So I figured I’d create a handy how-to list, which will hopefully be helpful to those ready to pop on out of the fat closet, or who already have but aren’t having much success.

A lot of times when a fat girl is out with a guy in public, people assume that they’re ‘just friends.’ There’s such a stigma out there that fat girls never get the guy. Understand that us ladies live in a culture where every magazine, every commercial, every ad is telling us that our bodies are wrong. Living in a fat bodies shapes many experiences for a person, and it’s important to understand and be sensitive to it.

Take her out to dinner, to the movies, walk around town. We are not represented in media except as comic relief or the ‘before’ picture in a diet ad. Chances are, there will be days when someone says something vicious and it’s hard for her to shake it off. Different girls are at different stages of comfort and acceptance of their bodies (and frankly, that goes for all girls of all shapes and sizes!

I mentioned that most of us have had bad experiences, being the ‘secret’ lover, not ever getting to meet a guy’s friends, and it’s really quite painfully true. There are lots of folks out there who hate fat people. But the truth is, fat is one of those defining features that can’t really be ignored.

The fact that I have to add this piece of advice kind of makes me sad, but I feel it’s important. The vitriol some people have for others based purely on body size can be quite frightening. It’s not who a person is, but you can’t ignore it either.

Different fat girls have different experiences, but we’ve all experienced a lifetime of discrimination. Be aware that there’s a whole system of oppression working against her, and it’s hard sometimes. ) Understand that some things are a little tougher for us. Fat isn’t a bad thing to be, and both of you need to realize that.

We can’t go into any old store in the mall and find an outfit. Your mileage may vary on any of these points, of course.

Sometimes booths aren’t the best ideas at a restaurant. If she wants to call herself chunky, or curvy, or voluptuous, let her. And if you’re going to compliment her, don’t do it in a backhanded way. All girls are different, all girls want slightly different things. Amber Sarah is a twenty-something body positive, budding feminist blogger hailing from Massachusetts.

There are probably things you haven’t thought about that she might be embarrassed about. There’s never going to be a one-size-fits-all list, especially when talking about such a large group of people! ) But overall it just comes down to being sensitive, perceptive, and attentive. Body image and fat activism are her lifeblood, and when she’s not slogging her way through school, she’s tackling tough questions about fat acceptance and myths about obesity at her blog, Adipose Activist.

Indeed, were it not for the presence of these impromptu autograph-hunters, the casual observer would be forgiven for thinking they were watching a scene from the fictional Central Perk coffee shop, made famous in the much-loved sitcom Friends.