I’m not a huge fan of artificial beauty. And to be honest, I’m a little afraid of the uber-fit or uber-beautiful, but that’s my problem. When looking for my next relationship all of these things have to be taken into account, and some of them are contradictory.
That is my number one indicator of success in a relationship. I KNOW how happy I am, and I project this joy and enthusiasm everywhere I go. I have been married twice, to people who liked to bask in my joyous glow, but perhaps did not have as much radiance to contribute themselves. I have begun learning, as I have now dated several women, that happiness is the biggest turn-on there is, for me.
The obsession with glorious abs is a bit overblown in my opinion. When my wife was in her fittest mode, she felt a bit hard and unhealthy. There was a edge to her attention to fitness and getting her run in, regardless of what needed to be done. Now I understand the runner’s need to run. But when she was her fittest she was also her most obsessive about everything else. And in contrast, when she had just given birth to our second child, and was probably at her softest, body wise, and heart-wise, I thought she was about perfect.
I’ve met the fit-obsessed women in my recent years of singlehood, and talking about “working out” is probably one of the last things I find fascination with. Um, do it, run, swim, diet, Pilates, whatever, but don’t make a life’s journey about. OR, if you do, I guess you need to find someone else who has the same priority in life. My priority is health, wellness, and how I feel about myself. The six-pack abs of my high school swim team days are long gone.
I’d rather walk around the lake with you than try and keep up a conversation while we’re jogging. Besides, if you don’t run correctly you’re probably in for more injuries and less overall quality of life, that greatly outweighs the longevity benefits in my life. There was a joke once about how for every hour you ran you added a day of life to your mortality. The punchline, yes, but you just spent an hour running.
Why do 90% of the people on the trail who are running look so uncomfortable? And us walkers seem much happier. And I don’t really see the runners=fit walkers=not-as-fit concept holding up as I observe the men and women on the trail. There are just as many obese people running as there are fit people walking. Again, fitness and uber-fitness (or fitness obsession) are different things.
There is something about a beautiful face or smile that can transform any body type into a potential. But there are also a lot of beautiful people who are unhappy. It may not be due to their outward appearance, but it seems the most beautiful people I’ve ever met have been pretty neurotic in some fundamental way. Either they were overly focused on their hair, makeup, clothes, shoes, etc. to really pay much attention to their attitudes or their mental/spiritual programs. No, beauty is not a spiritual attainment, but it can be a part of someone’s life that is more of a burden than a blessing.
And with beauty I have to talk about my fixation on women’s shoes. 90% of the time, when I see a woman in Carry Bradshaw heals I think, “Gross.” And it’s not that I don’t think some of them are quite sexy, but it’s something else. Perhaps it’s the extravagance of a $500 pair of fashion accessories that is distasteful to me, but I don’t really know an expensive one from a cheap knockoff. Perhaps it’s the “porn look” that I associate with this kind of foot ware, the in-the-mall-look-at-me sort of vibe. And I am willing to admit that it’s my problem. But something about a woman in really sexy shoes says, “No thanks,” to me. And I’ve known men who were just as shoe obsessed, but it was running shoes, lots and lots of running shoes. There’s something a bit hedonistic about a shoe obsession, and when the budgets have monthly dollars assigned to them, I’m just baffled.
Anyway, what I’m learning about, in my short dating career is that all of these things factor together to make a YES or a NO for me, for my base animal instinct, we like to refer to as chemistry. It’s either we are wagging our tail when we see the other person or we are not. And if we are both wagging our tails we can start imagining or drafting ideas about a relationship.
I have never known chemistry to develop over time. Either you have a tail wag or you don’t. There are “maybe” tail wags, that might actually be an indication of something that could be build more firmly on the rest of the relationship, but most of us want the strong, leg-slapping, tail wag of passion before we’re ready to invest in building a relationship.
And of course, there are the casual daters who are looking for nothing more than an opportunity to exploit the tale of another animal without any concern about “where things are going.” That’s okay too, but it’s just not me. I tried casual sex and I’m not that into it. But maybe I haven’t had the leg-slapper yet either. And if I did, I imagine I would want to start building something where there may be nothing to build.
The Off Parent
back to On Dating Again
- Crossfit Sex
- An Early Frost: Dating Options and Casual Sex
- If Age is Just a Number Why Do I Still Want to Lie About My Age?
- 5 Early Warning Signs When Dating: Looking for Ms. Lovejoy
“There is no time to slay the dragon. The dragon is your friend.” – Reshad Feild.
An amazing sequence of events over the last few days has triggered a new moment of self-awareness.
