Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Aggressive Dating is Over (a.k.a., I'm Not Undateable)

No, I didn’t fall off the face of the Earth. I’ve been here, the whole time, navigating the tumultuous waters of aggressively dating to have finally found a port in relationship-ville. Yes. You read that correctly… I am in a relationship. The one thing that I was pretty adamant that I didn’t want yet here I am. And it’s a rotating sphere of happy, anxious, doubt, and comfort. You know, pretty much life.

So, to fill you in between last time and the present…

After determining that I wasn’t interested in random hook-ups but still terrified of the all-in serious relationship, I set my sights on that elusive unicorn known as the “Friends with Benefits.” It’s a great dynamic, in concept. Nothing too heavy, light on the expectations, just find someone that you have enough in common with that you can hang out and do stuff with, and then do other stuff with them, too. None of that “meet the friends and family” stress, bypass the “first date impress me” crap, all of the benefits of having a significant other without the “where is this going” significance. Notice I said that this was great in concept. Stay with me, here…

I had been texting with a few nice dudes. Dudes I got on well with in conversations and seemed to have enough in common with to attempt that FWB thing. You have to get that out of the way right up front to make sure that you are both on the same page, making sure you’re looking for the same level of togetherness. There is nothing worse than getting to know someone, feeling comfortable in what you believe you’re embarking on, only to find out they want more (or less) than you thought. Even when you do that, and have very specific conversations about expectations, limitations, and desires, sometimes it gets fucked up anyway. But I’m not going to get into specifics about all that right now. Just trust that I know what I’m talking about.

The field was eventually narrowed down to two. I began talking to them both around the same time – within a few weeks of one another. The distinct difference between them is that I met one of them face to face almost immediately and, the other… let’s just say that there were control issues at play that caused an undue delay in the IRL meet-up. As I began to spend more time with my new friend, it became clear that we had a lot in common. We love the same shows, enjoy a lot of the same movies, both hate people, both generally prefer a night in rather than some elaborate evening on the town. Being with him was easy and comfortable. I mean, even my cats and dogs liked him (and he liked them, too, especially Wahlberg, his new feline BFF). I looked forward to seeing him and, without really admitting it to myself, missed him when we weren’t together. We were seeing each other just about every day. Mind you, we both went into this with the strict intention of being just friends… friends who also, you know, get it in.

Because I haven’t had an honest, real relationship in my entire adult life, I was unsure how to determine where his feelings were and felt too insecure to ask – so I did a lot of ignoring my own feelings as they developed. I also attempted to pull away, emotionally speaking, by continuing to text with (and eventually meet) the other guy. He, too, was not interested in a traditional “relationship,” which was fine with me. And then, all at once, it happened. I finally met the other guy. (As an aside, my FWB and I were very open about this part; he knew I continued to talk to and occasionally see other guys.)

It felt like a long time in the making. It was overwhelming and exciting, and it was clear that the dynamic was (would be?) different than what I had going on with my existing FWB. We didn’t seem to have nearly as much in common, outside of cake (if you’re sitting here wondering wtf cake has to do with anything, please refer to my last post, it’ll make more sense), but that somehow seemed safer in the face of those feelings I was developing and stuffing away for the other guy. It seemed less emotionally charged and, therefore, not as much as an overall risk.

So, I found myself faced with a decision. Turn back the dial with my FWB in an attempt to convert our thing back to just friends in order to explore this new thing with the other guy, or stop lying to myself that I didn’t have feelings for my first friend, have an adult conversation about it with him at the risk of ruining things or – maybe even more terrifying – knowingly label what we have as an actual relationship and commit to everything that comes with it.

I’ll spare y’all the details of the decision making process. I certainly didn’t get through it alone. I have my confidantes who were admittedly sick of hearing about it all as I worked through it. Obviously, based on the beginning of this post, you can surmise that I chose relationship over FWB.

Turns out, the discussion I was dreading actually started earlier than I thought, even if I didn’t recognize it for what it was. Little jokey comments about jealousy, knowing that wasn’t “part of the deal” or anything that had been anticipated, should have been signs for me that he was “catching feels” right along with me. I shoved a lot of my own feelings away so it was easy to ignore what he was throwing off, too. We were being totally ridiculous, and then we decided not be ridiculous anymore.

