Dating and the Fat Man

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The other day I was surfing around a site sent to me by my fellow blogger Ivan (ivansblogworld.wordpress.com), and the below article title caught my eye.

7 Struggles of Dating When You’re a Fat Gay Man – Gay Pop Buzz

YES!!  I’m not the only one who finds it a struggle!  Maybe this would be the article that would truly get me.

Quick recap – I’m a 43 year old fat gay man who’s never been in an actual relationship.  I’ve only ever dated guys casually for a bit before they would claim I was getting ‘too attached’ and only wanted something casual.. which usually ended with them having a new boyfriend within about 6 months.

So.. I opened this article hoping to gain some mutual insight into what I’ve gone through in my dating life.  That it was going to be validation for all the years I’ve felt marginalised for whatever reason.  And as I read the first couple of lines I thought I’d found a kindred spirit as there were a lot of similarities.

fat-manBoy… could I have been even more WRONG!!!

The more I read, the more I realised this wasn’t me or my experiences.  Instead, this was someone who’s allowed himself to become so dismissive of himself, his weight, and the gay community that he’s allowed his negativity to feed into his own fat-shaming.

It was to the point where he was obsessive about it.  And he was absolutely adamant that this was the truth for all chubby gay men out there.

Well, No.  His experiences sure as hell haven’t been mine.

So based on his article, I’d like to give my experiences over the years and how I’m feeling.  These aren’t facts or anything other than my observations, and I would never allude that anyone else should feel exactly the same.

Smaller Target Audience

I learned after a few years (and a bit of heartbreak) that there really is a smaller target for bigger guys like me, regardless of what type of guys I found physically attractive… and it sure as hell wasn’t other bigger guys like me (lesbian bears, as I like to call them haha).

At first I thought, because of my own fat-shaming, that I’d have to settle for whomever was willing to have sex with me.  That I was truly ugly and unattractive, so I’d have no real choice in the matter.  But then I found the bear community and the chasers… and I was meeting some pretty gorgeous guys.  And who’d complain about that?  😉

Loneliness is best served cold.. with gravy

Like probably a lot of people out there who have weight issues, I tended to turn to food as compensation when I was feeling down or bad about something.  It was an instant gratification while trying to justify my bad food choices.

Who munches on celery sticks when they’re feeling down?  LOL

Fat_ManBut this is something I’ve recently started working on, mostly because I was starting to feel like my weight had gotten out of control (partly due to quitting smoking I think).  I’m taking it day by day to ensure I’m making good food choices and pairing it was regular exercise (walking part way to/from work).

It’s only been about 2 weeks, but I’m feeling good about it and need to keep it going.

I’m one hell of a hermit

I don’t think I’ve used my weight as an excuse not to go out and be social.  Instead I’ve allowed my laziness to justify why I’ll spend a weekend at home having a Netflix marathon alone.

I think my hermit-ism is more due to my own feelings of being left out by people, and not taking the issue in hand to do something about it (see previous post).  I know there are places I can go and potentially run into someone I know (KA in Soho for instance), but I’ll let my laziness to justify why it’s a waste of time spending an hour travelling into town on the ‘chance’ of meeting someone I knew.  Or someone new.

And that’s not good.

I do alright, sexually.. sometimes

I know I sometimes moan about how I’m not getting laid as much as I’d like to, or even as much as I used to a few years ago.  But at no point have I ever said it’s because I’m fat.  Sure that may limit my possibilities, but it shouldn’t ever stop me.

And no, unlike the original article’s author, I have never paid for sex.  Fuck no.

Instead I know my lack-luster love life is down to my own laziness and not putting myself out there as much as I used to.  If I’m sitting at home all the time, how am I going to meet someone one new and exciting?  Sure, there are the dating apps, but mostly I’m only going to get the same group of guys within my immediate area.

naked-men-in-bedA compliment is a compliment

I’ve never been that great at accepting compliments from guys, mostly due to my own low self-esteem.  Usually I’d just assume they were saying these things just so they could have sex with me (and some of them might have been..).

