I Found Comfort In The Idea That Being Overweight Was The Reason I Was Single
I have been overweight my entire life. Well, since 1988.
As a baby, I didn't have much of an appetite. To combat this, my pediatrician prescribed some vitamins to jumpstart my appetite. Let's just say I made up for lost time.
(As a side note, I am currently looking into suing that doctor. Of course, I'm joking. Well, maybe not. But I digress.)
I am a big guy. I don't mean I'm chubby, stocky or plump. I am big.
I started to get self-conscious about my weight in junior high. I remember the exact moment because apparently, I'm dramatic. I was in the school yard playing handball (which, in Brooklyn, is the sport of gods and kings).
If you want to find out if a person has lived in Brooklyn for a while, ask him or her if he or she knows what handball is. His or her answer will tell you everything you need to know. Now, back to the story.
I was playing handball before school one morning, when a kid said, “Man, he got bigger titties than most of the girls in this school.” I don't remember the things that were said to me last week. Hell, I don't even remember half the things I say most of the time. But I still remember that comment. But was it that big of a deal?
We were kids, after all: Brooklyn kids, at that. Joking about each other in the school yard was a time-honored tradition. But I have to admit, that comment hurt. After that, I became self-conscious about the way I looked. But I didn't feel embarrassed enough to lose weight, heaven forbid. That would be lunacy.
The comment would become the soundtrack to all my dating insecurities. “No woman wants to date me. My breasts are bigger than theirs are.”
I even turned that into one of the strongest bits in my stand-up routine. But I'm rambling again. The point is, I always thought that women's perceived lack of romantic interest in me was purely based on my looks.
People would ask me, “Reggie, why are you still single?” I, being a bastion of honesty, would reply, “Because I'm unattractive."
Upon hearing that, most people would think I was fishing for compliments or downright joking. Like I said, I do stand-up. But I was just giving an honest answer to an honest question. I believed my weight was my only problem.
This thought would be reinforced for years by both family and friends. I would routinely be told, “Reggie, if you lost some weight, girls would find you irresistible,” “If you just got into better shape, you would have no problem dating” or my favorite, “You'd be handsome if you lost some weight.”
I thoroughly believed this. It was convenient for me.
Of course, there was no personal reason why women didn't like me. It was just because I was fat. Believe it or not, this was even reassuring. Much like Samwell Tarly on "Game Of Thrones," the problems I faced were purely physical. I was one binge diet or gastric bypass surgery away from being a stud muffin.
That's right. When I finally decide to stop being fat, women will look at me like I'm the second coming of John Stamos. Now, why would I believe such nonsense? Because I'm stupid, that's why.
Well, not really. But like most people, I can have some very stupid assumptions every now and again.
As humans, we are able to accept physical limitations over emotional ones. LeBron James is a better basketball player than I am. He is taller and more athletic than I am. That's easier than saying LeBron James is a better person than I am. That's tough to swallow.
Being fat isn't who I am. Being me is who I am.
It was less painful to blame my girth for the problems I faced than blame myself. Could it be that women were also finding my personality unattractive? That's a sobering feeling indeed.
I then began to notice other big guys who had significant others. How were they able to do it? Granted, most of them were smaller than I was, but they were still proof that it was possible. That is the one reason why I've been afraid of losing weight exclusively to find love.
What if I lose weight and get fit, but women still don't want me? What if it wasn't my weight at all? What if it was just me?
I do think I have a great personality. I don't have a sexually arousing personality. I'm no James Dean, but I am, at the very least, likable. As I look to finally propel myself deep into the dating world, I have to take a long look at myself and figure out what I need to do to find that special someone.
I would love a woman's perspective on the issue, but I tend to stay away from my female friends. From experience, I have found that if you're single and ask your female friends relationship questions, more often than not, they get it mixed up.
They think you're asking because you secretly harbor romantic feelings for them: Talk about awkward. Sometimes, you just want information.
So, here I stand, wondering what's next. Maybe I do have to lose weight. Maybe I don't.
Maybe I have to give my personality a bit of a workup. Maybe it's a big workup. The point is, I don't know. I sure am going to find out. But I do know I'm not too fat to date.