Date the Fat Guys, Ladies

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In what can only be described as “true love,” I agreed to marry my fiance without ever dancing with him.

Perhaps this seems impossible, improbable, or a smallish point in the grand scheme of our love. But I tell you, it is not. I come from a dancing family. My mom and dad fell in love in college through dancing (and homecoming committee), and continue to swing around the floor with passion and laughing, grooving to the music. We six kids have no formal dance training, but we have natural rhythm and a blatant disregard for awkwardness. We’ll have impromptu dance parties at home, in the car, and even public places, if the music is right. It is a pathway of love for us Robisons.

From “Letting Him Lead”

I mention B.’s and my lack of dancing during ten months of courtship because this was how I approached our relationship: taking him for who he is, accepting his limits (as he accepts mine), and letting God’s love for both of us lead. He said he wasn’t a dancer. I didn’t push him into a dancing situation until weeks after our engagement, a wedding, when I then found out he can dance. And all I can think now is, What a glorious gift from my God!

Too often, we gals imagine the most perfect looking man for us. We want our handsome knight, and we want him with a six-pack. But what of his character? Does he respect you? Is he interested in spending time with you? Could you grow together and be friends? Do you see potential in him as your life partner, through difficulties and diaper changings?

And so relationships start with small talk, trying to see if two people have enough in common to continue the conversation into an isolated date, and then maybe another one. Then the dates continue, but the important topics are skipped over until you get to know each other more (although, what else is worth knowing?), and thus the uncertainty lingers, and the months and years may pass with little to note except steadfastness and dedication to each other.

Ladies, it is not enough. You are not a hamster on a wheel! Dating is no fun if there is no end in sight! If you want true love and romance, you must actively seek it. This first comes with you being personally prepared.

I’d like to issue a 3-part challenge to all the single ladies out there (and men, for that matter!):

1. Close your eyes. Are you interested in this person because of their clothing size or their character? Because only one of those things is going to change in the long run, and it ain’t the latter.


2. Go on a dating fast. This does not mean cease dating; it means stop obsessing over dating, what he said, and what “it” means. Genuinely enjoy spending time getting to know the other person, and if you don’t see a future, end it. If you do, then pray about it — and don’t be afraid to discuss things that matter with that special someone.


3. Pray the Sacred Heart of Jesus novena, and ask God to use your single vocation to his greatest fruition, and to open up your heart to your life’s vocation.


Physical beauty may be fleeting, but personal beauty never is. The brilliant Roald Dahl wrote, “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stuck-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

If your vocation is marriage, God will provide a pathway to your mate. You, however, must be open to the possibility of him-as-God-sees-him, not as you’ve-asked-God-to-make-him. Sure, he may be more rotund, and he makes you laugh. He’s shorter than you usually prefer, and he’s absolutely charming. You two complement each other as people, and that’s what it’s really about: the long haul with another soul, trying to get to Heaven, and enjoying the journey. Who knows? Maybe his long limbs will carry you well during a dance.


J.R. Baldwin

J.R. Baldwin

J.R. Baldwin is the Editor-in-chief at Ignitum Today. A former statehouse reporter, she teaches history for a classical school and writes for The Imaginative Conservative. She blogs at The Corner With A View, and tweets from @thejulieview. A Midwesterner by birth, she lives out East with her husband and bebes.

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36 thoughts on “Date the Fat Guys, Ladies”

  1. Avatar

    As an engaged woman, I could not agree more with your post! So, so, so accurate! Only difference … we prayed a novena to St Raphael leading up to our first date.

  2. Avatar

    a tip from an old married lady- be the right person to be married to- have hobbies, friends, etc but also:

    look at how he treats his mom (with respect and love but not completely joined at the hip), look at how his dad treats his mom (I did this and I knew that when colonel-dad brought dishes in the kitchen from the table to make things easier for mom, I knew my boyfriend wouldn’t be overly macho with me), look at how he treats waiters, busboys, crying children at Mass (does he get angry that HIS prayer time is being assaulted- he’ll do the same with your kids), other drivers (does he cut people off or let someone in)— you really have to be dating for about 6 months so that everybody’s true colors start to show

  3. Avatar

    Thanks Phil! What a pesky extra “n” — duly changed!

