Friday, March 1, 2013

Fat Love

I've been with my husband a long time, we are hitting the 20 year mark together next year. I was single long enough to remember when Valentine's Day could be a Charlie Brown affair, with the empty mailbox. Over the years time does change things, we never had children but you think back on all this time together and it is interesting to think about how long we have been together. We haven't had an easy life, and things even got tough when I wanted to move back to my old town and suffered from the grief of that. We have stuck together through a lot of things from my severe health problems to the economic leveling of our life.  Enough time passes and you are with someone who knows you like few others. There is a closeness and different kind of love built in history together.

Being fat did affect my love life, though I've asked on this very blog, was I the world's fattest bride? It seems I was, given that someone in my weight category was given the title. I am not one to seek out publicity or a look-at me kind of approach, so I don't mind I missed the Fattest Bride boat. 

When I and my husband married, I was expected to live only a couple more years, since I was near 700lbs. It did change the formula. Ever see one of those soap operas where the man marries the lady on her deathbed, or vice versa. It was sort of like that but in a more extended form. We did not expect a long future together. At the time I married, I was disabled and had very few medical answers. 

As I have asked over the years, "was it fair to marry someone being so disabled?" The question has been given to him too direct and he says he would have married me anyhow and that he loved me.  

One thing, both sides of the family were against us marrying, some of my relatives for his being poor but more so on his side, his family was upset that he was marrying someone so fat and his family did not show up the wedding. His father told him point blank I was too disabled and even a few years later, said "You can move home, if you want out!" Even some of his friends said, "What are you doing? You are insane to be marrying her!" Ah life can get complicated for us super-fat people. Even on my end, my father said, "Don't marry him, he is too poor!" Relatives refused to come to the wedding since I had left my families church, and he grew up in another church. At the time, we were like the star-crossed lovers determined to be together no matter what. 

 I hated the meat-market dating world and was conservative. I found myself wishing for the Victorian era and that I had lived in the time where women even fat ones were respected and not prone to sleaze balls out for a quick romp in bed. I knew I believed the sexual revolution to be a joke, a Baby-Boomer scourge on the world as it tore down the walls between men and women and destroyed the sexual mores in between. I definitely was not perfect as I ended up living with my husband for a couple years before we were married, this before I became a Christian but remember feeling out of the whole dating loop. I didn't meet him before I was 25 years old and I had gone without any serious boyfriends for quite a long time. 
To be sure dating and being fat is a loaded situation and I agree with this. I remember when I was young and single and I decided to go to a singles bar. At this time I weighed around 260lbs. I remember watching the other people at ease, they all seemed so carefree and without difficulty in picking up a dance partner. No one asked me to dance all night and when I asked one man who I thought was nice-looking he scoffed at me as I walked away to hide my feelings of rejection. The only person that asked me to dance was a one-armed man that took pity on me. I could tell he was doing it because he understood my rejection. We danced stared at by all the other chattering fools. I never went back.

While I was glad to be finally dancing, his pity made me uncomfortable. He was drunk and slurred to me. “Hey we are more alike than different, I cant get anyone to dance with me because of my arm!”

I had believed if I had exuded enough confidence, and was proud in my appearance that I would not have a problem getting up on the dance floor. 

In my leaving I had felt defeated and no one but the super-fat person knows the rejection that is waiting for them in the singles world. As I left the bar that night a man yelled, “Hey more cushion for the pushing~!” Sigh.

There was someone years before I wanted to date and was friends with, and well, in this case, he informed me I was too overweight for him and choose my best friend that I was rooming with instead. More rejection. Sigh.

By my experience fat women have taken either three choices in the dating world. Some withdraw never to marry and either live alone or with parents. Some make judicious use of single ads, internet dating and matches and perhaps even now the fat acceptance social world to find their lovers and others overcompensate to prove to the world that though they are fat, they still are sexy and desirable.

Superfat and even midsized fat people are uncomfortable in a world that shows only skinny people deserving of love. Even the average and the plump suffer from the discrimination of the media where never a fat woman is the object of desire. This has only started to change but the stereotypes of fat women as perpetual virgins unworthy of marriage and or sex pots willing to hand themselves over to any man willing to have them prevail.

