Back in my single days, the pool of men willing to date me seemed to grow larger as I became smaller. Having gained and lost weight a number of times, I can speak with a certain degree of authority. I don’t want to over-generalize or stereotype men, some who prefer curvy woman, large women, while others are more equal-opportunity daters. But I definitely found that when I was thinner, men responded to me more favorably.
You only need one, though, right? I tried to remain positive and didn’t give up. I did a lot of (far too much) online dating. Ultimately, I did meet my husband on Match.com, so there’s that. Before that though, I have some ugly stories, so I’m probably not volunteering myself to appear in any of their commercials any time. I tried a bunch of (too many) sites though, so I’m not singling Match out.
On these dating websites, men (and women) created “profiles,” checking off boxes like a shopping list, of the qualities they wanted and didn’t want in their mates. And so I had “answers” to the unspoken question always on my mind when meeting me in the “real world.” When reviewing a man’s profiles, my eyes immediately zoned in on what size woman he’d chosen. Would he date a curvy girl? How about a “few extra pounds”? Was he even (miracle of miracles!) open to a “full-figured” woman?
I reached out to those guys who seemed like they’d give me a shot. Often, I felt the men themselves weren’t a good match, but since they were being “open-minded” I tried to be too. When I didn’t hear back from some of them, I’d think liar! You aren’t really open to larger women. Forgetting that there are million other things that go into it. Maybe they met someone. Maybe they weren’t looking. Maybe there was something else in our profiles that didn’t gel for him. That was especially likely when my gut told me I was “compromising” and we weren’t really compatible.
Then I’d hear from guys who didn’t pick my body size in their profiles. Were they too ashamed to publicly own up to their predilections? Were they so bowled over my amazing profile that they changed their mind?
Needless to say, I made myself a bit crazy. I had issues. I mentally assessed my attractiveness on a continuum, based on where I was in my ever-changing weight loss and weight gain.
One time when I was still “reasonably” sized, (“curvy” or a “few extra pounds” at most, but by no means “full-figured”—horrors), I met a guy we’ll call Mike. Not because I’m trying to hide his identity, but because I’ve actually forgotten his name. So he didn’t scar me for life.
Mike had seen my pics and nevertheless seemed interested. He was decent-looking—muscular, a bit on the short side, starting to lose his hair. Kind of rough around the edges.
We went out and had a decent time. If he seemed slightly dim, he also seemed nice, and best of all, into me.
After several dates, Mike confessed with a mix of shy embarrassment and pride that he’d recently lost a lot of weight—over a hundred pounds.
We’d both lost weight! We both had the same issues! It was love, we were soul mates. I wanted closeness and intimacy too soon. I took his revelation as an opportunity to open up, perhaps overshare.
“Oh, I know, it’s so hard,” I told him. “I lost a lot of weight too. Twice, in fact.” Mike looked quizzical. I didn’t know when to shut up. I pressed onward. “You know, it’s so hard. It’s a process. You lose, you gain. It’s the maintenance part that’s tough.”
Mike’s face hardened. “I worked my ass off to lose the weight. I’m disciplined. There’s no way I’m gaining it back.”
“Oh sure, sure,” I jumped in, trying not to sound like I knew better. I swallowed the small, defeated, negative voice in me that wanted to pipe up and say yeah right, I used to say that too.
After that night, I worried I’d said too much. Last thing he needed was me telling him his weight loss was going to be all for naught. Nice going being supportive, I berated myself. I figured I wouldn’t hear from him again. Continue reading