Rule #16: Maybe It’s Your Personality

by Rachel on November 4, 2010

Not too many years or too many pounds ago, I was convinced I just needed to lose weight to get a boyfriend.

I really wish someone had been able to talk some goddamn sense into me.

I know it sounds crazy, but that’s just because you’re hungry and can’t think straight.

Don’t believe me? Seriously, you don’t believe me? Go…anywhere! Go shopping. Go out to dinner. Go to the airport. Go to a sex toy shop. You know what you’ll see? Couples. And you’ll see that in many cases, one half of that couple has lovehandles.

Shocking I know.

Look, I don’t care if you want to lose a few pounds because it will make you feel more attractive, I really don’t. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I truly believe you can have a healthy relationship with your body and still be kinda vain. What I care about is how so many women think they won’t find love until they reach a certain point on the scale. I care when you’re positive that the reason you’re single is because of your weight.

Let me tell you what happens when you use that to motivate you to lose weight. It will, quite often, work. You can do like I did and stop eating every time I was sick of being single (which was kind of a lot) and whenever you want to just give in and put some real food in your stomach, you can tell yourself, “Nope. Can’t. Don’t want to be single!” And you’ll lose a few pounds and you’ll be feeling all sweet at life.

And then you might get to a point where you are the pretty, thin, popular girl…who is still single.

And you’ll take a long, hard look in the mirror and you’ll say, “What the fuck? My hair is awesome, I’m so pretty, and I lost weight, so I look really great in my jeans. Why doesn’t anyone want to date me?”

At which point your reflection will cock her head and say, “Maybe it’s your personality.”

And THAT is not a good feeling.

I’m not saying your personality sucks…I’m saying that your personality matters.

And I’m saying that when you make how you look physically the most important thing about you, the reason someone will want to date you, then you will be let down. When this happened to me, time and again, I was left feeling one of two ways: guys only wanted to date me because I was now, technically, “hot,” (also known as Pimp My Ride Syndrome) or guys still didn’t want to date me, meaning I still wasn’t hot enough — which is pretty dangerous — or I just wasn’t cool enough — which is super depressing.

But maybe it’s just your personality. Maybe it’s the other person’s. Did it ever occur to you that some people are going to see you as a Two, no matter what you weigh? Honestly, that didn’t occur to me for a long time.

Eventually I had my “getting it” moment in which I said, “Fuck that mayonnaise!” and let go of the idea that my relationship status was directly tied to a few extra pounds. I didn’t stop caring about my appearance, I just started working on my head and my ass and really, just all aspects of my life because I finally realized that all those bigger girls who were in relationships? Were maybe onto something.

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Smash @ Appreciate The Now November 4, 2010 at 8:44 am

Please tell me you’re cross-posting this on Tumblr. Thanks for printing exactly what I’ve thought for a veryyyyy long time.

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2 Rachel November 4, 2010 at 8:48 am

Just did it!!

And I’m glad you get it.

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3 Michele @ Healthy Cultivations November 4, 2010 at 8:47 am

I think about this very same thing sometimes. And you’re right.

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4 venezia December 24, 2010 at 5:30 am

She is right, its sad to say that am super thin with a body anyone would die for but haven’t had a date in over three years… obviously its got more to do with physical appearance.

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5 Lynn C November 4, 2010 at 8:57 am

Heh. My husband and I got together when we were both pushing 200+ pounds.

My super-skinny, pretty friend was single for a long, long time. she had a 27-item check list that the guy had to meet all of before she’d agree to a second date. These things were all deal-breakers in her mind. It is any wonder she was single for a long, long time?

I only had two things on my list. And I ended up with a husband that no dating-service would have ever matched me with, since if you really asked me, I would have said political leanings were a deal breaker. (He is financially and world-political, GOP, socially a liberal… but he still thinks of himself as a republican, even though he hasn’t voted that way in YEARS) But we’d been dating for five or six months before his political views and mine came up as a topic of discussion.

But when it comes down to it, do you really WANT the guy who only wants you because you’re in the size 2 jeans, or do you want the one who cares enough to tell you you’re beautiful even when you’re covered in 2nd degree burns (ok, I’m projecting here a bit, but if I was dating the guy who loved me because I was super hot, I don’t know that he’d find all these burn marks appealing).

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6 Manon November 4, 2010 at 9:00 am

OMFG…..I have about a BAZILLION people I’m sending this to, and NOT JUST WOMEN. I dont’ know how many times I’ve said “No, you aren’t single because you gained 15 lbs. You are single because you are bitter, depressed, and miserable, and who the hell wants to fuck that.” Or, change “bitter, depressed, and miserable” to “Pathetic/needy”, or “high maintenance/bitchy”, or “just plain fucking CRAZY”……..so the only way losing weight is going to help you get a boyfriend/girlfriend is if losing weight is going to change your brain and personality.