    Kristan, I’ve heard tons of people pray to St. Raphael! I’ve always preferred the Sacred Heart of Jesus one because, well, who can know more about the calls of our own heart but the One that passionately bleeds for us? That’s awesome you two prayed leading up to your first date. God bless your engaged time – it is certainly a time of thanksgiving and preparation!

    Priest’s wife: Great advice! I absolutely concur. We dated for 10 months, and our engagement is 12 months. Character certainly shows, as it will in marriage!

  4. Avatar

    This is so true. We always have a picture in our mind. But it is only that, a picture. It is not a real person. The real person you can not see with a picture you have to come to know.

  5. Avatar

    Great advice! I think when you’re single for so long you start to fantasize about The One and he usually ends up looking more like David Beckham than a real person you could actually spend your life with. Recently, God has really been changing my heart on this. 🙂

  6. Avatar

    Also, have to add, date the skinny guys too! My hubby is a beanpole, and a lot of women wouldn’t date him because he was “too thin”, nevermind that he’s the kindest man I’ve ever met, treats me like gold, and is so lean because he’s a runner and athlete! Stupid women.

  7. Avatar

    Excellent advise. I am reminded of when one of my younger sisters met my husband for the first time (we were engaged, though) and said, “He just doesn’t seem your type” and she was hung up on the physical attributes. She grew a couple years older and so did we (and we married) and she spent some time with my husband one night visiting and said to me the next day, “I get it…” and realized her initial assessment was based on that which is skin deep. We celebrate 13 years of marriage this month and have 5 children ages 11 to 1, and I praise God every day that He led me to the right guy.

  8. Avatar

    Absolutely, Julie! My wonderful Devin is handsome enough, but I felt absolutely no physical attraction for him when we began corresponding on and later when we began to date in person. But, I felt so deeply alive when I was with him and so deeply attracted to him as a man, a total package.

    This is also true for so many friends of mine, whose husbands are no gorgeous but are amazing men who love them heroically. I think our culture has done us a grave disservice, through media portrayals of men who have been airbrushed, and taught us to expect beauty that is only skin deep. We deserve so much more! (That’s why I am highly in favor of arranged marriages, not the sort that forces us against our will, but the sort that helps us meet our spouses with the help of a matchmaker.)

  9. Avatar

    I always find men more attractive the more I get to know their great personalities – even if I wasn’t initially attracted to them at all!

    Now if only my dashing (personality, of course…) man would enter the scene sometime soon!

    Great post as always Julie!

  10. Avatar

    This is a lovely post, Julie, but I have to say… I feel it would be more appropriate if it were gender-swapped. 😉 I think it is very common, even the norm, for women to be in relationships with men who they didn’t find immediately or conventionally attractive. Not nearly so common with men; and women are judged far more by their efforts to be physically attractive to men, than men ever are by women. It’s not about forcing men or women to be with someone they truly aren’t attracted to, simply for the sake of being ‘better Christians’ or more adult — it’s about changing our own perceptions of what is attractive and allowing the person themselves to become attractive in their own way. I guess I just find it odd to see this directed at young women, the majority of which seem to have no problem with this — whereas I feel like we would find it somehow offensive or ‘unnatural’, or even pointless, to tell men to date overweight or less attractive women, because they might be better people.

    Just some thoughts. 🙂

  11. Pingback: The Best Punditry, Analysis, and News in the Catholic Blogosphere on St. Benedict, Dating, Cardinal Burke, Anglicans, Pornography, Civil Rights, Social Justice, Socialism, Fr. Guarnizo, Islam, Archaeology, and the Catholic Church. | Big Pulpit

  12. Avatar

    Courtney, I’d say the advice goes both ways – but yes, in my experience, this advice is usually needed for the men rather than the women. I don’t even like six-packs ;o

  13. Avatar

    Ditto Courtney. Male or female, no one wants to be with someone whom they find unattractive, and there’s nothing wrong or shallow about that. God gives us our attractions, whatever they are, and we date, marry, etc (or don’t, if marriage and family life is not in God’s plan for us), accordlingly.

