Sunday, April 23, 2017
Ranting On...Losing Weight for the Wrong Reasons
And then, came, the dreaded "so we've been going on a couple of dates, and I think we should have a talk" line, the one you know might come up before you have the "boyfriend" conversation, but you sort of hope you didn't have to do. He said, quite kindly, that he really wanted to be friends (and I really did and do too, which is rare in these circumstances as usually at that point I'd be happy if they just lost my number), but he just didn't see me that way. I felt a little heartbroken, more so than I probably should have after only a week's worth of dating, but then I decided, since this was on the phone and not via a text, and because he seemed like a genuinely nice guy and not the sort of person who was going to deal with "you're too clingy" as the excuse when I asked him to explain himself after three dates (I hate it when guys use reasons that are happening during the breakup as examples of things that caused the breakup, when that axiomatically can't be the reason), so I decided to just ask him, "what about me don't you like?"
This is a braver question for me than you might realize. I am generally someone who likes dealing in blunt assessments of situations, but when it comes to guys, I tend to be a bit more passive than I probably should be. I'm the planner, generally, the organizer, but in terms of demanding things for myself-let's just say it's not my strong suit, which is odd because I've gotten better at that in virtually every other aspect of my life. And thankfully, he didn't give me a pablum answer. I prodded a little, admittedly, emboldened by asking the question, but he eventually said "you're heavier than I expected, and dress kind of frumpy for your weight." It was a dagger through the heart, but it was an actual answer, which is exactly what I wanted.
Now before you get on your high horse here and proclaim "that's unacceptable," know that I didn't think that for one instance (well, maybe for an instance, but I got over it). For starters-we all dump people for less than reputable reasons. It might not be their weight (but if you pretend you haven't dumped someone because of their looks and you've been single after the age of 25 for longer than a year...you're lying), but it could be their personality or their ambition or their hygiene or their demeanor. Secondly, I pressed for an actual, truthful answer-I didn't want a "you're really nice, but not the right guy for me" routine, particularly since guys tend to like me way better in textual/phone conversation than in person, so I knew that something was getting lost in that transition. And third, it provided me with something I could actually work on.
I'm not really someone who looks in the mirror and sees a fat person, even if it's always what I know is there at this point. For years, because of issues I can discuss in a different post, I simply didn't look in the mirror all that often, so it wasn't really a problem that I had. And secondly, I'd been thin for the first 22 years of my life or so, so it wasn't something I generally expected to see there when I did dane to look in a mirror.
But I know that my weight is what it is, and I'm not okay with it, but I've never had the drive to take care of it in a major way. Perhaps it's because my doctor isn't as insistent as she should be that I cut back or that it is addressed (though I know, based on personal experience when I do lose weight, that she's hoping I take care of it). Perhaps it's because I genuinely don't notice people's weights unless they are at an extreme of some sort; I'm the last person to notice when a friend is pregnant, for example. Or perhaps it's because weight isn't really a thing I care about with someone I'm dating, so I just don't think about it that much in terms of dating (I'm not saying I'm not shallow here because I can be, I'm just saying weight specifically is not one of the dealbreakers for me).
But it clearly is for other guys, and may be the code I have been trying to track in why guys can fall over themselves for me online, but not in person. I used to think it was because I wasn't using recent enough photos, to the point where I would send a photo saying "this is a live picture of me" so that they knew exactly what they were getting, but the weight issue is probably not as apparent on my dating profiles as it should be, certainly in comparison to myself (plus, I tend to lose first from my face, so from the chest up I always look about thirty pounds lighter than I actually am).
This is all well and good (and you may be wondering what the meandering point is here, other than a Sunday train-of-thought situation), but the problem is that if I were to lose the weight now (and I do, indeed, plan to lose the weight now), it will be entirely because of this one guy and his opinion of me. Now, it's not some delusional trap to try and get him back (that ship has sailed), but it is going to be for a man like this guy. It's going to be for the next guy that liked me online, but then saw me in person and thought I resembled a bowling ball a little too closely.
But you tell someone that you're losing weight for a guy, or to get more dates with men, and they act like the world ended. Seriously-I already have enough trouble telling people I want to lose weight and they pronounce "but you don't need to" so fast it's like a muscle reflex, but you add in that "the only reason that I'm doing so is because I want guys to like me" and suddenly you have self-esteem issues that need to be solved, and please have some cake while you take care of them.
The reality is I probably have self-esteem issues (again, another article), but that's not the problem in this specific case. I don't really have a problem with being fat from my own standpoint, but I sure as hell have a problem with being single. Now while someone should like you for you, and eventually it is a problem if you're basing your relationship on the superficial exclusively, it's foolish to pretend that the initial parts of relationships aren't based on baiting a hook. Particularly in the gay world, where everyone seems to be living at a gym and where sex frequently comes first, and then you decide if you want to date, it's very, very hard to be overweight, particularly considering your competition. I'm a cute guy who is smart, caring, funny, has interests and a good job, gets along with my family, and am (based on surveys) a pretty good kisser. I can't be taller, but other than that I'm aware that I would be considered a catch...except for my weight. If that's what's standing between me and a happy relationship, even if society says I shouldn't have to I'm willing to jump that hurdle.
So yes, I'm going to begin a weight loss regiment starting tomorrow, complete with food reductions, increased gym time, and a better sleep routine. My doctor will absolutely be happy, my clothes will likely become more fashionable, and I will in general probably have more energy and a happier approach to life. But I'd be lying if I said I was doing it for any of those things-I'm doing it so the next time a guy I really like dumps me, it'll be for something other than my weight. That might not be healthy or what "you're supposed to do," but it's my new reality.