By CYNTHIA GOODFELLOW
I like to people watch. I’m good at it.
I like to watch my fellow shoppers and challenge myself to catch the affectionate looks, the subtle touches, and the verbal shorthand that can all suggest that two people are indeed a couple. Some couples are prone to PDA or public displays of affection, and some you really have to watch for the subtle signs.
For most people being out and about with a loved one is commonplace and whether or not strangers recognize them as a couple is insignificant to them, but if you’re a fat girl who’s been told her whole life that she is too fat to find love then being recognized and acknowledged as part of a twosome is a big deal.
Twenty years and a hundred pounds ago my father, who couldn’t have loved me more, was really clear that if I ever wanted a partner I would have to lose weight. He didn’t say it to be mean, he said it because he cared. He said it because as much as he loved me he knew that most men would never take the time to be dazzled by my personality because they couldn’t see past the size.
While I can appreciate that my father wanted to encourage me to lose weight, comments like that tend to have the opposite effect on me and the added bonus of killing what fledging self-worth I had. In fact I had such a low opinion of myself and my ability to attract a partner that I spent many years alone and if someone did approach me or suggest that we have coffee I was oblivious to the fact that they were interested or I thought that they were making fun of me. When I did finally start to put myself out there and explored the world of internet dating I was floored to find out how many men actually appreciated someone like me.
Then I hit the next obstacle. There are two distinct kinds of men who love the larger ladies – the ones who don’t care who knows it and the ones who treat it, and you, like a dirty little secret. I met some very attractive men online and I felt pretty and sexy and desirable and then I started to notice a pattern. The men I was meeting were happy to meet for a quick coffee, but after that we always hung out at my place, we talked about going out, but it never seemed to happen and they had the oddest work schedules which only allowed them to come over after dark and they had to leave before breakfast.
I might be a little slow to the plate, but I’m not a complete moron and each time I met someone new I was quicker to catch on to what was really happening. These men weren’t going to walk through a mall with their arm draped around my shoulder and they certainly were never going to introduce me to their friends and family.