White Baby Lust and Surrogacy Gone Wrong: An Update

In February of 2016, I posted about a woman who was carrying triplets through a surrogacy program.  The man who had hired her to carry his children (conceived with white Ukrainian eggs) expressed alarm both at the expenses involved in a high risk pregnancy and those involved in raising three babies alone at once.  He asked her to selectively reduce the number of fetuses she was carrying, and she refused.  Upon getting to know this man a little better, she had serious misgivings about relinquishing any of the babies to him at all.  It was a huge legal mess, and you can read the original post here. 

So what happened to the babies, the woman who carried them and the man who desperately wanted children of his own (specifically male children who carried his DNA)?

The babies were born in Los Angeles in February of 2016 but were not released until April.  This is not surprising, given they were triplets and almost definitely preemies,  but I didn’t find any information saying they had any specific immediate health problems, so that’s the good news.

That’s the only good news, I’m afraid.  The hospital staff was so concerned that the father, who has now been identified as Chester Shannon Moore Jr., a deaf man in his 50’s who works the night shift at the post office, would be unable to care for the babies, that 3 nurses and a doctor flew home with him to Georgia to make sure the babies were ok according to this People magazine article.  This sounds both alarming and somewhat fishy to me.  But I’m afraid it does not get better from here.

The surrogate, Melissa Cook, tried to regain custody of the babies, who if you remember, are not biologically related to her.  In California, surrogates have no parental rights, and in January, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal upheld a state court’s decision denying her attempt to gain parental rights, stating that the federal court lacked jurisdiction.  This means that Moore’s fitness as a parent was not addressed.   The Supreme Court has refused to hear the case even though Moore’s sister, Melinda Burnett, filed a 12 page affidavit claiming he was an unfit parent.

Burnett claims the babies live in a basement full of second-hand smoke in a home Moore shares with his chain smoking elderly parents and a heroin-addict nephew.  He has been accused of making the kids eat off the floor and not changing their diapers frequently enough to the point that the rashes required medical attention.  This is the point where I take a moment to think that if I had to raise triplets in my parents’ basement alone, they might end up eating off the floor occasionally, too.  Diaper rash due to infrequent changing can be serious, but it’s pretty common, and it probably doesn’t in of itself fall under criminal negligence although I might reconsider that if I had more information.  I figure Moore is not the first single parent to struggle with a $100 plus per month per kid diaper bill.  I wouldn’t want any babies I carried to be raised that way to be sure, but I guess that’s what would make me a poor candidate for giving away children that grew in my body.   The court is pretty clear that I would get absolutely no say in the matter, and I just don’t think I could do it.

What actually disturbs me more is Burnett’s description of her brother as being socially awkward, paranoid, and prone to anger.  And the biggest reddest OMG flag of all is her reports of cruelty to animals both when he was a child and also more recently.  I realize not everyone shares my books-about-serial-killers hobby, but we all know that’s really really bad.

Moore’s lawyer claims the triplets are doing just fine and that the backlash against his client is good old-fashioned discrimination against the disabled.  Come on, now.  That’s insulting to all the great parents out there with disabilities who are raising great kids.  Nobody is claiming this man cannot raise children because he is deaf.   The greatest joy of  being a blogger rather than a journalist is I can share with you what I really think.  I think this guy is a first class creep who has no business raising children.  I think the surrogacy agency (who is now providing him with legal defense) was negligent in this arrangement, and I think it’s only a matter of time until these three babies end up in state custody.  Social services has already been contacted, so this story is ongoing.

Michelle Cook has been painted as a heroine of the anti-choice movement for refusing to abort and being willing to take in the three babies as her own.  I’m not sure she got a win for the movement, here, though.  I don’t see any winners at all, not even Moore who I suspect is fully aware he is in over his head and is simply doubling down, probably at the urging of the agency that brokered this arrangement since they still maintain they did nothing wrong.  It’s a cruel irony that the man who claimed he was unable to care for a third child is now responsible for that  child while demonstrating a profound lack of ability to manage even one.  Are we ready to unpack the moral implications of the technology that allows a 46 year old woman to carry triplets, the parents of whom she has never met –A Ukranian woman who can sell her white eggs at a premium and a disturbed man so desperate for his own family of male children who look like him that he bought them?   Are we ready to legislate it?  Are we ready to say that not everyone who wants their own biological child should be allowed to have one (or three)?  And what about all the children, many of them of color, who are already here needing families of their own?   What does this debacle say to them?





