Saturday night my friend and I were walking home from a bar when we heard a man yelling at us from a taxi as he was getting out of it with some friends, one male, one female. Initially, I couldn't make out his words from afar but as he made his way to the sidewalk I heard him say something along the lines of "Can I just give you a hug?" I shot him one of my "What is your life about?" side-eyes as I tried to determine whether he was talking to me or my friend (so I could then determine whether my next course of action was to check him or let her do the honors).
I sped up my pace to get away from the fuckery when I heard the trigger phrase I knew was coming: "There's just something about a big girl." I shot my friend a look as we kept it moving, only to then hear him say, "She's really gonna ignore me like I'm not talking to her?" His simpleminded female friend chimed in with some form of affirmative sympathy for him that partially explained why he'd think begging an overweight woman to give him a hug in the middle of the night was an acceptable course of action, let alone a compliment. I looked back again and noticed at this point he'd caught up to my friend and was trying to entice her to let him embrace her from a closer proximity. She declined, he crossed the street, still mumbling about his affinity for big women and how all he wanted was a hug. I verbalized that he should take his simple ass home.
"This reminds me of that guy in South Africa," my friend said after the awkward moment, obviously less phased than I was. I rolled my eyes, thinking about the man who came up to us at a networking event during a travel conference in Durban and broke the ice with, "Let me tell you about big women." *Cue transition from resting bitch face to WTF face.*
"My grandfather always told me big women have the biggest hearts." I huffed in protest. "No seriously, y'all love the biggest and the hardest." At this point I should probably point out that this man was no less than 375 pounds himself so I found myself torn between the impossible choice of questioning, "And what did your grandfather tell you about big men?" or saying, "Your grandfather lied to you." Considering I was a guest in this man's country and not fully aware of the gender politics, though I was certain they didn't lean in my favor as an American woman, I simply asked, "That's what you came over here to say?" I then took a sip of my champagne and turned my back away from him and toward more important things, like the bar.
I was floored at this man's lack of self-awareness and overall irritated that he chose our bodies as the opening line of conversation. Furthermore, I'm just not interested in being any man's mammy-like symbol of pleasure. Don't let these belly rolls fool you; my heart is much smaller in comparison and my tolerance for the aforementioned nonsense even smaller. I have no interest in my body being used as a real-life beanbag unless some sort of sexual encounter has occurred prior to.
Yes, I know "thick thighs save lives" and all of that good, body-positive instameme stuff, but big girls aren't just waddling through life waiting for the next needy nigga to treat their body like an asexual plush toy solely to be used to coddle insufferable grown ass men who don't realize there's a person behind all that lushness. A person who may have a big heart or no heart at all. A person who has her own needs and isn't just there to replicate the familiar feeling of acceptance you had running into your mother or grandmother's oversized arms as a child. Ol' boy's behavior Saturday night was literally akin to Asian people staring at me in Manila whenever I left the house and asking my sister to take a picture with them when she was in Hong Kong. Black bodies are not attractions and neither are big bodies.
I can vividly remember times men have hit me with a silly "Big girls need love to" line leaving the club or walking down the street and I'd retort with, "Why wouldn't they?" The quickest way to ensure a conversation with me goes absolutely nowhere is to approach me on some big girl bullshit. It's also probably why I have a Ford tough wall built up when it comes to any references about my body from the opposite sex because such comments always make me suspicious. Are you pointing out my "thickness" because you are genuinely attracted to it or are you using it as a perceived weakness to get over on me in some kind of way? I'd love to downgrade the defense level of that wall at some point, but every time I have one of these experiences, I'm reminded of why it's there.
Whenever people ask me what I'm looking for in a man, I always say someone who'll treat me like a friend. We don't lie to, mislead, or falsely represent ourselves to friends, but for some reason whenever the dynamic of sex or romance comes into play, so do the games. I think now I'll also add someone who sees me as a person, not a size. A body is nothing more than a physical house for one's mind and soul and the size of it determines nothing more about the person it belongs to than the size of clothing needed to cover it. #IAmNotYourBodyPillow