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Old 10-26-2008, 05:54 PM   #1
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Default Do FAs Understand Fatties?

Many people on the boards report on what it's like to be fat: the constant well-meaning intrusions and unwanted suggestions for losing weight... the physical realities of being fat (both positive and negative)... the forced invisibility and de-sexualization (or oversexualization) of fat... the random insults shouted from passing cars... the toils of finding clothing that fits...

Clearly being fat is frequently a unique, complicated experience of itself, with both many wonderful highs and a number of disheartening lows.

My question for FAs is: How do you show your understanding of fat people's unique experiences, in your relationships with fat people? How does someone's experience of being fat play into and determine your relationship with them, and how do you respond to this? Are you more accommodating? Can you sympathize fully with the fat experience, or does it remain essentially foreign to you? ...............................................Or?

Last edited by Fascinita; 10-26-2008 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 10-26-2008, 06:01 PM   #2
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WOW, Amazing question. I can't wait to read the responses
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Old 10-26-2008, 06:18 PM   #3
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Default I Empathize, Understand, And Live It

I empathize, understand, and live fat, myself, so I
live and know much of how my partner feels. I
don't expect her to live in a way that I can't live,
myself. I really wouldn't encourage her or anyone
else to be as obese as I am. I have limited mobility,
but it really doesn't bother me that much, since I
can be free in a small circuit board or at the
computer.
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Old 10-26-2008, 06:19 PM   #4
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These are exactly the kind of questions I've been wondering too. I too can't wait to hear the responses.
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Old 10-26-2008, 06:21 PM   #5
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Default Agree!

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Originally Posted by KendraLee View Post
WOW, Amazing question. I can't wait to read the responses
A very rep-worthy post, indeed! Sorry.
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Life is only therapy, real expensive and no guarantees.

Fat is only ugly to those who hate.

Federal Pacific Panels & Breakers have known fire hazards!

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Old 10-26-2008, 07:35 PM   #6
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I can sympathize with it. Most of the folks in my family are overweight (me too somewhat), so I've seen how some overweight people can feel when they don't like being fat. For example, my sister. I constantly tell her that she's okay, but she constantly knocks herself down saying that she's ugly. I mean, some of you have seen her! She's definitely not ugly, but I guess because I'm her brother, she doesn't believe me.
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Old 10-26-2008, 08:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fascinita View Post
Many people on the boards report on what it's like to be fat: the constant well-meaning intrusions and unwanted suggestions for losing weight... the physical realities of being fat (both positive and negative)... the forced invisibility and de-sexualization (or oversexualization) of fat... the random insults shouted from passing cars... the toils of finding clothing that fits...

Clearly being fat is frequently a unique, complicated experience of itself, with both many wonderful highs and a number of disheartening lows.

My question for FAs is: How do you show your understanding of fat people's unique experiences, in your relationships with fat people? How does someone's experience of being fat play into and determine your relationship with them, and how do you respond to this? Are you more accommodating? Can you sympathize fully with the fat experience, or does it remain essentially foreign to you? ...............................................Or?
How do you show your understanding of fat people's unique experiences in your relationship with fat people?
That's kind of a hard question to answer. You'd be better asking that question to those people that have been in relationships with "Fat Admirers." Personally, I think I listen very well, I give advice when I know what to say and where applicable, I understand where she comes from (although not to as large of an extent I don't think) and I respect her views and experiences. Everyone is not a tank when it comes to emotions molded by other people's comments and actions. I try to help as best I can with those situations.
Need a chair rather than a booth at a restaurant? You got it.
Need help getting in and out of the vehicle? You got it.
Need help getting in and out of furniture? You got it.
Need help in the more personal aspects of life? You got it.
Need help reaching something? You got it.
Need help completing a task due to tiredness? You got it.
So on and so forth...