It was official, we were together.  As we began to tell people, it became clear that we were the only two people who didn’t know we had been in a relationship for a while. And here we are, a month and a half (give or take) post-ridiculousness, and – overall, day to day – nothing is different. We still see each other just about every day. There are overnights every weekend. There are the Saturday night trips to the 24-hour Meijer for energy drinks and junk food. We still have to watch The Challenge: 30 on MTV every week and make fun of the crappy contestants together. He got me to finally watch Rick and Morty, and I freakin’ LOVE it! (IT’S PICKLE RICK!) I even stepped out of my comfort zone and went to a Milwaukee Brewers game with him last weekend. That part of being a couple is easy-peasy, we had that shit down already.

I’m not gonna lie and say that it’s all unicorns farting rainbows, though. This is really my first relationship as an adult and, because I'm not sure how to relationship, I am intermittently questioning and evaluating where it isn’t necessary. Basically, I’m having a hard time just going with the flow and letting things happen. It’s not all the time, but it hits me every now and again. I’m learning that it’s better to talk it out with him than to silently freak the fuck out about it, hoping it passes. He’s very patient with that part of me and doesn’t make me feel bad for occasionally going all girl-brain about all this shit. He’s a great guy, and I feel incredibly lucky to have found him. He’s smart, freakin’ adorable (don’t let him tell you otherwise), hilariously funny, caring, and kind.

I don’t know why I fought against it. Fear, mostly. Fear of the unknown, fear of being emotionally vulnerable, fear of getting hurt. But just look at me now… apparently, I’m premium girlfriend material and I just didn’t know it. My crystal ball is still in the shop, so I don’t have a hard line on what the future looks like for us, but I’m glad I’m all-in. I haven’t been this happy in a very, very long time. Relationship looks good on me. Wish us luck, y’all!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Aggressively Dating: A Fat Girl Navigating the Singles Scene

Y’all know I’ve dabbled in online dating from time to time (ahem…. see The Undateable Series). Upon returning thoughts of putting myself back out there yet again, I’ve sought the opinions and advice of my friends. My tattoo artist thinks that online dating is a bullshit waste of time, and that’s it better to just go hang out in a public space and let things happen naturally. Yeah, easy for you to say, my friend; I’m an introvert! Hanging out amongst the people at large is emotionally draining and makes me want to crawl under a blanket to recover. So, I’m a few months into my inevitable return to the sketchy scene of online dating and, this time, I’m learning a metric shit-ton in the process. Through what I’ve come to lovingly refer to as “Aggressively Dating,” I’m learning what I want, what I’m not interested in, that I actually do have “a type,” and that there are some things that are fun once but really aren’t sustainable long term.

What do I want outta this shit show?

When I reactivated my profile on OKCupid, it was with the explicit intent of seeking a long term relationship. I’ve been essentially single for over a decade and, since the boy has moved out and I’m finally living alone for the first time in my life, I figured the logical thing to do was to pursue a romantic relationship. So, I met a handful of guys, had a first date or two, and promptly started to reevaluate what I wanted. Like, I value my alone time. When I began to think about the natural progression of becoming involved with someone, discomfort set in at the idea of sharing my space with another person. Disagreements about what to watch on Netflix, irritation that I’ve just spent 9 hours playing Dragon Age Inquisition on my Xbox One, gripes because the interior of the refrigerator resembles that of Edward Norton’s fridge in Fight Club. Who needs that shit? So, I tweaked my profile, shifted my perspective, and adjusted my expectations.

The inbox influx…

After those changes were made and my re-vamped profile went live, there was an abrupt increase in the number of messages in my OKC inbox. Younger, hotter guys were hitting me up, and that was exciting. (On a side note, my good friend and confidante gave me dating parameters that she calls “The Rule of Seven,” so I have a minimum age that I am allowed to consider. That age is 28. I trust her, so I stick to that. Thanks, girl!) A good percentage of the messages immediately found their way to the trash. Being on the receiving end of, “I’m interested in eating a girl out for 2 straight hours with nothing in return. Interested?” was comical, at best. I started responding to more messages, and sending initial messages of my own. I grew bold in my newfound outlook on dating. I decided that, although I wasn’t opposed to finding myself in a relationship at some point, I was ready to concentrate on having some fun in the interim. You know, see what’s out there. Besides, how awful would it be to date someone for a finite duration only to find out that the sexual chemistry falls flat? Let’s take some test drives!

