By Christopher Salute
If you read Bold Magazine, regularly, you may have read an article called “How did Bold Magazine Begin” about how a white, cisgender, straight, seemingly fit male decided to write about plus women. It can be found HERE. During the writing of that article, I probably processed about 3-4 other potential articles. Of course, instead of keeping those articles, I deleted them out of the original one and served you what you had seen. But, this is a good thing. We want to start fresh.
Before we talk about the title of this article, I wanted to address something that’s very important. Bold Magazine is for women, 100%. The purpose of that site and the corresponding publication is that I pass the mic to the intelligent and beautiful women who have something to say and let them say it. Large Women from the Internet is not for women. It’s for me. It is my space to tell you about the trials and lessons learned through my relationship history. Of course, we will feature other writers, as well! We are here to share various perspectives and how the dating world moves and shifts through the years, especially with regard to the plus size woman. Articles will range from chivalry and dating tips to funny stories about terrible dude’s pickup lines, and a series entitled “My Life as a Vampire” (Comes out at night… drains energy… follow?)
Today, I’d like to talk about “How I was a complete asshole,” and then eventually “What I did to fix it.”
Hello, Good Day… My name is Christopher and I used to be a complete asshole. Now, let’s be real… I’m not entirely not an asshole, anymore. We’re all works in progress, right?
But, I… was… a complete… asshole. Want to know why?
DISCLAIMER: The sentiments expressed here are altered and typically blended events so as to not harm my past partners. Also, the images of these amazingly strong and beautiful women are just some of the incredible shots I could find, where I’ve had fun and excitement along my journey of great relationships. These are likely not the referenced blends of women you are reading about. They are also just super attractive people you may want to look at to brighten your Monday!
I had no clue what the hell I was doing to my partners. And, I didn’t really care. Because, not choosing to see how my actions and words might be hurtful meant that I didn’t have to change my behavior, right? And, I could continue to enjoy the leverage I might have, staying unaware and negligent. I have thought some messed up shit. We can talk about where some of it comes from. And, if there’s room in this article, maybe we will. But, I’m not out to make myself a villain you empathize with. In fact, I’m not out to make myself a villain at all… To be clear… just an asshole.
Ya know, it’s hard to distinctly remember each partner I’ve had during my years of uninformed assholery. Sometimes, they all just flow into one amalgam (amalgamous is not a word… take note… I didn’t know that until a few weeks ago). One beautiful feeling… one painful memory. Sigh… get over yourself, Christopher. You broke up with most of them. And, if you didn’t, you made it very difficult to stay.
I don’t have many pictures of all of my old relationship years. I’ll share some that I have. They are happy pictures. All of my partners have been incredible. And, they all deserve an amazing amount of respect. You’ll see pictures of me and my ex wife, live in partners, people who I adored. But, let’s get a few things straight:
- I was a serial monogamist until 2014. And, then again from 2015 to 2018.
- I am NOT meant to be monogamous.
- I have always date plus sized women and you’d be surprised how many women of the same “type” you can find (not just in size/shape but in features, traits, behaviors, etc.).
- I have been married, separately engaged, separately lived with another woman, had long distance relationships, been catfished, had open relationships, been in situation-ships, forced and been forced into the “what are we?” conversation, had one night stands we both agreed to, had one night stands I didn’t know were happening, etc.
- I have promised things I couldn’t deliver (whether I knew it or not is another story, but a casualty is a casualty even if you thought the gun wasn’t loaded).
- Today, I better understand myself and am proud to know I can make changes.
- I’m still learning.
My ex-wife left me in 2014. I couldn’t believe she’d done it. I couldn’t believe I couldn’t. It took me years of relationships to realize that she wasn’t even leaving me for the reasons she should have been. None of my exes had. But, if I were their best friends a few years back, I’d have told them why. If you haven’t figure it out yet… I was an asshole.
