Being a Cute Round Girl

Visitor's Question from a 13-15 year old Female
Hey there. I've tried posing this question to advice boards and columns before, but have never been successful in getting a response. I hope that maybe this time I'll get picked :)

Okay, here's my deal. I'm a cushy girl, i.e. a bit fluffier than the average girl. I always have been on the larger end of the spectrum, and though I used to have serious issues with it, I came to terms a while back and have since accepted that it's just a part of who I am. I think I'm actually pretty cute and fun to be around, and I've had multitudes of friends concur on this fact, so that's not really the problem. :)

I'm almost 20 years old, and I've never been out on a date. I've never been approached, never been liked [as far as I'm aware], and have never been kissed. Yes, yes, sad but true I know. :P I've always been a little shy, especially moreso in the past when I was still overly concerned with my figure.

Bear with me here, these things I'm telling you will all come together in the end [I hope].

Two and a half years ago, during my senior year of high school, I became introduced to a very special boy. We became friends and I had a more-than-friendly interest in him as well. About 6 months into our friendship/my crush he asked me, point blank, if I liked him. I told him the truth, and we went on to have a long talk about how he felt for me as a friend, but nothing more. The issue became resolved and about 2 months after that my "other" feelings for him dissolved completely. After high school, we went to different colleges, but we kept in contact, both being part of a larger circle of friends.
Last year, I made the decision to transfer schools. What I ended up deciding on was my initial first-choice school...and also the one that he attends [as well as some of the other larger-circle friends]. This past summer, before I moved up to this school, he started to behave a little differently than he had in the past with me. We started going to movies, to the mall, shopping...little ventures with just the two of us. He had me help him pick out a new watch. My former feelings started to, well, reawaken a bit. We had long philosophical talks sometimes a night and would go on walks down my street in the dark. Sometimes I'd get a hug at the end of the night, but only on the occasions when the topic of discussion had ended up with one or both of us feeling a little bit down or in need of a reassurance of some sort. I was daunted, however, by the fact that he sometimes still talked about other girls, his feelings for them, the fact that they were pretty etc.

This year at school, he has run both hot and cold. There have been weeks when we have been practically inseperable, and then there are times when I don't hear from him in several days. He still talks about pretty girls he sees to me. I am still his friend, and so don't mind it on that level, but on the level that wants more, I get jealous.

Here's where everything comes together. All the girls he's expressed interest in in the past have been of a more diminutive stature. They are very very pretty, and are usually very small and thin. Like I said at the beginning, I do not fit this prototype. I am also still rather shy about some things, and so do not want to bring up the topic or approach him if I'm going to get "shot down" [in effect].

What I want to know is, what does his behavior mean? Summer and now, is he just trying to strengthen a friendship, or do you think it means more? And is it probable that he would suddenly about face and find himself attracted to a cute round girl? What do you think? Advice
First, good for you for realizing that you are special even if you're not a super-thin model! Let me first say that while I'm not personally a fluffy person, that I have *many* friends who are fluffy, and have personally dated several fluffy men. I have also dated the 'perfect' tall, dark and handsome men that other girls have swooned over. And in the end, it was generally the fluffy men who were more caring, sweeter, more understanding, more gentle. My male friends who have dated fluffy women say much the same thing. While those 'model-busty' women and 'tall-dark' men may seem cool because of the messages that MTV sends us all, they usually end up being well aware of their beauty and expect to be treated like a prince or princess. They get this mindset, even if subconsciously, of 'Heck, if you're not really good to me, I can get hundreds better than you, so shape up.' If you're distracted or upset, they are likely not to even notice because they're already being flirted with by someone else. I'm generalizing here of course. But I see those problems a lot with the Handsome people of the world, and rarely with the Normal people out there.

Also, point 2. I've been out of college for a few years here. I know that high school especially and college a fair bit is about *looks*. Everyone is full of hormones, and in prime-time-MTV-heaven. It's all about the muscly-man and the busty-woman with great looks. The message is everywhere. But this is NOT the way that most people act as they get out of school. The older you get, the more you realize that looks don't last. Big breasts are cute on a teenage girl, they sag quickly when you get over 25. Those big muscles on an active college guy at 22 turn into butter very quickly when he takes a desk job.

And by the time you hit 25 or 30 you've usually dated enough handsome jerks and beautiful b%tches to have broken that pretty = good connection in your brain. It's far, far better to date someone you LIKE, you can TALK to and that you have fun with than to care about the looks. When you snuggle together in the dark, looks don't matter. When you're 40 and 50 and both going on 20 years together, no matter what you looked like as teenagers, now you just look like "my wife" and "my husband", and that person will seem beautiful.

It sounds sort of like a silly cliche and can be hard to understand if you're younger. I don't mean that as a slam against younger people, I know it's hard, I was told that when I was 20 and it was hard to understand. But really, it's very true. What you consider beautiful is based on your own brain. If you had a little puppy that you raised from the moment its eyes were closed, and say it had a squished face, you would love the puppy and care for it greatly and think it was the best puppy in the world. Other people who met it for the first time might draw back because it wasn't the "ideal perfect puppy form". But that would be their own problem. To you it would be YOUR puppy, who loved you, who was always there for you, who you cared for and who was beautiful.

Anyway, sorry to ramble. But I wish that people in high school could realize this. It's such a shame that you weren't dated or kissed because you were fluffy, when really you were probably a much better person than all those 'beautiful people' that got dates just because their parents happened to have good genes. It makes no sense at all. But that's our society. You're escaping from those years now and going into ones where your size will be less important, and what YOU are will be the important part. Which is how it should always have been.

To wind my way slowly and surely back around to your answer :) I imagine that your guy is going through this mental adjustment. His entire past few years have been full of images of busty long-legged girls in bikinis and how this is the "value of a man", to acquire one of these things like a trophy. But as he ages out of that MTV-mentality and into a real "adult male" mentality he realizes that the last thing you want to be *stuck* with for the rest of your life is a female with a body shape that is sagging and that leaves behind *nothing* else. Bodies always sag and fade. But brains and communication and fun and love strengthen and build. So he is starting to see that your body really doesn't matter, it's going to change over time anyway, just as his is. But the way you TALK is key, and is something he can't just find elsewhere. And it's something that will *improve* over time, like a fine wine.

So he's understanding all of that, and still resisting the really stupid things like "but what about this model-image of MTV? But what will my friends think?" These can seem to be really important to a teenager/young adult. They are NOT important in the real world of course :) You and your partner are the only two who have to be happy with each other, you live with each other and bring joy to each other. What everybody else thinks is really immaterial. Think of all the biracial couples that deal with far worse, and that stay together out of love. But it's a mental step that young adults have to take, to make that break from 'what will mommy think' to 'I will do what is best for me and for the person I love.'

So my advice is to know this is a big emotional step for him, to wrestle with all the programming he's received over his entire life. It's unfair that it HAS to be this sort of a struggle but life I suppose is not quite fair. So be there for him, be trusting, be a friend, talk with him, remind him of how special you are (in actions not words :) ) and be patient with his obsession over the other girls. We all grow up with fairy tale ideas about what our partner in life will be like. Girls grow up with prince charming, but just in the same way, guys grow up with the slender princess ideal. He has to realize that the REAL ideal in life is someone who loves you, is always there for you, is your best friend. Physical looks are probably the least most important thing for a good relationship that will last. Because if it DOES last, we all end up old anyway, and wrinkled, and crooked, and the happiest ones are still in love because they talk and enjoy each other.

Best of luck to you, I hope it works out :)

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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