Archive for January, 2013

Don’t Tell Me I’m Beautiful

My mom used to think it was helpful to tell me that “I have a beautiful face, and if I could just lose a few pounds. . .”  She would often reinforce that sentiment by telling me how she had shown people at work my pictures and they had said the same thing.  I know she meant it to be encouraging, but in the end I found myself resenting these people I didn’t even know. 

Now I rarely believe it when someone tells me I’m beautiful. It’s just a word to me – not specific, not genuine, lacking a certain ring of truth.  This is especially true when it’s a random stranger – especially someone on a dating site.   When I get an email that says “Hello Beautiful” I automatically think “Nigerian Money Scam.”  I can’t help it.  If someone says I’m beautiful, they must want something from me.

As a plus-sized girl, I’ve had my share of losers who think that I owe them extra because they are willing to talk to a fat chick or even ask one out on a date, etc. I should be grateful that they call me “beautiful” or “pretty” or “not half bad in a certain light.” I know I’m better than that.  In fact, I even know that I have moments of pretty and can be vivacious and attractive and yes, spank bank worthy.  What I prefer is something more specific.  Like – “I love your hair today” or “your eyes are so blue” or “you have a great smile.”

About 6 years ago I was chatting with a guy.  He kept pushing for a full body photo, because most of my profile photos were headshots.  When I sent it to him, he told me that he didn’t usually go for heavier chicks but there was something about my personality he liked.  I thanked him, but told him that I wasn’t interested in starting a relationship where I would constantly be wondering if my personality was still overcoming his issue with my size.

He was shocked.  I guess he figured I should take it as a compliment and be falling all over myself to date him.  In fact, he started calling me quite often to chat and ask me out again.   To my delight, most of his calls usually happened as I was on my way to a date, which seemed to amaze him.  How could I, the fat girl, be getting so many dates while he was sitting home alone?

The mind boggles.

Back to my point, it is not my life ambition to be called beautiful by everyone.  In fact, I rather wish they wouldn’t.  But someday, when it’s right, someone is going to look me in the eyes and tell me I’m beautiful and I’m going to know that it’s true – not a scam or a pity compliment. Or like that one singer, because he’s high and everything is beautiful.

It won’t be tomorrow.  It probably won’t be you.  And that is fine with me.  I prefer it that way.

The Tale of Bra Boy

He found me on Yahoo.  I was in the process of separating from my husband and moving to Denver, he lived in Colorado Springs.  He assured me it was fairly close by.   We chatted back and forth over several weeks.   

When I first arrived in Denver, I knew no one other than my landlord/roommate and we didn’t seem to click very well. The internet was my lifeline to family and friends, and he was someone who was close by when others were far away.   Maybe it was the high altitude combined with the glass of wine, but I found myself agreeing to a date.  It would be the First After since my separation.

We talked about our date – he would plan it – I just need to come dressed and ready.  I was trying to figure out what to wear – he recommended, among other things, my red bra. I agreed.

When the day came, I dressed carefully – not too dressy, not too casual.  Took extra time to primp and do all those “extras” you only do for a date or a doctor’s visit. His car was in the shop, so I drove 90 minutes to where he lived. When I first arrived, it looked like the courtyard of Melrose Place.  Upon closer inspection, perhaps Melrose Place if it became Section 8 housing.  But I had driven all this way so I persevered and knocked on the door. 

He was shorter than I pictured, disheveled, in a sweatshirt and jeans – a ball cap crammed on his head. 

“I just woke up,” he said. “Give me a second.”

I stood in the doorway and watched as he shuffled through some papers.  Wait, not papers.  Coupons. 

“Which do you prefer?” he asked.  “Chinese buffet or pizza?”

Since the Chinese buffet was evidently 2 for 1, we decided to do that.  If you are going to go first class, better go all the way.  The plans for after dinner were just as carefully thought out – so we ended up going back to his place to watch a DVD.   He pulled up his sweatshirt and asked me to scratch his back.  Hrmm.  Well, I wanted to see how the movie ended, so I did.  I thought maybe it was a move, but he thanked me and pulled his shirt back down.  He didn’t offer to return the favor.  We sat very chastely on his couch and watched William Dafoe act crazy on screen.

When the movie ended, he turned to me and asked. “So can I see your bra?”

I laughed in surprise. “Is that your move?”

I’m 36,” he said.  “I don’t have time for moves.”

“You’re 36,” I countered.  “You better make time.”

I’d love to tell you that I got up and left Section 8 of Melrose Place with my head held high and my dignity intact.  But it was my First After, I’d driven a long way and worked up a lot of nerve to get that far. And I had worn my red bra. But let’s pretend I did.  Deal?  Thanks.

Let’s just say that sometimes the best part of a First After is that you have nowhere to go but up.

Romance vs. 7-11

I once dated a taxicab driver for about 5 months.  I worked days, he worked nights and weekends. We would meet for lunch and/or dinner at my place, sometimes bounce some springs, and then he’d head off in to the night. 

