This will probably come as a surprise to most of you, but I have a tendency to over think things sometimes.
(Pause for exclamations of shock. None? Really? Ok then.)
This propensity toward mulling is tempered with an oddly compatible impulsive side that pops up seemingly out of nowhere to put an end to the ruminating and just make a decision already. One day I’ll be thinking to myself “Gee, I’d sure like a new throw pillow for the chair in the living room” thus kicking off weeks (or months, or years) of looking at the pillow selection whenever I’m at the store, scanning the pages of magazines for pillow related inspiration, scoping out fabric for the purely theoretical pillows I could (read: never will) sew myself, until one day I’m walking through Target and upon seeing a pillow that looks absolutely nothing like I’ve been imagining all this time I’ll throw it in the cart, take it home, and voila! Pillow problem solved. I sum up this particular offshoot of my crazy like this: I don’t always know what I’m looking for, but I know it when I see it.
And this is how, in a rare burst of self-esteem, I decided that I was ready to start dating again. Never mind that I haven’t been “out there” in over a decade, or that I’ve rarely even been “out of the house” for a significant portion of the tail end of that same period. Never mind that 39 year old neurotic fat girls aren’t exactly in high demand in the marketplace, or that I don’t have the foggiest idea what the young people consider “dating” these days. These were thoughts I’d spent months mulling over, imagining the consequences to, weighing the pros and cons of, and putting off for consideration later. Then one night about two weeks ago, a switch clicked in my mind and I sat down with my laptop and credit card and signed up for a major internet dating service (I’m not going to name names, but I’ll give you a hint: It rhymes with “Bee Flarmony”).
As soon as I made the decision to give this whole dating thing a go, it was like an enormous weight was lifted off my shoulders. About ten minutes into filling out the (LONG) personality questionnaire and contemplating what to write on my profile and which pictures I would upload, that same weight came crashing right back down with a vengeance. Why had I thought that this was a good idea, again? Did I really believe that with thousands of pretty girls in the metro area looking for love that anyone would give me a second glance? Would it be a better use of my $300 to pay a random guy on the street to take me to a movie, or would $300 even be enough to convince him to do so? What the HELL was I thinking?
It was then that the rational part of my brain, the one that so often gets slapped down by the emotional whirlwind it shares my skull with, spoke up and told me to get a hold of myself. I’m not exactly a troll, after all. In fact, on paper I’m almost a catch. I’m raising a terrific kid, I own a home, I have a job I love, I’m smarter than the average tree stump, I have a good sense of humor, I am kind and articulate and have all my teeth. All those things combined are part of a decent package…it’s the wrapping paper that makes me doubt that anyone will ever want to open it.
There’s not much about myself that I really dislike. I am confident in my abilities and talents, I know my strengths, and I can even make a list of attributes that I am proud of without having to pause too many times to think about it. There is only one issue that causes me to doubt all the other things I know to be true. Whatever hand I’ve been dealt, the Queen of Fat is always in play, and when I lay my cards on the table it trumps them all. It always has.
It’s not impossible to find love when you’re overweight. I’ve done it before, and statistically I tend to believe that I’ll do it again. But I know that, despite all the feel-good rhetoric to the contrary, it can be a speed bump in the process. Fat can be a deal breaker for some people, and even when you do click with someone and you start to believe that maybe the weight isn’t an issue, it can still be the unspoken barrier to full fledged romance. Or the spoken one, for that matter.
Case in point: Years ago I was dating a guy that was a heck of a catch. He was smart, funny, mentally stable, and I liked him a lot. And, because wonders never cease, he liked ME. We’d only been dating a short time when, while we were out to dinner one night, we were discussing what a good time we’d been having with each other over the few weeks since we’d met. He said some very complimentary things to me, and then followed it up with the fact that in the past he’d always dated really pretty girls, so when he first met me, it was—and I quote—“hard getting used to someone like you”.
I remember that moment so vividly that even recalling it now 14 years later my chest gets tight and my mouth goes dry, and I’m right back there sitting across the table from a man that had basically told me that I was OK for a fat chick. The difference is that the woman I am now probably wouldn’t have smiled brightly while she died a little inside, she wouldn’t have nodded like she totally understood what he meant and could see how he felt that way, and she certainly wouldn’t have thanked him for giving a “girl like her” a chance and made pleasant conversation for the rest of the meal before going home and bursting into tears and never returning his phone call again. At least I’d like to think she wouldn’t.
But the truth is that, in some respects, I’m still that girl at the table that night hoping that it’s not too late to find someone willing to take a chance on “someone like her”. The difference is that this version of me is a little older, and a whole lot wiser. Or at least a little wiser, anyway. I know now that I have a lot to offer the right person, and that the key word in that phrase is “right”. As I look through the profiles of men who have been deemed to be compatible with me, and of the men who have made contact to learn more about me, I realize that I have developed some pretty high standards in my old age. I require more from a partner than their mere ability to take a chance on “someone like me”. I want to find a man who is looking for someone just like me. He’s out there somewhere.
Been a long time...
1 week ago