The first time I got called a chubby chaser was by my friend after I came to her in mourning of Chris Pratt’s pre-Guardians of the Galaxy body that he swapped for the ripped, muscle clad frame built in preparation for his silver screen debut. Everywhere I went on the computer (okay, mostly Buzzfeed), all I saw was Chris Pratt and his magical new torso. This Chris Pratt that now graced my computer screen was not Andy Dwyer Chris Pratt. It was a ripped, muscly, made-for-Hollywood Chris Pratt that was nothing like the man I had fallen in love with on Parks and Recreation. Listicles poured out in adoration for his new body (21 Times We Fell In Love With Chris Pratt This Summer), yet all I could do was complain. It’s not that the new Chris Pratt looks bad. He is absolutely gorgeous. But when I see the new Chris Pratt, I see conformity. I see a rare, lumpy gem that has been cut and polished into a flawless diamond: beautiful, but completely lacking character. And in the midst of my mourning of Pratt’s forgotten double chin of yesteryear, I had an epiphany. I am a chubby chaser.
I like chubby guys. I like tummies and chest hair and a little bit of booty. I like a man who could build me a log cabin and could potentially keep me warm for weeks if we ever find ourselves in a snowy winter apocalypse. I like guys who treat the gym like I treat shaving my legs: part of my self maintenance lifestyle, but if I go days or even weeks without doing it, all hell won’t break loose. And just as I wouldn’t consider shaving my legs to be a crucial dinner topic, he won’t go on and on about every detail of his new cross fit membership training program, as if a bit of back fat would make me love him any less.
The first ripped man I slept with was my very first college hookup. He was built like an Adonis, yet all I could think of while he was mounting me was what those hairless, rock hard, bulging muscles were doing in place of the soft, fuzzy cuddle zone I was so used to. I hated it. My soft, womanly curves that college food had blessed me with did not coordinate with his impeccable frame. Our post sex cuddling looked like silly putty that had melted over a garden rock formation. He also ended up being the meanest, most confidence-killing human I’d ever met. Between telling me I was fortunate to get in bed with him and informing me I would be “so much hotter if your tits weren’t so saggy” (I’m a 34G, and unlike what Penthouse wants you to believe, breasts are not ethereal, spherical deities immune to earths gravitational pull). Our sex sessions felt less like a mutual pleasure playdate and more like a muscular sex doll was flopping around on top of me until I deflated. Not a good time for anyone involved.
My adoration for men of a a more squishy stature does not come from a place of some strange fetish or a hatred of fit men. It comes from a place of appreciating the age-old advice of not judging a book by its cover. Throughout my college career I have seen over and over how often women overlook a guy because he’s not six foot three with the body of an Olympic swimmer. My former college boyfriend (of a year and a half) is hands-down the nicest, sweetest man I’ve ever known. And even though people would tell me I was “the hot one” in the relationship and all kinds of bullshit, I couldn’t have cared less. He remains a close friend and I couldn’t say a bad word about him if I tried.
Us women have banded together in recent years and have given the media and society what was coming for them: a refusal to conform to the ridiculous Western beauty standards that have been forced upon us since birth. I have nothing but love for the #RealBeauty and #NotBuyingIt campaigns and every other “fuck you” to the system in between. Yet during our time spreading body love, bashing Photoshop and dedicating Instagram accounts to artistic pictures of our stretch marks, we have completely forgotten about our male counterparts and their own body insecurities. How can I call myself radical, body loving feminist, then turn around and refuse to date a guy because he rocks a muffin top? How can I proclaim love for my cellulite and body hair if I turn down a man for the same damn things? How can I expect a man to love me for my bra bulge and morning breath if I end things over love handles or a day of forgotten deodorant? We complain about photoshopped images that grace our magazines and billboard ads, yet Cosmo still fills its pages with eye-candy images of hairless, oiled muscle heads that look like overgrown greasy babies. Unless there’s a genetic trait that causes some men to sweat glistening baby oil from their pores, I know for a fact that real men do not look like that. It’s about damn time we include men in our shout for body love and take a step back from drooling over Jamie Dornan and realize that the guy from your internship that you turned down is just as capable of making your 50 Shades fantasies come true, with abs or without.
Let me not forget to mention that I’m not without standards. There are certain attributes I am attracted to, like blue eyes and white teeth and big, manly hands. I’m no stranger to science, and I am aware that being very much overweight can contribute to some serious health problems. But the only real danger in rocking a flabby midsection rather than a washboard? That would be the risk I carry of melting in a puddle of snuggle-induced post sexy-time happiness when I have the pleasure of curling up next to my boo’s ab-less, yet perfect, human body. Chubby men of the world, I am here to say that I appreciate you. And please, PLEASE, don’t you ever change.
Graphic by Sierra O’Mara Schwartz. Photograph via Tumblr.
Chubby cats of the world: don’t you ever change either!