I broke it off when I started to feel like his personal 7-11:  a place where he could get a quick bite, a few laughs, and some general affection (quick or otherwise). We never went out to eat – because going out to eat meant 2 more hours of him driving cab to replace the money spent.  He chipped in for the weekly groceries – and when we broke up he made sure to take half of the groceries with him.

I longed for romance, and I realized it just wasn’t part of his genetic make-up.  I don’t believe in yelling and arguing about these things, but we did have two rather serious conversations about it during the 5 months.  And then I realized it was better just to break it off as friends. I didn’t want to resent him for something that just wasn’t part of who he was, and I didn’t want him to resent me for trying to make him change.

Define romance,” said Rocker last night, after I told him this story. “Because if you ask 10 women to define romance, you will get 11 different answers.”

I thought about this for a bit before answering.

For me, romance is when someone shows you they care about you in a non-practical way.

It’s a noted effort to do something special for someone out of love and affection, rather than simply out of habit or obligation. 

When I did my internet radio show, I would often provide a list of 10 budget-friendly romantic gestures. Because romance doesn’t have to have a price tag attached to it.

I know one of my friends would find it romantic if her boyfriend would just ask her if she wanted a drink when he got himself one.  I was touched the first time a former boyfriend picked me up a pair of windshield wipers for my car when he was picking up some for himself.

But for me, romance is a silly card on my bedside table, a flower picked for me, a love note stuck in my jacket pocket.   A serenade in the middle of the grocery store, a slow dance barefoot in the kitchen.

And yes, there are ones that cost money too – and those should happen, even if only once or twice a year. An occasional reason to get dressed up for dinner or the local theater.  A surprise weekend getaway.  A gift certificate for a spa day or a mani/pedi.  Flowers at work. Chocolate. And yes, sometimes, jewelry.

But it doesn’t matter how much it costs if the sentiment behind it is not one of love. It’s not just what you do, it’s why you are doing it.  And your attitude towards doing it.  If you are doing it because you feel you have to – and I know it – then it all becomes bittersweet.

The poets most certainly say it better, but that’s my explanation for today.

Its Up Two U

I rewrote my dating profile this weekend after a male friend who was on the same site took a look at it for me. 

“You need to sell yourself more,”  he said. “You need to forget about being humble and just put out the best things about you and stick by them.”

It’s hard.  I was not raised to say, “HEY I’M AWESOME – YOU SHOULD TOTALLY DATE ME!” 

These profiles can make you feel like a used car salesman.  So for fun, I wrote up this profile and posted it on Facebook for my friends:

1970s model with a few miles, fairly dependable, good for local travel as well as long distance, fairly low maintenance, comfortable upholstery with no major structural damage. Known to turn a few heads, fairly roomy. Too valuable to sell just for parts.

It took the better part of a day to rewrite everything.  My male friend (and fellow online dater) said it was quite an improvement, and that made me glad.  I even added a special comment to the “You Should Contact Me If” section:

Please don’t message me if:

  • You think “how r u” is an acceptable form of communication
  • You think Hannibal Lecter was a cool role model
  • You haven’t taken a bath since last spring
  • You haven’t had a job in 6 years and need a sugar momma
  • Or you are looking for a green card sponsor

I still ended up with this email from someone:

“well hi i see u stop by would u love two chat i must say that u are a gd looking lady i like what i see so lets chat love its all up two u.”

I replied with:

Thanks for contacting me – but I don’t think we would be a good match.  I wish you much success in your search!

He responded:

Why say that love

To which I typed:

Did you read my profile at all? I just don’t think we are on the same communication level.  But I wish you happiness!

He countered intelligently with:

I am not from over over and nother country okay i am from the states okay

A part of me just wanted to reply with:

Who let you near a computer and told this was how you find women? Truly, you need to rely on buying someone lots and lots of liquor and go that route, my friend.  Or tell them that you are an illiterate deaf mute.  Cause that would totally work better for you than trying your typing skills to woo someone.

But I didn’t.  I just didn’t reply at all.

 

 

Happy New Year!

So yes, I know, I’m a few days late.

My roommate and I spent New Year’s Eve at home, watching the Dick Clark special as they counted down the new year.  Another First After come and gone.

I’m beginning new patterns – found a new group to watch Doctor Who with – have some new weekend traditions in place – spending more time with new friends.

Dating sites are beginning to drain me.  The people I approach are not interested in me, the people who approach me – I’m not interested in. I’ve cancelled several of my paid subscriptions as I can’t afford to find love at these rates.

I’ve never really done well at traditional dating.  I’m not good at picking up on flirting – I get told that men are hitting on me and I have no clue.  Since they never ask me out – I have no idea.  I think it could be interesting working the convention circuit this year, as it will be the first time I’m not taken.  Maybe meeting men at an event where I feel comfortable could result in less rednecks or folks that can’t type in complete sentences.

We shall see.