Grab is the Four Letter Word

I suppose it is not really shocking that there are going to be some people who stand by their man, in this case Donald Trump, no matter what.  Which isn’t to say that pussygate hasn’t sent a few decent Republicans running for the hills.  Finally. Really, McCain?  You could have jumped ship long before now.  Still, it’s interesting if not downright entertaining to witness just how someone goes about defending video evidence of Trump claiming to grab women by the privates without their consent.

The first tactic, that it was just locker room talk, is pretty weak, and puts the defenders in an awkward position.  Either all men talk like this, in which case all men are horrible, or only Trump talks like this which makes him horrible all by himself. You tell me which scenario plays out better for the GOP. Awkward.

It’s ludicrous, but it’s a thin veil for a disturbing truth.  A good number of people out there really seem to think that the choice of language is what’s at issue here.  That it’s the word, “pussy,” which is offensive.  What’s more relatable, after all, than saying something you wish you hadn’t said in language more colorful than you’d want your grandmother to hear?  We’ve all done it, at one time or another.  For me, this usually involves me dropping something heavy on my foot in front of my children.  Surprisingly enough, they seem to be pretty well versed in alternative speech choices.

I am flabbergasted I need to explain this to people, but no, it is not the word “pussy,” it’s the word “grab.”  And that word is as dirty as they come.  It implies an impulsive thoughtlessness, the way you might grab something to eat instead of having a gourmet meal.  And it’s not something you do to another person after asking permission.  If your preferred line is “Mind if I grab your ass?”  I’m guessing you’re not getting very far. But thanks for asking.  That’s more than Trump did.

And I have a word or two for those from the right who denounce him by expressing outrage on behalf of their mothers and daughter.  Really?  How about outrage on the behalf of humanity?  The type of empathy that only kicks in when you can imagine injustice occurring to someone close to you is exactly what’s wrong with the conservative movement to begin with.

I assume the point of trying to label Trump’s horrible comments as locker room talk, despite the fact that he was nowhere near a locker room but in public with a camera pointed in his face, is to characterize it as all bluster.  Men Talk.  That doesn’t mean they Do.  That there is mounting evidence that Trump has Done plenty is being categorically dismissed, as women often are when they complain about men and their tiny grabby hands.

If this wasn’t bad enough, I’ve seen a new tactic circulate over the past few days.  Have you seen the memes?  Beyonce and Miley Cyrus are favorite targets, but there are pictures of any number of powerful ladies performing on stage grabbing their own crotches.  Now to be honest, I’ve always thought this to be a might unseemly, but no one has ever accused me of lady-like behavior, so whatever.  That’s quite beside the point.   These memes are apparently designed to get you to not vote for Hillary Clinton. Kidding.  They are designed to  justify the continued support of a man who has time and again proven himself to be a misogynist pig.  My apology to pigs.

Let me trace the lines for you because it may not be obvious at first.  The fact that these women, who will of course all be voting for Hillary, are willing to debase themselves in such a way proves that Trump is not really a bad guy after all because…ummm…because….well they have pussies…and they are-how dare they–having pussies in public!  Therefore…umm… Trump’s comments on the grabbability of such obvious pussyness is inevitable.  Plus the universe has already gone to hell in a hand basket, and this is clearly Hillary’s fault.

Ok, I might need some help here from those of you posting this meme.  I mean do you really not understand consent at all, or do you just think it is so unimportant that you’ll ignore it to keep a woman out of the White House?  How dare you? How dare you equate bodily autonomy with sexual assault?  And you wonder why Hillary calls you deplorables?

The only thing worse than Donald Trump is his supporters, and long after he fades away into oblivion, they will be left with their pathetic fragile angry white masculinity.  And I will be here with my pussy.  And I will defeat you with every breath I have.