How does someone's experience of being fat play into and determine your relationship with them, and how do you respond to this? Are you more accommodating?
Their experiences in being fat are going to be different - sometimes widely (*snicker*) different - from person to person, as well as different from mine. It's hard to say without having a specific type of person as an example. A person being fat matters a great deal to me, personally. I'm sure I'm not the only one when I speak very highly of having fat people surround me. It makes me feel whole, it makes me feel welcome, it makes me feel comfortable. I generally don't lose that sense of fat positivity away from fat people, but it greatly enhances that experience for me. I'm unsure of how anyone else might feel towards the situation, though.
When it comes to a female that I am interested in creating a partnership with, being fat matters a great deal to me as well. It makes me feel whole, it makes me feel wonderful, it enhances my joy and pleasure, and depending on the characteristics of the female, it grabs hold of some other somewhat-essential positive aspects of the relationship.
Yes, I am more accommodating. That's not to say that I am not accommodating to others if they are not fat - and that's not to suggest that I'm accommodating of all fat people - but it certainly helps a lot.

Can you sympathize fully with the fat experience, or does it remain essentially foreign to you?
I can sympathize and empathize. I can also help create another perspective - another worldly view - when it comes to things I think can help improve the fat experience. That always varies from person to person, but I think I can bring a lot to the table. Fatness is not foreign to me at all.

I hope I answered your questions, Fascinita.
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Old 10-27-2008, 02:20 AM   #8
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I think, whatever a thin FA, or one who has put on a bit over the years may learn about their partner's life and needs, if you haven't grown up fat, you can't really know the experience. You can empathise, intellectualise and adjust somewhat, but there's something about growing up noticeably fat that those of us that didn't will never fully understand. As for what that is, well, by definition, that's not for me to say...
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Old 10-27-2008, 05:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fascinita View Post
Many people on the boards report on what it's like to be fat: the constant well-meaning intrusions and unwanted suggestions for losing weight... the physical realities of being fat (both positive and negative)... the forced invisibility and de-sexualization (or oversexualization) of fat... the random insults shouted from passing cars... the toils of finding clothing that fits...

I am fat (have always been fat). I like the way fat makes a women look (especially) and I like meat on my men.
I don't know if that makes me an FA or not because I can find equal beauty in thin people as well.
But any how.
To be honest. I don't think anyone who is not fat could ever "understand" what it's like to be fat. Just like as a white cracker, I could never "understand" what it's like to be black, yellow, brown, etc. To struggle with being black. To face the same trials. To see the same prejudice. I can be aware of what minorities go through, but I can NEVER *know* what it's like until I myself wake up a different color and live their life.
I am by no means saying that people cannot empathize with fat people, but in all reality it's not the same. And way too often (in my experience) that empathy comes off like pity. And I am sorry but I do not want to be pitied. You pity people who need pity because of misfortune I am not misfortunate because I am fat.
I think the fact that non fat people try to understand is great and I wouldn't want it any other way but I do think true understanding will never be found unless they live the life.

P.s.
I know some people gain and loose weight as they please. They become fat or thin. That might give them a little insite but even then...the knowledge that they can loose saves them. Many fat people cannot loose no matter what we do, aside from surgery or self-induced starvation.
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Old 10-27-2008, 06:57 AM   #10
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That is a really great question...

I guess for me it comes down to emphathy - not with being fat (because I have never been a true bbw although at one point I was 170 on my 5'3 frame), but about being self conscious in general. I think if you have a larger partner it figures into your everyday thinking. When planning a hike you take into consideration the type of trail, or the seating at a restaurant. By doing this you spare them embarrassment from not being able to fit into ridiculously small spaces or feel like they are very unfit. You need to be sensitive of their physical, and emotional needs.

As far as the emotional impact I think it is true being fat is unique in many ways. On the other hand I myself got over dibiltating confidence issues and social ostricism, so I can empathize with the type of behaviour people exhibit and how it makes people feel. Looking at the person like being fat is completely acceptable in society isn't fair - you have to aknowledge that sometimes it is hard. Just knowing someone cares and sympathizes can help.
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:03 AM   #11
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I donít think we even know exactly how the person standing next to us perceives the same rose that we are looking at. Does red look exactly the same to them? Do they pick up on smells the same way we do, and react to them the same? Are they more distracted by the noise of the passing car? If they prick their finger on a thorn does the pain hit them the same way it would us?

