Healthy Gamer

Healthy Gamer: Fighting More Than Weight.

Hello.....ladies.
Hello…..ladies.

“Sometimes I feel my whole life has been one big rejection.” – Marilyn Monroe

So, some time ago, (when I realistically had no business doing so) I made the decision to make a return to the world of dating.

Sigh. One sentence in, and the anxieties are gathering in the shadows seething in my periphery. Let’s jump in, shall we?

It was not a place I expected to be, it was not a place I ever particularly enjoyed being before. Dating sucks. Let’s get that out there right off tips. There are aspects of it that are fun, but for the most part, it’s frustrating and annoying.

I made the decision to do this online for a number of reasons.

1. This is the way things are done now. We have romanticized this idea of meeting charming strangers at random, striking up conversation, one thing leads to another and they live happily ever after. It’s possible that worked at one point. It may still happen in rare situations now. In the increasingly insulating world of the internet though, this is pretty much a fluke. Striking up conversations with strangers nowadays is largely viewed as creeper territory.

2. It allows a control of pace, and a quality screening process before you actually get to the date part. Yes, there’s something crucial to body language and chemistry that you cannot experience any of online, but what you CAN get is a good feel for how they might be conversationally, which is also a critically important thing in a prospective partner. This benefit is limited by user error. I’ve got a treasure trove of dating misadventure stories that are pretty much the direct result of me taking those options to screen better and throwing them out the window. Typically speaking though, you can get a decent feel of if there’s a point to meeting. Creation of funny stories is good, the wasting of time less so.

3. Well, it allowed me to hide. Kinda. I’ll explain.

Creating the profile was an anxiety-inciting extravaganza.

One of the basic set up questions is body type. Sigh. Of course it is. This was a problem on multiple fronts. While it is an option to leave it blank, what you don’t say here speaks louder than what you do. Secondly, I’m in flux. I’m changing. Not so rapidly that I couldn’t make an edit but I didn’t really know how to identify with myself…or with the other choices. Athletic? That’s a bad joke. Husky? Curvy? I didn’t feel they applied. Full figured? Full and overflowing, maybe. . They didn’t have an option for “hot air balloon” which was the only acceptable answer. A click and an eyeroll later, I was moving on.

A few questions later came my biggest fear, unsurprisingly, pictures. As previously mentioned, there were not many of them to be had, and I needed three of them. I went with a picture that my ex-girlfriend always liked, as I thought it was not terrible. This, for the record, is about as close to complimenting myself as I used to be able to come. I’d never call myself handsome, but I could say “not especially trollish” if I was in a particularly good mood.

Pretty much how I figured all of my profile pics would be interpreted.
Pretty much how I figured all of my profile pics would be interpreted.

Looking through the tiny selection of other pictures, I hated all of them (SHOCKING) and went with one of me with Patrick Rothfuss at a signing event I attended. I did this for a few reasons. A. Patrick Rothfuss. I mean, come on. B. Being a goddamn giant, and with him at a desk, I had to take a knee to equal our heights. This conveniently hid most of my body behind the desk. Nefarious! C. Patrick Rothfuss. I mean, come on.

I still needed a third picture. Feeling pretty annoyed at this point, I pulled out my phone, pointed it at my face and took a picture, any picture, just to have a third. Amusingly enough, this single shot born of irritation is probably my favorite picture of myself and the one I use in the “Meet Joe” section.

The rest of the profile was a breeze. This was where I could play to my strengths and showcase my charms. I’m not an expert writer by any definition, but I do have a way with words and am passably entertaining in a written format. Even here in my arena there were complications. I’d already done everything I could to avoid admission of size by direct answers of body type questions or pictorial evidence. I didn’t have to say anything here in the copy either, but my fear of being rejected by omission overrode my fear of being rejected by honesty. Even in that it was difficult to be clear about it. I was trying hard, desperately so, to avoid painting a pretty simple fact about myself that would be immediately apparent to anyone with eyes. Couched on both sides by quips and alternating statements of absurdity and profundity, I made the non-committal statement that I was taking my health more seriously with promising results. Which could have meant anything. I could’ve been eating Honey Nut Cheerios because the commercials say it can lower cholesterol. I could’ve quit smoking. I could have scheduled a series of cancer prevention exams. It allowed me to admit that there was…something…off without coming right out and saying it.