My partners were so strong. Awesome bad ass chicks. And, when they had even the slightest set back, I should have had their backs. I didn’t. I let them sink a bit because I sank. And, I was okay with it. Back then, we were less aware of the things we were saying, at least collectively as a society. And, ten years from now, we’ll have a new set of rules. But, it doesn’t change human decency.
There were many occasions, in many relationships, where I neglected my partners feelings about their size. You might hear me say things like:
- Let’s lose weight together.
- That could be because of your weight.
- Oh, that’s not something you can do?
I remember distinctively getting upset with an ex of mine, because she couldn’t run to get to a New York City show we were going to be late for. I also gave her a hard time about late night snacking… as we were both late night snacking.
I definitely learned not to do those things with my next partners (not because of anything they did differently or corrected… but because I learned to be less of an asshole). But, my subtle hints at size evolved.
All of my partners, including her, were strong as hell. And, they didn’t walk around moping or self loathing. But, my partners of size were not like today’s very open women you might see on my sites and at my events. And, that’s okay. What’s not okay is to be a subtle asshole about the fact that they be self conscious about their weight. I mean, who isn’t? I definitely am. If I said:
“Hey, I need to lose weight.”
And my partner said,
“Yeah, you can, for sure…”
Nothing they said after that would be okay. NOTHING. Not.
- And, I still love you.
- But, I still love you. (see a difference?)
- Let’s do it together.
When I thought back at the way I spoke about the size of partners over the next few years, with all of my partners, I realized I was still… a complete… and utter… asshole. During the next few relationships, you might hear me things like:
- Is that weight related?
- I agree, you’ve gained a little.
- Have you thought about making a change?
One of my exes suffered even from a sleeping disorder that was likely size related. I could have understood her suffering and empathized. Together, we could have come up with a plan. But, because her snoring kept me awake, I demanded that she sleep with a breathing machine that likely made her feel like a pariah. And, then I had the audacity to complain that the machine took sex out of the bedroom. Towards the end of that relationship, she and I were sleeping in entirely separate rooms.
There are probably subtleties I don’t remember that occurred in many of my relationships. But, this is the gist of it. Here’s the deal…
I had no idea that any of this was wrong. In fact, I enjoyed my partners so much! My tastes have certainly evolved to include a much larger range of sizes, shapes, ethnicities, looks, etc. But, I remember being turned on by my partners’ (collectively, here) shape, size, and weight. I loved that my exes wore a size ____________ (their size is not mine to share) and enjoyed going to Lane Bryant with them to shop for new clothing. But, when their weight became an inconvenience, I didn’t know how to handle it.
Before you make a change in the pattern that is your life, you need to recognize what the hell you’re doing. From years of my family (we’re going to discuss this a lot) telling me:
- Chris, you’re not fat, why are you dating big girls?
- They have such beautiful faces, if they would just lose some weight….
- It’s unhealthy, Chris… you see that don’t you?
PS – My family will not use the word “fat.” Women are “heavy,” “heavyset,” “curvy,” or “have beautiful faces.”
I was under the impression that I was a notch above my partners. Let me perfectly… fucking… clear… I never actually thought those thoughts out loud. I don’t believe it to be true, today. And, I don’t think I actually thought it then. It was so awfully wrong and I adored my lovers. But, I just wanted them to be as self conscious as I was about my size. I would never treat someone like that intentionally. And, definitely not at all today. Baby steps, Christopher…
But, here’s what I did do. When they were down on themselves, I let them express their feelings and compounded them. Likely, because I felt the same way about my body. I didn’t know I did this. And, we’ll explore article after article about why this may be (my mother’s passing at 5, my inability to find a girlfriend until age 15, my own body image, etc.) A few things have changed since then:
- We, as a society are way more accepting of plus (yes, I understand that we have much ground to make up- Why do you think I focus on Bold?)
- Women, as a gender are slowly (and I mean slowly) learning to be more confident after centuries of male oppression.
- There are more outlets for all of us to accept ourselves while striving to improve.
