Just warning you ahead of time, I expect this to be a rambling post without any clear direction as I'm basically talking about two things at once. Its also going to be very very very long. Sorry. Oh, and its not an April Fools day prank, either, I just thought it was a catchy (and cliche) post title. Though its not passed onto April 2, anyway, so it just makes no sense.
I was leaving my train station yesturday and happened to notice a very cute SSBBW waiting out front at the car stand. I was walking right by her and I found myself in that quiet awe stage that comes just before full-fledged staring. But really, I was hunting for eye contact.
Flirting has never been a strong point for me in general. I can do it well enough in a social situation, but cold flirting escapes me. I think it has something to do with my natural inclination to assume other people aren't interested in having anything to do with me (but that's really another issue). I can really only think of one time I really did the cold-flirting thing right. It was at a class picnic my senior year of high school. We went to this picnic grounds/camp place that was quite popular for this sort of thing. They let a few different high schools come on the same day and there were all manner of outdoor activities for people to do to their heart's content. Volleyball, swimming, basketball, tennis, bocce, horseshoes, even a playground and a lake with those foot paddle boats. So, I notice this cute girl from another high school and I'm quickly smitten. More significantly, the friend I'm with notices her and immediately realizes I'm checking her out and proceeded to goad me into chatting her up. That was the cool thing about high school for me. Everyone knew I was an FA and no one gave me grief about it. Even people who really didn't get fat acceptance were very genuinely supportive of me. I had countless friends telling me about the cute fat girl at their college once we all settled into our respective universities. The friend here was the least likely to be supportive, too. Very much a Barbie type, although also very sincere and nice though most of my friends never saw that in her. It was so great to have her being so normal about me checking out a fat girl. So, I dismissed my instincts with surprising ease and hung out with the girl for most of the rest of the day. Nothing went on from there, but still. I felt as if a victory had been achieved. Regretably, my college was stunningly lacking in BBWs and I also quickly ended up in long-term relationships for most of the last 7 years, so keeping up on my flirting skills was not very tennable.
And yet, I don't think that was the problem as I stood their hoping this cute girl at the train station would make eye contact with me. I knew what I hoped to do. I was just going for a quick smile and leave it at that. Nothing major. Not really the place. I was clearly on my way somewhere and she was clearly waiting for someone. Not a situation that inspires much, but you never know when I might see her again, so it'd just be laying the groundworks. But, she made eye contact with me, and I quickly flashed a little smile, but just as quickly paniced and looked away. Not because I was afraid of talking to her. Wasn't the plan to begin with, after all. I was afraid she wouldn't want me thinking she was cute.
I really really really hate FA whining, so please forgivie me if I get too self-pitying. I'm not at all trying to say this in relation to what being a fat woman is, since I know the issues are much worse. Just so you know. This isn't meant to be a compartive discussion. Just about me. hehe
My biggest problem is that in the last 3 years, I've seen almost exclusively discouragement about being an FA. Reasons to make me feel that it is utterly hopeless, that no woman really wants to be with an FA. I worried that she would take my little attempt at flirting with her as an insult. I know, I know. "Get over it." But its not that simple. Fat negativity has gotten so much worse in the last few years. Just as it seemed we were turning a corner, it all came crashing down. I know a lot of my feeling this way has to do with my ex-ex-girlfriend lying to me about this. For those who don't know the story, I had dated a BBW who believed in fat acceptance. It was great. It made me happier than I could have imagined being and I told her that. Not as a warning, but to show my appreciation and gratefullness.
She took it as a warning, though. Because eventually, she changed her mind. Not sure why or how. I suspect she lost some wait due to feeling sick for a couple months, and it just got addictive. Pretty soon, she was taking pills, eating less and less, developing an excercise disorder. She lost a considerable ammount of weight in just a year. And she didn't tell me what she was doing. And because I had expressed my opposition to intentional weight loss to her very clearly and was under the impression she agreed, I just figured this was all normal. Hell, I didn't really notice until she lost 100lbs. I never suspected anything, either. I trusted her. After all, it wasn't about losing weight to me. It was about the attitudes and beliefs around weight. And even though her weight-loss measures took over more and more of her life, leaving less and less time for me making me feel lonely and sad, I didn't think she was trying to lose weight. I figured it just happened. But, eventually, I stumbled upon the truth. I went to a site she liked for recipes just to see if I could get any ideas on something we could eat together. I looked through the forums and I found a post from her detailing the whole story. I was just in shock. Especially when I realized that what had been pushing us apart entirely on its own was also something she knew I had strong feelings about. I know I can't make anyone else's decisions for them, and I wouldn't want to. But I should get to make my own. Fat acceptance has always been intensely important to me. I know I need to be with someone who not only supports this belief in me, but supports it themselves. I had told her that, and she disregarded my feelings. And that really hurt a lot. Everyone always makes out dieting as some kind of grand civil rights issues and we evil Fat Acceptance people want to deny people the right to diet. Its really just their way of letting us know they want to deny us the right to disagree, because it is utterly absurd to say we have any means to make anyone do anything. I can't control what she does with her body, but I should get to control who I share my life with. I have to accept dieting and fat negativity in friends. I don't want to in a partner. Its important to me, and I need to share it. She was welcome to make her choice, but so was I. She denied me the chance to make that choice and she also denied me the chance, as someone who cared about her, to try to convince her not to do it. So, I ended it not long after that. I was hoping she'd finally come clean, but she didn't, so I decided not to bring it up.
