Guest Post: This Plus Size Dating Life & What Made Sense to Me
Dating has never made sense to me.
Sex makes sense to me.
Meeting someone you barely know and proceeding to have a way-too-fast Uhaul style insta-relationship makes sense to me.
The idea of getting to know someone over a series of awkward meals and otherwise mundane encounters while you are both trying really hard not to get food on your clothes or burp is just stressful. Maybe I just never got the swing of dating because I was a teenage outcast.
Imagine: summer time, a 14 year old chubby Mexican nerd wearing enormous off-trend glasses and cut-off shorts rolled allll the way up, watering the lawn while eating a popsicle. It was Ghost World meets some show that wasn’t around in the 90s because there was no Latina representation.
That was me – a burgeoning mini-babe who didn’t know she was a total catch, trying really hard to get a boyfriend. I always found the world of dating and romance both alluring and inhospitable. I didn’t have the delicate graces of any of the women on TV. I was smart, but no dude seemed to care. And nothing fit me so I couldn’t even wear anything cute.
I started dating when I was 17, after years of being told that no man would ever want to be with me because I was fat. I had seen an ad on television late one night for a telephone personals service. It asked me if I wanted to meet local singles. And I said YES. I ended up meeting my first boyfriend. David was (way) older than me, worked at Butterfield & Butterfield, and introduced me to the world of nice towels and foie gras.
Since then, dating as a plus size woman has always been complicated. To be fair, dating as a woman of any size is often underwhelming. I have never sat with anyone who’s on the market and heard the phrase “Gee whiz, dating just fills me with so much hope and joy.” It’s like a sexual Serengeti out there, and it often feels like every zebra for herself. But the plus size woman has a particular struggle. First of all, there’s the language: how am I going to talk about my body – BBW, plus size, fat, curvy?
Then there’s the fear of rejection, something I feel super acutely as a big woman because I grew up being told I was too big to be desirable. We often date from a scarcity mentality, presuming that most men do not date plus size women. I’m also particularly suspicious, often having been cornered into a relationship that started out ok but then took a turn for the absurdly casual (“Oh, ok, so don’t want to plan anything ever, you just want to see what happens and if I happen to be around and you happen to be around and we happen to want to hang out in my bed then maybe let’s text each other with no more than 30 minutes notice?”).
I would often find myself frustrated, and in response I did what a lot of women do: adjust my expectations and my behavior in order to accommodate the demands and expectations of my potential dates. I knew I didn’t like it, but I didn’t think there was another way.
Many dates and some serious relationships later, I find myself single and dating again. Right as I was going solo in late 2016, I went to the Curvy Girl plus size lingerie show in San Jose, CA. I’m sitting there at my Babecamp booth when this cutie pie comes up to me and is like “Hi, my name is Krista. I’m a psychotherapist and dating coach and I help plus size women have the dating life they deserve. Also I spent a year learning how to game the OKCupid algorithm. Did you want to work together?” To which I responded: UmYES.
At the time I was stoked that we’d be collaborating – my Babecamp and her Curvy Cupid Course were about to make a power baby. A lot of women who take Babecamp want dating and romance support – something we don’t spend a lot of time on, because Babecamp is about breaking up with diet culture and the internal process of healing from body shame. So I was stoked to be able to partner with someone who was a dating expert, never even considering the possibility that I might need Krista’s help.
BUT THEN something kind of weird happened.
I started reading Krista’s course material, and what she was saying about dating blew my damn mind. Like many, I held the belief that dating was intuitive, everyone just knows how to date, right? Wrong! So, so wrong. I realized I was stuck in a holding pattern that was zapping my ability to date on my terms.
Krista taught me right off the bat that I needed to schedule breaks. Like a lot of women, I have a tendency to date and date and date, getting increasingly frustrated, emotionally exhausted and disheartened with each bad date or good date that ends in ghosting. It’s common to hit a wall and just end up staying in whatever relationship we happen to be in at our lowest emotional point. Not a recipe for success, it turns out. In short, we get so sick of settling, that we settle!
Then I started making my way through the 40 page workbook, that’s part of her course, and got to work answering each question about my dating mission statement, making a plan for when a date goes wrong, budgeting time for taking pictures and curating outfits, and a bunch of other things. I couldn’t believe that I had been dating without a plan my entire life. I have spent so many hours being intentional about my friendships, my career, even my cleaning habits. And somehow before Krista, I had spent a total of 0 hours planning my dating life.
In short, Krista quite unexpectedly changed my life. And there was no way that I could hold this to myself… You see, the two of us are working together to help women, like me and you, make 2017 a phenomenally unstoppable year, and I invite you to join me!
Join me + therapist/dating expert Krista Niles for a power babe duo course that will rock your damn world!
That’s Babecamp AND The Curvy Cupid Course in one package! Get deets at fatbabecollab.com
Break up with diet culture with me, then meet a boo actually worth your time, with Krista!
Are you ready?
About the author: Virgie Tovar is an author, activist and one of the nation’s leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp, a 4-week online course designed to help women who are ready to break up with diet culture, and started the hashtag campaign #LoseHateNotWeight.