But I think I’ve done well to get past that somewhat and accept a compliment for what it is.  And if the other person isn’t being sincere, then that’s on them.  I’m not going to spend my precious time over-thinking everything a guy says to me just to figure out if it’s real or not.

We’re homophobic towards each other

I’ve been living out and proud for over 20 years now, and it still never astounds me how much as a community we put ourselves down by ostracising our own sub-sects or stereotypes.

no fatWho hasn’t been to a Gay Pride and watched as all the muscular pretty boys in their little hot-pants get all the cheers and catcalls, while anyone who doesn’t fit that ‘society-approved norm’ basically gets ignored.

However I won’t allow that to affect how I feel about myself.  I go to Pride most years and have a laugh, usually ending up at the bear bar drinking in the streets with everyone else.  And I just get on with my life without allowing other people’s perceptions of who they think I am stop me from having fun.

Never assume to know someone

True, I look like the stereotypical little bear, but that doesn’t mean you know who I am based on someone you’ve known in the past who has a similar look.  Or that because I’m above a certain age with a bit of grey in my beard that I must be a ‘daddy’.  Or that because I’ve attended several naturist parties that I’d be interested in going to an orgy.

It’s all bullshit.  Not one aspect of my life wholly defines me as a person.

BUT…. if I’m being truly honest, I’ve been just as guilty of it as anyone else.  I would see some pretty, young ‘twink’ and immediately think they must be a self-absorbed, fashion-obsessed, obnoxious airhead.  Or that some beefy, muscled out gym-bunny must be dumb as a bag of hammers.  And so forth.

Sadly, this is something we all have to struggle with on a daily basis.  We’ve grown up buying into the stereotypes just as much as we’ve been fighting to get past them, and sometimes still treat people of similar backgrounds as gay clones.


So… what now?

Well, not much really.

It’s not like I wrote this to work through some issue or to justify my actions.  It was more of an exercise to prove that not everyone’s experiences are the same, no matter how many factors you may have in common.

CarrotHowever I do think it’s helped show me that, although my dating life is pretty stagnant at the moment, it truly hasn’t been all that horrible.  That despite never having that relationship I’ve always wanted, I still have met some amazing guys – and yes, some assholes too – that have made the journey so far worth it.

Yeah, shocking as it is, I’m actually feeling somewhat positive about my dating past and the potential for the future.  And that it’s just a matter of getting my lazy ass out there again. LOL

Source: 7 Struggles of Dating When You’re a Fat Gay Man – Gay Pop Buzz

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Midsummer’s Night Disappointment

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Sometimes life can get way too busy and before you know it, weeks and months have passed since you last chatted to this friend or that one.  Is it just a matter that you’ve gotten too embroiled in your day-to-day lives that you ‘forget’ to keep in contact with certain people?

I try my best to keep in contact with people, but it isn’t always easy.  I find it hard because no matter how much you try to keep in contact with some people or arrange to do things together, they’re just always too busy to meet up.  And in some cases, too busy to even return a simple text message.

From my perspective, it seems these people all have their close-knit group of friends and regularly do things together, despite some people’s insistence that they never ‘plan’ anything.  Or at least that’s the response I get when I ask I wasn’t invited along.

Yeah, right.

I admit, I’m horrible at making plans weeks or months in advance, unless it’s something big.  Generally I get to Friday afternoon and realise once again I don’t have anything planned for the weekend, so I send off a bunch of messages to see what people are up to only to get a load of ‘I’ve got plans’ replies.

I was told a few months back by one of these ‘too busy’ friends that perhaps people don’t include me because I don’t make the effort to invite them to things, to plan something for a bunch of people to do together.  Or perhaps they’ve just assumed I either wouldn’t be interested in what they’re doing or that I have my own group of friends to hang out with.

Ummm… what utter bullshit, huh?

Shakespeare son & lumiereSo I tried an experiment that ended with my own disappointment – I created a Facebook event over a month ago and invited a bunch of people to it.  It was to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, with a light and sound show at Guildhall Yard (event details HERE).