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    “Fat”, a rather pejorative word and quite unacceptable, is a function of either excess intake of calories or a lack of exercise. In a number case, both in combination. The fact is that obesity shows a fundamental disrespect for the body and the designer of that body. Should be celebrate the cause of those who disrespect the creator’s design. “Fat” shortens life, causing illness, imposes burdens on others to care for them etc.; we should not entertain condoning people who choose this condition! Respect for self and for the creator’s design should emanate from all relationships.

  15. Avatar

    I think you missed the point of Julie’s post. It is not a matter of celebrating an unhealthy lifestyle, but accepting people as they are. This post could have just as easily been entitled “Date the bald guys”, “Date the short guys”, etc.

    Regarding weight, though, it is also an unfair judgement to say that it is necessarily due to unhealthy habits. Irregular weight gain can often be a side effect of another health issue.

  16. Avatar

    I also don’t care for six packs which may explain why I don’t have one. 🙂 However as Brent said I have been compared favorably with an Olympian, whose name I don’t know but for whom I will be cheering whenever the Olympics come on this summer:

    I do agree that it is more often than not men who need to recalibrate their eye for beauty so they can appreciate its unique manifestations in young women who don’t look like models. Word.

  17. Avatar

    Yes! I love that Roald Dahl quote – it’s so right. There’s a photo of Mother Theresa in which she is so old and sunspotted and wrinkled, you would objectively want to use the word ugly, but you just CAN’T. She is so beautiful. And attractive.
    We need to get over what someone else says is attractive and start listening to the human heart, because it is in the heart that wisdom speaks.
    I dated a guy for a long time. He was tall, could dance, spoke a couple languages, had beautiful long white fingers. He was self-centered, immature, spiritually confused.
    It was a hard switch to date the guy who was just an inch taller, crazy hair, no fashion sense. But it didn’t take long to see the good heart, desire to be generous, and loving passion for faith and goodness… my husband.
    You have it so right.

  18. Avatar

    Julie couldn’t be more correct! If only I could turn back time and start over. I’m married to a person who I’d never, ever choose again. We got married before I came back to the Church, before I gave my life back to Christ, and now we have kids who have a mom who is a Catholic in name only. No Mass (not even Easter anymore), no prayer, no confession, no spiritual guidance whatsoever. Hell, even teaching my daughter to dress modestly is a major fight. The burden of raising the kids in the faith falls completely on me, and I’m almost too sad to dwell on it (even though I’m dwelling on it literally day and night). I’m angry at myself for choosing this crappy path. I’m sad for my children that they have us for parents. I’m selfishly sad for me that I have hardly anything in common with my spouse, don’t find her physically or personally attractive, and spend my days throwing self-pity parties and hollering “woe is me” from the center of my heart. Yeah, I know, I need to pray about it, pray for patience, for forgiveness for my own sins, for her conversion, etc., which I do. I need to love her with actions and put her first, doing what I can to get her (and my children and me) to Heaven. Who knew on my wedding day that THE biggest cross I’d be carrying for life is my marriage? At the end of the day, my point here is that Julie’s advice hits the nail on the head. Please keep God first and don’t settle on a mate without His blessing. Peace, all.

  19. Avatar

    Hi Anon, my heart breaks reading your comment. Praying for you and your spouse. I hope it’s not pushy to recommend Dr. Greg & Lisa Popcak, if you don’t know of them. They host More 2 Life, a radio show on Ave Maria Radio (, and Dr. Greg and some associates also do counseling (including one-sided marriage counseling, which sounds like the support and encouragement you need!). All of their stuff is Theology of the Body based, and it has helped me immensely to form a game plan for strengthening my struggling relationships with my parents and siblings.