Researchers recently associated a variant with one gene with more intense emotional recall. That is, the minority of people with this gene seem to be more affected by memories of intense emotions. Well, at least intense, unpleasant, emotions (what they tested with), but it may affect other emotions too, that would require future testing. So if you and I were both passengers in a bus that crashed, how that event affects us in the future may affect us differently for genetic reasons, before even taking into account past experiences, counseling, and so on.

Several years ago I read an article with some results from a long term study that looked at kids growing up in a very poor area of Hawaii, where there were a lot of what we might think of as more typically big city poor neighborhood social problemsóalcoholism, high levels of divorce and single parent families, low levels of completing school, and so on. They found that indeed a lot of kids growing up there had a lot of problems and seemed likely to carry on the cycle. Some, however, seemed immune to their setting, and looked poised to have their lives much more together. What frustrated the researchers was that they could not correlate any of the factors that they tracked with this success. It wasnít the state of the family, family income level, participation in particular programs, birth weight, or a bunch of other factors. The best they could say was that these kids perhaps had either had some genetic difference that prevented them from being so affected, or maybe some small factor when they when they were young. But whatever it was, it wasnít anything they could observe, and transmit to others.

In other words, I think that how we perceive the world, and the experiences we have in dealing with the word, vary a LOT from person to person. I donít believe that there is one ďfat person experienceĒ nor one nature or attitude of FA. So in a lot of ways I think this is a bit like asking ďDo parents understand todayís teenagers?Ē The answer will of course be yes-no-maybeso-noneoftheabove.

Having said all of that, I can assure you that as a younger FA, I totally did not get it. There were some things I could understand, but a lot that never even occurred to me. I could see that airplane seats, which werenít that big for me, would be a problem for someone fatter, and would be physically uncomfortable. I totally did not get the emotional or social discomfort that a lot would feel, even if they accepted their body. I got that a fatter person would tire more easily and maybe could not walk as far as a thinner one, I didnít get that what might limit them more than fatigue was pain in their knees, ankles, and feet. I understood that finding clothes that fit and looked good could be more of a challenge, but I saw it as a logistical challenge only, and did not get the sense of social isolation or second class citizen feelings that could go with it.

I get more of this now, after well over a decade around Dimensions, and having lived through certain personal experiences. But Iím sure that there are still things I donít get. But Iím sure there are things I donít get about having bright red hair, or being left-handed, or a whole host of other variations of the human experience. Or for that matter, things I donít get about being a middle-aged, mildly fat, balding, desk jockey other than myself.
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Old 10-27-2008, 01:06 PM   #12
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great question!

Edx I think you've made some very good points on this. I think as people are individuals each individual FA will have their own understanding (or lack of it). In my relationship I think Mer understands me very well and more so as our relationship has developed however, I think that can have as much to do with communication and taking the time to be interested in and really get to know and try to understand and empathise with the highs and lows of being fat. It's as much to do with our relationship and less to do with being an expert FA. As each man or woman will have their own perpective and feelings and experiences of being fat, so too will their partners responses, reactions and understanding be different.

If FA's read about fat people's experiences in order to try to be more understanding in their current relationship, then I'd advise them they'd be better talking to and listening to their partners. If they are not in a relationship and would like to be an understanding good 'FA catch' then I guess listening to others experiences will be good for them and I'd say well done for caring enough to do your research, you're off to a good start.
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Old 10-27-2008, 01:21 PM   #13
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Default FA's perspective

My question for FAs is: How do you show your understanding of fat people's unique experiences, in your relationships with fat people?

I take the time to understand the needs of bigger people and always attempt to accomodate their unique needs to be determines based on each individual's needs.

How does someone's experience of being fat play into and determine your relationship with them, and how do you respond to this? Are you more accommodating? Yes very accomodating and I always try to help in whatever way I can.
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:42 PM   #14
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I think I definitely have a unique understanding considering I was a short (4'11") and fat kid in high school, and the ridicule I had to put up with triggered a pretty severe and longstanding bout of anorexia in me (to be honest, it never really dies away completely).

Interesting side note from that is that as a result, while I've kept myself pretty fit and slim, I've found that I have even LESS attraction to thinner women. If I hug someone and can feel ribs or sharp shoulder blades, it's almost like it triggers a bad memory of what i put myself through and it makes me want to pull away altogether.