PART 1: I went on an OK Cupid first date with a woman on Monday evening. And after three hours of engaging conversation she gave me the, “I’ll call you, okay?” She was fantastic. My first real online-dating HOME RUN. Not too amazingly beautiful or self-consumed: she was just self-aware enough, and funny, and already in my tribe/constellation of work. In other words, she fit on my MAP.
Dark hair. Fit. Very witty. Creative passion. Conversationally flexible and diverse. And strong, agressive, confident. In fact, she was so confident, at the end, she said something like, “So, I’m getting the idea that you’d like to go out again?” I agreed. “Okay, well let me catch my breath.”
PART 2: My own self-evaluation gave me only one answer. (Again, this is my projection, I have not heard a peep from the sweetheart behind OKC door number 1.)
The only issue I could even imagine that would come between our connection on Monday night was my midriff. It’s not easy to admit that. Or this. I don’t think I would date me.
It’s not that I’m looking for miss perfect body. In fact, when I have run across her in my past, she was so self-absorbed as to not have much time for anything else. And it’s not that I’m afraid of a little softness. Actually there were times when the ex-y was way to gaunt, in my opinion. She was much more beautiful to me when she was less hard. So it’s not that I’m looking for some IDEAL, playmate (puleeze) or porn star image of a woman. That’s not it at all. But…
But, I’m sure I have tolerances in my taste. And there is some measure of fitness, or out-of-fitness, that simply turns off my “desire” gene off. And here’s the kicker: looking at myself, I think I’ve fallen outside of my own desirable range of fitness. I wouldn’t date me.
It’s the ONLY thing I can put my finger on, about why this date with massive energy and touch points didn’t end up with plans for a next gathering. There are some other possibilities. She did mention that simply turning on her OKC profile she got about 10 immediate propositions. Mine being one of those. So maybe she wants to check out the rest of the field before going on date number 2 with any of us, or me, more specifically.
But the lesson for me was: I am outside of my own tolerance for fitness. And that’s something I’ve known for a while, but something that I did not have such a clear handle on. Which leads to the next awareness.
PART 3: I have been stepping up my fitness routine again. And part of that is walking. And one of my favorite walking locations is our local trail that curves around a small section of the Colorado River. It is amazingly inspirational to see all the people, all the different bodies and styles in motion. And I wonder about the runners. (I have been a runner before.) And their fitness levels. But of course there are runners of all shapes and sizes and levels of experience too.
What I’ve wondered about for a long time is what motivates runners to run. The high? Fitness? Aspirations towards the perfect body? And this time, the day after meeting my “match,” I had an idea.
Maybe everyone on the trail was running AWAY from something. For me that would be: 1. getting fat(er); 2. aging and health; 3. heart fitness. OR perhaps they were running TOWARDS something instead: 1. an ideal body; 2. a competition they are preparing for; OR BINGO 3. someone they want to be with.
So I had been running away from things, but until I met my “match” not running towards anything. I’ve been too busy trying to reconstruct my stability, get my financial house in order (still a ways out on that one), and make progress on my creative projects. I have not really put much attention towards dating or finding that next relationship.
I had also not met anyone who inspired just that.
PART 4: The dragon I am wrestling with today is my own. I’m a bit sad that my first “match” is probably giving in to first impressions and moving on. If I have learned anything, when they say, “I’ll call you,” and they don’t, there is no amount of persuasion or offering that will have an affect. If they say that, they are done. (Maybe I’m projecting. We’ll see.)
But I am not sad about her. And I’m not really walking towards HER, but the idea of HER. I have already let her go.
It is the ME I am comfortable with that I am walking towards.
I made an observation in therapy yesterday as I was talking about this, “Maybe people in that class of fitness like to be with others of the same class. Today I’m just a bit out of the class I want to be with.” I am happy with my fat self, and I am actually pretty happy over all. But I am looking to get back to the dating class where I am most likely to find a match.
I don’t want the uber-fit yoga-runner babe. She thinks about little else. I want someone who’s comfortable with whatever they are. And in order for them to be attracted to me (IMHO) I need to be in the same relative class, the same relative level of fitness.
Now that is something I can walk towards with a bit more vigor. Because walking away from the other stuff was okay, but it didn’t have much charge to it. I can see my “match” now. Fully clothed, sitting at a table drinking coffee and smiling. She’s funny. She’s smart. She has many things in her own life sorted out.
And SHE DIGS EVERY SINGLE PART OF ME. And of course, when that happens, the response won’t be, “I’ll call you.” In my movie it will be more like, “What are doing this weekend?”
That is the dragon I am dealing with today. And I’m happy to befriend him and see how we can both get what we want.
The Off Parent
(The story continues: Met My Match: My Online Dating Near Miss Responds)
Reference: Steps to Freedom – Reshad Feild
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