Chubby chasing has long been a topic that has always piqued my curiosity. Trying to understand it and it has felt tricky and talking to my peers about what feels like a touchy subject. This admittedly is a very hard thing for me to write about. However I have had complex feelings for many years and feel as though writing about it might give me some clarity.
Let’s start with some the definition. A “chubby chaser” is a person (and my experience that person is usually not overweight) who is sexually attracted to someone who is overweight or obese. While this common in heterosexual encounters I can only write to my own experience with other men.
Moving on to my origins. I was not a fat child, I was pretty slim and even kind of short and runt like. Around puberty I didn’t really have a signficant growth spurt and because I didn’t stretch out that much I started to accumulate a little fat. Not a lot but I wasn’t used to it and I didn’t adjust my lifestyle to accommodate the change. Through the course of middle school and high school I was very self-conscious about my weight (even though looking back it wasn’t a problem but teenage hormones you know?). I have numerous journal entries about my body issues and I remember having long talks with my female friends about dieting and exercise.
By the time college started I was full on obsessed with losing weight and I managed to slim down a decent amount due to poverty and the fact that WMU is a constant incline for walking. However when I would dip down weight wise, I would always bring myself back up. By the time I was in my mid twenties I had kind of plateaued in a higher BMI range and currently live there now.
Obviously feeling self-conscious can be such a barrier to dating and it’s a universal experience. I remember the first time I encountered chubby chasing (that I knew of), I was 22 and was on Okcupid (I might not be as young as I think I am) and I was talking to this cute guy for a couple of weeks and we started exchanging more pictures and his response to mine was “Oh man…I just love bigger guys”. I was struck. I hadn’t ever heard anything like that before and if straight love stories on television taught me anything it was that you never comment on a lady’s weight.
This exact formula happened a few more times on this dating site. It was always the same, talk to a handsome (thinner) guy for a week or two and then out of nowhere he would say the phrase “into bigger guys”. Never the word “fat” just bigger. Regardless of the term, I was always greatly offended and hurt and would stop talking. I should go on to say the language is never “I love your body” or “I’m just so attracted to you” which is so much better but it’s always bigger.
As I got older you would think I would be less naive but I was a moth to the flame. The sites just grew into tindr, grindr and real life occurrences. Some of these guys I even dated for a while and the notorious line would slip from their lips. It’s always been an instant turn off for me and I felt like I never look at the guy the same way again.
Now as I get older it feels more complicated. I think the thing is I meet these guys and I like them a lot and in the course of trying to impress them and conceal my flaws like my weight and hoping I can win them over with my personality. Instead the thing I think I’m hiding so well calls to them like a lighthouse beacon from under my shirt (and to think I bought all those slimming black clothes for nothing). It just makes me feel so exposed and vulnerable to know they’re fixating on something that honestly bears a lot of shame for me.
I think with the men I’ve encountered it’s not just a physical preference (like Gentleman Prefers Blondes or something) but almost like an objectification bordering fetish. Not that there is anything wrong with a healthy fetish but when you’re at the receiving end of it, it can feel a little overwhelming. Once some of these men would talk to me for a while and even date for a time eventually they felt comfortable enough to reveal themselves as chasers, and the iconic line “I just really love bigger guys” would come into play.
As I got older I wasn’t as quick to be dismissive because a part of me wondered if I was being hasty. Maybe it’s just being into bear/cub type guys (a gay man who is hairy and chubby for those not in the know) and honestly liking “bear” types is so much less offensive in my mind and there are guys who I think who genuinely like a bear type. It’s not the same as the “chasers”.
After I didn’t leave a guy after learning they are a chaser. They felt that I was into their “chasing” and the men grew a lot more comfortable letting their freak flag fly so to speak. I would start to get a cascade of “compliments” which would often get perverse which I’ll spare you the details because I’m a gentlemen. I’ve been discouraged from working out, swayed to gain more weight, and even a friend of a “chaser” guy I was seeing brought me food saying his friend the chaser wants me bigger. It gets to a point where you say a line to yourself that I never thought I would say “Do you even like me? Or do you just like me for my body?”
This raises a new thing for me with the men who have encouraged me to gain weight. Also known as “feeders” which is a whole other thing and I haven’t met many but basically they don’t just like bigger guys but really obese men. I have always been curious about this specific archetype but while you may like the size, are the health complications as sexy? Full transparency, I’m a type 1 diabetic and I already have poor cholesterol and blood pressure. Are you going to love me when they amputate one of my feet or I keep you up all night with my sleep apnea?
One of my biggest qualms with being chased is that it’s like a reality check to my current weight situation. When you already feel shitty about your weight and everyone is assuring you you’re not fat and some ding-dong dude comes along and thinks you’re a candidate to make over into My 600lb Life. That’s a gut punch because strangers are less bias than your friends. It’s a struggle because I consider myself to be a pretty active adult. I rode my bike across America and down the East Coast. I have a run a couple of 5ks, I go to the gym a normal amount. I’m not on the cover of Men’s Health or anything but I think I’m pretty average. I take vitamins, take preworkout, attempt to diet and genuinely care about my health so it hurts to feel like any work I do still puts me in the bigger category.
If you’ve read this far, first of all thank you and second of all I’m sure you think “why even talk to these guys? Well I’m a human man and I can’t pretend there isn’t a temptation. Most of these men are very attractive and you’re hoping it’s a Laney Boggs situation from She’s All That and you’re cuter than you think, you just have dorky glasses. Even the most jaded part of me wants to hope it’s not the chasing thing. These attractive men desire you and even if it feels tainted it still feels good to be wanted especially when you’re self-esteem is low. So the older I got and more lonely I felt, I started to wait it out these relationships as opposed to bailing at first sight of “chasing”. I would try to see if I adjusted but in my bones it just never felt like a good thing.
I think one of the questions in the back of my brain was always “Would you like me if I lost the weight?” I feel like my goal since the age of about 15 has been to be more comfortable in my body and weight loss is always on my mind. During different times in my life I have taken diet and fitness more seriously and have had some success. If I finally got to that magic number would my hypothetical chasing boyfriend still want me? I feel like a lot of my discomfort with being chased comes from not loving myself at this weight so it feels uncomfortable for someone else to love me for it.
I want to back pedal and say that I don’t think every man who has a bigger boyfriend is a chaser. I think there are some genuine couples who just love each other for who they are despite appearance. I also feel like I need to advocate for chasers because I have met men who love being chased, it makes them feel empowered and sexy and they should! I have met great men (who I haven’t dated) who love bigger guys and they have found happiness. I’m not saying this whole thing is inherently sinister, it can be a beautiful thing but I can only speak to my only experience and feelings. Everyone is different and I just have never felt it’s the path for me. Do I think it’s possible some man might approach me because of my weight but fall in love with me the person and the rest won’t matter? I sure as hell hope so.
This is just something I’m trying to get more comfortable talking about, and understand how I feel. I’m hoping writing this will create some clarity and dialogue. I also hope I’m not the only one who is sorting it out.