I am tempted to join a dating site or app again.

Part of me realizes that it is just for a distraction and a way to procrastinate rather than work on syllabi or manuscripts, etc. I have a tendency to get obsessive about those things in a way that I never manage to get with, say, work-related things (syllabi, manuscripts, etc.).

Another part of me is, yes, somewhat lonely and perpetually looking for a connection, if not love. I saw a guy tonight I had once connected with on Bumble. I had sent him a cute message or two, but he never replied (likely due to how I manage to seethe awkwardness in spite of myself). He was/is good looking. We made eye contact a few times. I didn’t say anything, though I thought about it. We have many mutual friends. Oh well.

The last part of me feels like I’m in this state of flux, especially physically. On the one hand, I’d like for a guy to accompany me on this journey (an evolution, if you will) that I’m on. On the other hand, I feel like most guys won’t really pay much attention to me until I get closer to the final stage. But it is that hand that has me most worried.

There was an episode of This American Life this summer in which a woman told a story about how she lost a bunch of weight (essentially using speed) and how she found love and a husband. She broke down when she realized that her husband wouldn’t have given the fat her the time of day.

For the first time, I wondered if I had done the right thing by killing off old Elna. I’ve been honestly in a bit of a crisis. I started recording a conversation with my husband a few weeks ago about some of this to help think through the ideas of this story. I do that a lot. He and I have only been married a month. He never met old Elna. And we were talking about fat and beauty and how important beauty is for men. And it got really emotional really fast.

Elna Baker
–to be that. You would never have been attracted to me before. You know that makes me really sad? Oh, my god.

Mark Sikes
I mean, you married someone that wouldn’t have been attracted to you?

Elna Baker
Who wouldn’t have loved me. You would never have talked– I mean, you would have talked to me. We would have been friends. But you wouldn’t have ever dated me, ever.

Mark Sikes
Yeah, but you know what’s funny? There’s something about you–

He changes the subject to disillusionment in general, says what I’m realizing is the same thing every teenager realizes in every John Hughes movie– that the world is unfair. I’m not having it.

Elna Baker
Can I go back a second?

Mark Sikes
Yeah, how far back?

Elna Baker
I actually have never said it. But I said to you that you wouldn’t have been attracted to me.

Mark Sikes

Elna Baker
That’s true, right?

Mark Sikes
What do you mean?

Elna Baker
It’s true.

Mark Sikes
That would I have dated fat Elna?

Elna Baker

Mark Sikes
I don’t know. Probably not.

Elna Baker
Yeah. OK.

The story goes on and Mark tries to explain to Elna that he doesn’t think that Elna was comfortable with herself until she was thin. He thinks the “real her” is the “skinny her.”

Elna explains:

I didn’t feel like I’m comfortable in my body or my own skin before. It was just me… It wasn’t like me in a fat suit. It was me. That’s what I was. So I wasn’t like, oh, this feels really big and uncomfortable. It just was me as a human. I was just a human. It was me.

I get what she is saying, I think. She wants Mark to love the person she is regardless of her size. She is still the same her. It was me.

I think of people who have gotten in terrible car wrecks and have massive scars and their bodies are completely changed. You want to think, “Well, they are still the same person I fell in love with, so I will be with them through thick and thin. I love the person, not what they look like.” Some people are strong enough to withstand the changes, some are not.

And it sucks to realize that, no, the people who will give you attention at one size are not the same as the ones who will give you attention at another size. They can’t see you even though you are the same person.

That’s a mind fuck. 

The question is the extent to which I want to bother trying to date at this point.

As a cruel addendum, I am reminded of this event that happened four years and four days ago:

That charming message was sent to me by an overweight man who was quite arrogant. I also saw him in person and we made eye contact, in this case at my graduation for my doctorate. I believe he was getting his as well. He also later hit on my friend on OKCupid and she told him to go fuck himself (thanks, Nancy, I will always love you for that).

I’m going to continue to steer clear of the dating sites and apps for now. If something happens outside of it, then so be it.

I’m not willing to talk about how I’m working on myself in such an environ — I feel like that might attract, I don’t know, someone who wants to make me their success story project or something.


In any case, I just saw a headline that says single people live rich, meaningful lives. I will continue to live mine and see what happens.

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