, have you tried a big 'ole cup of STFU? Being a fat dude doesn't necessarily mean you're not an active dude. Plenty of fat dudes do yoga and aerobics and jog a mile (I do it by running from zombies!) and still retain their corpulent figure. And the first thing people say when we express our frustration with our weight? Exercise more and eat less. Thank you, I have never considered those before.
6."I'm just trying to help." Listen, I'm going to share a harsh truth with you here: People know they're fat. People know their health is going downhill. Most people are trying to change that. When you remind us how "unhealthy" we are, all you're doing is reducing us to our weight and that doesn't feel good. You know what feels good? Providing help when someone asks. If I'm all "let's go running," you should absolutely come if you want to. If I haven't suggested I might like to go for a ten mile hike, telling me how much I'd enjoy it every time I see you is a mistake (and also makes me think you want to get me alone so you can murder me in the wilderness).
7."You're just big boned, man." The bones in my butt and stomach are particularly large, yes. I don't know what this platitude is supposed to do, but I can guarantee it's not having the desired effect.
8."At least you don't have to worry about shopping for clothes." Guess what: fat dudes like dressing nice, too. And we often don't get that chance because the awesome rainbow cardigan at H&M is a European extra large which is like an American extra small. I don't want to go through exactly what my shopping experience is like, but if you've ever seen that episode of Friends where Ross tries to get back into a pair of leather pants, it's just like that. Except with more swearing and ripping noises.
9."Maybe you have thyroid problems." Could be, but those are rare and I've had my thyroid checked. Lots of stuff contributes to being fat other than a thyroid disorder. Like stress, and societal pressure, and not being able to fit on the rides at the amusement park (which leads to more stress). Plus, some of us have difficult relationships with food. I'm glad more people are recognizing that being fat isn't a problem of being lazy and eating Cheetos off your chest all day, but it's also not always a medical condition.
10."Are you eating enough greens?" Yes. I love salad. I am not allergic to leafy vegetables packed with fiber. What I am allergic to is people gently suggesting I might try a salad when we go to a restaurant. I don't know about you, but I can put two tablespoons of dressing on a piece of lettuce at home. You know what I can't make at home? French fries or a decent burrito. I also don't consume entire baskets of bread at home, but if I'm eating out, you better believe I'll order the bestseller.
11."You'll be so handsome when you lose weight!" As opposed to now when I look like an actual monster that crawled out from under someone's bed? Friend, if I'm not telling you that you'd look cuter if you cut your hair, plucked your eyebrows, or taken off that hideous track suit, you don't need to tell me how cute I'll look once I weigh 150 pounds and can fit into skinny jeans.
12."At least no one cares how guys look." Except I care! I care a lot. And so do lots of other guys. In fact, so many dudes care about how they look that eating disorders and body dysmorphia are on the rise. It's just that so many people are undiagnosed. I'm not saying that men are as violently shamed for not fitting a certain ideal as women are, but there's definitely pressure for us to look like the dudes on TV and also Channing Tatum. Unfortunately, not all of us will get there and that's OK. But if dudes continue to be dismissed when they try to talk about body issues, it's just going to make us care more, not less.
13. "I like/love you even though you're fat." This is something that many dudes I know have explicitly heard. It goes back to the idea that if you're dating someone fat that their body size is the first barrier to attraction as opposed to just another body type. When in doubt, I always like to replace the word "fat" with another descriptor and see if people would still find it OK. For instance, as a Jew, I wouldn't be inclined to continue chilling with someone who said, "I like you even though you're Jewish," unless we were living in Nazi Germany and them liking me despite that fact could actually save my life. Similarly, unless you're the witch from Hansel and Gretel, you don't need to let me know you like me despite my appearance. There are other barriers to liking me, such as my generally grumpy demeanor and inability to balance my checkbook. Now those are real problems.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.