I can count the number of times I have been flirted with on one hand. No second arm or toes necessary. In fact, I can recall each of those occurrences to you in excruciating detail if your heart so desires. And to count the number of times I’ve been kissed or intimate with someone, I don’t even need a single limb.
At 22, this is somewhat terrifying. Biology and my Facebook newsfeed tell me that I should have dated a few different people by now, and currently be-in, or be-on-the-prowl for a relationship with a parent-approved, attractive, intelligent suitor. Someone who I can hopefully marry, have kids with, grow old with, and blissfully occupy a cloud in heaven with after we both die holding hands to express our undying love for each other. Well that, or have one night stands every night while drinking my way through the NYC club scene. Really, both seem to be greatly applauded by my network of 900-something friends who gather in masses to “like” any status that involves the words relationship, love, anniversary, engaged, married, or #bestnightever.
To set the record straight, this is not another one of the widely available bitter posts from an overweight girl complaining about the trials and tribulations of their nonexistent romantic life. This is also not an encouraging piece about how you should be confident and seize the day despite weight insecurities. Because apparently–or so the internet tells me–some guys just love curvy girls. Well, if this fact is every challenged in court, I promise to bring my 22 years of vast dating experience and “curvy” body to the stand to testify.
I’ve never found myself feeling bitter about the dynamics of college dating. I don’t think boys have “cooties” (anymore!). I’m ok with the fact that the average college male prefers a hot, underdressed, skinny girl–all of which I am currently not. And I don’t mind that the most provocative piece of clothing I own would be deemed acceptable by even my grandmother. Its ok. Because while my friends were all dating and experimenting romantically, I was sitting on the sidelines thinking. Thinking about how I was missing out. About how I would never find someone. And about how I could be so undesirable. But then one day, a little while ago, I got over it. And getting to that point taught me more about myself than I may have learned in an eternity being an average young girl. I learned how to be alone. How to be independent. How to not let my emotions get the best of me. How to have platonic relationships with guys and become their best friend. How to do things for myself, by myself. And for that, I am grateful.
After losing 40 pounds, I’ve started getting a lot more attention from the male population. In fact, those five flirtatious moments have all occurred in the span of the last couple months. Is it the fact that I don’t look as obese anymore? Or that I dress cuter? Or am I just more confident? In reality, its probably a well-distributed mixture of all three, but who cares? I wonder sometimes if I should give dating a shot right now. Venture into the black hole that is online dating. Or twirl my hair and smile next time I see someone I like. Although a part of me is dying to be normal and have the comfort of knowing I have someone that loves me, I’m not really gung-ho about the prospect of getting in a relationship. I guess after so many years of being sidelined, I want to wait until I am happy with the version of myself that I see. I’m probably at version 100000.00 at this point, but hey, who’s counting? My point is, I want to be able to look at myself and see the confident, happy, successful person I want to be (and I am not just talking about weight). Some of my friends may argue that this need for perfection can never be satisfied and is a self-perpetuating cycle of doom. However, to them I say too bad. Because I want to be content with myself–not rely on another human being to validate my existence. I think I’m close to achieving that inner peace. But not quite there.
I guess what I am trying to say is, its ok to wait. Its ok to want to be alone and work on yourself. Your age is not a ticking time bomb. And contrary to the Princeton Mom’s letter to the editor, I don’t think girls have an expiration date for finding love. Although, my Indian parents would argue that I should be married before 29. But that’s a conversation for another time.
Don’t let the Facebook newsfeed get to you. There will always be a Jane Doe who finds the perfect guy in college, gets married, has two kids and posts Instagram photos of her perfectly manicured lawn in front of her perfect home with her perfect dog. And you should be happy for that Jane Doe, not jealous. But enjoy where your life takes you. Enjoy being alone and without commitments. And know that, eventually, it will all work out. Well, I sure hope so, or I’ve been telling myself lies for years!