History Lessons: Rob

I am so damned skittish about dating, and I’ve been trying to figure out why. History Lessons is my occasional series looking at my past experiences with dating in general – and dating as a fat girl in particular.

My first boyfriend was named Rob. He was good looking, older, exciting. I was fat, insecure, a loner. Meeting him made me realize that I wasn’t totally unlovable, and for that I give him a lot of credit.

But all in all? He was not a good guy. I’m a bit ashamed that I stayed with him for nearly a year – but deeply proud of myself for leaving him when I did.

This is what happened.

It was August 7, 1994. We’d spent the day looking at car for sale – I was about to buy my first, an orange VW Beetle – and had come back to my parents’ house. He was in a foul mood for one reason or another, and we spent the afternoon at opposite ends of my bedroom; he was doing something on the computer and I was reading the local feminist newspaper.

“Hey,” I said, reading the ridiculous classified ads at the back of the paper. “There’s a therapy group for messy people. It’s, like, ‘Messy People Anonymous.’ You should totally go!”

I can’t remember if I was trying to be hurtful. I wouldn’t put it past self, for sure. Anyway, if I thought he would laugh with me, I was sorely mistaken.

“Fuck you! You should go to fucking Overeater’s Anonymous.”

Our fight escalated from there. He threw something at me. I threatened to call the police. He blocked the door when I tried to leave the room. I ran for the phone, but he pulled it out of the wall. I convinced him to leave, and as I was closing the back door he turned around and punched through one of the window panes. The ambulance came, and the police, and my mother drove him to the hospital while my father stayed at home with me.

I never saw him after that day, but for years I was embarrassed by this story. I thought that it exposed something terrible about me: that I was so desperate for affection, so pathetic that I was willing to be with someone like Rob. Actually, that’s not quite right: What I was afraid of was that people would think that I was too fat to have a normal boyfriend.

Even today, it’s his crack about Overeater’s Anonymous that stops me in my tracks. It wasn’t the worst thing he did. Hell, it probably wasn’t even the worst thing that he said. But it’s the part of the story that I still leave out when I tell people about him. It cuts too close to the quick.

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3 responses to “History Lessons: Rob

  1. I’m sorry but it has to be said: WHAT AN ASSHOLE. I know we all say and do mean things when we’re mad, but the way he treated you was absolutely unacceptable. You’re totes brave and amazing for getting rid of him, learning from that experience and sharing it with the lot of us :o)

  2. That anyone could be that out of control when they were at somebody’s place that they shared with their parents is especially bizarre to me. How gross to go through.

  3. I had a wake-up call similar to that when I was in my 20’s. I had a live-in b/f who was an alcoholic and when he got drunk, he picked fights. One night, I fought back (not physical fights, just raging arguments). He had never said anything about my weight in any of our other fights, but that night, he said he didn’t have to take any shit from a fat bitch like me. That was the final straw. I told him no, he didn’t and not to let the door hit him in the ass on his way out. He had to leave because I owned the house, that’s what the police told him when I called when he wouldn’t leave (he had threatened to hit me with a gallon whiskey jug full of pennies, I told him if he did, to make sure I was dead because if I wasn’t dead, he would be for hitting me. He must have seen something in my face that told him I was serious, because all he did was cuss at the cops when they got there). That’s the only guy I ever lived with/dated that my mother wanted me to marry (tells you what kind of relationship I had with her). From then on, I decided that I would rather be alone for the rest of my life than put up with any kind of abuse just to have a man in my life (and I didn’t find the right man until I was 53….lol).

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