The aftermath is that I've become a lot more cynical about finding someone. When I met my last girlfriend, I really held back a lot of myself, because I was afraid she'd reject it or worse. Which is a major reason I think our relationship never went anywhere. It was nice, but never more. How could I fall in love with someone who I was being careful not to share an important part of myself with? But, the bigger issue was that I held back not because I was afraid of how she'd react, but because I knew it. I read enough plain signals and statements to know where she was on these issues. I tried to act like it didn't matter to me, but I always knew better. If anything, I'm glad because it really showed me that finding someone who agrees with me about fat acceptance is important to me and its not something I can run away from.
But is it something I can find? There is so much hostility towards fat acceptance, it can be demoralizing. I know BBWs often point out that they are easy to find, but FA's don't stand out in a crowd. Sure, this is true, but its not like every fat woman you see wants to be someone who thinks they are beautiful and will be supportive of them learning to love their body as it is. Its not what many want to hear. And finding those who do want that is begining to feel like a very overwhelming challenge.
I put up an ad at a non-BBW related site that is local to the Boston area. (Go ahead, guess) I started mentioning all of this in very positive terms, like someone accepting of their size or who doesn't apologize for their size. This yielded me numerous responses from people who would describe themselves as a "BBW but working on it." *shudder* Why would you respond to an ad of someone who is looking for a BBW when you are so negative about it, you'd define it as something you're "working on". Had one person who was completely incredelous that I didn't fall over myself to congratulate her for losing 150lbs. Look, as I was saying, I can't make anyone accept themselves, but that also means no one can make me support their non-acceptance. I cannot support something I know doesn't work, and that's my feeling about dieting. Anyway, I got progressively more and more explicit about it, and never yielded a response from someone who seemed to get it. The closest was someone who started their response by lecturing me how I was foolish to expect someone to be perfectly accepting. Did I say I expected someone to be perfectly accepting? Nope. Would I expect it? Can't expect something I can't be myself. But they jumped to that conclusion just on seeing me mention that I wanted to be with someone who believed in fat acceptance. I took this as a bad sign and steered clear.
So, fat acceptance groups as a means of finding a mate? Well, I'm sure Kell will rightfully take me to task if I suggested using political activism as a dating service. And some may remember my whole disillusionment with fat acceptance thing. (more on that later), so that's also an issue. But even before either of those concerns, the fact remains that Boston isn't the hot bed of political activism San Francisco is. Or New York, or Seattle I guess, or, um, well its not like there are many hopping communities of fat accepting folks. Boston's claim to fame is the social scene, which is one of the more active you'll find. Predictably enough, it was at BBW dances that I met both of my previous girlfriends. And yet, I feel conflicted about going back to them. (I also feel noticably automative deficient since they events are all suburban and I am all public transportation dependant) When I had been to them recently, I felt a profoundly anti-fat sentiment running through the room. Rather than the safe haven feel I used to see, it now feels at the least abivilant towards fat accepting attitudes, and at worst openly hostile. I've exaggerated it as a meeting between feeders (which I'm not) and dieters (which I'm also not) and this just leaves me feeling like the odd man out. At the least, it doesn't solve the problem of finding someone who is on the same page as me with fat acceptance. Sure, part of me is desperate to go back, but at the same time, another part of me is actively unmotivated.
Why so important? Couldn't I just give up and dealing with a woman who resigned herself to being fat. At least until she was next convinced she really should lose weight. After all, diets have no great track record of success. If I wanted to play the odds, I'd be pretty comfortable that in the end, no weight loss would occure. Actually, the odds favor weight gain pretty dramatically, so weight loss isn't long-term concern statistically speaking. But as I've been saying, its not the weight. Its the attitude. I've gotten so much inspiration from the fat acceptance movement and some of its good leaders, like Jennifer Portnick or Marilyn Wann. It is something I deeply value in my life, but its not something I can do on my own. I tried that, and many in the movement only inspired me to give up on it as I saw them time and time again coddle and satisfy even the worst bigots. Short of moving to San Fran, I need to find support in my life somehow for this. It is a very important part of who I am, and I need to be with someone who wants that. Who wants to be with someone like that. They don't need to have the activist trends I do, but they need to agree with me. Not just humor me. I need that kind of support, because I don't have a community of support. I cannot afford to give up that personal support, even if I was willing to sacrafice it.
So what does this mean? I don't know. I've just spent 12 hours (no, not straight) getting to this point, and I don't have the energy to look at the next step. Just ranting without purpose for now. Thanks for putting up with it.