Big and beautiful

CobraBoy (
Thu, 12 Sep 1996 03:10:07 -0700

This Entrance for TEXT ONLY.

September 11, 1996 is looking for a
large man. "I love big fat bellies and
want to make the right guy absolutely
HUGE!!!!" he says in a personal ad.
"Your size now does not matter -- it's
how FAT I will get you that excites

Bellyluvr is part of a growing
(nudge, nudge) movement of fat men
and women who are finding love
online. They congregate at sites such
as Fat!So?, ChubNet, GainRWeb and
Feeder to swap stories and post their
vital stats. These pride-oriented sites
serve as a meeting place not only for
beefy singles but for the "gainers and
encouragers," people who find
overeating erotic and desire
XXXlarge partners.

For gay men, there's been a
"bears" (big and hairy), "chubbies"
and "chasers" (the people who love
them) scene for 15 years. But "it's
just now coming into its own," says
Chubnet's creator, whom we'll just
call Bigbelly. "There is a large group
of people who like big men. A large
group. More people than you'd ever

Indeed, on Labor Day weekend
more than 300 chubsters took over
the Radisson Hotel in San Diego to
celebrate Convergence '96. Activities
included a pig roast on the beach and
a gala fashion show. Attendees came
from Tokyo, Australia, Belgium and
all over the United States.

According to Bigbelly, the heavy
set's acceptance into gay society
coincided with the AIDS crisis.
Emaciated people were dangerous;
"people in the gay community
weren't going out with skinny
people," he says. Fatness was a sign
of health, and so the Girth and Mirth
movement was born. A few years
ago, Bigbelly and his partner ran a
singles club for chubbies where they
would order crab, cold cuts, cheese
trays, cake and 90 pounds of fresh
shrimp for their weekend buffet

And the movement just keeps
getting bigger (doh!). GainRWeb --
"The Fat Spot On The Web" -- has
an A-to-Z personals section bursting
with photos and bios. There is also a
mailing list over 200 large and plans
for a print newsletter. The
Quicktime VR of a spinning belly is
not to be missed, and there is more
than one paean to the king of all
beer guts -- Homer Simpson.

"To me the whole anxiety about
body image is really ridiculous,"
says Marilyn Wann of Fat!So?, the
site for people who don't apologize
for their size. "I have a lot of anger
about the way that I've been
treated, about the way I couldn't get
insurance because of my weight. So
the anger fuels a certain sense of
humor." Wann is hugely
appreciative of the gainers and
encouragers for eroticizing fat

Yet there is a very unfunny and
unhealthy side to gainer culture that
has emerged in the last couple of
years, according to Bigbelly. You
can see it in the straight male
personal ads on Feeder, among
other places. It's the people who
aren't just proud of their size, but
want to get unnaturally fat -- like
the 250 pound man who says his
ideal weight range is 500 pounds.

"Let's face it, God made big
people and God made small
people," says Bigbelly. "Most
people who are that way are sick or
they get sick. The people that I
know that are doing it are people
that are skinny and want to be part
of a group."

But the unhealthy gainers are but
a small part of the whole fat scene.
And Bigbelly will be the first to
admit that the chubby world is not
for everyone. "We don't want to
shove it down your face," he says.
"We're not like that."

--By Noah Robischon

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