So yeah, I'd say I have at least some understanding of the day-to-day shit that fat people have to put up with.
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:07 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No-No-Badkitty View Post
I am fat (have always been fat). I like the way fat makes a women look (especially) and I like meat on my men.
I don't know if that makes me an FA or not because I can find equal beauty in thin people as well.
But any how.
To be honest. I don't think anyone who is not fat could ever "understand" what it's like to be fat. Just like as a white cracker, I could never "understand" what it's like to be black, yellow, brown, etc. To struggle with being black. To face the same trials. To see the same prejudice. I can be aware of what minorities go through, but I can NEVER *know* what it's like until I myself wake up a different color and live their life.
I am by no means saying that people cannot empathize with fat people, but in all reality it's not the same. And way too often (in my experience) that empathy comes off like pity. And I am sorry but I do not want to be pitied. You pity people who need pity because of misfortune I am not misfortunate because I am fat.
I think the fact that non fat people try to understand is great and I wouldn't want it any other way but I do think true understanding will never be found unless they live the life.

P.s.
I know some people gain and loose weight as they please. They become fat or thin. That might give them a little insite but even then...the knowledge that they can loose saves them. Many fat people cannot loose no matter what we do, aside from surgery or self-induced starvation.
Right, When i read the op i thought along the same lines. That you never really can know what its like to be someone else. Though, it may also feel different to be fat depending on your geographical location, peer group, upbringing etc etc. I wouldnt confuse "empathy" with sympathy though. If you are empathising with someone, you are trying to feel what it would be like to walk in thier shoes whether its a positive or negative experience, with sympathy its generally with feelings of loss or sadness. I suppose if we are talking about Fa's empathising with fat people (assuming the fa's are not fat btw) it might depend on the experiences they have had with fat people themselves.
Still, though..it is one thing to consider the needs and wants, struggles and tribulations of someone and quite another thing to experience first hand what someone is going through emotionally.
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:11 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by GoldenDelicious View Post
great question!

Edx I think you've made some very good points on this. I think as people are individuals each individual FA will have their own understanding (or lack of it). In my relationship I think Mer understands me very well and more so as our relationship has developed however, I think that can have as much to do with communication and taking the time to be interested in and really get to know and try to understand and empathise with the highs and lows of being fat. It's as much to do with our relationship and less to do with being an expert FA. As each man or woman will have their own perpective and feelings and experiences of being fat, so too will their partners responses, reactions and understanding be different.

If FA's read about fat people's experiences in order to try to be more understanding in their current relationship, then I'd advise them they'd be better talking to and listening to their partners. If they are not in a relationship and would like to be an understanding good 'FA catch' then I guess listening to others experiences will be good for them and I'd say well done for caring enough to do your research, you're off to a good start.
I'm NOT an expert FA??? *sobs*
hmm.. actually, being an "expert" in anything sounds like a lot of hard work to me.. much better to bluster along by the seat of your pants i feel. lol

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Old 10-28-2008, 10:12 PM   #17
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Default nope not sure dont think so

i have not actually met a fa yet, but I would hedge a bet that they cannot understand a fatty. I am a fatty and do not understand all other fatties.
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:55 PM   #18
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Being a mutual gainer and seeing myself go from chubby to portly to undeniably fat, i believe i can definately empathize along with sympathize.
Knowing its a little different being the only dark-skinned latino at times to being (one of) the fat one.
Seeing changes in peoples reactions, attitudes, opinions and all.
Firsthand seeing others frustrations/attitudes just to say 'excuse me' before or while making contact already.
Though IMO, being able to empathize and sympathize made me a better FA than before.
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:05 AM   #19
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i really don't know if FAs understand fatties. since, i never describe myself as a fatty. and i don't describe men who are interested in me as FAs. i just worry whether people understand me. i don't think i have a shared consciousness with all other fat women. as far as i know, all of the beautiful women who are my friends who carry extra poundage are generally highly individualistic and have their own opinions about everything. in fact i never describe myself as a fat woman, only a woman who happens to have a physical description of being fat. for me describing myself as a fat woman brings up images of the circus and deletes who i am. i'm not a joke. i'm not a freak. i'm not a fetish. i'm intelligent , smart, sexy and talented. i'm a whole lot of things the image of fat woman in the circus never brought to anyone's mind--even though they were all of that and more. the difference is i know i'm all of that and i show it at every opportunity. i'm a woman the same as any other AND i have a lot of nice fat on my body. i like being Felecia who is fat but i would hate being a fat woman. i like my identity. sometimes i wonder if we people who are fat freakify ( yep a new word! i just made it up!) the whole issue too much. i know i'm splitting hairs but i thought i would just throw it in there.

