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Flirting While Fat

February 21, 2008

There is an article I read today on about flirting and using it to improve your daily life.  The idea behind the article is not about flirting to find a mate, but about flirting to make your interactions with others more pleasant and to get what you want. 

 I myself am a TERRIBLE flirt.  When I make eye contact with an attractive stranger I instantly look down and keep walking.  Were that I could say this was because I was so deeply devoted to Mr. I that I’d never even consider flirting with another person.  (I’m bisexual, so everyone is fair game.)  The truth is, I’ve always been like this.  With friends and aquaintances I am uniformly charming, or so I would like ot believe.  With strangers I am shy.  But I am almost never flirting.  I’m terrible at it.

I have been, on many occasions, COMPLETELY SHOCKED by the fact that some other person was eager to get me into the sack.  I can’t even begin to describe the cognitive dissonance involved in making out with someone who you had no idea was attracted to you until that moment.  I guess because I grew up seeing myself as fat and therefore unattractive, I always assume that people are not attracted to me.  Especially people above a certain level of attractiveness.  So when someone is attracted to me I have absolutely no idea what to do from there. 

Classic Story: There was a guy, in the beginning of college that I was SO into for YEARS.  He was from my home town, and he is very attractive, fun to be around, smart, sexy so on fabulous qualities abounding.  We talked on the phone a lot when I was away and hung out a lot when I was home from school.  One evening we were hanging out in my basement with a bunch of friends.  The power had gone out so we were playing with a camera flash (It’s really cool it makes the images freeze in front of your eyes so even though you move it looks like you’re still in the position you were in before.  Very fun.)  And we were sitting at a table and I felt the guy I had a crush on brush my foot with his. 

I shit you not, before I even thought about it these words rushed out of my mouth: “Uhh… That’s my foot.” 

For someone who is supposed to be smart, I can be so fucking stupid. 

My friend the BostonLawyer does not buy my fatness as an excuse for my non flirtyness.  She thinks I’m just being a scardey cat.  Which, I am, I guess.  It seems reasonable to me though because I am often facing, in my mind, a nearly 100% chance of rejection.  I don’t want anyone to go home grossed out thinking “Was that fat chick flirting with me?”  Interactions from grade school on up have not encouraged me to interact in an overly friendly way with people I do not know well.  Their loss I think. 

The idea behind this article, livening up interactions with other people, making people smile, just generally having more fun with strangers really appeals to me.  I know that in Chicago such things must be used sparingly, a smile at the wrong person can land you a stalker for life.  (Every girl who lives here has mastered the “angry” walk, which helps with random guys calling you” sweety” and complimenting your tits. )  But still, I think it would be nice to appear more confident, even sexier in my interactions with others.  I have a right to enjoy my life and enjoy my interactions with people even if I don’t fit their idea of what every woman should look like. 

I am going to challenge myself to be more flirtatious, just to see how it works out. 


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  1. I’m a terrible flirt too, and really shy and nervous around strangers. But this article is pretty interesting, and I’ve always wanted to be charming and conversational with strangers, like my grandpa, who can make friends with ANYBODY and talks to waiters and such like they’re old friends. I’m going to give this a try too.

  2. lillian64 permalink

    I’ve used to feel that way. I now flirt with everyone I find attractive in a certain age range. I’m in my 40s so I won’t flirt with anyone that looks younger than me or looks old enough to be my father. It’s attitude not weight. I thought myself fat when I was younger. I was very skinny at one point, but I had no self-confidence. Flirting now is second nature. I have a steady, but it’s nice to smile at folks.

  3. littlem permalink

    “Every girl who lives here has mastered the “angry” walk”

    We call it “mean mug face” here in NYC.

    “a smile at the wrong person can land you a stalker for life”

    In most urban areas. Men who don’t understand that and who whine and rage at women for not smiling? Can go suck eggs somewhere. Why am I supposed to sacrifice my bodily safety so you can not fear rejection!? Poor widdle ego-boy.

    *stab stab stab*

    Thank you, Shinobi, for letting me vent. Rough day today.

    *runs away*

  4. Jen permalink

    I hear you about the Chicago ‘anger’ walk: I’m a New Yorker, and I have MASTERED my “Don’t Look at Me” persona on the street (which is a damn shame, since I assume at least 80% of people are okay to talk to). I pretend I have a pegleg, put on a big ol’ scowl and limp, and no one comes near me. Even when wearing polka dots. I think we city-babes can be exempt from flirting with people on the street, train….no? 😉

  5. That’s awesome.

    Unfortunately, I’ve had exactly the opposite experience. I’ll flirt with a fire hydrant if I’m in the right mood. It’s totally, absolutely nothing personal to do with anyone in particular: I just flirt. Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m doing it until halfway through a conversation.

    As a result, I’ve gotten a lot of “hold up, fat girl, I’m so not interested”-type responses over the years. I distinctly remember chatting with a fellow patron of a friend’s bar about a dozen years ago, and him telling me — completely out of the blue — that there’s no way he was going home with me until I dropped about fifty pounds. Luckily, that’s when the guy I was *actually* sleeping with came in.