Burkini and the Breast: Sisters in Feminism

When I started this blog back in January, I had no idea I’d be writing so much about boobs.  In fact, believe it or not, IRL I don’t given even my own breasts that much thought unless I pop a wire or something, but here we are.  I’ve already written about imposed modesty here and why I think the Free the Nipple movement is important even if you prefer to keep your hooters covered here.  But I am not done.  Ok, today’s blog isn’t really about boobs (sorry), it’s about the Burkini.  Kudos to whomever coined my new favorite term.  The next round of coffee is on me.

If you haven’t actually seen a Burkini, here’s a picture of the beachwear for those women desiring full coverage.  Surprisingly enough they are gaining some popularity among all types of women, not just the Muslims who inspired the style.  You might want one if you are a skin cancer survivor, for example.  Also, they look really comfortable, like they might keep sand out of places you don’t want sand.


Unless you live in France.  French authorities are actually demanding that women wearing too much clothing on the beach disrobe.  Burkinis are banned.

Let’s first dispense with any pretense that this is about feminism.  Feminism is about women wearing whatever the hell they want.  So if a parade of topless women walks by demanding the right to tan their ta-tas wherever men can go topless, that is feminism.  If most women on Le Sandy Shell Beach cover body parts X, Y, and Z, but a FOREIGNER shows up covering her whole alphabet and you object, that is not feminism.  That is Islamophobia.  See the difference?

If you want to have a conversation about how women all over the world are oppressed or controlled by the societies in which they live, please be my guest.  It’s a great conversation to have, but let’s dig a little deeper than shaming women for what they choose to wear.  Let’s talk about how women in the US only make 79 cents for every dollar men make. Or about how there are so few women in American politics.  Let’s talk about that.

Modesty is not an absolute.  It’s a cultural construct.  You can say it’s about religion if you really think you can separate religion from culture in any useful way. But this means you accept a variation in religious norms. If you really believe that Christian women cover their breasts because God requires modesty, but Muslim women cover their hair only because Muslim men are sexist pigs, then just go ahead and admit to us all that you have no tolerance or understanding for other cultures or religions other than your own.  And yes, I am ashamed of you.  You should work on that.

Let’s try an empathy exercise.  You are a strong independent woman of means, and you decide to expand your horizons by traveling to the planet Stripteaze to gaze upon the rubied shores of the Double D Mountains.  Upon your arrival, you are required to remove all your clothing and walk naked through the streets in front of all the Stripteazians.  If you think this might make you uncomfortable or you wouldn’t want your mother to do it, maybe you can begin to imagine how a woman raised wearing a hijab feels when asked to uncover her head.  Naked.  That’s how she feels.  Naked and exposed.  And none of us should have to feel vulnerable about our bodies.  Whether we wear a Burkini or nothing at all.  That’s feminism.

Get off my Podium: Sexism in the Olympics

I really hate public marriage proposals. Talk about pressure!  And what ever happened to a quiet moment between two people?  Fortunately, this has never happened to me.  I’d like to believe that I live in a world where men (and women) who do this all know their partners well enough to be sure this is something they’d enjoy, but there is enough footage of public rejection floating about on youtube to suggest otherwise. In any case, I’m going to assume that some people absolutely love proposals in front of family or friends or the entire universe.

I really hope that Chinese diver Qin Kai is one of those people because in case you missed it, her boyfriend of 6 years popped the question during her silver medal ceremony in Rio. During the ceremony! Dude!  Get. Off. My. Podium.

It is really difficult to read this as anything other than a sexist pig dick move.  But maybe I am a hopeless romantic because I’m still trying-almost as hard as the BBC which reported the proposal was “an even bigger prize than the silver medal.”   But perehaps that was a bit presumptuous. Who is to say that a moment of silver glory is or isn’t a bigger achievement than the promise of everlasting love except Qin Kai herself?  I really want to give the happy couple the benefit of the doubt.

