I took a little adventure last night in meeting someone who is traveling for business.  I was nervous because I have been expirementing with one of my dating profiles and he reached out to me through that one.  That’s the one where I can be a little more direct and expound upon dating philosophies which most folks would not understand or approve of.

 I knew if I told people what I was doing and shared that my range of expectation went everywhere from one drink-awkward date to ending up back at his hotel that I would get a bunch of texts warning me of the dangers and worrying there is something more wrong with me than I let on.  I tend to get patronized a lot and I let it go without saying much.  I know it comes from the best places in everyone who loves me.  But at this point, I would say I have far more experience alone in this dangerous and odd world than anyone I know.  I just need you to keep track of my check-ins and call the cops when I fall off the radar.

  I have been navigating my own little ship for the same 20 years my friends have been shacked up.  I watch the same news programs.  I see the same horrific stories.  I definitely worry a lot about my safety.  As for my choices, they are mine.  I am not seeking approval.  We all worry so much about approval and doing what we “should” we lose sight of what we really want and can spend our lives denying who we truly are.  By being single this long, I actually have been given a gift to truly know who I am and not deny myself what I want in an eventual relationship.

For example, I just assumed when you get married the whole sex thing is already figured out.  Meaning, you know what the other is into and you are doing it happily long before the ring. After many years and several attempts from married men to hook up with me, y’all don’t always figure this stuff out ahead of time and one of you ends up hiding something you want in bed or the other refuses to do it.  You may get married, but those needs don’t go away.  A lot of people just learn to go without.  Some take up porn.  Some cheat.  I say, lay it all out there.  If there is something I want to do that he won’t, then I should be allowed a free pass to get that elsewhere and the other way around.  I know, I know.  It goes against everything we are supposed to do and say.  Well, I am still single so I get to say it.  I get to negotiate my destiny the a la carte wayang I don’t want to be pitied or patronized for it.

So I am working it out and trying a few different things which is why agreeing to this date was a little scarier than usual.  This scenario could be the perfect set up for a guy who murders dates in his hotel room or it could be a nice guy looking to shift gears from talking shop and trying to just meet someone different.  I planned for both.

Turns out, he was delightful.  Not normally my “type” but super smart, super funny, irreverent like me, a bit adventurous and open to new experiences, and worldly – aware that in “our” culutured little dating cosmos, this was perfectly acceptable behavior.  

I would absolutely see him again.  But he lives in San Francisco and is originally from Germany.  Not very likely.  It is also not lost on me that I was probably so relaxed and able to take this in because I knew there were no expectations and I’d never see him again.  But considering I have never been on an online date where I want to see the guy a second time (mind you, they always ask so what a loss for the guys who ask me on dates and ghost when I agree) I think I needed this freedom from societal constraints to just be open to how I felt in the moment.  I think it will actually make me better at managing the next time I meet someone for the first time.  

It also brought my head back into gear a bit as it validated there is nothing wrong with me.  There is a lot wrong with the guys who keep reaching out to me.  I may start giving them my therapist’s number as he agrees this is odd behavior which could use professional analysis before it makes it onto a dating site.  And, by the way, my hairdresser is experiencing the exact same thing so it’s the guys.  Not us.

Granted, when the body image tab opens, it’s hard to shut it back down.  It is still open and it’s a shame that a guy who calls himself a feminist was able to do that to me….intentionally.  When you grow up fat, everything revolves around it.  Every perception, the way people talk to you and about you – it’s all up for grabs.  I would say I spent a good 30 years in that orbit where I did extreme dieting, binged and purged, set a size limit in my head that if I ever passed it, I would kill myself.  I passed it a few times and stuck around but the fact I carried that my whole life is pretty sad.  

For the past 6 years, I have given myself a reprieve from that and just focused on maintaining my weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle.  There are plenty of things I still don’t like about my body but my focus has turned solely to what I have learned to appreciate and accept what I just can’t change no matter how hard I try.  I will always have a belly, big thighs and a big butt.  I am short, that shit just doesn’t distribute at any weight or size.  But I am strong, kicked a bunch of health issues and medications out of my life, and surpass personal records all the time.  But that was taken away recently and I am back to focusing on what I don’t like and seeing myself as that 13 year old fat girl in pink pants they called “pink porker.”

That said, I do at least know that I see it worse than the boys do as confirmed to me last night.  It will take some work to undo the fat girl body shaming I am doing this week but I am at least aware of where it came from and I am still the girl that warrants a second date or gets hit on within 20 minutes of entering a bar.  There are other ports in the storm around me in those situations but they pick me so at least I am the best storm in the room.