I thought it be fun and interesting, and something different to do on a Saturday evening (aka tonight).

Mostly people put themselves down as a maybe, with a few saying outright they couldn’t go and one friend saying they would join me.  Even if just that one friend came, it would make it worth it really.  And perhaps a step forward for me I think.

But fast forward to this past Thursday when I posted in the event suggesting where and when we could all meet, and asking everyone to confirm if they were coming or not.

And this is where the disappointment set in – not a single person could make it for whatever reason.  Some explained, but most didn’t at all.  And that one friend who said he’d come?  He pulled out as well, saying he was too busy this weekend (he’s taking a masters while working full time so spends his spare time studying).

Which left me with nobody to go to this thing with.  I even messaged a couple of non-Facebook friends to see if they were interested, but nothing.  So come last night I up and cancelled the Facebook event and now am not even going myself.  It wasn’t exactly the type of thing you go to alone.

man in bedSo what is a guy to do when all he wants to do is spent time with his friends and those friends are too busy to hang out?  I’ve barely been out of the house the past month and a half, and as much as I love quiet time at home, it’s really getting to me.

A person can only spend so much time by themselves before they start going stir-crazy.. or (over)thinking that perhaps he’s wasting his time on trying to get those ‘friends’ to spend time with him.

Life can be hard when you’ve tons of friendship to give and there’s nobody to give it to.

 

Where’d You Go?

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I think it’s fairly obvious to say that some friends will come and go out of your life, and then there’ll be others that will be there for the long haul.  Not to mention the ones that you can go months and months without talking to, but when you reconnect it’s like no time has passed.

It’s a natural thing in life for certain people to slide in and out of your life, and that’s fine.  But what about those you thought were in it for the long haul who suddenly disappear?  It can be devastating and confusing as you wonder why they’re no longer a part of your life.

Well.. I’ve been feeling that myself for quite awhile now about someone I’d relied upon over the years to regularly being there to talk to when I needed someone … and vice versa, of course.

And you know what?  It hurts that they’re not there anymore to talk to, especially if you’re in need of a shoulder to cry on or someone to cheer you on when something really good is happening.

sad-man-2But at the same time it makes me wonder if perhaps I was expecting too much from our friendship?  I would always make myself available to listen if they needed someone to talk to, and they’d do the same for me as needed.  That’s part of friendship.

As well it’s about just being there, being present.  Bored on a Friday night?  Call the bestie and hit the pub, right?  Or if they don’t live in the same city, hop on Skype and chat the evening away.  It’s not always about being there for the good and bad times, but just being around.

Of course things do change when one of you starts dating someone new (gay or straight, it’s all the same really).  Obviously now more of their free time will be spent with their new sweetie, and that’s okay.  It’s expected and it would be weird if that didn’t happen.

But what chafes me is how sometimes when they’ve found that new boy/girlfriend, they just drop off the face of the earth.  Text messages go unanswered.  Facebook comments go unliked or not responded to.  Requests for advice are left hanging in the wind.  And it basically feels like you’re not part of their life anymore.

And you know what?  That’s shit.  It’s a horrible way to treat someone who was there through all the good and bad times, and perhaps was even there at the beginning encouraging them to ask out the cutie who’d caught their attention.  Who was there helping debate all the pro’s and con’s of starting anything new with their new love, and whether it was worth it to even try.

(It always is, by the way.  I’d never stand in the way of love.)

And as someone who’s been left behind many a time, it fucking hurts.  It hurts that you’re not there to talk to anymore.  It hurts that the first person I used to text when something interesting would happen probably wouldn’t even respond now.

It hurts that you brought your new squeeze to town for a couple of days and didn’t even suggest meeting up so I could meet them.  It hurts that maybe you wouldn’t want me to meet your new sweetie, as if I was some dirty secret.

It hurts so much that it feels like you’ve forgotten all about me.  Because I’ve never forgotten about you.

But at least I know for awhile I had you in my life, and I’ll be forever grateful for that.  We had some amazing times over the years, and that’s never something I’d ever regret, regardless of where I am in my life.