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7 stephanie November 4, 2010 at 9:04 am

I love this post. I wish more girls ( and a lot of guys) would read this. Sometimes it just doesn’t work no matter what dress size you wear. You always find the perfect match when your not the “desperate girl at the party” or “some creep at the grocery store”. This is the best advice I’ve heard in a long time.

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8 PoP November 4, 2010 at 9:06 am

I really ‘feel’ this post.
My crazy fat talk goes a little further and tells me that everything that happens is because I’m fat.
Like ‘We broke up cause I’m fat’, ‘We are not together cause I’m fat’, ‘I would be happy if I wasn’t so fat’, ‘I wouldn’t have failed at (insert ridiculously irrelevant thing here) if I wasn’t fat’…
At some point you just have to wake up and realise that everything that’s wrong with your life really has nothing to do with your jean size. It has to do with what you put out there, what your willing to accept back and how you treat yourself. If you let yourself go, and are miserable thinking about your fat all the time… then it just may be the reason your single. No its not your fat its you! And your depressed, no-self love, un-rational ridiculous personality!
Your not with ‘that’ guy because maybe he isn’t into girls who think about their fat so much for example :P

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9 Laura November 4, 2010 at 9:07 am

Rachel, are you in my head? Are you invading my thoughts? I know we both live in Texas, but the timeliness of this article is down right spooky.

Thank you for writing this post. F***k the mayonnaise.

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10 Kendra November 4, 2010 at 9:14 am

When I saw the tweet for this post I was like “Ouch, Rachel!” but you’re so right. I couldn’t believe my “luck” when guys started showing an interest in me at 260-something lbs, like, did they not realize that I’m fat? It’s finally starting to sink in that it isn’t about my weight, or not just about my weight.

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11 Cassie November 4, 2010 at 9:14 am

Great post, Rachel!
This was something I was really lucky to have learned, actually, from my last serious relationship. That guy loved me even though I didn’t love how I looked. Even though it was never explicitly talked about, I eventually stopped linking my self-worth to an imaginary assumption of what other people thought of me. And while I’m working out with the goal of losing some weight, I’m more pleased with how happy I am as a person when I’m active and I treat myself with respect. And that brings some pretty great guys around.

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12 Cat @ YoungFoolishHungry November 4, 2010 at 9:19 am

I completely relate to this. I remember being in high school and thinking I’d get a boyfriend in college because I’d lose weight then or because there were so many boys that one just had to like me — haha! You know how it takes your mind a while to truly see your body? I think the same applies when you have the body and now need to take a long look at your mind. Great post, Rachel!

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13 Eunice November 4, 2010 at 9:26 am

Totally not about the weight, at least not in the big picture, and not for a guy who’s worth it. Kohy actually likes bigger girls and I know he’s not the only one. Good thing he likes my personality!

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14 MelissaNibbles November 4, 2010 at 9:36 am

Awesome post and so right on the money. Also, when all you focus on is your weight, food and exercise, odds are your personality is pretty boring and that’s why no guy is interested.

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15 Kaytee November 4, 2010 at 9:37 am

Love this. I realized after reading it that when I was at my skinniest and most weight-obsessed, I was in my most unhappy relationship. Funny how that all works out.

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16 Andrea @ CanYouStayForDinner.com November 4, 2010 at 9:47 am

You are divine. This post should be a PSA

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17 Xi June 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I second this opinion. This should be featured on every women’s magazine out there. In fact, Rachel, why don’t you format this into a poster. I will buy it and put it on my wall!

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18 zenlizzie November 4, 2010 at 9:50 am

I appreciate when guys are supportive and interested in healthy stuff with me, but if a guy told me I needed to lose weight, at first I would be crushed and second I would be pissed.

Even though I still sometimes think, “Ok if i could just lose 30lbs, then it would fix all the issues in my relationship,” I know that isn’t really true. I’ve been up and down in weight for all my dating life, and there is no correlation between happiness and thinness.

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19 Ramou November 4, 2010 at 10:08 am

So much yes with this. I’m still definitely struggling with the weight-happiness correlation, but am slowly – very slowly – getting there. And it is so easy for me to say this to other people, but so much harder for me to actually believe it and figure it out for myself.

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20 Rachael November 4, 2010 at 10:41 am

FUCK THAT MAYONNAISE!

Haha, I love that. You know, it’s gotta be true because I gotta a little extra here and there and my husband doesn’t care a lick. I’m sure he’d like it if I looked nice in my bikini but I don’t think he really gives a flying fart either way. I make him laugh and most importantly: I have a working vagina.

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21 Smash @ Appreciate The Now November 4, 2010 at 11:13 am

:) LOL, love the last line of this. SO true.

