I got so hung up on the clothes angle that I neglected to say anything about the man in question. Riiight, the man. It’s not all about the clothes!
(But about the clothes: I succumbed. I went shopping, and bought new clothes, and feel much more comfortable in them. I went to this wonderful shop and will have more to say about it soon).
The man shall be known as A, until he earns the right to a not-so-clever nickname. He seems like a very pleasant fellow. He’s a liberal. He’s from around here and knows the place I’m living – before I even told him what it was called, he figured it out, which freaked me out a little bit. He skis. Our email exchanges have been goofy and friendly but hard to say much more about it until we get a better sense of each other in person.
We are getting together for coffee, in the late afternoon – my town is on his way home from work, so it’s easy for him to swing by. He seems like a pro at internet dating; he suggested something low-key and relatively short (anyone is tolerable for the time it takes to drink a latte; the same cannot be said for dinner). My schedule is surprisingly difficult – I’m on sabbatical, so you’d think it would be easy, right? – but we found a time quickly and here we go.
If his pictures are accurate, A is a little bit chubby. I hardly noticed this until, when I told him that I just started running, he said that he had lost 100 pounds when he was a runner a decade ago – and has since gained 50 of them back. He said this casually, easily, comfortably. Then he said (or rather, he wrote – this was via email): “Health/fitness is one of those things I’m going to be struggling with for the rest of my life.” That was it. No commentary about how much he hated his weight gain, or how he wished he was that slim again.
In response, I said: “As for struggling with health and fitness: tell me about it. (I mean, I can commiserate, although if you want to actually tell me about it I’d be quite interested). But I console myself with the reminder that it’s something that everyone struggles with – even folks who are naturally lithe aren’t doing themselves any good if they take their size as an indication of fitness.” A sneaky bit of Health at Every Size. He gave no response to this, in his next email. We’d moved on to other topics, for the most part.
So? I’m thinking this is good news. I’m thinking this is a guy who understands body issues, has been up and down in size himself and doesn’t seem too hard on himself about it. He knows my size, roughly – I haven’t told him, but I have a recent and honest photo on my page, although that’s another story because whenever I look good in a photo it seems like it isn’t really honest; how messed up is that? – and he seems unperturbed. I’m thinking he’s among the first men I’ve met with whom fat acceptance might be a natural topic, at some point, and I’m thinking that that sounds like a relief.