Thursday, 18 February 2010

Romance: The Pitfalls and Problems of Being Fat

Since it was Valentine’s Day recently, I thought I’d discuss the obvious impact being a fat girl has on your love life. I’ve made no secret of the fact I am currently in a relationship, and I’m very lucky that I’m with a good man, and that we’re very happy together. But I am almost painfully aware of how lucky I am, and it hasn’t always been this way. I have endured countless Valentine’s Day alone, and a significant portion of those where I had someone were a disappointment.

As a teen I had to endure all my friends getting together, knowing that I had next to no chance of finding someone. At one point, I was part of a group of seven; three boys and four of us girls. At parties the other six would pair off (in various combinations) and I would be left on my own, watching them flirt and cuddle and kiss. When it was at its worst I would crawl into a corner or under a table and cry. And none of them ever noticed. It was a sickeningly empty feeling, knowing that your friends were too wrapped up in themselves to notice they were leaving you on your own. It was disheartening knowing that however well you got on with boys, they would never see you as anything more than a friend.

I very rarely dared even think about pursuing a crush. If it ever got out that I liked a particular guy it would be the end of the world, because I couldn’t bear the look of revulsion in his face when he heard. And yes, I have actually seen revulsion in the eyes of a crush on finding out how I felt. I used to try convince myself that I was content to wait until these boys grew up a bit and realised that looks weren’t the be all and end all when it comes to romance. Now at 21, I have realised that there are many guys out there who will never grow out of wanting their girlfriend to be ‘hot’ at all costs, even the expense of a pleasant personality. And I take exception to thei definition of ‘hot’.

I remember having an argument with one of my male friends about a mutual female acquaintance. To my eyes she wasn’t terribly pretty; her face just wasn’t attractive. But the friend maintained that she was hot. When I protested that he only thought she was hot because she was skinny, he agreed, with a tone in his voice that said ‘duh!’, and couldn’t understand why I was so bothered by this. I had the same argument with him about another female acquaintance in the same situation; not terribly attractive face, but she was skinny and therefore hot. There is a mentality, certainly in the UK, that skinny=hot and hot=skinny. This means there are countless (female) celebrities who are considered beautiful, but their face are actually quite ugly. I won’t mention any names but I’m sure you can think of some. This mentality means that, as a fat girl, I’m at a natural disadvantage when it comes to romance, because men are being told daily that fat girls cannot be attractive. I have to try extra hard for them to find me attractive, and that usually ends up with me being ‘just friends’ with them.

But all this doesn’t mean I never had any romance, oh no, I actually had a fair amount of romance in my life as a teen. Some would call me lucky; I would ask them to read what I have to say before calling it. The men (and often more appropriately, boys) have all been of the same kind of person, almost without exception. These boys were all socially awkward, shy types with almost no idea on how to form a proper relationship with a member of the opposite sex. No other female wanted anything to do with them. I saw something others didn’t, that made them seem appealing, and they took advantage of me.

I wanted relationship; I wanted to talk and hug and kiss and laugh and hold hands. These boys dated me, not because they wanted the same things, but because I was a piece of flesh that was willing to give them the time of day. Almost without exception these boys showed little to no interest in me before I approached them romantically; they weren’t interested in me as a person, merely as a woman. All these boys wanted was to have sex, to lose their virginities. Some were subtler about this agenda than others, but on one occasion I was outright told by the boy in question that that was why he was with me. They took up with me when it suited them, and cast me aside when it became clear I wouldn’t give them what they wanted, or that they’d have to give too much before I did.

Thank goodness I had a strong enough will to wait until I was ready, but this attitude from the boys and men I’ve dated left me extremely damaged. After a while you start to view yourself as they do. I had a very low opinion of my looks to start off with, which was only made worse by the fact my only redeeming factors, to them, seemed to be my tits and my vagina. All in all it was a series of very upsetting and hurtful situations, and at least part of me wishes I’d remained single instead of going through all that.

Thankfully, this story does have a happy ending. There are guys out there who prefer a good personality to a great pair of tits. There are guys out there who prefer woman with natural curves (as opposed ‘melons on toothpicks’ as Sam is wont to call skinny girls). There are men out there who deserve your time and attention, because they don’t just see you as ‘that fat chick’ or ‘one of the guys’.

I’ve found that things improve a great deal on realising that romance isn’t the be all and end all of life. But its not easy getting to that stage. The more disappointments you have, the better things feel when you actually find a good relationship, but the more you crave a relationship at all costs. I’ve made that mistake myself many times. Right now I’m with a good man. He screws up once in a while (and more often that he’d like or care to admit), because he still partly falls into the socially awkward category. But more important that anything else he wants me for me, and no other person will do. He’s not just after sex, he’s not with me because he wants a relationship and I happened to be willing. He wants me for me, and thinks I’m beautiful. I had to wait until I was 19 for a boyfriend to call me beautiful, but it was worth the wait, and very nearly worth all the disappointment in between.

Right now I’m happy. I am aware of just how bloody lucky I am. I do my best not to take him for granted; I do my best to show him I appreciate him. I remember what it was like to not have him, and going through it all again doesn’t sound fun. If you’re still looking, hang in there, there’s someone out there who will want you, and only you. It’s just a matter of finding the elusive bugger.

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