There's been a lot of blog-talk about how to talk Thin & how to stop talking Fat. The concern has applied to dating, & it's applied to life. So I'll take a stab at the subject in that order.
For those of Us who have been struggling against our weight -- or the many circumstances that Set Us Apart at a Too-Early Age (being too nerdy, being poor, whatever) -- for many years, we have to consider how much we missed out on. We are stunted, emotionally & socially, & not infrequently we're lagging professionally & financially. It takes years to catch up.
Thin girls learned to talk to boys at whatever age they started being interested in each other. They rode bikes down steep hills, no hands, together. They went to parties & played spin-the-bottle. They had crushes that changed every week. They had "boyfriends" in name only because they were too young to do anything more than use the term. They cheered boys on at basketball games. They went on their first date with one of the parents driving. They went to dances that included Sadie Hawkins.
When you become thin after the age of about 17, all this stuff is well past. Flirting has become a more intimate game with more extreme possibilities attached to it. So when you haven't started with the gonzo bike thrill or the I'll show you mine if you show me yours, how well will we flirt, let alone talk to a man?
If you look at the stuff I've listed as preliminary to grown-up dating, you'll see a lot of it is physical, a lot of it is joint-activity, a lot of it is public, a lot of it has no substance whatsoever. Some of it has the girls on the sidelines singing the school song.
There are some useful lessons here for those of Us catching up. When Dick & Jane are racing their sleds down Bald Mountain, they get to the bottom, possibly in a heap, & talk about how fast, how cold, how deft the ride was. When Dick & Jane party down with Nan & Bert, Freddie & Flossie, Jo & Laurie in the Bobbsey basement, & Laurie decides he wants to go "steady" with Flossie, they may never do more than walk home from school together. Flossie, however, has learned that a "relationship" can be nothing more than a word.
As for "Fight, Mighty Possums, Fight!" the girls are learning enthusiasm, admiration, stand-by-your-man &...when not to need. Bert is tired from losing 101 - 98 to the Wolverines. He's depressed. He wants to hang out in the locker room with Freddie, Laurie & Dick.
& when Jo gets to see Bert, when she rides her Schwinn over on Saturday morning, she's going to be wreathed in smiles, maybe carrying brownies she got up extra early to bake, with suggestions of doing something that will take his mind, & his mind's body, off his defeat. A bike ride. A visit to the swimming hole. Bowling. That monster movie where she can clutch him & make him feel all protective & manly.
How do these lessons learned between the ages to 12 - 18 apply to Us?
Fat Girl Date Rules:
1. Meet with a plan to DO something. You're leaving the Planet of Fat, so try, if you can, to arrange a walk-&-talk or movie or something.
2. Do NOT talk about your weight loss or diet. If you have to invent something more important than your weight for conversation, do it. Make sure that, if it's a girly thing ("I love to knit") it can translate to a guy thing ("I made a gray cable sweater for my father last Christmas that you'd look great in!")
3. Talk to him about him. Tell him he looks great. Laugh at his jokes. Ask him questions.
4. Take him brownies. Or a CD you burned of sure-fire tunes. Take a pack of Black Jack gum or Sugar Babies so that you have something era-appropriate to laugh about in common. (You X-generationers & others will have to figure out your own version of this)
5. Look at the other men if you're in a lighted, public venue. You aren't doing this to drive insecurity into your date, you're doing it to remind you that ther are other men out there & to do some on-the-spot comparison shopping that may give you a better sense of whether you're truly attracted to your date or not.
6. Ask for advice in some area he knows more about than you. The last date I had was a man into "the Standards" -- the romantic songs of Rogers & Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, etc. He could go on at length about Rosemary Clooney versus Frank Sinatra. I was interested in it enough to think, "I wouldn't mind spending an evening letting him play me his favorite songs & dilating upon them."
7. When he asks about you, talk about your friends & plans & busy schedule. Have. A. Life.
8. Smile. A lot.
Do I follow all these rules? No. For one thing, when someone asks me what I do, it's kinda hard not to get into the weight-thing. I turn it back to dogs as quickly as possible, however, & to him. I don't take stuff but I might go in with an attitude that's the same as a box of rocks. I must find dried mushrooms for Tina or if we don't have potato pancakes, I'll die.
& when it's all said & done with, have something as delicious as fudge waiting for you at home. A book, a video, slippers, guilt-free computer gaming, uploading photos -- anything, even fudge itself -- so long as you're going home to something you like more than how much you think you should like this man.
Because a former fat girl will always think this is her last date, the only date, the end of the line. It can take two weeks to get over that way of thinking
If you liked him enough to see again, email or call him (try to get his machine) the next day & thank him for the lovely time & nriefly mention something you liked about him ("You made me laugh. I needed that.")
Then...let it go.
That's what girls who started dating at 12 years of age learned to do.
Nota bene: These rules are not The Rules. They only work when they become second nature to Us. They must be used as Our stomachs twist, we obsess, cry, & check our in-boxes 1500 times a day.
After about 10 years it gets easier.