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22 Manon November 4, 2010 at 3:41 pm

O M G…..I’m totally using this from now on…..I want a guy who doesn’t give a flying fart what I look like in a bikini and cares that I make him laugh and I have a working vagina. Of course, I prefer “magical” when referring to my vag, but same concept.

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23 angierunner November 4, 2010 at 10:42 am

Awesome blog! I thought I had to lose weight to keep a boyfriend…I lost about 20 pounds and got to the point where my bf told me if I didn’t gain weight he couldn’t be with me because I look so gross! Also there was the fact that I spent so much time at the gym that I never saw him. I decided that maybe I didn’t need to be that skinny…and this bf became my hubby!

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24 Kristen November 4, 2010 at 11:52 am

I’ve struggled with this. After breakups I’d try to lose weight in case I ran into him, then he’d see how great I looked and want me back. Within the last few months I’ve really come to see that if I’m out and having fun, not focusing on how I look compared to everyone else, I get approached by guys more.

Thanks for the post! A great reminder of how far I’ve come and a preview of what’s in store!

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25 Ayla November 4, 2010 at 12:04 pm

This is too true. I’m 19, slim and single.. and actually ALWAYS been single. The thing is, I’ve never been overweight, in fact, at one point I was UNDERweight. The whole – once I get skinny I’ll be happy and find love – is total crap. I know that for me, the reason I’m still single is because I’m already in a relationship… with food and the number on the scale. My obsession with weight simply doesn’t allow room for another person in my life and it makes my personality so much more unlikable.

Case in point – a couple of my guy friends were talking once and they were talking about girls and rating them from 1-10. They went ahead and rated me (stupid, I know) and one said, “If it weren’t for the fact that you bail on plans so often you would be a __ in my eyes.” Why did I bail so often? I thought I wasn’t skinny enough to hangout.

Guys aren’t just going for looks they’re going for personality and if you’re stuck in this fantasy world where you HAVE to be thin to find love.. well, that’s going to negatively effect how others view you. Simply put, someone that isn’t confident, isn’t as fun to be around as someone that is.

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26 @MelKrak November 4, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I agree with so much of what everyone has said and it runs a fine line when weight or even vanity weight ruffles up your self-confidence. So I’ll leave it withthis, simply: you’re not going to have anyone to get naked with, if you dont want to take off your clothes.

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27 Summer November 4, 2010 at 12:40 pm

I don’t even have say much more because everyone else already has. But it’s true. I moved to a new city, was single, fat and lonely. Then I decided to dump my shit attitude and work on ME, and you know what? I started dating my current boyfriend of 2.5 years when I was over 225. Now I’m down about 50, and he loves me just as much as he did then.

My sister is really guilty of feeling this way. I always try to tell her, “Not everyone is as shallow as you are.” Not to be cruel or say that she’s a bad person, but just to say that not as many people invest as much in looks as she might, or think that others might. Personality is important. Sense of humor. Attitude.

I was always the bigger girl in high school, and never really dated. I was the bigger girl in college, too, but I still pulled some ass. And that was because I was fucking loud and proud. I had insecurities, and I still do, but I accentuated the positive. We all have at least SOMEthing positive about us.

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28 Jaclyn November 4, 2010 at 10:14 pm

“Not everyone is as shallow as you are” is a GREAT line. What a little jewel of wisdom.

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29 betsy November 4, 2010 at 12:59 pm

This is true, a lot of girls I know are single becuase they are bitches. period.

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30 Retta @ RunRettaRun November 4, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Great, great post! Love it so much. And the comments. And the one about the working vagina. Seriously, they really are happy when they get laid.

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31 Retta @ RunRettaRun November 4, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Oh yes and if you enjoy it too and not worrying about how you looks nekkid is always a bonus.

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32 Rachel November 4, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Oh Rachel, how I love you and all of your posts. You are amazing and always say the most perfect things.

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33 Jennifer November 4, 2010 at 1:27 pm

You’re so right, Rachel! I used to think this way a lot, and now that I’m kind of on the opposite side, it irks me to hear girls (or guys) say this. I met my BF when I weighed 275. He’s a bigger guy too, and we were just into each other because we were attracted to one another, outside and inside. We weren’t so concerned with being “over-weight” as we were with how we got along with one another. Now that we’ve both lost some weight, we’re still in love and we’re working to get healthy together. It’s not about being “hot” for one another, because we already were/are! It’s about working on your goals and making yourself a better person all around, not just making your appearance better. I think most girls think if they’re hot, they’ll get a boyfriend. But what else is there? Try a career that you’re passionate about, volunteering or having hobbies that you can share with him. Be interesting. It takes a lot more to sustain a good relationship than just being hot.

