Thursday, January 17, 2008

Your spouse is fat? Grow up and deal.

I was looking over my stats today, and I found that I'd been linked to from a forum where people go to whine about their spouses gaining weight.

From what I can tell, the site is full of people who have taken their spouses' weight gain as a personal insult. Their belief is that, and I quote, "It Is Disrespectful To Willingly Become Unattractive To Your Life Partner".

Yes, I know many of you are busily putting a half dozen markers on your bingo cards already. But, for those who don't know about "bingo", I'm going to deconstruct this a little bit.

"Become Unattractive" -- by this, they don't mean gone and tattooed a swastika on forehead". They mean "has gained weight." I would like to point out that being unattractive and being fat are NOT mutually exclusive; it is our social conditioning that makes us equate fat with unattractive, and many people, despite the constant barrage of fat=ugly messages in our surroundings, manage to find fat people attractive in spite of the messages. Fat is not inherently unattractive.

"Willingly" -- I'll let the Gina Kolata article explain why diets don't work, and how hard it is to make thin people fat. What I want to discuss is the flawed logic behind saying that it was "willingly", as if the life partners did so on purpose. Look, if I knew that my husband did not prefer blondes, I wouldn't go dyeing my hair blonde. If I'm already blonde, however, I am not going to dye my hair just to suit his tastes, and he wouldn't expect me to (because he's not an asshole). He was able to accept my blondeness when we got together, and as a part of me, he accepts it now--and has even grown to like it.*

I honestly doubt that any of the spouses involved willingly became fat. After all, there is a considerable amount of shaming that comes from every direction when a person gains even a little weight. Americans spend an egregious amount of money and effort trying to avoid becoming fat.

"Disrespectful" -- Really? These folks truly think that, by having more adipose tissue, their life partners are being disrespectful? And that, even if that were true, which it isn't, that they ought to find ways to make their partner lose weight, instead of, oh, I don't know, getting some goddamn marriage counseling? Or getting a divorce? I see two scenarios here:
1. If the spouse really IS being disrespectful to you, then get out of the relationship.

2. If they are not being disrespectful, but have gained weight, and their weight gain makes them no longer interesting to you, then get out of the relationship and set them free to find someone who isn't as shallow.

What kind of self-centered whiny baby goes around complaining that their partner disrespected them by putting on weight? The same kind of self-centered whiny baby that posts on websites with other whiny babies that encourage each other to nag and bitch at their spouses to starve and exercise themselves into a "hot little body" (yes, that's a quote from the site) for the sole purpose of becoming more sexually attractive to their spouse.

Interestingly enough, my husband has no problem finding me sexually attractive. Our relationship never stopped at the "Platonic" station; we went straight to Lust City the very night we met. I'm not saying that everyone has to be attracted to me, but I AM saying that, if my husband stops being attracted to me, I'd rather he do me the favor of getting a divorce instead of resenting me and sniping at me for it. Yes, that's right, I am suggesting you split up if your relationship is so dysfunctional that you cannot tolerate a change in the amount of adipose tissue your partner carries. They're better off without you.

* Please note that the blonde story is just hypothetical. I actually had purple hair when Brian and I met, and it's light brown now.

29 comments:

Callicebus said...

Ahhh....wouldn't you love to set up a support group for the spouses? I'd love to register the domain
"myspouseisacompletewainkstain dot com," complete with a front page search for local divorce lawyers and a page for posting their photo so the rest of the singles in the world can be warned of these people's wonderful disposition.

Stefanie said...

Sorry to hear you got linked into that discussion. I give you kudos for saying that fat is not intrinsically unattractive, too. This often gets lost in the background noise.

Stefanie said...

Sorry to hear you got linked into that discussion. I give you kudos for saying that fat is not intrinsically unattractive, too. This often gets lost in the background noise.

Peggy said...

I've never heard of anyone who actually chose to become fat just to spite their spouse (not to say it doesn't happen, but I'd bet it's pretty rare). On the other hand, I know people, including myself, who have turned to binge eating as a way of coping with stressful or unhappy situations. That can turn a natural gain of 10 or 15 pounds into much more. And truly, women married to jerks like that know what their husbands think, and I can't imagine their relationships are very happy.

Andee said...

Really. Does anyone actually say, "Fuck what my partner wants, I'll get fat"?