But I can’t.  That’s the problem with sexism and really all our other isms.  It’s not about one act or one couple or one clumsily-timed marriage proposal.  It’s about a macrocosm of values to the detriment of others. It’s about a million subtle messages women receive every day about what is valuable about them.

That there is sexism in the Olympics is hardly surprising, but it’s getting a lot of press this year, and that has to be a good thing.  What does surprise me is the level of denial by a good segment of the population.  By “good,” here, I mean “male.” Feel the irony.  And Jesus.  No, I don’t mean ALL men.  Get a grip.

Take the Colorado paper announcing swimming medals.  Here they are talking about Katie Ledecky (F) and Micahel Phelps (M) and  and their accomplishments.headline

Thank you, Colorado newspaper, for the simple visual explanation of sexism.  Now I won’t have to go around explaining how women athletes are not valued like their male counterparts.

But wait! The immediate and appropriate backlash received by the Colorado paper was met with an excessively loud collective whine from fragile males who cried: This is not sexism!  There are many many other reasons for this editorial decision.  For example, Michael Phelps is really really important.

Right.  Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt because you know, Michael Phelps has greater name recognition than Katie Ledecky, and he has more medals and an 18 foot wingspan. The fact that Katie, in addition to setting a new world record, is the first woman to win Gold in the 200, the 400, and the 800 since the 60’s is naturally not as interesting.

Or-  Let’s not give them the benefit of the doubt. Let’s not sweep every offensive headline under the carpet.  Let’s not assume the best of intentions.  Let’s not make excuses just because oh, we men didn’t mean to hurt your little feelings.

I don’t have to prove that each and every incident I perceive as sexist is the result of a male dominated society.  I don’t need to do that because I have plenty of actual provable facts on my side.

For example, male athletes receive $179 million more in athletic scholarships than female athletes.  And despite Title IX which was supposed to end sexual discrimination in schools, universities spend only 24% of their athletic budget on women’s sports.  You still want to tell me sexism is just women being over sensitive?

No.  It is not ok that three-time Olympian and Bronze-winner Corey Codgell-Unrein was identified only as “wife of Bears lineman.”  And no, I don’t care if you live in Bears country. And no, it’ not ok that Gold medalist Katinka Hosszu’s win was immediately credited to her husband.  And no, I don’t care that he was her coach.  Yes, I do find it belittling that the women’s Judo final was called “a catfight,”and I don’t care if the commentator who said it, “didn’t mean to offend.”

So you can whine all you want about how sexism isn’t a real thing.  I’m not convinced, and I find your arguments shallow and desperate.  By “you” I mean “men who are not going to get laid anytime soon.” See how I clarified “not all men” there for you?  What I really mean is “men who are not feminists,” but that’s another blog.

If you’re on the fence about it, though, I am pretty sure that this clip From Fox’s Sports Court (because of course it is from Fox’s Sports Court) about why women should wear makeup while competing in the Olympics should throw you on your ass on the side of women are not making this shit up.  Extra points to the male commentators if they’ve ever worn mascara in a pool. Don’t miss the part about how lipstick is especially important so that men are not subjected to seeing female lip zits while watching sports.

I would like to end this piece with a picture of Katie Ledecky. Because she’s awesome. And it’s my blog.




Dressing to Impress in the Absence of Feminism

One of the unfortunate truths of the universe is that we cannot wear whatever we want.  Most of us who go to school or work have restrictions on our dress.  We need not pretend dress codes are not arbitrary, but we must also acknowledge that without them, somebody would show up for work in Wonder Woman pajamas, a tank top, and flip flops.  You know who you are.

The ridiculousness  of dress codes first hit me while watching Brady Bunch reruns.  There are many fascinating things about Brady Brunch reruns.  Are there no toilets in that house?  Why is the maid the only one who gets her own room?  But most of all, how does Marcia Brady lean over to use the water fountain without showing all the boys her underwear?  How was it that my mother could wear the mini miniskirt to school and I, a generation later, had to make sure the tip of my middle finger touched fabric when I put my hands at my side?  Who made this decision and why?  I suspect there are dissertations, with variations including the evolution of Star Fleet uniforms, written on this phenomenon.  If somebody could summarize, that would be great.

