Dear Men: Please Stop Telling Me You’d Like A Girl With ‘Some Meat On Her Bones’


My hips don’t fry.

When I was in college, my ex used to try to make me feel better about my body in order to “recover” from my bulimia. He would tell me how horrible it was, refuse to kiss me, discuss the image issues people face because of the fashion, film and beauty industries, repeatedly told me that my weight didn’t matter, that he didn’t notice weight, and so on. All of these things were fairly ineffective because I was attached to my disorder quite firmly, but still he tried. Then, early one morning, he sent me the link to a porn video with a message saying, “Jerked off to this last night. Sometimes a girl with some meat on her bones is a good thing.”

While I appreciated his, uhm, effort, I absolutely hate the phrase “meat on her bones.” I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. It’s uncomfortable, inappropriate and not a remotely consoling thing to say to somebody who already thinks of her body fat as being this horrifying excess that taunts as it swings from her own own figure (at least, that was the fucked up way I viewed it until I got better).

Rather than make me feel good about myself, it just made me feel confused. So, my weight doesn’t matter and he doesn’t notice weight, but “sometimes” a female with body fat is all right? What about the rest of the time? But that’s just my own peeve with his individual phrasing surrounding my main dislike in this sense: “meat on her bones.”

There have been plenty of other men I’ve met who use the same phrase, often in one of two ways: (1) In an attempt to make a woman feel “better” about being heavier than a standard model or (2) to sound as though he’s “open-minded” and “not like other guys.” Look, the whole “most guys are dicks but I’m totally not” thing is a worn-out identity card to play as it is. And if you compare women’s bodies to animal flesh consumed by human beings, I am fairly certain you are not different from the people you wish to set yourself apart from.

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    • Tom

      You are so whining!

      • Samantha Escobar
      • Amy

        Maybe Tom meant to say, “you are so winning!”

      • Alexis Hovind


    • Alle

      I’m tall and skinny. That’s just my shape. When I had cancer, I gained about 20lbs and although I knew that I still wasn’t “fat,” I was fat FOR ME. I felt wrong, and like everything that was wrong with my health was reflected outside, too.

      And the shittiest thing about that already shitty situation was the response I got from people at large. Suddenly all these casual acquaintances/party friends–who didn’t know what was going on with my health–were telling me how AMAZING I looked now that I wasn’t so BONY, how SKINNY BITCHES are GROSS, and how GREAT it was to have CURVES because REAL WOMEN are CURVY. Eventually I got so sick of people being all up in my body-related business that I just started saying “Yeah, it’s because I have cancer. Don’t I look awesome with my cancer weight?” That shut them up pretty quickly.

      As soon as I got better, the weight peeled off and I went back to my normal size and shape. But I can’t really forget all the people who told me that I looked better when I was unhealthy, and who let me know in no uncertain terms that my normal body was gross.

      • Maggie

        I just want to say: huge fucking high five for beating cancer!

        I think when people notice that a friend/family member has gained weight, they try to put a positive spin on it by complimenting instead of criticizing. Most of the time, one is not better than the other, but a lot of the time people assume that a weight gain calls for encouragement and reassurance, which is silly.

      • Samantha Escobar

        Agreed with Maggie — serious high five for beating cancer. That’s wonderful.

        But also, wow. That’s really shitty. At best, it’s a misguided “look on the bright side”…of cancer, which is kind of ridiculous. At worst (and most likely), it’s damn insensitive and really unnecessary, not to mention unsupportive.

      • Alle

        You’re totally right, and at first I was trying to see it from their side. You know, they don’t know what to say, they feel like they have to say something, at least they are being positive about it, etc etc. But eventually I realised two things:

        One, that most of these people DIDN’T EVEN KNOW I WAS SICK. They were just commenting on the fact that I’d gone up a dress size, as if I’d finally taken their years of insulting-slash-complimentary advice and finally “eaten a cheeseburger/some pie/a sandwich” and gained a bunch of weight.

        And two, that fuck trying to empathise with what THEY were thinking or feeling. It’s MY cancer, and I’M the one dealing with it. People should be trying to empathise with ME, not the other way around. I get not acting like a total nightmare when you’re sick because it’s stressful for other people too, but forget trying to coddle other people’s feelings 24/7. Especially people you don’t know very well.

        I could write a book on this subject. It would be called “Things not to do when someone in your life is facing death.” It would be A VERY LONG BOOK.

      • Winston Blake

        Well, when I get old, I want a girl with Parkinson’s to just hold my winkie…

    • anna

      i hate hate hate that phrase. mostly because my creepy uncle used it to describe his wife then hit on me consecutively, but i agree with you.
      i don’t really like the term “healthy” either. I put on 15 lbs, mostly to my chest but still, and my male friend described me as “healthy”. Was i unhealthy looking before? Was my chest sickly? I”m small but not super thin.