Often many fat women end up in these predicaments with the societal messages constantly being pounded into their heads that thinness equals love. It’s the reason why “Cathy” in that old comic strip world starves herself for “Irving” and worries constantly about her eating habits. Fat woman either give up, continuously diet or take what crumbs happen to fall off the table.
Fat woman are told over and over they are unacceptable in this culture. From Broom Hilda to the Bundy’s extremely fat mother-in-law, fat women are never portrayed as an object of love.  I experienced my own period of no dating through high school and even later when I was 19 and weighed 240lbs-280lbs depending where I was diet-wise. I was told by my parents that to ever get married I would have to lose weight or end up in fat depressed spinster-hood forever, I was told by the media, no man would be attracted to me. My sister and mother banned me from even being a bridesmaid in my sister's wedding at the age of 19 because my then 250lb body was deemed "too fat". I lived in a strange world. Women were supposed to be pretty, thin, petite and gentle, I was none of these. I had exotic looks, black hair, porcelain  white skin but I ignored these assets as time marched on.

I was a fat teenager separate from the dating world where I was more an object of indifference or teasing rather than of lust. I was far from the fattest kid in the school, several other girls outweighed me, but at a size 22, any girl over size 16 was automatically kept out of the dating game. The positive side was that I did not have to face the dangers of teen pregnancy nor venereal diseases but the damage done to my self-esteem in my dateless world would last at least ten years. 

I had learned my lesson well suffice to say and all around me woman had boyfriends, husbands and lovers. I didn’t know any other nineteen-twenty-four year olds who had never been kissed or asked out on a date. I felt weird that something was plainly wrong with me. I was not only fat but a strange "nerd" that was interested in things many others were not.

Love seemed to be another door that had been slammed shut in my face. After all my sister had found someone to love her, all my friends had boyfriends, relatives my age and younger seemed to be all getting married. I was left out in the cold alone, never having even been kissed. Add to that a picture of a non-emotionally supportive family and it was a nightmare.

Small wonder then why many super-fat women bow out of the dating game all together.

Fatness can complicate a love relationship for people in that even the one who loves the fat person is perceived to be unhealthy in themselves why else would they love a fat woman. Thin men who marry fat women are seen as seeking either a relationship of control or one of mothering. Fat ones are couched as fellow "food-addicts". It is impossible for others to see that even fat people love the same way.

After all I was a  29 year old, nearly 700lb bride. I weighed this much on my wedding day as I got a custom-made wedding dress with a veil that reached to the floor and a bouquet that I had hand made out of silk flowers being allergic to the real ones. In a way it was ironic as I stood next to my three good friends to be photographed. All thin, educated, lovely women.  I was the first to marry but some of my closest friends never would marry which I understood.

 Single ad dating to me was  a hobby during that year of 1994 when I got laid off from my teaching job. While I did not expect marriage necessarily, I knew I finally at the age of 24, I wanted a boyfriend. After all I was curious and ready to get on with it. 

The week I met my present husband, I went on two single ad dates. One was with a man that was very slow. To be kind, he seemed to be of a 12 year old age mentally not necessarily chronologically. He worked as a security guard and acted as if he had reached his peak. The other a short Paul McCartney look-alike was an out of work architect that kept talking about his mother and father and how they were so close. I almost did not show up on the date that would guide my life totally in a different direction.

I met my future husband at the Olive Garden. I weighed somewhere in the middle 200s and noticing that my weight was getting harder to control. I was there first always having been rather punctual. He walked in and I was immediately attracted. Things would proceed from there. We would be kissing by the second date.  He was tall, and around the upper 200s in weight. He had golden hair, lighter than I ever had seen before, blue piercing eyes. His legs were thick and powerful looking. He had a kind face. He wore an interesting outfit that fit my then more alternative tastes. While I sat their in a mildly Goth outfit, black fitted tunic and black pants with flats, he was dressed in black chained boots, in jeans and sweater [hey this was the early 1990s afterall] 

We started to eat and then started to talk. He was intellectual, smart, artistic, wrote poetry and music and worked as a newspaper reporter. We were able to talk about everything and anything.  On the phone I knew that we had held many things in common, but are attraction seemed to be beyond mutual interests.We started kissing by our second date. This May will be our 15th wedding anniversary. 

I am glad I have not had to go through all these things alone. He has stuck my side even through all this illness which has shown true love and loyalty. Even last night, he told me as I was getting frustrated about being housebound not to blame myself for being sick and gave me other encouragement. I do not take that for granted not at all. 

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