“The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don’t let them put you in that position.” ― Leo Buscaglia
The following conversation is with a guy I met on dating app.
“You’re too young to have that much belly” he said to me as we drove to Walmart. Without thinking too much into it, I replied with confidence “I like it just the way it is.” Disappointed, he shrugged his shoulders and responded, “Okay.” For a couple minutes, there was an awkward tension in the air as neither of us spoke. Eventually, we would move past it and discuss everything from jobs to living situations, family and politics.
After leaving Walmart, we decided to grab a bite to eat at Wendy’s. He ordered a chicken sandwich and a salad while I ordered a small fry and medium tea. As I began to dig into my cup of fries, he made the disparaging comment under his breath, “It’s probably because of the carbs.” Immediately, I stopped eating and screamed,
“I AM FAT!
There I said it. Whoopy-doo! Tell me something I don’t know already.”
[Okay, so I actually didn’t say that out loud (It was far less dramatic but I was thinking it)].
I found the entire situation to be baffling because he knew I was a heavier guy prior to us meeting. In fact, we met on an app dedicated to bigger guys and their admirers so I assumed my weight wasn’t an issue. Unfortunately it was, but I wasn’t going to let him rain on my parade. I oozed with the sex appeal of a jar of chunky peanut butter. I was an amazing catch, but not in the business of convincing.
As a bigger guy, it hasn’t been the easiest of journeys navigating through the gay dating scene. On occasions I felt I was a pariah because I wasn’t the ideal standard of beauty: athletic, muscular or skinny. I remember reading a caption online of a person tugging on their love handles in response to the question, ‘“You’re so pretty, smart and funny – why are you single?”’ For many years, I was that person, attributing my weight to my loneliness. It’s how I convinced myself losing fifty pounds or having a six-pack would solve all relationship woes. Boy, I was wrong.
There will always be someone who is not interested in me for whatever reason. I’ve learned it’s best not to take it personally and to accept we all have our preferences and not everyone is our type. All I can do is be the best version of myself and find others who appreciate and love me for who I am. I was foolish for thinking I needed to change for others to see me as beautiful in the first place. If I was content with who and what I looked like, why did it matter what anyone else thought? Because when I looked into the mirror, I saw someone dashingly attractive. Why would I change that for the approval of others? As my friend Kelvin said to me once, ‘“I ain’t changing for nobody”’ and if I had a dating mantra, that’d be it.
Photography: Alex Zebrowski