No. What's more like it is that the person in question was on a strict diet when they met their partner, and other things in life intervened to prevent them from continuing to make staying thin their life's work, and the weight crept on. Maybe they were silly enough to think their partner actually cared about something about them other than their arm candy properties, and they (gasp) actually let themselves eat once in a while.

I think this is an excellent argument for NOT dieting in order to find a partner. Otherwise, how else are you going to know if you've married this kind of superficial asshat?

Andee (Meowser)

Vasilia said...

I'd like to start a website with the subtitle, "It Is Unattractive To Become Disrespectful To Your Spouse." Jeebus...if anyone feels *that* strongly about looks, they should just stay single!

Rick said...

Well, one thing is that when kids enter the equation, it is not that easy to "divorce" your spouse.

In your cherry-picking of facts, you omit that 1) the majority of poster on myfatspouse are women married to morbidly obese men and 2)morbid obesity, not a "mere" weight gain of twenty pounds.

I was fat, then exercised and ate healthy, and have stayed that way for thirty years.

But let's hear you go to the mat to find fat guys with beer bellies, wide butts, double-chins, manboobs, and sweaty skin "sexy." And shame women for not being eager to sleep with such guys. Fair is fair, after all.

JoGeek said...

"But let's hear you go to the mat to find fat guys with beer bellies, wide butts, double-chins, manboobs, and sweaty skin "sexy." And shame women for not being eager to sleep with such guys. Fair is fair, after all."

Personally? I like big guys, and my line-up of ex's run the gamut from super-skinny to fat. If there's a mental connection, I'm attracted to a person. If not, then they can be all the traditional adjectives of "hot" and I won't find them attractive. Example? I think Brad Pitt is skanky. I think George Cloony is hot (and, BTW, technically "obese" by the BMI scale).

Guess what, Rick? Men and women will both get old, pot-bellied, sag-skinned, grey-haired and/or bald. They will, at some point in their lives, sweat. They will also fart and have other narmal to weird bodily issues you might not see when you're still in the NRE/arm candy/slap and tickle phase of the relationship. Unless a person is willing to sink fortunes into surgery, they will eventually deviate drastically from what they looked like at 20. When that happens, a mature adult finds a new definition of attraction, or turns into a pathetic mid-life crisis case and spends the rest of their lives chasing unfulfilling tail half their age. That goes for both genders.

Until then? Don't think that some magical vagina double standard exists here. A woman who leaves a man for gaining weight (or losing hair, needing glasses, etc.) is a shallow bitch, just like a man who leaves a woman for gaining weight is a shallow asshat. By making this a gender thing, you are missing the forest for the trees.

Lacy said...

>But let's hear you go to the mat to find fat guys with beer bellies, wide butts, double-chins, manboobs, and sweaty skin "sexy." And shame women for not being eager to sleep with such guys. Fair is fair, after all.<

ok. You are hearing it now.

My man has a nice little pot belly. I can't imagine that getting in the way of my love for him.

You are right: Fair is fair. But you are making a strawman argument. I don't think any of the women who object to your site would hold men and women to a different standard.

Rick said...

More hogwash. There is a difference between a little pot belly and morbid obesity. It is WRONG to abuse the marrriage and inflict that on your spouse.


"Men and women will both get old, pot-bellied, sag-skinned, grey-haired and/or bald."

My 80 year-old stepdad is a model of physical fitness; no belly.

This argument, though, that just because you are going to get old and ugly justifies becoming massively, morbidly obese in your 20's, 30's, and 40's is just insane.

Farts and such are normal and involuntary. Becoming morbidly obese is VOLUNTARY and completely avoidable. Demanding that your partner accept it is like demanding that your partner accept your new cigarette addiction or drinking habit "because marriage menas unconditional love." That is a cruel abuse of the marriage.

Sarah said...

Rick, please take your ignorance elsewhere. And don't assume that everybody in the world has to line up to your assumptions.

People are morbidly obese for a variety of reasons. I'm sure your lazy line of thinking is more comfortable than doing actual research though.

Now do us all a favor, and get lost.

Rick said...

A "variety of reasons." Yeah, sure Sarah. I have read them all (genes, childhood abuse, thyroids, from a poor neighborhood, can't resist advertising pressure, not enough sidewalks, no fresh produce in walking distance), but the curious thing is that each and every morbidly obese individual I have ever known in real life routinely ate as if there was no tomorrow, and had a very circumscribed physical life.

Thus I split the difference between theoretical reasons, and experiential reasons.

