Fat acceptance is new to me. The first time I heard the term was just a few months ago, when I followed a link to Kate Harding’s Shapely Prose. Since then, I have come a long way in accepting and appreciating my size and my body… but I don’t love it. I don’t think it is, or I am, beautiful. I still wish I looked more like my sister – she’s not tiny, but her tummy slopes into her hips, whereas mine hangs over them. I can look at myself in the mirror and smile at my appearance, but then I turn the wrong way and the light catches a fold of fat on my back and it all crumbles.
So it is hard for me to imagine this turning out well. The men I like, the men I respect, the men I want to get to know better don’t find me attractive. The men who find me attractive? I don’t trust them. I suspect them of fetishizing fat, and I won’t be objectified in that way.
That leaves me in a difficult position. I am going out with Writer Guy (he of the date last week; in a fit of optimism I decided to give him the nickname, so that you won’t confuse him with the multitude of other men whose stories will fill these pages) again next week, and I’m nervous. I’m nervous because I feel as if I got away with something on our last date. Somehow, I managed to get through the evening without his noticing that I’m fat. And now I have to do it again, and I’m not sure I can. I’m going to be found out, and then I will have to find out what kind of man he is.
It’s stupid, right? I mean, sure, our first date as at a movie, so it was dark. And it was cold out, so I was wearing a coat (an incredibly beautiful wool cashmere coat that I simply Could Not Resist last year; I mourn the coming of spring because I will have to put it away for the next several months). But, um, I’m guessing he is aware of what I look like.
And it’s stupid for another reason. It is stupid because I know that being fat is nothing to be ashamed of. I know that there are beautiful fat women out there, and that it is possible that I am one of them. I know that chemistry works in ways that remain a mystery to me. And I know that I’m living out the cliche that “you can’t find someone to love you until you love yourself.” But all that knowledge doesn’t make it any less scary.