I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
No one truly knows why we like what we do. After meeting over a thousand people for a date and emailing with significantly more, I can safely tell you that no two people are alike. Meaning, there are some people out there that are into some weird, crazy, and interesting things. But don’t act like you’re surprised because let’s be real here – there are some things you’re into that you have never told anyone about. Maybe you like being slapped in bed. Maybe you find back hair sexy. Maybe you like having your toes sucked on. Maybe you like when your partner gets insanely jealous. Maybe you like being spit on. Maybe you like when a guy forces you to make him dinner every night. Or maybe you just like like the idea of someone holding you and making you feel safe while you fall asleep. What I’m getting at is that I have met people that were into each of those things. When I asked what it was about it that they found so appealing, most couldn’t articulate themselves very well. Most people responded to the effect of, “Uh, I don’t know. I just know that I like it.”
She seemed a little timid when I walked through the door. She was sitting at a table, scrolling through her phone with one hand and a drink in the other. She looked up and gave a half smile and nod. I walked to the table and bent down to give her a hug. She started to get up and it became one of those really awkward and reluctant hugs that you generally reserve for creepy uncles or when you’re feigning sympathy to someone you don’t really like. Like most people, she was visibly nervous as we ran through the list of first date questions and banter. As the evening progressed she began opening up a little more and mentioned that this was only her second time meeting someone from a dating website. I thought that was adorable but I wanted to make her feel a little comfortable so I shared with her a few of my horror stories and assured her that she was doing just fine and had nothing to worry about. As she began to hold more of the conversation she told me that she was mercilessly teased in her town because she had been significantly overweight so it was difficult for her to trust people’s intentions. That was why online dating intimidated her so much. She told me awful stories about how the popular kids would jokingly invite her places so she could be the butt of the joke. She said she chose a university far away so she wouldn’t have to deal with her small town mentality but that even in college it continued. She said that it had gotten so bad that she developed an eating disorder. She told me that after years of therapy she had gotten the compulsions under control but that with the significant weight fluctuations, her body would never be the same. She was so genuine and honest that I felt like I owed her something. Her vulnerability was pleasantly shocking for a first date and I thanked her for trusting me and I gave her a hug. She looked at me and said, “I just can’t imagine anyone wanting to love a person like me.” It was brutal. It hit me hard and I could feel the tears creeping into my eyeballs. She wasn’t saying it for attention or sympathy. She was saying it because it was true – to her.
I told her a story about a woman I had met a few years earlier. She was a very large woman who had trouble getting into the booth we were at in the bar. She was confident. She told me that she didn’t care about how people perceived her body type and that after she discovered a community for fat acceptance, she was going on dates so much that she couldn’t keep up. She told me that she was a fetish for some, but while the looks got them in the door, it was her personality and heart that kept them there. She said, “I am not a fetish. I am a woman. A woman who just happens to be big. And if you like that, good. But you’re really going to like me as a person once you sit down with me.” And she was right. She was confident and funny and could take a joke just as easily as she could give one.
I looked at her and said, “There is someone out there right now looking for YOU. Not someone who looks like you but YOU. And they will not only love your body, but most of all, they will love you and your honesty and your courage. There is someone out there who has weathered a shitstorm just like you and they are looking for someone who can understand their struggle. Because nothing bonds two people more like a shared adversity.
She looked at me and smiled and said, “It’s funny how sometimes we forget that not everyone likes what we are told to like in magazines and on television.”
I said, “Hey, every pot has a lid, no matter the size.”
She laughed and said, “True. So is it strange that I love the smell of a really sweaty man?”