There’s a certain subject I’d like to talk about today. I don’t want to get too preachy about this, I’m just sharing my opinion about something. I hope most of you feel the same, but no judgment if you don’t. This is just my opinion, and it’s my blog, so this seems like the place to shout about it.
I was in the checkout line at the grocery store yesterday, trying to dwell on what the subject of my next blog was going to be. As I waited for the lady in front of me to decide which one of the eighty-seven items she wasn’t going to purchase after all because she was a dollar short, I started checking out the magazine covers. Usually, I expect to see any number of overexposed celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian or Justin Bieber or Kylie Jenner.
Instead, this is what I saw.
My celebrity crush Amy Schumer on the cover of In Style. Musician Meghan Trainor on the cover of Cosmopolitan. It sort of made me happy. Not happy enough to buy the magazines, of course, ‘cause I’m a dude. But still. It made me happy.
It immediately reminded me of a significant memory from college.
When I was younger, there was a girl in college I was absolutely in love with. For reasons too numerous to explain here without going too far off topic, it just wasn’t to be. But I’m happy to say that we remain very close friends to this day.
But there was a day I recall sharing my feelings about this girl with a group of friends. And even more clearly, I remember the thoughtless comment that one of them had made.
“Oh, John likes her? Oh yeah, that makes sense, since he’s into fat chicks.”
I kind of stopped inviting him to parties after that. This girl didn’t have a thin waistline, but calling her fat was simply mean and dismissive. Not to mention totally off the mark. She was a healthy weight, not to mention curvy and beautiful. Still is. I’ve never thought of her as overweight.
But for years after that incident, the remark was stuck in my head. At some point, especially after my first wife divorced me, I started questioning my tastes in women. Was I naturally more attracted to heavier girls?
During the two years following my divorce, this question almost because a little crisis that I had to resolve. So, mostly out of boredom, I made a physical comparison of all the women I had either dated, found attractive, or taken home with me from a bar. Out of scientific curiosity, you understand.
I made my list, cataloging all the traits. Not an insane, obsessive, conspiracy-theory episode with yarn and threads and post-its covering an entire wall sort of epiosde. Just a few pages of notebook paper and a bottle of beer. I wanted to satisfy my curiosity.
I discovered that when examining all the girls I had developed some sort of connection with, I was having trouble finding some sort of common denominator. There were just as many skinny women as there were heavy gals in my list. Some of them were very serious about make-up and clothes, others sported a natural look and were more comfortable in jeans and pullover sweaters. Some of them were painfully shy, others were outspoken and brassy. Some preferred books, others preferred movies. Some of them were highly educated and successful, others struggled in school. What was the common attraction? I had proven to myself what I already know----I wasn’t just attracted to big girls. But there have been something.
Then it hit me. And guys (and ladies), here’s the advice I hope you take from this.
With a few notable drunken exceptions, nearly every woman on the list was someone that I actually wanted to spend time with. I mean, even if it didn’t mean seeing them naked at the end of the night. They were girls that I actually liked being around.
Maybe I was one of the lucky one who had known the secret all along, but I just wasn’t able to quantify it in words back then. But there was the secret. It seems so simple.
In the end, I don’t care if you’re a few pounds overweight. (Obviously, if you’re so heavy that it affects your health, you should consider making different life choices.) I don’t care if you have a slender, unblemished body. I don’t care if you have tattoos or not. I don’t care if you have breasts that are barely visible, or if they could be classified as dangerous weapons. I don’t care if you shave, or if you proudly display armpit hair and an untamed jungle south of the equator. I don’t care if you’re smarter or more successful than me.
What I realized that I care about are the important things. Do you make me laugh? Do you like me for who I am? Do you like yourself for who you are? Are you as kind to yourself, as well as kind to others? Do you like to laugh? Are you willing to give me as much attention as I’ll give you?
The world obsesses about physical beauty. Physical beauty is important, but when I see magazine covers put impossibly (and often airbrushed) depictions of beauty on their covers every single month, there’s an effect it has on people. It crushes the spirits and the self-esteem of wonderful girls who don’t necessarily live up to those standards. These are the women that get ignored by men who are only looking for real-life examples of what they see on the magazine covers. These are the men who are denying themselves the romance of their lifetime by looking for something that isn’t there without the assistance of a highly trained make-up team and Photoshop artist. (And going back to my original inspiration for this article, it’s why seeing non-traditional beauties like Amy and Meghan on the magazine covers this week made me smile.)
I’ve been married to my wife for over fifteen years now. To this day, she can make me laugh out loud in public by saying something I wasn’t expecting. To this day, she’s the one I want to share my free time with. Because I fucking like her, as well as deeply love her.
I think most men my age have already figured that out for themselves. I just hope that other guys without as much mileage as yours truly learn these facts sooner. So my point is, it’s not that I’m only attracted to big girls.
The point is, I’m only attracted to girls that I’d want to be friends with.
Even more to the point, you never know who your match is going to be. If you’re the type of person who only goes for a certain body type, please consider knocking it off. Keep your eyes open to everyone and try not to obsess over the physical details. The love of your life might be a blonde runway model, and she might be a curvy, purple-haired nerd girl.
You never know.
John Yeo Jr. is the author of THE KING'S TOURNAMENT and MAMA SAUVETERRE'S CURIOSITY SHOPPE. Both of these fine fantasy novels are available on AMAZON. His next novel, THE INFINITE LEAGUE will be coming out in September.