Monday, June 28, 2010

Date #1

So my first bloggable date was last week. It was a man who had responded to my Craigslist post. He was one of the first to respond and this was what he wrote:

Hey there--I'm also from Los Angeles; 31. Tall, educated, authentic, too.

Let me know if you want to know more--I'd love to know more about you!

He also attached a picture. He was quite handsome and I thought that he looked familiar but when I brought that up to him he didn't think I looked familiar to him. We sent a few emails back and forth and got on a chat program. He was witty, charming and quickly asked if I wanted to set up a date.

Now I've done a fair amount of online dating and I have often said that I like to meet early. My theory has been that it saves time and honestly a big part of that is motivated by my insecurity that the man I date is not going to like my body. I'd rather he see it in person sooner, rather than later so if that's going to be an issue we get it out of the way quickly, before I've had time to feel too attached to the idea of him. I have pictures but I'm always afraid they don't really represent me fairly. I'm not sure why that is. I do pick "flattering" pictures generally but I know I don't have a great idea of what my body actually looks like so it's hard to know which ones to send. I'm not sure if this is the best strategy. But I decided to go for it and we quickly set up a plan to meet for a drink at a local bar in three days time.

The next day A contacted me on chat again late in the evening. This time he was more forward and asked me to send some more pictures which I did. He then started throwing in some light innuendo. I playfully rebuffed this and he soon said he had to get to bed. On the third night, the night before our date, we chatted again. He mentioned that he hadn't realized how large my breasts were before the last set of pictures and seemed to get quite fixated on them. He asked me what size brassiere I wear. Now this is an issue that I've had come up before in dating. I don't know if it's more with online dates but it's been a bit of a problem. I know I have large breasts and I know that many men are fascinated by boobs, but I really don't want to talk extensively about my chest at this early stage in the game. Am I wrong to think this is inappropriate?

We bantered back and forth a bit about it. I told him that I didn't want to talk about it and he seemed to get a little bit miffed. He told me that he was worried that we wouldn't be compatible but wouldn't elaborate. I was starting to think that my plan for setting up a date early might have been a mistake, but I wanted to give him a chance.

Date Day:
He sent a message confirming that we were still on and I got ready. I wore my hair curly with trouser leg jeans and my favorite robin's egg blue cardigan. I put on a pair of low heels and pretty makeup. I used a dash of one of my favorite scented oils. I headed out just a few minutes later than I expected but still with plenty of time. We were planning to meet at 8:30 on the patio of a local bar. He texted me as I was driving up that the patio was closed so I called him and we decided to meet inside. I parked and called him. He'd wandered over to another shop but came walking back. He was very tall and he smiled at me from across the street. As soon as I saw him I knew that we had met before.

We had been on an Amazing LA Race tour together a few months ago and we'd chatted with our groups of friends afterward over a few drinks. He didn't recognize me. I pointed out the connection and then he remembered me and that made for some easy conversation as we relived some of the highlights of that day. He had not eaten dinner but I had so he ordered food and I got a glass of wine. Conversation flowed pretty well and I was having a good time.

After dinner he asked what I wanted to do and I suggested we go for a little walk. He hinted at wanting to go by my place but I ignored that. We walked and talked and he again brought up the subject of my breasts and what size bra I wear. I really don't understand this. Why is that important? What made him think it was appropriate first date discussion material? Uggh! Anyone else had these experiences? Like I said above this is not the first time it's happened to me. Are there some of you out there who aren't bothered by this and just kind of roll with it or take a "boys will be boys" attitude?

To be continued...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Craigslist Ad and a Deluge of Responses

I posted this late Saturday night.

Something Different...BBW - 34 (Pasadena)

I'm a bit lonely tonight. I miss having someone in my life who makes me want to go to bed. I'm a night owl. I have two dogs. I am too smart for my own good. I might move back East sometime. I don't like sex without strings. I can be a bit shy with a new guy though I'm outgoing in most social situations. I love to go out for dinner or drinks. I'm a good cook. I'm not a great housekeeper. I love live music. I like sitting on the beach watching the waves and drinking wine. I drank a bottle of Chandon Blan de Noirs by myself tonight but I wish I'd had someone to share it with. I'm reading "The Last Unicorn" and just finished the Temeraire series. I love swimming in lakes or frolicking in the ocean. I belong to a liberal non-christian church and I love it. I get insecure with new guys when I haven't heard from them in a few days and then tend to walk away so I won't get hurt. I realize this is fucked up. I want to be authentic. I am willing to work on myself and to make connections. I am faithful. My skin is white and soft, my hair is curly and reddish brown, my lips are often turned up at the corners, my eyes are green and open. This is my body:

My roommate and I had ordered some dinner and I had opened bottle of sparkling wine that I mentioned. Roomie was drinking beer so I was responsible for the entire bottle myself...wouldn't want to let it go to waste. Posting the ad was a total impulse act, but I'm glad I did it.

