Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dry Spell

Well I'm going through quite a dry spell. I have had very little action on my online dating profile lately. I made some changes a few weeks ago and have apparently scared off all the men!

The main thing I changed was that I put the information that I plan to leave Los Angeles in Fall 2011 on there. I framed it as an important fact because it does relate to dating. It makes dating a really different proposition right now. There's an expiration date on my time here and so if I meet someone great we're going to have to deal with that fact. I might be able to be convinced to stay in the area if the right group of circumstances came about but I am pretty determined to get back East so I can be closer to my family. I also changed my pictures, but I'm hoping that's not why nobody is biting.

What do you all think? Should I leave this information off? Reveal it later after I meet someone? Is it too much honesty to include it on my profile? Or does this mean I just shouldn't be trying to date? I do want companionship and I really enjoy the process of dating so I don't feel like I should have to give it up entirely. Any ideas?

I'm also curious for those of you who have done some online dating, did you search out and approach many men? I usually don't because I've often had many writing to me but since that's stopped I'm wondering if I should be putting out more feelers. The site I'm using doesn't have a space for people to specify the body type they're looking for which makes me more reluctant to reach out. I'm a bit afraid that some men might react negatively to my approaching them.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Recycled Dates

I've been dipping into the recycling bin again. Spending time with two guys who I've dated in the past. Now this wouldn't be a problem except that these are guys that I have decided are not good choices for me. They fill a need though, a need for male companionship and a little bit of touch, a need to be seen as desirable and worth spending time with. And frankly, it's easy. They don't demand much and they give me that little buzz I can get off having a nice evening with a man.

But, neither of them is really emotionally available or a good match for me. The first is beautiful and a great lover but he doesn't want anything more than to be fuck buddies. Now that can be fun, but it really isn't what I'm looking for in my life right now. I know that if I let that happen regularly with him, I limit myself from looking for that something more that I really do want.

The second is wildly inconsistent. He can be sweet and helpful and act as if he adores me one day but then the next he is distant and shut down. We've tried dating a few times and each time it ends after just a few weeks when he withdraws then accuses me of "going crazy" when I call him on his massive mood shift. I've told him that our contact has to be on a purely friendship level, but it's tough not to slip back into cuddling and acting like we're on a date when I am so craving touch in my life right now and he's in one of his sweet phases.

I know that neither of these choices are right for me yet I continue to go back to them, I continue to reach out for that temporary satisfaction of feeling like I'm with someone even though I know it's not a good long term choice. This weekend I slipped back to them because I was feeling particularly vulnerable. I'm coming to terms with the ending of my summer romance and I'm a bit sad that the man from New Jersey doesn't seem to want to be with me enough to step outside of his comfort zone, to try something different with me-to give long distance a go even though we both know that wouldn't be easy. I've also been in the middle of a conflict with my brother that has been very hurtful. He put me in a very difficult position regarding his girlfriend (who I struggle to get along with) while I was visiting and I didn't handle it very well. I've apologized and tried to figure out how to make amends but he's not a great communicator and being 3,000 miles away doesn't exactly help. Overall, I've been feeling unheard and undervalued by the men around me so I went looking this weekend for someone to listen.

I think one of the toughest parts of being single when one doesn't want to be is not having someone to be really vulnerable with. I've never been great at showing people when I'm hurt or having a difficult time. It takes me a long time to achieve a level of intimacy with someone where I can reveal that. I am lucky to have some wonderful friends and I can reach out to them, but it's just not the same as having a partner, someone who has committed to be there with you through the tough stuff.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Technique-Fat Folks Flirting 101

I've been back from vacation a week and though work is going well, I'm missing my family and friends that I spent those two weeks with. I went out for a drink with a friend last night to help cheer myself up and there was a cute fellow at the bar who kept shyly smiling at me. It felt like he was interested, but I was talking to my friend and just didn't have the energy to give him the encouragement he needed to come over and say hello. This morning I am somewhat regretting that.

I have what I consider a practically fool-proof method for getting someone* who has a bit of interest to come by when you're out at a bar. I've taught it to a few friends and it's good for when you're looking to meet someone. I find that even if people are interested, they're often too shy to come over without a little bit of encouragement. Some of course are bold enough to just approach or to send a drink your way, but for those that need a little help, this is what I do.

First, look for eye contact. If he's interested he'll be looking your way. If you've had a few of those brief fleeting eye contact moments and he hasn't come by (and you want him to) use The Technique. Now this is uncomfortable for most people at first. It violates a few unspoken social rules but it does so in a way that lets him know clearly that you'll welcome him into a conversation. Try it sometime, it's good to do things that scare you. I've rarely had it fail when I've been bold enough to use it and I've talked many friends through it with great results. I'm kind of known as a great flirt among my friends; they find it amusing.