    • MR

      Almost all the women I’ve slept with including my current girlfriend were/she’s a normal weight. The sex is better. Do it cause you want to.

      • Emma

        Define ‘normal’? For me normal happens to be a size 0 because of genetics, to others it may be a size 4 or 6 or anything. Sex can be great whatever body shape or size anyone is.

      • MR

        Size 8 to 12. Too skinny, not enough body mass for good penetration. Too heavy, not as much mobility with her as I would have liked.

      • Alle

        Hey dumbass, plenty of dudes are able to penetrate women smaller than a size 8. I’m a size 2 and my boyfriend has never complained about my lack of body mass. Maybe the problem is you.

      • Paradoxymoron

        Hey dude, thanks for letting me know I’m not “normal” and I’ll never have good sex! I’m glad you came here to give us this advice, seeing as you are the official arbiter of such things. My mistaken impression that I am the right weight for my size has been corrected.

      • MR

        Right after I posted it I thought it was mistake – it wasn’t right to say it at all.

      • Tania

        Dude, not cool. You have a *personal* preference for women with that range, but to unequivocally state that with anyone over and under that weight, the sex is bad is competely jerkish. Not to mention referring to a size “8-12″ as “normal.” Am I abnormal at a size 4? Should I start being ashamed because some random dude on the internet has said that I’m not normal and sex will be bad with me because of it?

        Jesus, it’s like saying bald men aren’t normal, and therefore sex with them is bad. THEY AREN’T RELATED.

      • MR

        No excuses. I was wrong to say it that way, it was offensive.

      • Tania

        Thank you for being able to admit you made a gaffe. Your comments are usually so well-thought-out seeming, I was kind of surprised, I admit.

    • Alexis Hovind

      I emphatically agree with everything you said, but mainly I can’t wrap my head around the idea that someone actually thought it would be cool to compare you to a pornstar and imply that he wasn’t sexually attracted to you. DUDE. I don’t know how you didn’t march over to his house and assault him.

    • Sariah

      Ugg, I HATE those memes that get passed around facebook that say stuff like “Real Women Have Curves” and etc. So skinny women aren’t “real” women? What are they then? Super annoying and problematic.

      • Sariah

        The memes, that is, not thin women!

      • Niamh Francis

        This will cheer you up! made me smile :) I totally agree, by the way!

      • Muggle

        I know I’m 8 months late to this party, but when I was looking at wedding dresses I noticed that a certain store’s plus-size line was labelled “Woman.”

        …so who the fuck are those other dresses for, the grooms?!

    • meteor_echo

      I fucking loathe this phrase because I’d rather be a girl with “little meat on her bones”. So, men who decide to tell me that I “look good with my weight” can go fuck off.

    • Fabel

      Ugh, yeah. I’m a size 4—sometimes swinging closer to a 2, & sometimes (right now!) edging towards a 6. People I haven’t seen in a little while will say things to me like “You look nicer all filled out!” Umm, thanks. There was also one dude I slept with, who, upon gazing on my naked body, was like “Damn, you’re actually pretty curvy! It’s hot, I like it.” The weird, subtle phrasing is always what makes it not-quite-a-compliment. Basically, with clothes on, I must look lankier than I am, so the guy had to re-assess whether he still found my body attractive?

      • Viv

        Ugh yeah I once had a partner say something similar to me, along the lines of “Girl, you got curves. You hide them.” And I had no idea what I was supposed to say to him so I just repeated his words back in the form of a question: “I hide them?” Granted, it felt more like he was insulting my way of dressing, not my body shape, so it was easier to brush off. I like dressing sexy some times, but I dress for style and I enjoy looking boyish or hard femme; so you’ll have to forgive me if my T&A are insufficiently on display for appraisal.
        I also suffer from an on-and-off eating disorder for many years now, and this same person also tried to ‘convince’ me out of my disordered thinking. Oh well.

    • MrDemeanor

      Men say stupid things sometimes. Doesn’t mean their heart isn’t in the right place. Women don’t seem to understand that a guy is walking through a mine field when his woman is upset, particularly when it comes to appearance. We never know what to say or whether to say anything because any option could result in a more upset woman. We don’t have the gift with words and emotions women do. If a man is making a sincere, heartfelt effort, don’t automatically jump down his throat.
      Some men are just jerks, too.

