Most people there aren't interested in activism. They were there to fuck. Dan Savage went to one once, and wrote about his experience in his book Skipping Towards Gomorrah:
I’m even slower to come to the realization that I’m being cruised when the person doing the cruising is someone I would never sleep with—like, say, a woman, any woman, big or small, fat or thin, living or dead. I hadn’t anticipated getting hit on at the NAAFA convention, and I began to panic. Picking away at my bagel (oh, glorious carbs!), I silently prayed the speaker would begin and put an end to our conversation.
There aren’t enough FAs to go around, Teresa explained, which was why Teresa broke the ice by telling me I was in luck. A good-looking, single, presentable FA at a NAAFA convention can have his pick of the women. About 250 people were at the Westin for the NAAFA celebration, and 95 percent were women. The whole reason most women come to these events, Teresa explained, was to meet men.
“It’s nice to see old friends and socialize,” Teresa laughed, “but it’s the sex that keeps us coming back.”
There was nothing on the NAAFA Web site or in the brochures, I said, about the convention being a meat market. I thought we were all here to, like, advance the acceptance of fat and, you know, stuff like that.
“That’s what the political fat people are here to do,” Teresa said, “but most of us are just here to have fun.”
Which is what I came for, I guess—only I was looking for a celebration of gluttony, not lust. I felt like I’d gone to a porn shoot only to find everyone sitting around fully clothed eating doughnuts.
Looking around the ballroom full of women, Teresa let out a loud sigh. She said she was worried that her last NAAFA event was going to be a total bust.
Most of the stories in the speaker’s book were about fat women who found love, and soon the ballroom was filled with awws instead of hisses. One woman profiled in her book actually met her soul mate while filling her shopping cart with half-price Marshmallow Peeps the day after Easter. It turned out that they both shared a passion for those mushy Easter candies, which come in toxic pink and a shade of yellow very similar to the color of the speaker’s dress. The story was a popular one, apparently, as most of the women in the room seemed familiar with its details. Indeed, there were boxes of Peeps for sale in the lobby, the candies having been transformed into a kind of love talisman by the women of NAAFA.
“Flirt!” the speaker implored us as she wrapped up her speech. “Flirting is such a good thing to do! Don’t assume rejection! The message fat women hear all the time is, ‘Get thin, find love.’ The message I want you to take away from our talk this morning is, ‘Get confident, find love.’ Live your life now, as you are, and live bountifully. Flirt!”
There I was, sitting in a ballroom full of fat women, a presumed FA, and the speaker was whipping the women of NAAFA into a flirting frenzy. Feeling like I had a bull’s-eye on my ass, I thought it might be prudent to get a head start, so I slipped out of the ballroom when the thin board member came back up to the podium to thank the speaker for her inspired remarks.
“The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance believes that a preference for a fat partner is as valid as any other preference based on physical characteristics, such as a particular height, eye color, or hair color,” reads NAAFA’s official position paper on fat admirers. “Individuals who are attracted to a fat partner should be able to pursue, date, and make a commitment to a person of their size preference without fear of societal ridicule. Further, NAAFA believes that in a society where at least 55 percent of the population is considered fat, a preference for a fat partner is normal and should be encouraged rather than discouraged.”
NAAFA’s position paper on FAs urges these men to come out of the closet and organize their own movement. The FAs at the dance, lurking in the corners, didn’t seem like “movement” types. When I approached an FA near the bar in the ballroom and asked him what he found attractive about fat women, he wasn’t able to look me in the eye. Maybe he could tell I wasn’t an FA, and he wasn’t comfortable discussing his preference with me. After an awkward hesitation, he said, “Not until you run your hands over someone supersized can you appreciate how wonderful all that flesh feels.” Then he slunk off.
The general consensus at our table was that most FAs are a little creepy; a lot of them are ashamed of their attraction to fat women, and they’re not very good at concealing their feelings of shame. They come to NAAFA events (indeed, NAAFA encourages them to come), seduce fat women in hotel rooms, and then run home to skinny wives and girlfriends. When one particularly notorious FA was spotted in the room, a brassy blonde in metallic silver hot pants and a matching bra ran from table to table, warning her fat sisters about this particular FA’s MO.
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“He’ll say, ‘Oh, I love you, I want to marry you, I want you to meet my mother,’ ” she warns the women at my table, “and the moment you sleep with him, he’s gone.”