Sunday, November 7, 2010

A much better catch...

I just got an email from my summer fling on one of the dating websites I use offering to give me tips on improving my profile. We've stayed in touch as friends though it hasn't always been easy. I initially thought there could be something much more potent and powerful between us and was very excited about him and the possibility of a relationship with him. He was interested in spending time with me but not interested in something more serious. Luckily I've been able to see him more clearly since we stopped seeing each other romantically and I have a better understanding of why it didn't/couldn't work for us to have the kind of relationship I would have preferred.

The email read:
if you are interested in my providing you with feedback on how you might improve your profile, feel free to let me know. i think you are a much better catch than this profile lets on. :-)
My initial response to this email was to feel a bit insulted. I've worked hard on that profile and have put quite a bit of thought into it. I was also hurt because some small part of me still hoped that he would realize how great I was and want to date me again (though when I think about this logically it would be a bad idea.) After thinking it over for a few hours, I have come to the conclusion that I should probably ask for his suggestions. He is trying to help after all and I don't have to actually make the changes if I don't agree with them. Something about it though does rub me the wrong way. What do you think? Would you feel differently if you were in my situation?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dating Fat as a Radical Act

Love and the search for it is really what this blog is about. I'm dating because I want to be loved for who I am now, in this body, with all my flaws and foibles as well as all the good things about me and also because I want to love someone that way.

As most who will read this probably already know, this past week has been an interesting one in the fat-o-sphere related to love. It all began with the brouhaha about the fat hating column on Marie Clare's web page by Maura Kelly. I initially found the article really disturbing. It made me sad to read her words about being disgusted by people's bodies and suggestions that it wasn't OK to put them being affectionate with one another on TV. Reading all the responses of the fat blogging community has helped. It is so nice to know that there are many people out there who have my back, who will stand up and say "You can not talk to us like that. You are wrong and here is why."

The article was disturbing because it put into print much of what we all knew some people were thinking but rarely making explicit. I know that there are many folks out there who don't like how my body looks, who wouldn't want to touch me because they have in their heads that rolls and larger bodies are somehow inherently disgusting. Most people try to hide this idea in polite society, but we know it is there. I do sometimes wonder where this comes from because if I look at it objectively, my fat parts are actually kind of nice to touch. They're soft and squishy like a stuffed animal or a nice pillow. I'm great to lean up against while watching a movie or to snuggle up to in bed. Large breasts are primarily composed of fat and lots of people want to touch those. Perhaps people are afraid that fat bodies are smelly but I know that I smell pretty darn good most of the time.

I know some folks say it's associated with health but I just don't buy that. Mariane Kirby wrote in her response in the Guardian that,
If you want people to be healthy, you don't want to deny them love and affection. You don't want to deny them the freedom to walk around in public going about their lives. When you want people to be healthy, you don't dehumanise them. And you certainly don't use a media platform to discuss how aesthetically displeasing it is to encounter them, even in ways that don't require interaction.

Perhaps the revulsion comes from the fact that fat has been so closely linked with "sick" in the cultural discourse. Are people afraid they might catch our disease? Kelly's assertion that she would also be disgusted watching a drunk or a heroin addict touches on the association with somehow being out of control which I think scares some people. Perhaps seeing fat people out and about, living lives in the world, implies that those bodies have not been properly policed by society. These are people who are refusing to hide away from the world just because they have not been able to mold their bodies into the "right" shape. They are radical just for stepping out into the world fat and radical threatens the status quo.

Dating a fat person is also a radical act, a resistance to the cultural messages that tell you who you should love and often a resistance to your friends and family who might not be fully supportive of you dating someone whose body is not the culturally accepted norm. Unfortunately there are people in this world who will make fun of you for dating a fat person, who will try to make you feel less than for who you love. I know that I am risking being the object of that as someone putting myself out there to try to date.

To that end, I'm so happy to see that Lesley Kinsel has started adding to the Museum of Fat Love (MOFL) again on Tumblr. This site is an inspiration for me and a message to those like Kelly who are living with unexplored fat hatred. This site is a reminder that the dating I'm doing can lead to something beautiful. I am aspiring to be part of this museum someday, to have a photo with someone with love shining out of our eyes at each other and a little story below explaining how we met and how happy we are now.

I will have a partner someday who will love me just as I am and who I can love in the same way and it will be good.

Ingrid Michaelson "The Way I Am" Video