I was blessed with sons whose idea of fashion is covering as much skin as possible at all times even if it is 110 degrees outside.  I suspect this has something to do with maintaining cybernetic connectivity in their skin.  I haven’t had to worry much about dress code violations. Perhaps it’s because I have not been keeping up that I was actually surprised to see that summer band uniforms for girls are a full 4 inches shorter than the boys’ uniforms.  The boys wear black shorts that come down to their knees.  The girls wear actual running shorts.  Really?  In 2016?

I’m not sure that running shorts are not appropriate attire for marching band, but if you are a girl in band, and you don’t agree, I guess you’re shit out of luck. One might argue, especially if you are a teenage girl, that knee-length shorts are a less than fashionable choice, which is bullshit.  Have you seen band uniforms?  Besides, what is fashion but a reflection of our values?  And the band gods have decided that what we value is a lot of female leg.  Which, by the way, is against dress code the rest of the school day.  Apparently displaying lots of flesh is more appropriate when you are standing up performing in front of a lot of people than when you are sitting at your desk minding your own business.

I mentioned this to my son who does consider himself a feminist (I am the best mom), and he got that really panicked look he gets every time I threaten to make a stink at the school (look, they were handing out bibles).  He likes the short shorts, he admits sheepishly.  Not because of the thigh candy, but because running shorts do not have pockets like boys’ band shorts do, and you can tell a girl likes you because she’ll ask you to hold her phone during practice.  Who am I to disrupt teenage mating rituals?

Sadly, it doesn’t get better when you’re an adult.  I am still told what to wear.  I am especially disappointed by the no open-toed shoe policy. And I resent being told sandals are somehow dangerous in my office job when there are people who wear 5 inch heels. I would also like to know the story behind “no colored shoe laces.” Who went and ruined it for everyone, and just what color were the offending laces?  Someday, I am going to find out.

Whining about company dress code is the right of office workers everywhere. It’s an institution like community coffee and stealing toilet paper.  Maybe we were whining too loudly, though, because the CFO felt the need to bring it up during our last in-service day.  She stood in front of all 300 employees in a lovely pants suit and explained in easy-to-understand words that the reason we were not to wear sleeveless tops was to avoid distracting men.  There are only 5 men in my building, and I do not know which one of them has a shoulder fetish, but I have my suspicions. I suppose I should appreciate her honesty.  She could have lied and said it was because arm flesh is not professional looking, but why sugar coat it?  Men are pigs, so women have to wear sleeves so everyone can function.

I can’t imagine why the man sitting next to me in the 5th circle of hell that is company in-service was offended by this, but he was.  Enough so that he declared quite loudly that he was fully capable of doing his job while looking at ANY human body part.  This is really good news because like many people who work here, this man is a medical doctor.

I was a bit dumb-founded, really.  Did feminism just not happen here? Perhaps she anticipated my confusion, so she followed up with a story about back when she was younger and skinnier (before she hit crone status at 37), she wore a particularly cute outfit to church.  One of the older women pulled her aside and told her she was distracting her husband so her dress was therefore inappropriate.  My CFO went onto explain how grateful she was for her elder’s advice.  Well bless her heart.

I’ve been looking for a job where I can work from home.  I know there are many advantages to this including not commuting and flexible scheduling.  But mostly it’s because I want to wear Wonder Woman pajamas, a tank top, and flip flops.




Free the Nipple (from Shame)

This is a follow-up to my previous post: I left my Fig Leaf in my other Gym Bag.

To recap, I have recently discovered that nudity is strongly discouraged in the women’s locker room of my local Y.  From what I’ve heard, in contrast, the men’s locker room is a let it all hang out kind of place.   Apparently some men’s locker rooms are a bit more modest than others, but I’ll bet my best brassiere none of them require men to wear a shirt.

The root of the discrepancy here is the sexualization of the female body– or perhaps even worse, the sexualization of certain arbitrary female body parts.  The ownership of breasts does not make you a sex object 24/7.  If you are really lucky, you might manage 21/6, but even so you should take some time for yourself to hit the gym.