Sigh … *rant over*

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Overcoming Loneliness

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Being alone and feeling lonely are two completely different things.  You can be alone and perfectly content with your surroundings.  Or you can be in a group of people and feel such a disconnect from those around you that the loneliness can be overwhelming.

And many variations in between obviously.

Loneliness is a complex mental and emotional phenomenon that can cause feelings of abandonment in ourselves, real or imagined.  Mostly it’s an emotional echo of a past feeling of perceived abandonment that can cause these scary feelings to resurface.

I need a hugIt could be that you’re having a unexpected quiet Saturday night at home, despite knowing many of your friends are out having fun.. and feeling like you’re being excluded from their revelry.

Or it could be that all you want is someone to hang out with, not necessarily go out, but anyone you’d like to spent time with are either too busy with other friends or partners.

It’s all about figuring out what the triggers for these feelings are, and finding ways to overcome the loneliness that ensues.

Realize that loneliness is a feeling, not a fact.

Just because you’re alone on a Saturday night when you’d rather be spending it with friends, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re actually all alone in the world.  It’s too easy to allow your brain to jump from feeling alone to other negative thoughts (Am I a loser? Why doesn’t anyone love me?) that can be damaging to your psyche and emotional state.

By confusing your feelings with actual facts, you’re causing it to become a bigger problem and can start overreacting.

Reach out to others.

It’s not always an easy thing to reach out to others when you’re feeling lonely or abandoned by your loved ones.  In fact, it’s probably easier to just withdrawal from the world and try to deal with your feelings by yourself.  But you’d be wrong.

Reaching out and trying to cultivate friendships is probably the healthiest thing you can do when sad and alone.  As children, we would cry to evoke a comforting response from others to overcome these feelings.  But sadly as adults, this doesn’t evoke the same response.

Be aware of your self deflating thoughts.

feeling uglyIt’s hard to be aware of those around you who love and care for you when you’re going through a loneliness spell.  Instead all you can see is the how the world around you sucks, and can’t see any possible light at the end of the tunnel.

This thought process can start in childhood and progress into adulthood in the form of habitual assumptions about the social world around you.  You look and compare yourself to other’s perceived social standing, which will always leave you feeling worth less than them.

Fight the mental and emotional habits.

Once you realise you’re dealing with a recurrent emotional habit, you can plan to fight it and deal with the loneliness.  Make the effort to reach other and connect to others.  Healthy interactions with friends are good for you emotionally, so reach out, initiate conversations, and put in some quality face-to-face time.

It’s hard work, but vastly worth it in the long run.

Focus on the needs and feelings of others.

It can all too easy to turn inwards when you’re feeling down, and focus solely on your own issues.  But sometimes you just need to make the effort to turn your focus outwards to those around you, even if it’s just the people sharing the sidewalk with you as you stomp down the street.  Mentally wish them a good day or give them a brief smile as you pass.  Every little bit helps, and you could be helping someone else almost as much as you’re helping yourself.

Find others like you and show up.

join-meSometimes all you need to get over the loneliness is to find a group of people who share some of your interests – a book club, sports group, massage classes, etc.  But finding that group of kindred spirits is only half the battle – you have to actually show up!  It can be hard, especially for the procrastinator in all of us, but if you make the effect then you’ll reap the rewards.

And most importantly, if the group you join doesn’t work for you, don’t just give up! Dust yourself off and find another group that may be better suited to your needs, and keep at it until you find the right fit.  It’s not always easy or quick, but you’ll get there in the end.

Be curious and kind

You have a choice whether to be curious and kind, or to give off an aura of disinterest.  The former will easily attract others to you as the attention you’re giving them will be returned to you.  And this will take the focus away from your own feelings and negative thoughts.

As they say, ‘You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar’.

This post was inspired by the article – All By Yourself? 10 Ways To Overcome Loneliness | World of Psychology.

