A New York man who has never had a girlfriend has opened up about his struggle to find love and stop bullying himself over his weight, saying he has always been the ‘funny fat friend.’
Luke Manley, co-host of The Loopy & Lukey Show, shared his story on the popular social media account Humans of New York on Monday. The heart-wrenching post is part of a series creator Brandon Stanton is doing with film director Nicolas Heller ‘to celebrate New York’s Comeback.’
‘I don’t blame the girls. Not at all. I get it, I get it,’ said Manley, who graduated from State University of New York at Oswego in 2015. ‘But I’ve always wanted a wife. And kids. And as I get older it starts to get more real—I’ve never had a girlfriend. I’ve always been the funny fat friend. It’s the one thing I’m good at.’
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Candid: Luke Manley, co-host of The Loopy & Lukey Show, has detailed his struggle to find love and learn to love himself in a heart-wrenching Humans of New York post
Going viral: The post is part of a series that Humans of New York creator Brandon Stanton is doing with film director Nicolas Heller ‘to celebrate New York’s Comeback’
He explained that ‘making people laugh’ is the ‘greatest feeling in the world to him,’ saying it’s something he has strived for since elementary school.
‘But as I got older—something got twisted. All my jokes became about myself,’ he shared. ‘When it was time to eat the cake at a birthday party, I’d joke about the size of my slice.
‘When it was time to jump in the pool, I’d joke about taking off my shirt. I’d say: “The moon is coming out.” And it always got a laugh. Which felt good, but it kind of sucks.’
Manley admitted that he can’t remember ever taking his shirt off in front of people without making fun of himself in some way, something he now regrets.
All smiles: Manely, pictured as a young boy, said he’s always loved making people laugh
Looking back: He explained that ‘making people laugh’ is the ‘greatest feeling in the world to him,’ saying it’s something he has strived for since elementary school
Hard to handle: ‘But as I got older—something got twisted. All my jokes became about myself,’ he admitted, explaining that it’s a defense mechanism
‘It’s my way of protecting myself,’ he explained. ‘Like: ‘No a**hole, you can’t make fun of me. Because I beat you to it.”
‘But I think it might have f**ked me up. All those jokes, all those years. Because it made everyone look at me as the fat guy. It made me look at myself as the fat guy.’
Manley said he even identifies himself as ‘fat’ on social media, pointing out that his Twitter handle is @FatrickEwing and his bio says: ‘I’m a fat white kid with glasses.’
He admitted that he thinks of himself as ‘just a fat, funny idiot,’ and he believes that’s what other people are thinking too. The self-consciousness he feels when he sits in a seat that is a ‘little too small’ for him or enters a drugstore contributes to his anxiety.
‘My therapist tells me: “You’re a good guy, you’re nice, who cares?” And she’s right, I get it. But I also think if I wasn’t fat, I’d probably have a girlfriend,’ he said. ‘But I’m trying to love myself more. Every day I’m working on it.
Looking for love: Manley, who graduated from State University of New York at Oswego in 2015, said he has never had a girlfriend but has always wanted a wife and kids
Regrets: Manley said he has ‘always been the funny, fat friend,’ which has made a part of his identity
Learning self-love: Manley said he is now making an effort to stop degrading himself
‘I make deliveries for my job, and let’s say I leave my scanner in the car. My mind is immediately gonna say: “You’re a fat a**hole.” But I’m trying to stop myself. I’m trying to say: “No, you’re not. You just forgot. People forget.”
‘I’m trying to get back to Luke again,’ he added. The nice, funny dude. Who loves his friends. And his family. Not Luke the fat guy. Just Luke, before he decided to bully himself.’
Manley’s story has captured the hearts of thousands, with the post receiving more than 480,000 likes in just seven hours. Many people took to the comments to offer him support, including actress Jennifer Garner.
‘Thank you for talking about how you feel, Luke, and for working on loving yourself like we all love you,’ she wrote. ‘Keep going.’
‘I love you Lukey. I am happy you are in my life,’ wrote rapper Kosha Dillz, whose real name is Rami Matan. ‘We are all working on ourselves. Some of us start earlier than others. Then we mess up. Then we try again. But just remember you started the summer off with a hole in one in street golf and no one can take that away from ya.’
Someone else wrote: ‘This is so raw. This breaks my heart. Luke you are not the “fat guy.” You are worthy of someone’s love & affection. I hope you find your love.’
Touched: After the post went viral, Manley took to Instagram to share a video message thanking everyone for their love and support
Support system: Many fans took to the comments to offer him support, including actress Jennifer Garner
Manley responded to the messages in the post and thanked everyone for their love and support.
‘All of these positive comments from everyone has helped me more than you guys will ever know,’ he said. ‘My confidence in myself is getting better every day. From the bottom of my heart seriously thank you so much!’
Stanton also shared Manley’s Instagram handle, where he posted a video message to show his gratitude for the overwhelmingly positive response he has received after sharing his story on Humans of New York.
He first started off by thanking Heller for telling Stanton about him, which is how he ended up in the series.
‘This has been crazy,’ he said ‘The amount of tears that came out of my eyes have been insane. All these positive comments are great. All the DMs are amazing. I’m going to get back to every DM, I promise. Everyone’s so nice. It’s crazy.
‘God bless all of you guys, seriously. It really helped me out reading all these comments. All these followers I’m getting, it’s nuts. It’s great. Thank you so much, guys. It like restored my faith in humanity,’ he continued.
‘It’s been one of the best things that has happened in my entire life, so thank you, guys, so much from the bottom of my heart.