  20. Avatar

    I agree, but…
    I think we ladies, have a relatively easy time overlooking physical appearance and focusing on a potential mate’s personality. However, physical attraction is an essential, sacred part of a married relationship. No, you shouldn’t be superficial, but dating someone who you find unattractive is unfair to them and to you.

  21. Avatar

    Anon, I’ll be praying for you. Thank you for your testimony!

    This post is not about dating someone you find unattractive. It’s about recognizing the inner beauty of people, and including Christ in your vocation.

  22. Avatar

    I agree with Elizabeth and Courtney. Most women are willing to date and marry ugly, fat or bald men if the men treat them well, are devout Catholics and have a good personality. I don’t have a strong sex drive and I never looked for physical attractiveness in a guy. But I also have to say, after 15 years of reading Catholic blogs for women and moms, that women have a tough enough time trying to fulfill their husband’s sexual appetite and not being physically attracted to their spouse just makes it that much harder. If marriages were all platonic I would understand ignoring physical attractiveness but people are body and soul and marriage is a physical relationship as much as a spiritual relationship. Which is another reason spouses have an obligation to not “let themselves go” once they are married.

    So be careful. You marry the fat nice guy you aren’t attracted to but once you are married you realize this same guy wants to have relations every day and you aren’t into it and you now have a big marital issue that you end up venting on some Catholic blog.

  23. Avatar

    The points in Julie’s “Suggestion Box” are great. In college, I didn’t ask myself those questions and missed out on some truly great people. Now a decade later I feel wiser and am discerning God’s will for me and a new beloved, where conventional/superficial physical attractiveness is not really a factor in our relationship. (But of course, as others have pointed out, it’s important to have some physical attraction to the person, because as a friend’s pastor likes to say: “You need to be able to think you’ll want to procreate with this person!” :p)

    Sadly, the bigger message is kinda undone with the post’s affiliated photo…replace those conventionally attractive models with real people madly in love, please. 🙂

  24. Avatar

    I agree a lot with Julie. I would say that some times things are done a different way that still is well in keeping with Gods wishes. It’s better to be best friends before you start dating. What i mean is dating is sort of ironing out the rough edges sort of speak which I think you related to in your post. The longest marriages happen when the couple is best friends with each other in addition to being husband and wife. Dating can be the time where intimacy of course in a chaste way comes into the picture. I’m seeing a girl now hat I met at my parish and even though we aren’t dating we do things as if we were well “together”. For instance we’ll go into the city for lunch, and talk about everything under the sun. We do things as comrades and we build our relationship and closeness. It’s not that I can’t commit, I am quite the opposite, but I feel is that being together naturally is how courting should be paired with these days. Not to say you shouldn’t have dated for 10 months not at all, I’m just saying that sometimes the dating phase is put into the season of becoming best friends. If that’s understandable.

  25. Avatar

    Awwww how sweet this story was, and Im truly happy for you both. Yes its so true how we tend to hold onto what we think is important as a mate for ourselves. I rather be with a man that isnt so cute, that isnt the tallest, but one that can show me respect and show me their heart.

  26. Avatar

    I was going to let this go but this REALLY bothered me. In my own experience, in observing my friends and even in observing strangers – I have noticed that most women do NOT have a problem dating the “unconventional” looking guys. The ones who seem to have a problem with “fat” or with physical attraction are men. I can’t think of a single woman I know (me included) who is truly only looking for a guy with a “six pack” or who is stunningly handsome. To the point where I have seen women get together with men they aren’t all that physically attracted to just because the man is a kind person who treats them well. And if you’ll excuse my bluntness, physical attraction is an important component of the marital act. I don’t see why it is that when men ask that women make themselves attractive by grooming themselves, wearing makeup and pretty clothes, this is accepted as normal, but when woman wants the same (a man to whom she can be attracted), she is considered “shallow”.

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