My libido – an analogy

Let’s say that, for a long time in your younger days, you really enjoyed cake. I mean, cake was great; you always felt satisfied after cake and generally looked forward to more. Then, the cake started to get stale and, eventually, you realized that cake was no longer meeting your needs. In fact, it was kind of making you sick. So you give up cake – cold turkey – and it wasn’t so bad. You abstained from all cake for a year, then two years, and before you knew it, you had gone a really long time without any cake. Of course, over the years, you’d see an occasional slice and get a pang of desire, but you fought through the craving and resisted. Until, one day, you indulge. And it was like fireworks and rainbows and unicorns and glitter bombs all rolled into one. All at once, you remember how much you fucking love cake.

Now what the hell am I doing with my life?

That is a question I've come to ask myself a lot lately. I’ve returned to my roots as a full-on cake aficionado. My reservations have lowered and I have become a person that I forgot I had once been. Don’t get me wrong – safety first… generally. I do my research, verifying the facts that are available to me, before agreeing to meet someone (remember my new friend, Tony). I make a concerted effort to ensure my physical well-being as best as I can. I’m not gonna lie… I’ve taken some risks and done some things that gave me a moment of pause afterward. You ever have a first date that evolves into hot sex on your living room floor only to find yourself, shortly thereafter, sitting on your couch next to a naked guy who’s going on and on – for 45 minutes – about how often he thinks about his ex-girlfriend of two years ago? Yeah, well, I have. I don’t recommend it. Despite everything, thus far, I have no regrets.

Lessons learned

  • One night stands are fun, once in a while, provided both parties are on the same page.
  • I have no desire to be someone’s recurring booty call or last resort.
  • “Friends with Benefits” sounds awesome but seems nearly impossible to execute.
  • I am allowed to have preferences, rules, and standards; I do not need to make compromises or “settle.”
  • There is no shortage of dudes who prefer a fat chick (although they do prefer to use cutesy euphemisms such as voluptuous, curvy, and thick).
  • Guys will go to great lengths to try to get you to send them pics of your tits, ass, and lady bits.
  • Sexting can be entertaining, but gets boring when it becomes apparent that that’s all he’s bringing to the table.
  • Aggressively dating means that I clean my house more often.
  • Sometimes, I make bad decisions (but I learn from them).
  • I still got it.

Now what?

Really….. I’m still figuring it out. Yes, I love cake *but* enjoying cake from four different bakers over the course of two weeks is, frankly, a bit exhausting. I’m trying to rein it in and shift my perspective once again. I’d like to find that medium ground that allows me to have my cake (preferably just from one baker) and figure out if we want more from there. So, my quest continues even though that means that I’m keeping the sleep/wake schedule of someone half my age, I find myself rolling my eyes and sighing heavily quite often, and threaten to deactivate my OKC profile at least a few times a week. Wish me luck!

Image via

Monday, February 6, 2017

Book Review! Dietland, by Sarai Walker

DietlandDietland by Sarai Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a wonderful book for anyone passionate about Fat Acceptance. I am about the same size as Plum, and have been for many years. If this book had been available 10 years ago, when I was Plum's age, I'd like to think that it would have jump-started my self acceptance then rather than leaving me to endure another 9 years of self loathing, disordered eating, and weight cycling.

I found a kinship with her as the author illustrated Plum's journey through breaking out of the rigid construct of diet culture, healing the wounds of years of food restriction, and coming out the other side having rediscovered her body's natural hunger/satiety cues; she found intuitive eating without knowing that's what she was doing.

The theme that resonated with me the most was her reclamation of style and fashion. Finally realizing that it felt good to wear clothing that not only fit her body properly (at the size it is now) but also expressed her vibrancy of character. That's difficult to do in oversized, shapeless, colorless garb.

I thought the political content was very timely, which is a nice coincidence considering when it was published. In today's world, with the American climate seemingly trending toward further marginalization of the people who are outside of society's skewed/unrealistic (and often unattainable) ideals of beauty, particularly in the wake of the Women's marches shortly after the inauguration, the underground activism felt real and relevant. Some of the actions were disturbing; however, as a work of fiction, those acts definitely set the tone. In a world where so many are attempting to normalize things like "grab her by the p***y" and other demeaning ways to reduce women to nothing more than eye-pleasing instruments of male pleasure, it was a welcome break to read about a group of strong women who were making steadfast attempts to educate other women in the freedom of not living your life with "f**kablility" as one of their life's objectives.

Overall, I found the book engaging and I identified with the main character in both wonderful and heartbreaking ways. I would highly recommend it to any woman of size who is either already well on their way to accepting (or even loving) themselves as they are or, perhaps more so, those who have yet to find Fat Acceptance for themselves. Thank you for this book, Ms. Walker!

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