The next time you catch his eye, hold it for about two seconds. This feels like forever so you may want to count "1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi" in your head (counting it aloud would probably have the opposite effect than what you're looking for ;0). When you get to 2, smile gently. Then raise your chin up in a tiny little nod, bring it back down and turn back to your friend or to another part of the room. When I'm talking a friend through it (it works best if she's turned toward me and he's behind me) I say, "Catch his eye, Hold it... smile... and nod and turn." This often results in the recipient getting the bartender and sending us some drinks or in him coming over immediately to say hello. The smile shows him you're friendly and the little nod gives him a subtle "yes" to approach. Now if all else fails and you're really interested you can always go over and just say hello, but this is a fun way to let him think it was all his idea. I've done this at several different body sizes (including my current size 24) and had it work beautifully so don't let your fat stop you from flirting!

Good luck, let me know if you try it.

*I've only ever tried this with a woman as the one doing the technique but it does work for women attracting men and women attracting women. I'm not sure that it would work in most interactions for a man to attract a woman (it might read as creepy but I'm not sure) I do assume it would work for a man who was interested in another man as well. I've used "he/him/his" in my examples simply because that's often the way I've used this little strategy and I find "he/she" overly clumsy.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Snoring and Sleeping with a New Partner

So we've established that dating is fraught with challenges for everyone but being a fat woman is associated with a few extra challenges. One of those for me is a bit of new challenge. In the last year I've started snoring. Now snoring is not exclusively a problem for the fat folks, but it is definitely associated with large neck circumference (which I have) and weight gain (which I did).

I've never been a great sleeper but in the last 6 months my sleep has gotten horrible. I've been stressed about work and I started waking up gasping on a frequent basis. My throat and chest were often sore and I was constantly tired.

I saw a doctor who specializes in sleep problems first in late May. He noted that I have a delayed phase sleep disorder and he was concerned about obstructive sleep apnea. He recommended a sleep study which I had at the beginning of July along with a program to help me shift my sleep pattern. He recommended that I stop exercising in the evenings which may be helping me sleep but I'm struggling with getting in the workouts that I know make me feel good overall.

So that brings us to the snoring. From my previous post, you know that I've spent a few nights this summer with someone new. The first night I hardly slept so snoring wasn't an issue. On the second visit, snoring became a bit of a problem. I find the fact that I snore very embarrassing. I'm not sure why because it's not really something I can control. I think the fact that it's new for me and I don't really have strategies makes it even more difficult. I just didn't know what to do about it. Luckily he was very understanding and though we did spend some time sleeping apart we were also able to make some time sleeping together work which was nice. I had the second part of my sleep study last night because the first one did reveal that I was having severe apnea in REM sleep. I'll be getting a CPAP machine and I got to try it out last night. I already sleep with a tooth guard because I grind my teeth so this is just going to add to my sexy quotient. I guess it's going to take a special guy to want to sleep with me and all my appliances!

Anybody out there dating with a CPAP? Or just as someone who snores? Got any tips? I guess there's not much I can do besides pull it all out once we get to that point and if we're comfortable enough to be sleeping together, I should be comfortable enough to put on my anti-snoring/keep breathing mask.

Some part of me hopes that I'm going to magically lose some weight by getting better sleep. The doctor mentioned that sleep apnea is associated with weight gain but that the data isn't clear on which causes which. He said he doesn't recommend that his patients try to lose weight before having a CPAP because apnea messes with the hormones related to weight control. I'm trying to remember all of my fat acceptance stuff and to love this body I'm in, but old habits related to the Fantasy of Being Thin still slip in every now and then. I do think getting back to regular yoga practice with it's focus on healthy breath work might be a very good thing for sleep apnea and I know it always makes me feel great as well.

Update: I just remembered that Coleen over at The Pretty Pear has been dealing with some similar issues (though she's not relating them to dating). Worth taking a look at her posts here and here if you suspect you might have apnea or another sleep disorder. She also links to the Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder information which I tucked in above.

Summer Romance

So I haven't been here as much as I'd expected partly because I found myself a little summer romance. I met a man at a wedding out of town at the beginning of July and found myself fascinated with him. Well it wasn't quite an immediate fascination, but almost. We met at the rehearsal dinner on the Friday night before the Saturday evening wedding. I first assumed he was with the woman he was standing next to when we were introduced and then actually decided that he was gay once I deduced that he was not with her.