Having to cover myself in the locker room is a minor inconvenience, but it’s a pretty annoying minor inconvenience when men are not subjected to the same standards.

Which leads me to Free the Nipple, which if you are living under a blanket is a movement declaring female nipples should not be treated any differently than male nipples and should be allowed to be displayed anywhere male nipples enjoy sunshine and fresh air.  Laws vary by state as to whether or not you can get thrown in jail for owning a free female nipple. I gotta wonder if that’s constitutional under equal protection rights, but I live in a state where I cannot hold public office, so who knows?

I admit I’ve always considered this fairly ridiculous.  I don’t really want to walk around topless in public.  What kind of attention seeker do you have to be to insist on baring your chest for all the world to see? Have you no modesty? No.  No modesty. And that’s the point.  Modesty is what…exactly?  Modesty is nothing more than the successful ploy to convince women their bodies belong to the men who control them. This is insidiously labeled as self respect, but it’s not.  It’s self shame.  Modesty is a creation of the patriarchy. That almost makes me want to walk around Walmart topless.  Almost. Forgive me for my prudish American ways.

For the record, I did go topless for about 7 minutes on the beach in Barcelona once until it occurred to me that I might run into someone I knew..  Also, do nipples sunburn?  That’s probably  the first and last time I’m ever going  topless in public since I’ve already ruined the rest of my lily white skin with sun damage, so I figured Free the Nipple needn’t really concern me.  But upon further reflection inspired by the draconian dress code at the Y, it absolutely concerns me.  It concerns all women and the people who love them.

As a feminist, I really feel like I should have unpacked this before now.  The fact that topless beaches are not my thing does not mean I don’t have a tit in this tussle. We should all take a moment to consider the consequences of sexualizing the female breast.

First, there is the public breastfeeding issue.  I do have some experience with this.  I had a whole system of nursing bras, tank tops with slits cut in them covered by camp shirts, and blankets to cover my babies’ heads, and I’m sure I still flashed a couple of people.  I was also asked to feed my babies in the bathroom several times and once to leave a restaurant.  Mostly, though, I sat alone in my car so I could feed my child without the terrible risk that someone else might feel uncomfortable witnessing a completely normal function of the female breast.  I banished myself just in case someone might think they were witnessing a sexual act in the middle of Burdines.   My boob is not a dildo, people.  The hassle of public breastfeeding leads to some women switching to bottles of formula  or avoiding the nursing experience altogether .  As a culture, we should be ashamed.

It’s not just breastfeeding that is compromised by the sexualization of the breast. Consider that even though a woman’s risk of breast cancer is as high as 1 in 8, fewer than 70% of women get the mammograms recommended by health professionals.  Plenty of women avoid breast exams and mammograms because they require revealing a “private part” to a stranger.  Some women are especially uncomfortable with a male gynecologist, and I think it’s great to have the option of visiting a female practitioner, but I’ve also heard women say they don’t want another woman touching their breasts as if this is somehow a homosexual act.  It’s not a homosexual act, of course; it’s not a sexual act at all, but women who believe their breasts serve no purpose other than providing a man with pleasure are not getting the best healthcare they deserve.  Breast cancer goes undetected. There are women in this country who die of shame.

If you’re still not convinced that Free the Nipple is a perfectly sensible step in the advancement of women, consider this: To get around censorship rules on FB, I could take a picture of myself topless and Photoshop a man’s nipples over my own.  In theory, at least.  I believe it’s been done.  How ridiculous is that?

So Free the Nipple!  I really want a T shirt that says that.  As long as it covers everything.



An Open Letter on Dating While Fat

Dear Fat Girls:

I just ran across another one of those Dating while Fat articles on Salon.  You’ve read them, right?  Usually written by body-positive feminist bloggers.  It’s an important topic that we don’t talk about enough.  I’m not really that comfortable talking about it myself, but I’m going to.  Not because these articles reflect my experience, but because they don’t.  I do not want you to expect to be treated like dirt because of your size.  You should not expect it.  You should not tolerate it.