Loneliness or Boredom

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There can sometimes be a fine line between the two, but for some people one can be interchangeable with the other.  And for some people one can lead to the other.boredom

Or at least maybe that’s just the way it is with me.  When I get bored of sitting at home and generally of my own company, that boredom can sometimes lead itself to an annoying loneliness that makes me feel like I’m utterly alone in the world.  And I get to the point where I’m almost desperate for company of any sort.

Yeah I know, not exactly a realistic response to being bored but it’s what happens sometimes.

Loneliness is a complex and usually unpleasant emotional response to isolation or lack of companionship. Loneliness typically includes anxious feelings about a lack of connectedness or communality with other beings, both in the present and extending into the future. As such, loneliness can be felt even when surrounded by other people. The causes of loneliness are varied and include social, mental or emotional factors. (Source: Wikipedia)

Don’t get me wrong, I love my alone time.  Time where it’s all about me and what I want to do, even if it’s just lounging on the sofa playing on my iPad.

people-lonelyBut from time to time, like on a recent weekend, I felt completely abandoned and helpless to change my loneliness.  When this happens I tend to sit around watching the feeds on Facebook or Twitter (and sometimes the new posts on here), and become jealous and down as I watch others out there living life while I’m sitting at home with nothing to do.

I never seem to plan anything in advance these days, despite how (in London) everyone seems to be super busy and you usually need to book things several weeks ahead of time.  And even then there’s no guarantee it’ll even happen.  Most people are always on the look out for things to fill their calendars ahead of time, where I’m usually doing things on the fly.  Which would explain why I spend many a weekend sitting at home by myself.

On this particular weekend, I was looking forward to a nice quiet weekend of relaxation and a bit of writing.  Or at least a nice quiet Friday night with possibly doing something on the Saturday or Sunday with a mate.  Or maybe finding some cutie to spend some time with.  😉

So, the Friday night was nice enough and all.  I’d treated myself to a pizza, did a bit of writing, and watched whatever crap was on TV.  I had messaged a few people I knew (and a couple I didn’t on the ‘dating’ apps), but didn’t really get any responses, which is what I think precipitated my boredom to morph into the loneliness I felt for the rest of the weekend.

And as the weekend went on, and the various messages continued to go unanswered, the worse my loneliness got.

The thing I find interesting (and slightly alarming to myself) is that when I get like this, you’d think the logical course of action would be to get out of the house and just go do something.  Go somewhere where there are lots of people, or go do something special for myself to relieve the boredom of sitting at home alone.Lonlieness3

But instead I become almost agoraphobic in that I won’t leave the house unless I absolutely have to (like for groceries or cigarettes), and get almost resentful that nobody is around or is willing to come visit me while I’m feeling down.

I’ve actually had a few people tell me that because I now live so far away from Central London, it’s ‘too far’ to come visit me at home which I think is kind of bullshit.. If someone’s a friend or mate, then where they live shouldn’t matter.  And when they’re in need of company or just someone to talk to, distance should never be a factor.

I sometimes think that I subconsciously sabotage myself, particularly when I do get the rare invite to go out but somehow end up coming down with a migraine or a stomach ache.  I’m not sure if it’s entirely psychosomatic or if I’m just overanalysing what ‘may’ happen when I go out, but it can be debilitating which leaves me still sitting at home. Maybe I should force myself to go out during those times..

Of course I do know deep down that I’m the only one that can get me out of these funks when they happen, and I can’t be dependent on others to ‘entertain’ me or keep me happy.  And I’m painfully aware that these episodes could be tied to the depression I went through last year (Click HERE for previous post) and are things I still need to work through.

I know I do have a (small) handful of friends who are willing to be there for me, both literally and virtually, but just how much can I rely on them for my own happiness?  I can’t really, and it’s perhaps the neediness I start showing when I’m feeling lonely that can drive people away or prevent them from inviting me along when they go out.

And yes I know there’s nothing stopping me from going out on my own, but let’s be honest.  How fun is standing in a pub by yourself on a Friday or Saturday night with nobody to talk to?

Well, at least I’d still have my mobile to keep me company.  😉

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