Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery

Posts tagged “levels of fitness

More Sexual Signals, Online Dating Thoughts & Self-Observations

google beauty - resultsOkay, I’m starting to dig a bit deeper into what “attractive” means to me. And even observing men as HOT or NOT and trying to understand even my own scale of what’s important or not. (No, I’m not considering a sexual re-orientation, but merely noticing what I think women might be noticing.)

My own self-image is somewhat mixed, and perhaps it’s time for a hard look at what the disconnect was with my most recent heightened-and-potential partner. (see The Taste of Tail Feathers Again)

First and foremost, even in my own self-assessment, there is a lot more than the physical body in determining my desire and desirability. Let me see if I can distill the non-physical attractions–FOR ME.

1. Enthusiasm – Energy
If you act your age, we’re probably not a good fit. Sure AGE is just a number, but I can count on one had the people I graduated from high school with who still share the same joie de vivre as I do. It’s not about getting older. It’s about giving up on the dreams and goals of becoming a rockstar, perhaps, or a rocket scientist. Bring the energy and joy and I will not even notice wrinkling and other signs of our age.

2. Positivism
I loved being asked by a potential partner, this summer, “Are you always this positive?” If you’ve got anger issues or cynicism you might work on that before working the dating scene. Unless you’re happy with that approach to life. I think we’ve got our own path in life, and regardless of the challenges and setbacks, we either grow and move forward or we give up. Don’t give up. You’re attitude, even about your ex, colors your life. Make sure you’re the one that exemplifies positivism.

3. Joy
A smile can set a thousand armies into battle, the same goes for hearts. You need to find your smile and share it. And this is partially physical, but it’s not about teeth. (Of course, if you have teeth problems, you might have those checked out. OK Cupid’s survey on immediate touch points for both men and women when evaluating the attractiveness of the other sex was TEETH. What? I know.)

4. Self-confidence
Whatever your shape or attractiveness, you need to deal with it and LOVE IT. If you don’t love yourself (YES, just as you are right now, not 20 lbs lighter) that dissonance is going to come through. Even in online profiles you can tell the people who are not prepared to stand in a bright room and take their clothes off. Even with 20 lbs I’d like to lose, I’ve got an OKAY vibe about myself. And maybe that’s a problem as I reach for someone at a much higher fitness level, or maybe it’s not.

Folks will date UP, or reach for a higher category, but won’t often reach down to a lower level of fitness.

Now let’s check in with the physical attractiveness for a second. What are the signals that I look for in a woman? What’s intangible? What’s negotiable? What’s a deal killer?

Let’s start with fitness and thinness, as this seems to be an obsession. (And I’m not claiming to be immune to the mass marketing of ultra-thin beauty.) [Of course, the rest of the story here, and in our thin-obsessed media, is that thin is NOT healthy. Ultra-thin, even less so. Many of the things, besides Photoshop, those women go through to look like that, even with Photoshop. It’s unhealthy.] Let’s look at OKCupid’s fitness classes.

  • Rather not say
  • Thin
  • Overweight
  • Skinny
  • Average
  • Fit
  • Athletic
  • Jacked
  • A little extra
  • Curvy
  • Full-figured
  • Used up

Wow, that’s quite a range. I wonder what the difference between Thin and Skinny is? Or Fit vs Athletic? So let’s do a little test. Where would you place yourself? First: honestly where do you fall? Second: what are you going to use on your profile? Third: do you have aspirations to a different category all together?

I’ll go. First: Overweight (or A little extra, but I’m going with Overweight); Second: on my profile, my sales pitch, Athletic (I do have a football player build, have always, since I was a kid.); Third: where I’d like to be FIT. And for me that means getting a clearer view of my abs, and not just when I’m sucking in my gut. And actually, I’d rather not have to suck in my gut anyway.

So, here’s an observation I’m noticing. Folks will date UP, or reach for a higher category then they believe themselves to be, but won’t often reach down to someone in a very different attractiveness category, or in this case, level of fitness.

But for me, that’s only part of the answer. For me it’s a ratio thing, when it comes to fitness and body type. I will admit to be enamored by the ultra-thin. But I’m not so sure this is who I will end up with. In fact, I don’t believe the ultra-thin are into the athletic-build. They probably like ultra-thin guys.  I don’t know what this is about. I’m not all that into six-pack abs on a woman, but I don’t mind a bit of definition on the belly. But I do actually like a belly. My wife was most attractive to me after she had our kids and was a bit more curvy. I’m sure there would’ve been a limit to my flexibility if she had grown into a new category, but she didn’t.

Of course, then comes the real work of scoping out compatibility. I haven’t even gotten to start on that yet. All this stuff I’ve been writing… It’s mostly theoretical.

And that opens the discussion about what is MY real category. In my mind, with all my positivism and self-confidence engaged I am easily “a few extra pounds” but in REALITY, I’m Overweight. ACK. That sucks. And perhaps when I court the affection of a “thin” or “fit” woman I’m simply asking them to leap down a category or TWO to join my loving heart and brilliant mind. And that might be a stretch. But my limits aren’t that rigid. At least I don’t think they are. Maybe they are.

Let’s gather a few more data points. When seeing a woman from a distance (say a few aisles away in the grocery store) my animal brain begins to do some rudimentary calculations. And here’s how I think it goes. 1. Ratio: is something way out of proportion? 2. Hair style, color. 3. Clothing style, colors, type of clothes.

Then as we get closer the smile and facial beauty take over. But from a distance, MY range is pretty wide. At least that’s how I perceive it. Sitting just inside a Whole Foods about 65% of the women, in this distant assessment, would meet up with my criteria of attractive. (Again, this is more animal and hardwired, than actually evaluation.) BUT then, as we get closer and I begin to scan smiles, eyes, skin color, and overall radiance, my WOW rating drops to about 20%. From there all but 5% would fall into the ASPIRATIONAL rather than RATIONAL category. Oh, so we’re talking 5% of 65%. That’s a low number. (Something like 3 women out of a hundred.) And this is Whole Foods, after all, where the beautiful people hang out. And again, this is just attractiveness.

One of the things I’ve learned from online dating, is to recognize my signals more easily. It’s a bit like house shopping online. You need the curb appeal first before even starting to look at the details. Same with online dating profiles. If someone’s picture is odd, or obscure, or sad, it’s easy to click the hide button. A good portion of my time on OKC is spent hiding the definite NOs. At this point, what’s the risk. The problem with online dating is there are too many people to weed through. Too many houses with keystone windows or Tuscan architecture, neither of which are in my taste range.

Of course, then comes the real work of scoping out compatibility. I haven’t even gotten to start on that yet. All this stuff I’ve been writing… It’s mostly theoretical. I’m ready for the 0.35% woman to come and burn my maps. Within reason, mind you. I’ve learned what torching your plans for infatuation and physical beauty can get you. Two beautiful kids, maybe, but into trouble after that.


The Off Parent

< back to On Dating Again index

related posts:


image: screengrab after Googling “beauty”

Harsh Awareness: I Wouldn’t Date Me – What Am I Looking for After Divorce?

There is no time to slay the dragon, the dragon is your friend

“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.”

Uh oh.

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.)

I’m fat.

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

< back to On Dating Again index