I think posting while intoxicated wasn't probably my best plan but it may have had an unexpected benefit in that I was uninhibited. I've been thinking a lot about authenticity and how important it is in the early stages of dating. I need to be able to be myself. I need to be able to show the parts of myself that aren't my favorite bits.

The picture is a bit of a conundrum for me. The one I chose is certainly flattering but I don't think it misrepresents me. I worry though that those responding won't really understand how big I am. I want it not to be an issue but I understand that in dating bodies matter. I heard my roommate say once that she thought men were interested in the body first and then the rest of the person. I know that's not true for all men, but I do think there's more of a bias that direction in the male population. I want to be with someone who can enjoy my body, both for it's looks and for all the amazing things it can do but it's crucial to me that I'm with someone who is more excited by the person I am in this body.

I've had over 70 responses and they're still coming in. One was a picture of a penis, an attractive penis mind you but that's just not going to get me to respond. One was mean about my weight. Three have been invitations to have sex immediately upon reading the response. The rest are all some degree of a serious response. I haven't had time to respond to most of them but I have been emailing back and forth with a small handful of men yesterday and today. I think this is promising but as I said in the last post, it's a ton of work!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Emotion Work and the BIG Questions

The last post was about some of the actual work that goes into making on-line dating work but this one is more about the emotional work it takes to put oneself out there and give it a go. I want to date. I love having a significant other and I would really like to have that energy in my life again soon but dang the dating part is a struggle. I've dated on and off for many years now and I'm struggling with maintaining the energy.

The second big challenge for me is that I'm not sure where I'll be in a year's time. I may be moving back to the East coast or somewhere else entirely. I think that could be good for dating but it puts me in a strange limbo now. Am I looking for a long-term relationship here? Is there a chance I'd stay around if I met the right person? Is it possible that someone might come with me if I needed to move for my career?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The work of online dating

Online dating is a LOT of work.

First I create a profile. I go over it a few times trying to make it interesting and authentic and to minimize the silly errors that are basically inevitable. Having done it a few times does give me some extra compassion when I'm reading the profiles of others. I choose a few photos: flattering but not unrealistic representations of what I look like. I'm not trying to trick anyone. I make sure I put a full body shot up. I hit submit and wait for approval by the service. A day or so later it begins...

The first wave: I get the initial feelers of interest. On the smaller site I'm using now this has been less than I've experienced before. This site is devoted to fat folks. I got 18 responses. The first was a man inquiring whether I am looking for a dominant/submissive relationship. I'm not so I move on. About half are men well outside what I consider an acceptable age range. I'm 34 so I gently hold to 26 to 44 as what I'll consider. If a profile really wows me but is outside the range I'll give him a chance. I read all the messages and look at all the profiles unless the message is completely out of line. I try to respond to anyone who writes a real response in some way even if it's only to tell them I'm not interested. Many of these responses are quick form responses which you don't have to be a paying member to send. I have not paid yet. I wanted to see what the responses were like first. I'm not sure what I will do. You can engage in email with paying members even if you haven't paid. I've had 5 real emails. I sort and respond favorably to the ones who catch my interest. Many are not local. I've decided to look beyond the LA area.

If anyone is reading this, let me know if this is similar to your experiences. Are you trying online dating? Do you want to but are worried? Have you tried a site that is devoted to fat folks?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fat and Dating

Dating. It's something I've done an awful lot of in my 34 years. I've been in 3 long term relationships since I was 17 but I've also spent about six cumulative years single and I don't like to sit home alone. I've got some great stories and though my friends have heard most of them I feel like it might be time to write a few down.

I have very much enjoyed dating at times of my life and at other times it's felt like a huge chore. I'm certainly not a champion at relationships. I make mistakes and probably don't have the confidence that I should in putting myself out there but I'm re-committing to the process so I think it's time to bear (bare?) some witness to the struggles of being a fat woman dating.

I very much enjoyed the only other blog I've seen about fat women dating but she fell in love and started blogging about running (something I definitely don't enjoy) and I've felt like there's been a bit of a hole in the fatosphere ever since. So I guess I'm going to try to fill it.

Yesterday I posted a new personal ad on a site specifically devoted to larger people and considered posting another one. I've had ads up for years on the mainstream sites with various degrees of action coming from them. I've met some interesting people and even had a few short relationships start from them but obviously nothing that was right for the long haul and that's what I'm looking for. I want to be with someone for a long time to come. I want an everyday connection. I want the security of knowing that I am with someone I can trust. I want someone who can work with the flawed parts of me and appreciate the fantastic parts too.

So off I go...maybe just continuing to talk to myself but maybe someone else will take a little inspiration from here. Maybe there are some other fat women who would like a place to talk about all the trials and tribulations that come with dating as a fat woman. Maybe I will find some insight in the wilds of the web that will lead me down a different dating path.