Anyhow, pardon me if I feel more compassion for fit, thin wives who love their husbands but for whom having sex with them is a literally painful burden (imagine a 400 lb sweaty guy on top of you), than I do for fat wives who resent that their thin, fit husbands no longer find them attractive.

RioIriri said...

Nobody here's complaining that their husbands don't find them attractive. My tall, thin husband is very attracted to me, and has been since the day we met.

And, frankly, because you dismiss valid aspects of physiology as "excuses" because you do not understand the concepts, I am afraid that there really can't be further dialogue in this regard. It explains a lot, really, and I'm sorry that this stuff is above your head.

Sarah said...

the curious thing is that each and every morbidly obese individual I have ever known in real life routinely ate as if there was no tomorrow, and had a very circumscribed physical life.

Apparently, you don't know me. I weight 315 pounds. I've been on a variety of failed "diets" for 20+ years. But yet, I still manage to walk and talk like a "normal" human being. Oh, and I just ate fish, rice and fresh vegetables for dinner. In fact, that's pretty much what I eat every night - sometimes chicken, occasionally beef. And I routinely climb stairs in order to reach my many college classes, while the thin people take the elevator. I also enjoy walking and swimming.

And seeing that "morbidly obese" people make up such a SMALL segment of the population, it's a wonder you know so many.

By the way, try googling "fat girl on a bike." You'll find a blog about a 300+ female who runs in triathlons and has a rigorous exercise routine. You probably couldn't even keep up with her.

And if you're ever in the Detroit area, I'd love to race you up the stairs of the Joe Louis Arena . My dad (overweight with a wooden leg) could probably kick you ass too.

Anyhow, pardon me if I feel more compassion for fit, thin wives who love their husbands but for whom having sex with them is a literally painful burden (imagine a 400 lb sweaty guy on top of you), than I do for fat wives who resent that their thin, fit husbands no longer find them attractive.

Compassion? You don't even know the meaning of the word. But anyway, I'm done playing with you. I'm sorry your head is so far up your ass though.

Sarah said...

Oh, and thanks for playing fat hate bingo! You won several times!

Vasilia R. said...

I still stand by my earlier comment, "If looks are that important to you, please stay single."

You know what I find beautiful? Peruse the pictures that you'll usually find in the "Lifestyle" or "Social" pages from the newspaper...the ones that contain the "Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary" stories and pictures.

Tell me, how many of those couples (who've somehow managed to stay happily married all those years) even *remotely* resemble the pictures they posed for on their wedding day? Hardly any of them do - male or female. And you know what? Despite aging, weight gain, cancer, or whatever life's managed to hand them, they're still in love, and that is what matters.

Looks always fade - love is stronger than facelifts or gastric bypass.

There. I feel better now. ;D

Rick said...

"Despite aging, weight gain, cancer, or whatever life's managed to hand them, they're still in love, and that is what matters."

There goes that weird argument again -- because you got old and ugly when you are in your 80's, it is acceptable to let yourself go in your 20's or 30's.

Which it is, when you are single.

But when you marry someone, no.

I won the "fat hate bingo"?

Yeeeaay!

Vasilia R. said...

Rick said,

"There goes that weird argument again -- because you got old and ugly when you are in your 80's, it is acceptable to let yourself go in your 20's or 30's."

:::slaps self upside forehead:::

Oh, silly me! *I* get it now!

According to Teh FAttIE HATeRz, thou shalt keep thyself HaWT until you reach, say, your 40s, because after all, then you're just "old and ugly" anyway!

The people on those hate sites should really hook up, because in my (never to be) humble opinion, they all deserve each other.

Rick said...

"According to Teh FAttIE HATeRz, thou shalt keep thyself HaWT until you reach, say, your 40s, because after all, then you're just "old and ugly" anyway!"

Actually, I am in my forties and want to emulate my friend Ken, a former professional dancer who is in his 70's and is still HaWT.

I don't "hate" fat people, but I don't accept the argument that they are helpless over their obesity. I left the United States three years ago and where I live now you see very little of the type of obesity that is now common in America. Has this country (and this continent) been spared the "fat gene"? Not to mention thyroidism and other rationalizations for being fat? However, a professional nutritionist told me that what obesity you do see here has coincided with the arrival of such American franchises as MacDonalds and KFC.

I will concede Morgan Spurlock's point in "Supersize me!" that such companies push their addictive crap onto kids, and that our society discourages healthy eating and living at every turn.

Vasilia R. said...

