Dear Dating Coach,
I am getting a lot of negative feedback from my family and friends because I don’t want to date girls who are fat. Yes, I said it. I care about my health; I exercise religiously, spend time hiking and playing sports, and I eat really cleanly. I don’t understand why I am a “bad person” if I don’t want to go out with girls who are heavy. I want someone who cares about her health like I do. I want someone slim and I’m sick of having to defend myself for saying so. I finally told them I would reach out to ask your opinion. Do you think I’m wrong?
My son’s grade went on a trip out of state. They flew there without issue and had a wonderful time. When the group of eighty arrived back at the airport for their return trip however, they were met with some bad news. The flight was delayed. The boys were happy to wait the hour predicted and spent the time chatting and recounting the day. Then, the one-hour delay turned into two hours, then three, then six, until finally the flight was canceled. Eighty boys and their chaperones suddenly found themselves stranded at the airport without another plane able to accommodate their big group on such short notice. While their chaperones hurried to find food and flights, the boys were not fazed. They took the news with grace, quietly singing and waiting with patience far beyond their years. Finally, flights were arranged and the boys arrived home safely – exhausted and hungry; but happy. Sometimes, the best lessons come to us from our children. Attitude is everything. Lesson learned.
I’m glad you reached out to settle this ongoing disagreement. You are a big believer in health and fitness. You take pride in taking care of your body and want a girl who reflects that same look. You would only like to date someone who is slim and feel attacked by your friends and family who “judge” you for your disinterest in anyone who does not fit your ideal body-type. You don’t want to date someone who isn’t skinny and don’t understand why those around you bristle at that statement. Would they prefer you date a girl you are not going to be attracted to because of her size? You don’t understand why this bothers them so much.
Certainly, the shidduch process is already difficult enough. We can expect daters to be open-minded, but cannot ask them to change lifestyle philosophies or cemented beliefs. This is what you feel. We get it. What I believe elicits such a strong reaction from your family and friends however, is not your refusal to date girls who are overweight, but your aggressive stance on the issue. You want slim. This is your opening and closing statement. Perhaps they hope that you would focus more on her middos, her personality, or her good characteristics. Maybe, all they hear is your laser-focus on “health,” an insult to girls who are not skinny who don’t appreciate being called “unhealthy” simply because they are not a size 2. Perhaps they believe that you would say no to lovely women who are perfectly slim, but not the “slim” we expect of models. Perhaps they are concerned that your focus on body image would adversely affect your marriage in the future. What if your wife retained some of her baby weight or gained weight just because? All they hear is “skinny, skinny, skinny,” instead of “middos, compatibility, hashkafa, kindness, and slim please.”
I don’t think anyone faults you for wanting to marry someone slim. That is your prerogative and it’s fine. I believe instead that it is your ATTITUDE that frustrates those around you. Reevaluate your focus, shift your priorities, and become more conscious of how you sound, and you may find them to be more accepting. Weight is just a number. Attitude is everything.