PS: this does not have a hostile tone

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Old 10-29-2008, 10:07 AM   #20
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to answer your question in the way you intended it. as far as i'm concerned i feel that most FAs i've met don't have a clue. and sometimes even if they do they like pretending as if they don't. if they can keep up the pretense they can get away with more. the ones i know are by no means all of them and i probably haven't met them in the right situtations. this answer pertains to how they approach me and not whether they understand i might get out of breath if i walk too far.

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Old 10-29-2008, 10:17 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by superodalisque View Post
i really don't know if FAs understand fatties. since, i never describe myself as a fatty. and i don't describe men who are interested in me as FAs. i just worry whether people understand me. i don't think i have a shared consciousness with all other fat women. as far as i know, all of the beautiful women who are my friends who carry extra poundage are generally highly individualistic and have their own opinions about everything. in fact i never describe myself as a fat woman, only a woman who happens to have a physical description of being fat. for me describing myself as a fat woman brings up images of the circus and deletes who i am. i'm not a joke. i'm not a freak. i'm not a fetish. i'm intelligent , smart, sexy and talented. i'm a whole lot of things the image of fat woman in the circus never brought to anyone's mind--even though they were all of that and more. the difference is i know i'm all of that and i show it at every opportunity. i'm a woman the same as any other AND i have a lot of nice fat on my body. i like being Felecia who is fat but i would hate being a fat woman. i like my identity. sometimes i wonder if we people who are fat freakify ( yep a new word! i just made it up!) the whole issue too much. i know i'm splitting hairs but i thought i would just throw it in there.

PS: this does not have a hostile tone

I love your attitude. *thumbs up*

PS: No sarcasm. (Just incase!)
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Old 10-29-2008, 02:24 PM   #22
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to answer your question in the way you intended it. as far as i'm concerned i feel that most FAs i've met don't have a clue. and sometimes even if they do they like pretending as if they don't. if they can keep up the pretense they can get away with more. the ones i know are by no means all of them and i probably haven't met them in the right situtations. this answer pertains to how they approach me and not whether they understand i might get out of breath if i walk too far.
The FA's/men who have more than a clue have little chance to be known for who they really are as well.

But believe me, they excist. And they look and act pretty much like the clueless at first sight.

It isn't easy. The same goes for me. I've invested time, money and loads of feelings in women who didn't deserve it at all. And there was nothing that could tell me so beforehand. But i'll never give up on love.
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Old 10-29-2008, 03:20 PM   #23
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i haven't given up either. i just don't care for people who only choose to see me in one way. the men that i'm attracted to are a bit more sensitive than that--to me and ther women as well. also i know and understand that the majority of men that are attracted to me are not even FAs.
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Old 10-29-2008, 07:34 PM   #24
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Don't you split hairs on me, Felecia!

Actually, I think you make some fair points.

Thanks, everyone for the thoughtful replies. Keep your thoughts flowing, please.
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Old 10-29-2008, 07:48 PM   #25
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i haven't given up either. i just don't care for people who only choose to see me in one way. the men that i'm attracted to are a bit more sensitive than that--to me and ther women as well. also i know and understand that the majority of men that are attracted to me are not even FAs.
I'm just a bit confused about how someone who's never been attracted to a fat person will suddenly be attracted to one?

I know you don't like labels, but this is where I find them helpful. Are you referring to men who were always attracted to fat women, but never labeled themselves as FAs or are you talking about men who were never attracted to fat people and never considered themselves FAs?
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