As pretty distinctly terrible as all of this is, avoiding admission is really one of the more innocent manifestations of this shame, which I was completely enslaved to. It gets much much worse than that. It’s an interesting dichotomy that someone would put themselves on display in such a fashion while doing everything they could to obfuscate themselves. It’s not exactly hiding in plain sight.

Once it was all done, I looked over it probably 50 times trying to decide if it was good enough. “Good enough,” of course meaning “so incredible that it could even possibly get someone to look past my size when determining my potential value as a partner.” I consulted close friends for their opinions on it. I second guessed everything I was doing, because I had managed to convince myself I was completely undesirable, and any efforts made by me to disprove this were counterfeits at best. These are the sorts of things we treat ourselves to. Good times.

For all of my anxiety, I reminded myself that not posting the profile had a very predictable outcome, one I didn’t care much for. It was going to be a bumpy ride for sure, but could it be worse than knowing that I let anxiety and irrational fear talk me out of forward movement? Probably not. You can’t win if you don’t play, right? With a deep sigh and mentally crossed fingers, I clicked “approve.”

Next time: Surprising Results.

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5 thoughts on “Healthy Gamer: Fighting More Than Weight.

  1. Joe, props to you for getting out there and making yourself available. I did the online dating thing several years back, and although I didn’t end up meeting my eventual wife there (we met at work) I actually had a lot of fun and met some interesting people. I even had one longer term relationship that started with online dating. Anyway, good luck and keep us updated on how it is going.

    1. Hi Tim,
      I should clarify that the acts themselves are fun. Even the catastrophic dates, once you’re past them. Getting to know someone is exciting and even if it’s not going to work, it’s almost never a waste of time. That said, your mileage may vary, but for me, dating is a necessary evil towards something greater. Ultimately, I want what follows the dating stage. It’s not going to happen overnight, it takes patience and a lot of deliberation to make sure that you’re building a solid foundation. This is not to say that the dating magic has to go away. Not in the slightest. I think that the only reason magic ever dies is because people let it, but that’s an entirely different discussion. Meeting new interesting people is fun. Going out on dates is fun. For my dollar, I’d like to repeat the process with someone exclusively. I put a lot of energy into relationships, and I can’t spread myself thin with a lot of them. I’m pretty (read: absurdly) selective in who I date, so people I’m interested in aren’t exactly a dime a dozen. If something doesn’t work out for whatever reason, it’s fine, life goes on, but it’s discouraging to begin the process all over, looking for another needle in the haystack. This is why I say that dating sucks. The fun parts are fun and handled properly can stay fun indefinitely. I’ve started tumbling down this rabbit hole and I’ll definitely be writing more with updates and such as it pertains to the mission at hand. Thanks for reading!

  2. Hi Joe, I agree about dating being a necessary evil. I did have fun with it at times, but at other times found it quite frustrating. For me, the end certainly justified the means, as that “something greater” for me was a wife and kids. It was worth the effort and the wait! Good luck!

    1. Hi Franko,

      I’m glad to hear that your story has a happy ending. Well, that chapter of it anyway, I’m sure you have a lot more story to tell. I hope I’m not painting the picture of me just being this angst-driven hateball. There are certainly parts of this experiment that are frustrating, but that frustration doesn’t lead me to the gnashing of teeth, tearing of breast and screaming vengeance with a shaking fist at an uncaring dark sky while lightning flashes dramatically in the background. It’s super important to keep a positive outlook about this, and well, everything. Left unchecked, that frustration will start clouding your outlook on things and before long, you’ve decided you’ve lost before you ever started playing. Self-fulfilling prophecies are the worst kind. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Thanks for reading!

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