    • Haily

      I was probably 140 pounds, 5’6 frame last year when I started seeing my boyfriend. He always told me he LOVED my curves and how he prefers curvy over skinny etc. But I’ve always been convinced I need to lose weight, so I start working out – and I do my bulimic thing because I’m not exempt from disordered eating – and I end up losing 10 pounds over the course of a few months. He doesn’t really notice because I’m living with him. But then I go back home for a week and lose about 8 pounds. So I’m about 122 at this point. When I return he tells me how he prefers me like this so much more and he always kinda thought I was a bit chubby but not now! Not anymore! Now, I’m apparently SEXY! But the truth is, we smoked weed, and I pigged out (without throwing up any of it) and I gained the 8 pounds back, and he gets REALLY mad at me and calls me fat and now he can’t look at me the same way. Sorry for the story. I kinda just want to point out that at least your boyfriend was TRYING to be helpful. My boyfriend doesn’t think eating disorders are real and that you can just turn them off and quit at any given moment.

      • Maggie

        My dear, you should 1) smack that jerk in the face and 2) break up with him. Nobody who cares about you should call you anything besides beautiful. It’s about your happiness, not his shallow “preferences.” Be strong and know that you deserve better. xo

      • Porkchop

        Your boyfriend is so weak. The closest he has ever come to being smart was the moment that he looked at you and it dawned on him how easy it would be for you to replace him with someone better. But then, instead of going on a campaign of self-improvement, he decided to try and convince you that you’re the one who sucks, and that you’re stuck with him. So not true.

      • Samantha Escobar

        Oh my goodness, what a total jerk. It’s really frustrating when people try to compliment you so very, very much on how you look after you’ve changed body types because then, all you can do is say to yourself, “If I go back, will I then be ugly?”

        Also, that particular ex definitely was trying to help, and for that I was grateful. Though, he also thought threats and insults would make my eating disorder turn off…it’s a really sad mindset because it kinda disregards any sort of actual, underneath pain. I am so sorry you’re going through both a shitty relationship and an eating disorder. If you ever need to talk, feel free to email me (the address is at the end of the post).

      • Alle

        Dump that motherfucker. Life is too goddamned short to spend with someone who makes you feel anything less than totally awesome.

        I know he’s making you feel like you’re fat and therefore worthless and therefore you should be grateful that he deigns to be with you. NO. That is not how it works! That is called manipulation, and it’s super dangerous, and you need to kick him the fuck out of your life. I know that maybe you feel trapped because you mention you’re living together–I have been there. I know that probably he’s a nice guy in other ways and you feel like that balances it out–I have been there too. But you’re not and it doesn’t. You do not deserve to be treated the way he is treating you.

      • Cate

        Lady, I don’t know if I should have thumbs upped your comment for making a good point about what a douche your boyfriend is compared to Sam’s X, or thumbs downed it for the fact that your boyfriend is A COMPLETE DOUCHECANOE!!!!

        As Alle says, you may feel trapped because you do live together. I know how that is! I’ve totally been there! But seriously, start putting your shit in place to get the fuck out. It might take a while to get yourself ready, but get yourself out, and don’t be afraid of breaking anyone’s heart, yours or his. Because that’s really, really not okay behavior.

    • Maggie

      I couldn’t agree more. Technically, every woman has “meat” on her bones, since hello it’s flesh and you don’t see skeletons walking around. My second least favorite expression for a “curvy” lady is “more cushion for the pushin’.’ I had a guy approach me once, and he said “I love a curvy girl, more cushion for the pushin’.” I promptly threw my drink in his face and walked away.

    • Sarah Hollowell

      The most interesting thing about this to me is going through these comments and seeing thin women complain about being told they’d be more attractive with more body fat, and also knowing that women with more body fat are told they’d be more attractive if they were skinnier (I certainly have been told that by boyfriends – “You’re so pretty, but you’d be beautiful if you lost weight!”)

      It’s awful that we live in a culture where you just can’t win in terms of weight. We’re always too thin or too fat. It’s understandable why things like “real women have curves” started – it’s a defensive measure. Problem is, it’s awful. You can’t make yourself feel better about your body by criticizing someone else’s.

      (Also, yes, “meat on her bones” is a super creepy phrase. I always feel like I’m a rack of fatty ribs or a large chicken.)

    • Kt Obermanns

      The one I get fucking CONSTANTLY is “I like a woman who’s built for comfort, not for speed.” I can’t begin to get into the insulting ramifications of this, so I will just say FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF and leave it at that.

    • Van

      Old post, I know. OP – sounds like you may still have some recovering to do. (relax…) In my opinion, a healthy woman is not a stick, nor does she have her own gravitational pull. But to each his/her own, right? Learn to trust the ones you love and it will come back to you.