What is this obsession over who's "80 years old and ugly" or who's "70 years old and hawt"?

I'll admit, I'm a little, um, surprised to hear that you're in your 40s...you come across as much younger.

What does it matter what *other people* eat, no matter what country they call home? That's what I just don't understand...frankly, it borders on religious-like zeal.

I can totally understand worrying about what you put into your own body, and I understand parents being concerned about their kids' diets in order for them to grow up healthy and well-nourished. But when it comes to adults making their own decisions, well, it's just *not* normal, or mentally healthy, to work oneself up into a froth over what others eat - or weigh - IMHO.

People who spend a great deal of time and energy trying to get someone else to "see the light" and "change their ways" are setting themselves up to walk around disappointed, frustrated, and angry.

The only person one can change is the person in the mirror. It's pretty clear that even though message boards like MFS exist, the SA movement is sending the message back that they're tired of being shamed and lectured to by the hATerZ.

Rick said...

Well, apart from the fact that obesity is a major factor in
skyrocketing healthcare costs, I really don't care much if others get fat either.

But please don't tell the rest of us it is unavoidable, unchangeable,
healthy, and sexy. And especially with the latter, please don't lay a
guilt trip on us for not getting turned on by someone who is
overweight.

Back when I was fat, I too wanted to be spared insults and rejection.
But I never dreamed that a movement would arise actually defending fat
with the creative logic of the tobacco industry.

On the healthcare issue the webmaster of this blog argues that the only thing that matters is that we take care of each other. Fine, but Kant's categorical imperative cuts both ways. Smokers, "bug chasing" gay men who opt not to practice safe sex, and overeaters are only thinking of themselves, not of the collective common good.

RioIriri said...

Aside from the fact that you are misinformed and willfully ignorant, your comment about gay men makes you no longer welcome here, Rick. Further comments from you will be deleted, regardless of their content.

I think we now see the bigger picture of what kind of person you really are, and, you know what? Giant assholes aren't welcome here. See ya.

Rick said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Andee said...

Rio, I know you banned him, but...Rick is gay?

Then how the hell does he know what heterosexual women want in a partner? Much less heterosexual men?

So do I get to whip out my bag of vast overgeneralizations about gay guys and their body dysmorphia issues too, since I've yet to meet a gay guy who didn't have them, and body dysmorphia leads to increased smoking, drinking, drug abuse, eating disorders, sports injuries, and all kinds of other clusterfucks that raise "health care costs"?

Thought not.


Andee (Meowser)

RioIriri said...

Andee,
Yeah, I think he's lying. It's way too "convenient" that his experiences mysteriously work to allow him to counter every comment with more vicious, nasty b.s.

Vasilia R. said...

I would have to concur, Andee.

He's over there on that site right now, whining about being kicked off this blog.

For a "gay man," he sure spends a lot of time focusing on overweight women.

Call me crazy, but I have *yet* to meet a gay man (and I know plenty of them!) for whom womens' bodies were anything more than, well, a non-issue!

Betty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Betty said...

The difference between you and Rick is that you met your husband while you were fat (if that's what I understood). The people on the site haven't. They met their life partners when they were healthy and thin.

This is nothing to do against you, please don't take it personally. But it is totally unfair to demand physical attraction if one doesn't look after himself/herself and this doesn't only manifest on the outside but generally obese people are severely unhappy.

Also remember that it's not just about the looks but obesity is a major risk for health, massive contributor of premature death, and it is devastating to see your life partner making themselves sick.

I guess I would also prefer my husband telling me I was fat and because of it, couldn't find me attractive instead of never telling me and going for an affair.


This is being said by an actual fat person, married, who's walking along the weight loss journey so don't think I am a fat hater.

The Jones Family said...

I am glad I found this blog. I laughed my head off at all the arguments back and forth. I am a person who is working hard to stay fit so I can take care of my kids. My husband (who I am desperately in love with) weighs 300+ pounds and is at the point where he is having trouble walking. It just saddens me that a. he can't be a fun Dad anymore because he has no energy b. it's harder to have fantastic sex c. I'm afraid he won't be around to grow old with me. d. I have to do all my household jobs, and a lot of his too because he is too fatigued by carrying around all that extra weight every day. He doesn't feel like doing much of anything. I still love him and will never leave him, but I would argue that it is very hard on the spouse when someone gets fat for any reason. It has caused me to go into depression, even though I'm not a hateful, shallow person.