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34 Alina November 4, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Interesting point. I think personality does matter more than looks, and I’ve seen this theory play out time and again. It’s comforting to reduce all your problems down to weight (since it’s more easily controllable than many other aspects of life), but seriously – being insecure and obsessed with your weight is not only unattractive, but it keeps you from focusing on other aspects of your life that are not only more important, but would arguably make you happier if you worked on those instead.

So right on!

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35 Aj November 4, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I agree. The first thing that popped into my head is that if someone doesn’t want to date you because of your weight, or anything else superficial, screw them, they’re not worth your time.

I have learned what others think of me and what keeps me single have been 100% surprises. As I’ve asked people for feedback about their first impression of me (the beauty of being in a relationship is you can do this without it seeming totally odd) and I heard that they were intimidated by me and if they had been interested in dating me, they would have assumed I would have no interest in them. Apparently, what I think of as awkward and shy comes across as attractive but stuck up. So that’s why I didn’t get hit on when I was single?

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36 Dori November 4, 2010 at 5:43 pm

I should be the spokesperson for “Just Because You are Thin Does Not Mean Anyone Will Want to Date You (Or Even Fuck You).”

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37 Stephanie @ Single in the City November 5, 2010 at 12:59 am

I may have alluded to this mentality when I commented on November goals. For me, losing weight will make me feel more confident, thus making me feel more attractive. I have a great personality and attitude. I’ve been married and have dated as an overweight woman.

Awesome post, Rach, as always!

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38 Rachel November 5, 2010 at 8:22 am

Stephanie — your comment the other day actually made me think of this, something that has been on my mind for a while. I TOTALLY understand how losing weight makes us feel confident and give off the right vibe to attract someone to us…but I also think that that confidence shouldn’t be tied to a number. For me, the healthy activities I do to lose weight — sticking with a workout regime, cooking, running — give me that confidence. I really think a lot of that confidence will start to shine through even before a lot of weight is lost!

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39 Stephanie @ Single in the City November 5, 2010 at 1:04 pm

I totally agree with you; it’s not about the number. I was up all last night (reverting my body back to its night self for my upcoming 4 nights on) and I reviewed the many pages I rip from magazines regarding healthy recipes, exercising and overall good stuff. I’m also planning on enrolling in Door-to-Door Organics to get the best seasonal vegetables and fruits delivered to me every week. Not only will I expand my palate, I will be consuming a lot more produce than I have been. Just thinking about these things make me feel better, and that is my overall goal!

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40 Suz November 5, 2010 at 6:49 am

Rachel, I think this is one of your best pieces yet. It is absolutely so true that in our society we think all the guys are looking for model types, and it’s just not true. The evidence is all around us. Hot guys with average looking girls. Average looking guys with hot girls. And dozens of other variations.

The person that immediately came to mind as I read this was Jennifer Aniston. Better-than-average looks, great smile, rockin’ body, plenty of opportunties to meet men, and yet, after several hookups, that girl is still single. And I have this feeling that she may always be. Heck, maybe she wants to be. Who knows? But, assuming that she wants love (as most of us do), it’s so sad that here’s this gorgeous specimen of womanhood and yet, everytime I see her, I think how lonely she seems. The exterior is obviously not the problem, so there’s only one other place to look.

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41 Rachel November 5, 2010 at 8:23 am

Jennifer Aniston is SUCH a good example. You totally nailed it.

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42 Tabitha @ Just Weighing In November 5, 2010 at 8:41 am

so very true… and you’re right about Jennifer Aniston (in your other comment). I look at all of the beautiful celebrities like Halle Berry and others who have been single and beautiful and think that maybe, just maybe, it isn’t all about getting skinny after all!

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43 Lesley Randall November 20, 2010 at 10:05 am

I want to bow down to this post. The heaviest and thinnest I’ve ever been is a difference of about 175 lbs, so I’ve had some serious struggles with my weight. I used to think the same thing; I’d never meet a guy as long as I was heavy. It took a long time for me to realize that was a bunch of crap. However, when one of the people who telling you that is your own father, it can be hard to disbelieve. (To his credit, he doesn’t talk to me that way anymore.) I did however, eventually break out of that thinking, and I honestly think, how you feel about your appearance is more important that what you actually look like. And once I stopped thinking that nobody would be checking me out, I realized they actually were, even at my heaviest.

So, yeah 100% with you. If all you have in common with a guy is how hot you both are – that’s not going to go very far anyway.

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44 Anna October 31, 2011 at 12:37 pm

I have had to learn this the hard way. I lost a lot of weight, like over 100 pounds and was all where the dudes at? It was really tough starting to date without that escape hatch of assuming any and all rejection came from my weight. I had to look at my personality and really start learning that not all rejection is based on looks, and it’s not always personal. Loved this post, and agreed with so much about it. We are always more then our bodies.

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