I am not immune to the negatives of skinny culture.  Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror, and I don’t like what I see.  Sometimes I see a picture of myself that makes me feel ugly.  Sometimes I get out of the shower and sit on my bed in a towel and look at myself below the knees and think how lovely my calves are because I don’t carry extra weight there. These are real things.  I do not let them define me.

What I want you to know is that pretty much everyone has pictures they want to burn, mirrors they want to break, and some physical features they like better than others.  This will probably happen to you. And to your skinny classmate.   You can both choose not to dwell on your own flaws.  Seriously, find something else to do.

This article, like others I’ve read, talks about how difficult it is to date when you are fat.  She’s not lying.  What I want you to know is dating is difficult.  For everyone. She says that men reject her because she’s fat.  What I want you to know is men will reject you for all kinds of reasons, and you will reject them.  It’s part of the dating game.

Yes, it has happened to me.  I do a lot of on-line dating which makes Dating while Fat especially tricky.  I’ve never had a man tell me straight out he did not want to be with me because I’m fat, but I’ve had two dates in particular (one of which involved me driving to Arkansas) where this horrible awkwardness started as soon as he saw me, and so I think that is what it was.  But I didn’t ask, so I don’t know for sure.  These were unpleasant experiences.  But what I want you to know is that there have also been times (more than twice) where I have gently rejected a man because I was not attracted to him.  I can’t point to one physical feature that turned me off.  It wasn’t because he was too short or too hairy or too bald, and these are things men worry about.  (I’m waiting for the Dating while Hirsute article.)  I’m not sure why I wasn’t attracted to them, really, but I don’t think that the fact I don’t know makes me a better person.  What I want you to know is that mutual physical attraction is really important.  And it can be tricky.  It may be trickier for you than for some.  Don’t let it stop you.

After the Arkansas fiasco, I’ve learned to be more upfront about my size with men I would like to meet.  Yes, this is an awkward conversation.  What I want you to know is what men like is women who are confident in their own bodies.  If you are not, fake it until you make it. Most of them do not expect your body to be perfect. They don’t even know what thigh gap is.  I don’t say, “I’m fat. Is that ok?”  I say, “I’m a DDD, and the rest of me matches.”  I have yet to have a man back down after I’ve said that.  It’s all in the presentation.

Dating while Fat articles often caution you against men who have a preference for larger women.  They say these men are perverts, fetishists, broken somehow.  This has not been my experience at all.  I will tell you the details when you are older, but my experiences with men who prefer larger women have been overwhelmingly positive, and they were otherwise normal men with all the flaws and strengths of other men.  I want you to know that a man who prefers bigger women, who treats you with respect, who makes your palms tingle, may be a great partner for you.  I also want you to know that there are other men who really don’t care one way or the other, and they can be great, too.

There are men who do care, I suppose.  Who do not want to date a larger woman.  Do not worry about these men.  No matter how cute he is, a boy who is not attracted to you is not someone you want.  It is ok to stay home and watch Netflix or read a book or play dress up with your cat rather than give a man like that one minute of your time. Even if he is an otherwise nice guy.

A man who is not attracted to you is not quite the same as a man who is ashamed of you.  This article talks about that, too.  And I’ve heard this story from other women-about the man who likes your body but will not be seen in public with you, the man who will take you to bed, but not to Denny’s.  The man who will be rude to you in front of his friends but thinks you look just fine naked.  This has never happened to me.  Never.  And every time I hear this story, I’m just horrified.  What kind of man would do that?  Not one you want.

If this ever happens to you, I am so  sorry. But what I want you to know is, and if I could make you believe one thing, it would be this: anyone who treats you like shit for any reason is not worth a single tear.  A man who would treat a woman this way has bigger problems than your fat will ever be.  If a man is ever unkind to you, and there will probably be a time when one is, it will be everything about him and nothing about you.

What I want you to know is that you are just as beautiful as you think you are, and that dating can be a wonderful and frustrating journey.  And you should expect to be treated like the strong, interesting, intelligent woman you are.  Any man who believes differently is dirt beneath your feet.  Treat him accordingly.