My expectations for meeting available men are obviously pretty low. He wears hoop earrings in both ears and leans toward the more sensitive side of masculine which were my false clues. I was missing what was apparently some very obvious flirting from his side though. He later told me that he wanted to kiss me within minutes of meeting me but I was completely unaware of his intentions. The dinner was a bit chaotic but we were both good friends of the groom and as such were heading out afterward for a "bachelor" party for him. It was very mellow and mostly consisted of drinking milkshakes and playing a card game at a cafe (Give me the Brain which I highly recommend for a fun group game.) He invited me to ride with him between venues and we got a chance to talk about the myriad of things we have in common. When we went to take a group picture at the end of the evening Earrings, as we'll call him from here on out, stood next to me and put his arm around me. I was still completely clueless, but looking back at the photo it's clear that he's interested in me. While everyone else looks forward into the camera he's smiling down at the top of my head. After the photo he asked me what I was doing the following day since the wedding wasn't until the evening. I replied that I'd planned to just explore the city a bit and maybe find somewhere pretty to read my book. He suggested we meet for lunch and to watch the world cup match between Spain and Paraguay and I agreed, still completely oblivious to his romantic intentions. My first clue actually came later that night when he sent me a few flirty text messages saying how much he enjoyed meeting me.

The next day we met for lunch/match watching in the restaurant of my hotel. I was unsure about what the sub-context was but I put on my favorite pretty top and decided to just embrace whatever it was. I knew that I liked him quite a bit and we did have an amazing amount in common. Knowing he was a friend of my good friend didn't hurt either. I was waiting at a table in the restaurant (it was completely packed because of the match and I'd grabbed the last table.) When he arrived he gave me a great hug and then stood next to my tall chair for several minutes. Lunch went really well and we watched the match and chatted. When we finished up I suggested that we go for a walk. He agreed and we were headed out the door when my phone rang. It was the groom asking for a favor. He had sent two of our mutual friends out on an errand near my hotel which was near the wedding location. He and most other people involved in the wedding were staying about an hour away. He was wondering if they could use my room to get ready in before the wedding. I of course agreed but there was a small catch. They had already left and were going to be heading my way but they didn't have a cell phone and the groom wasn't sure how long the errand was going to take them. They could be arriving anytime within the next 2-3 hours. They had been to my hotel room the day before to pick me up for the rehearsal and dinner so they knew which room I was in.

So Earrings and I now had a dilemma. We had to wait around my hotel room. Now this is a bit awkward with someone you have known for less than 24 hours but suspect of being romantically interested. I explained the situation and he suggested that we just go hang out in the room. What else could we really do?

Now this was not a large hotel room. It was very nice but the space was just big enough for the bed, a desk, and one chair next to the window. We sat up there and talked, him on the bed and me on the desk chair. I showed him some things on my laptop and we compared notes on the large number of people that we both know. We marveled a bit on how we hadn't met before this and eventually he used one of the oldest and most obvious ploys in the book for getting to touch me and suggested a back rub. I agreed, knowing exactly what it was leading up to and sat in front of him on the bed. He did get a few minutes of good neck and shoulder rubbing in before he leaned over and kissed me. It was a good kiss. He then told me that he'd been wanting to do that since he first met me the night before and we moved promptly into making out like teenagers. Now I knew that at any moment this couple could show up so I didn't let things go on for too long. I got up and went to comb my hair and such and just as I did they arrived. I felt a bit like I had a naughty secret.

We all got ready for the wedding and headed over to it soon after. The location was stunningly beautiful and the groom sent Earrings and I on an emergency errand just before the ceremony began. It was fun running around with him trying to solve a problem. We sat next to each other during the ceremony and were actually seated at the same table for dinner afterward. Well actually it was a picnic blanket which was even more fun. He brought me drinks and acted like my date for the entirety of the wedding evening and then he asked if I wanted to hang out afterward. Now I knew this probably meant that we'd end up back at my hotel room and I wasn't sure how I felt about this. I really liked him but that was moving pretty fast for me. We talked about it a little and decided that since our time together was so short we'd play it by ear. Oh I've forgotten to mention the big challenge in all of this. He lives on the East coast and I'm in Los Angeles. He quickly expressed that though he liked me a lot he wasn't interested in a long distance relationship. I was a little bit disappointed but decided that I wanted to explore whatever this was, even if it was just going to be a short summer fling. He did end up spending the night and we spent the entire next day together. We went to a brunch on a houseboat for the newlyweds, took a nap on a blanket in a park and talked and talked. He drove me to the airport for my evening flight and left me with some wonderful kisses and the promise of staying in touch.

We have stayed in touch and I actually got to spend four more days with him last week. I was visiting my family in upstate NY and he drove up to visit for a few days. We spent two days alone at a place on a lake and two days with friends and my family. We talked again about possibilities for the future but he is quite sure that he can't do long distance and is even questioning his readiness for a relationship at all right now (he's 2 years out of a marriage and 3 years into a PhD so he's feeling a bit off center I think). I have been planning on moving back East in fall 2011 so the possibility seems real to me that we may end up together at some point but for now I'm just filing this away as a wonderful summer experience that has restored my hope in real connections with men. I am going to continue dating and we're going to keep in touch. We will probably see each other New Year's Eve as he's been invited by some other friends to a long running party that I always attend.