Up until now I have shied away from online dating.
It didn’t fit my sensibility, how I imagined meeting someone. The magic, romance and serendipity of a chance encounter whacking me over the head and shaking me to my core. Entirely unexpected and gorgeous.
I recently changed my mind, thinking it might be helpful to, at the very least, see who is out there.
I’d been noodling on the idea for a little while. Then I found myself sitting across the table from my divorce buddy – the man who walked side-by-side with me through the dissolution of both of our marriages – and thought, “I could grow old with you.”
I’ve been here before with him. He didn’t share the sentiment.
At that moment I realized I had been fishing in a barrel – albeit unknowingly. If I wanted different I had to do different. Beginning with looking for someone who, at the very least, appears to be available. (Unlike my most recent, fast, woefully unavailable, flirtation. Core shaking and lovely, but impossible.)
Last night I began an online dating profile. I didn’t get very far – stymied on the first screen.
Question: What is your body type?
Answer: I don’t know.
Several I could rule out: Big and Beautiful, Full Figured, Heavyset, A Few Extra Pounds, Stocky. What about “About Average?” At risk of sounding, hm…not right sized…I don’t think of myself as “About Average.” At all. Period.
(When I mentioned to the aforementioned divorce buddy that I needed to shave my head before leaving on our cross-country drive from Seattle to Chicago, he asked that I consider not – instead letting my stubble grow. “I find it best to blend in when in Montana and the Dakotas.” “I have never blended in,” I responded. “I know.”)
That left me with Slender, Athletic and Toned, and Curvy.
I picked Curvy, filled out a couple of more screens – offering up that I am a liberal, Libra, entrepreneur who would selfishly treat myself to something special should I be blessed with a financial windfall – and went to bed.
I told my friend Kendall about the experience this morning. When I told her I chose Curvy, she told me I chose wrong.
But what about my hips? My breasts?
Curvy implies extra weight, Rubenesque, she explained. “You are not.” When one of our regular Weight Watchers members walked through the door, she posed the question to him. “Definitely not Curvy.”
This was news to me. For most of my life I would have chosen, A Few Extra Pounds, Full-Figured or, at best, Curvy. I forget that was more than 12 years ago. Thirty-five pounds ago. A breast reduction ago.
Seems my brain is still busy trying to catch up with my body. This isn’t the first time.
A couple of weeks ago I bought a new pair of winter boots. Like a kid, I wore them right out of the store – tromping home through the snow, giddy. When I arrived at my apartment 20 minutes later, I had blisters on both ankles. They were too big.
I cursed myself for being 44 and not knowing what size shoe I wear.
I went back the next day, head dipped, shoe box in hand, to see what, if anything, the store could do for me. They began by measuring my feet.
Six. A little less than six actually. But the boots were a six and one-half. And sometimes, I’ve been known to buy a seven. (These shoes usually ended up in a friend’s closet or at GoodWill. Now I know why.)
They didn’t have my boots in a smaller size, so I purchased a different pair – red leather and suede, treated for winter, with a lug sole. The salesman gave me $50 off for the “inconvenience” of having gotten the wrong size.
I always think I am bigger than I am. Even when I was bigger.
Like the time I picked a fight with a guy a foot taller than me at a bar. Drunk and messy, he swung his girlfriend around the dance floor, continually knocking her or himself into someone else. Often me. Next I knew, I watched myself running into him, full force, slamming him into the wall.
He spun around, ready to fight. He looked around, and then down. When he saw me, he appeared confused.
He grabbed my wrists in one paw, and held a fist with the other, while his girlfriend screamed and I shrieked, “Get a bouncer.” I hadn’t counted on this.
He got kicked out of the bar that night. I was lucky. I think about my brother telling me to not start something with my mouth that I couldn’t back up with my body. I had forgotten.
So I changed the body type on my profile to Slender. But that is all. I’m still not certain about all of this.
In the meantime, I’m working on getting “right sized” – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Seeing myself as I truly am – good and bad. Neither better than or less than. One of the pack. Perhaps even, “About Average.”