By now I hope we can all agree that Valentine’s Day is, well, a little bit silly. The last time I stressed out over this alleged holiday was in fifth grade, when the printer ran out of ink in the middle of printing cards for my classmates. Man, they really drill in the message early with this nonsense: Romance is important. Don’t fuck this up, children. Maybe that’s why dating as an adult so often feels like a class we’re flunking.
I really believe that’s true for everyone. With rare exception, dating is considered a pain in the ass, but a necessary hurdle if you want to advance to the next romantic level. And when you’re plus-sized (or if your appearance doesn’t conform to mainstream beauty standards in other ways), dating can seem fraught with even more challenges. It’s not a level playing field, and there’s no point pretending it is. But having a larger body is not a deal-breaker — though it may seem so. The internet is full of stories about women being horrifically fat-shamed or harassed on dating sites, and yes, those stories need to be told. But they’re not the whole story, by any means. And at a certain point, I think they can become inadvertent scare tactics, frightening plus-sized women out of the dating pool.
So, I reached out to Marie Southard Ospina, journalist, style blogger, and beloved bad-ass of the body positive movement. She’s also a seasoned vet of dating as a plus woman — as well as navigating a long-term relationship (she and her partner recently welcomed their first child; for the baby pics alone, you should definitely check out her Instagram). With her guidance I’ve put together a list of reminders to bear in mind when diving into dating, whether you’re new and nervous or experienced and tired of the BS. The bad news is, dating always comes with a certain amount of BS, no matter what your size. The good news is, your size doesn’t matter as much as you think it does. Read on to learn why.