A few months ago I set up a date with someone from OKCupid. Plans were made, the date and location decided. A couple days before we were to meet, he emailed me asking if I had any recent pictures. Anybody who employs the use of an online dating site knows this is not a good sign.
I replied and informed him that the seven photos on my profile were less than a year old and had date stamps. Additionally, I said, I was one of the few women he was going to meet on OKCupid who didn’t care about who paid for what on a date and had reasonable expectations. [Side note: I’m comparing myself to other women with this line. I got called out for it when the piece was originally posted, and it took me quite some time before I realized the critics were right to call me on it.]
“I’m the typical OK Cupid guy’s wet dream” I said. “Your call if you still want to meet.”
He replied and apologized profusely. He reassured me that he still wished to meet and explained that he was new to the site and had a couple of dates with women who looked nothing like their photos.
I refused to further audition for this stranger. I also had no desire to deal with someone who was so suspicious of the online dating process. Either you’re in or you’re out, brah. Take the risk or step aside.
“Understood,” I said. “But that’s not me.”
The day of the date, he canceled citing work issues, something I had predicted would happen. He followed up a couple days later offering further details about his crazy busy job. He wanted to know if I still wanted to meet. Nope. Besides the obvious safety precautions involved with online dating, I think there’s one other major concern. What I believe we’re truly trying to avoid is sitting across from someone we consider unfit and wondering if this is the best we can do. I was not going to put myself in the position to feel like I was under his microscope.
Accepting that I was not going to be every man’s cup of tea was quite liberating. It’s too bad I didn’t have that sense of inner peace five years earlier. I can remember the moment as if it just happened yesterday. Brian was trying to worm his way up to my apartment after a date. Knowing that he was out of my league, I couldn’t keep my internal dialogue to myself. I asked him if he didn’t mind that I wasn’t skinny.
“You’re fun size,” he said.
Then there was the personal trainer I met on Nerve. He said we wouldn’t be seeing each other again because “he wasn’t used to dating women my size.” To drive the point home, he tacked on that I shouldn’t select “fit” as my body type. With all of this feedback jangling around in my head, I went into a lot of dates with apprehension.
I dreaded seeing that look that I had learn to identify as disappointment. Causing even more anxiety was the thought of showing up at a designated meeting spot and being stood up. It had happened to me only once but that was enough. I recall standing at the door of the bar waiting for my date to arrive. Ten minutes passed, then 20. An hour later, after crying to myself in the back of a cab, I came home to an email from him.
“Sorry. Not for me.”
When my nurse weighed me during a routine physical and told me I was up to 190 pounds, I knew I needed to make a change. Numbers don’t lie. I had gained a significant amount of weight. Admittedly, a motivating factor in my decision to diet was so that I would have more dating success. While I achieved that one goal by going from a size 14 to a size 10, it wasn’t long before I realized that, regardless of how much I lost, it was never going to be enough for some people.
I don’t begrudge any man for preferring to date thin women. It’s the men who refuse to date anything other than slender women that bug me. They aren’t judging me by my character or personality. They are judging me based on a size on a label. They see that first.
I don’t think a person is shallow for preferring to date someone slim or with all their hair or who is taller than five foot nine. We like what we like. It’s an unwillingness to see the person beyond the body parts that has now become unacceptable to me.
I come from hearty Sicilian stock. I am broad. I am solid. I like how pronounced my calves are when I wear stilettos. I like how my ass and legs look in my yoga pants. When I go out for my daily power walks or am at the gym, I get a satisfaction from knowing how strong and capable I am. I feel formidable in my body. I also enjoy hearing a guy say things to me like, “I love how firm your legs are” as he cups my ass cheeks when I ride him. There’s something powerful about my build that gives me confidence.
If a man answers the OKCupid question as to whether or not it would bother him if their date was overweight by choosing the option, “Yes, even if they were a little bit overweight,” I move along. I am not for them and they are not for me. I refuse to agonize over this as though it were a missed opportunity. I know that a lot of guys pass by my profile strictly because of my body. I would be lying if I said that there weren’t moments when that bothered me. I know that they are comparing me to all the other options on that site. So be it.
That’s one of the benefits of dating at my age. Like Danny Glover in “Lethal Weapon,” you just get to a point where you’re too old for this shit. You no longer devote any mental bandwidth to worrying if you’re not good enough. You’ve lived with yourself for so long and gotten through so much that you realize — on your own — that you are.
The number on the scale says 174. The leg says numbers don’t matter.