I’ve also changed as a human. I mean, for example, I love all plus body types and sizes. So, I would never care if my partner lost or gained weight. I have also learned to love the person behind their looks. So, I am happy to say that their size means very little (granted I don’t date super thin women, let’s move on). But, one much more important thing has changed in me:
I have finally learned to love myself. This has come after years of reflection, growth, and understanding. It also came after I was so horribly degraded and destroyed by a partner that I hit the lowest low you can possibly imagine (we’re talking some serious “Don’t let him sleep alone” kind of shit). And, I realized how amazingly incredible I am during my rise up. I have no reason to shackle someone with my words. They are close to me because they want to be. These are things that my previous partners had said to me when we split:
- Chris, you’re almost perfect. Why don’t you see it? (SPOILER ALERT- Not perfect)
- Chris, I can help you if you’d let me in.
- Chris, everything you do is truly amazing. Please, just look at yourself through my eyes.
Instead, I self loathed. And, I allowed them to once in a while, or at least be self conscious. It’s funny because I was speaking with one of our Bold Media staff members, Aby Deal, this past week about how I would have preferred women in my teens and twenties who were plus sized, but dressed conservatively. I think I liked that they preferred to hide their body, the way she did. Now, she is proud to show her skin and is the epitome of who I tend to look for (let’s make a distinction, we don’t date our colleagues and friends, This is just an example).
Now… oh, now… I have realized a few things (just a few in today’s article, as it’s getting late and your eyes are likely tired):
- It is not my partner’s responsibility to feel small or hide themselves for me.
- I have no right to comment on the size, shape, or weight of my partner, unless she specifically requests it. And, even then, I need to make sure I am conscious of why they are asking and how I can best serve them.
- Positivity, self reflection, and accountability make me a much better human.
We, as men, tend to do this more often than we realize. It’s in the same vein as a man who hits on a plus woman and calls her fat or unworthy when she turns him down. What is wrong with you? You just told them they were attractive!!
I’ve been asked before (and sometimes criticized, whispered about, discussed)…. “This guy is too good to be true. Why is he so positive? And, does he really want to empower women through his lifestyle brand?”
No, I don’t want to empower women. Because, it’s not my right to. The same way it wasn’t my right to harm my partners. I want them to understand how truly beautiful they are for just being them. But, I can’t give it to them. The same way my partners couldn’t give it to me. We are all responsible for our own journeys of self love. But, bet your ass that we don’t need to be the reason someone else is self conscious.
So, what did I do to fix it? I looked inwards. I was self reliant. And, I realized that I was a bad ass partner to anyone who would want me. That alone helped me realize that nobody needs to feel inadequate around me. Because that feeling sucked when I felt it. And, it sucked when I dished it out. But, if you truly want to continue to change, you have to continue to look at what you’re doing and make sure you haven’t said or done anything stupid. It will involve a lot of:
- Hey, did I make you feel a certain way when I said that?
- What are your boundaries on this topic? (or in bed? or physically? or in public? or with friends?)
- I’m truly sorry and I meant no harm in what I said. But, I recognize that it made you feel that way. I’m willing to make a change if you would help me understand the insensitivity I have expressed.
It’s not easy. But, I was committed to making sure nobody ever woke up and felt like I had made them feel less than. And, because of that, I think I’ve found partners who have been stronger and made me stronger. And, if I’d re-met the amazingly strong partners I used to have, I’d probably be able to grow with them, and them with me. I’m sure they are doing wonderful things and if they get off track, their partners are strong enough to make sure they realize how spectacular they are, not allow them to think negative thoughts longer than they should.
Now, I still have a lot to work on. Let’s be real. From my lack of communication about what I want to my other stupid ways, there’s no way I’m perfect. But, at least I’m not a COMPLETE asshole. And, today… that’s an okay compromise.
If any of what I have said to my partners doesn’t sound like I’m an asshole… it’s okay. You just haven’t gotten the message, yet. Think about if you’ve said these things or some thing like it. If you have, think about why. Just starting there will make your journey out of the ass – hole (see what I did there?) much easier.