    I’ll take all the “flirting while fat” citations people want to throw at me. Flirting is FUN (and hey, if my husband doesn’t object, nobody else should either)!

  6. Amelies_myth permalink

    I spent a loooong time flirting with nearly everyone I interacted with while I was a barista. It was great – I had no expectations that any of them would find me particulaly attractive or want me in their bed – but it was great to have otherwise drab customers have a smile because they were just flirted with.
    I then gained all my diet weight back and had the same “zomg, i dont want them to be grossed out etc etc” thought process – which is a bit of a shame really.

    I think you may have just inspired me to start the flit game again.

  7. jamboree permalink

    I was caught completely off guard a week or so ago, when a guy started making moon eyes at me during rehearsals. He was always glancing in my direction, seeking me out for conversations, etc. I am a happily married woman with three kids, and I’m still a little bit freaked out about the idea of being flirtatious. Weird, right? Heh.

    I think I’ll try to be less freaked out and just have fun hanging out with people more. He seems like a cool guy, so why not be friendly?

    Thanks for the post.

  8. soulofanentity permalink

    I’m labeled a flirt and i happen to enjoy it as much as i enjoy flirting!
    I love the way you write.

  9. littlem permalink

    “I distinctly remember chatting with a fellow patron of a friend’s bar about a dozen years ago, and him telling me — completely out of the blue — that there’s no way he was going home with me until I dropped about fifty pounds.”


    Did you spill your drink in his lap and back into his instep with your stiletto — accidentally, of course — after gently reminding him that “You didn’t ask”?

  10. Soul, Thank you! You are officially the first person to ever compliment my writing style. Personally I think my strengths lie in other areas.

  11. Julia permalink

    I’m so glad I found this blog today. It’s the day after my personally most tragic birthday ever…the one I had set all sorts of goals for myself that are not even close to actually being reached…including the ‘find a man’ one…And when I made these goals when I was 13, it was originally to be married by now…and have a kid or something…and a few years ago I modified it to just finding a guy -period- since I’ve reached a pathetic age to have never had a date…(which I haven’t, by the way…never been on a date, only been asked out twice and said no both times, which was good judgement b/c one was a stalker and the other ended up in prison a few weeks later for indecency with a child)…or to have never kissed anybody or anything (I know, putting this in writing makes me feel like a TOTAL loser…)

    But that’s what’s transpired. I’m at LEAST a decade behind in experience from anyone else my age…I’ve been rejected more times than I can count…and have sadly buried myself in my work to try and “make up for” my completely nonexistant love life. Seriously, the only men who speak to me are gay or about 30 years older and married.

    I SUCK at flirting. I’m too afraid to do it most of the time…because I’ve been rejected so much and…in all honesty I don’t really see much of a difference between guys I encounter and guys from grade school…the teasing and snickering is still there.

    I don’t think I’m all that bad. I have pretty eyes, great hair, a decent face…I’m tall so I don’t look as heavy as I really am…I don’t dress like a wierdo or anything…I’m very hygenic…very smart…and very opinionated, but I usually save that bit for the rear window of my car which is very bumperstickery…

    But I can’t flirt. I’d love to be able to do it, but I totally feel all the stuff you mentioned here. I’ll have some good opportunities to try and flirt a little better here in the next few weeks and at this “turning point” in my life (which isn’t really a turning point, but I’m going to make it one because I’m tired of being alone…) I’m going to give this a shot…

    Thanks for writing this. Sincerely.

  12. Pudgy permalink

    I don’t know, I’m not a flirt, I don’t know how to flirt, my only reaction to flirting is to laugh and back away. But it makes me smile and if you are able to do so I think that would be great.

    Me I honestly feel like if I flirt people will be creeped out by the ugly girl who is paying attention to them. Well if I was super flirty, I guess if you consider smiling and being nice as flirting, then SOME people don’t mind that from me. But I do get a lot of weird looks from younger people if I’m nice and smile, older folk seem to not mind it. But I think If I looked at them in the eyes for any amount of time it would creep them out.

    Being someone who is often avoided , or invisible, those who DO have the kindness in their hearts to pay attention to me or notice me even for a moment make a BIG impression though. So hey you never know when you might have made some poor lonely souls day. And for the record… I’m not a stalker type I just appreciate the true rarity of a beautiful kind person who will take the time to make me feel like they care!

  13. 20 Yr Old Plumper permalink

    I Absolutely Have No Clue How To Flirt. I’m Scared to even THINK About it.

    I Too, Thought Of Myself Growing up As Ugly. Cause, Every Person Growing up [Especially Girls These Days] Know Fat = Ugly. Or, At least that’s what the majority of Society will say. :/

    I’ve never had a Boyfriend Who -Wasn’t- Millions of Miles Away. [Online Dating type thing]

    I Can’t Even Really… Imagine Kissing A Male. Or Being Sexual With One. I Can’t See Them Actually Wanting Me.

    I Often Wonder How Many Feel The Same I Do, I’m Glad I Stumbled Upon Your Writing Here and Got to Come and Read The Comments and Everything.

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