In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:
I’m a 24-year-old woman who’s pretty intelligent and have NEVER (yes, never) had any sort of romantic encounter. No sex, no date, no boyfriend, no kiss, no drunken make-out session, no hand-holding — not even a meaningful/sexual/appreciative hug. Nothing.
It bothers me quite a bit, more so now than ever. I talk about sex all the time, more than I would like, out of exasperation and desperation. A girl has her needs! I feel so left behind – and I’ve been trying to figure out why it just hasn’t happened for me.
I’ve begun focusing on the way I look. It seems to be the only thing that I can think of that is keeping guys away (even my terribly unstable/unhappy friends have tons of guys interested in them, so I don’t believe “confidence” is the issue). I’m simply not attractive. I’m a black female, and it seems that being a black female comes at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of desirability. Because of how I look, people generally expect me to act a certain stereotypical way, including many of the guys that I’ve been attracted to. When I don’t “fulfill the stereotype,” people (and especially guys) are always “surprised” that I’m articulate and have a creative mind, which makes me even more depressed about dating. I’m also overweight (I have been my whole life), and I’ve been nearly starving/killing myself in the gym to get rid of the massive amount of weight I need to lose (the doctor says I have 100 lbs. to go). I’ve lost maybe 10 lbs. in the last three months (it’s always been difficult for me to lose weight).
I’m sick of bothering my friends every time I want to do something. I hate the fact that I’m not having sex, when I know for a fact that everyone else I know has. Give it to me straight: is it possible that I’m just not attractive enough to find someone? I’m very different looking, so being too unattractive to date wouldn’t surprise me that much. — Can’t Get Noticed (No, Really)
Come on, everyone: this girl needs a major-ass pep talk and a bit of a reality check (that thing about black women not being desirable? WTF.)!
Bricka June 8, 2011, 12:11 pm
Oh Dear LW, I hear you, and im going to tell you a little big secret that has been told to me in therapy. Its all in your head. You dont feel attractive because YOU feel like in order to be in a relationship you should act like THIS or look like THAT, however, if you look around you will see all kinds of couples, thin, fat, black, white, tall , short, etc.
I think that the relationship you have to start working on is the one with yourself, love yourself, dont be so harsh, dont work out to lose weight alone, do it because its a way of loving and taking care of yourself, do it because taking zumba classes is fun or karate makes you feel strong. Eat healthy because you want to take care of your needs, not to starve yourself or be another “perfect” girl.
I know it all sounds like bs, but because of this, I ended up with a horrible man as my first true love, who saw through me and my lack of love for myself, and trust me, in the end its better to be alone than with someone just to BE with someone. If you have a healthy relationship with yourself, chances are you will get a relationship just as healthy and happy.
Good luck, you are lovely and you shouldnt let anyone make you feel bad because you are being yourself.
SpaceySteph June 8, 2011, 12:21 pm
I really like your first paragraph. Have you ever watched the TLC show “Say Yes to the Dress?” Well they have a few episodes they put out recently about plus size brides. Watch this show. You will see girls larger that yourself even, who are getting married. Why? Because you don’t have to be a perfect size 2 white girl to find love, you just need to think yourself worthy of it.
Exercise, sure. Eat healthier, sure. I lost 50 lbs a few years ago (it took 9 months of hard work, btw) and it made me FEEL great. Which in turn made other people notice that I was great… not just pretty or skinny (I’m still not a perfect size 2 girl) but all around awesome.
Think you are awesome and others will know it. Those friends of yours who are a mess but still get guys… do they get GOOD guys? I doubt it. Your goal should not be to find some guy, any guy to get drunk and fuck you, it should be to have meaningful relationships between two people who love and respect each other. And the only way to find that is to love and respect yourself.
Desiree June 8, 2011, 12:28 pm
SO agree with this post. Men fall in love with women of so many sizes, races, features…men don’t give a damn about the size-2 hype when they really love a girl. I recently lost 10 lbs, and I think I look better. My boyfriend? He’s like, “Meh, I loved you then, I love you now, do what makes you happy.”
Brooklyn June 10, 2011, 9:56 pm
Agreed. I lost 10lbs recently and thought I was looking hot. My best guyfriend asked if I was sick. I said I wasn’t and was just eating healthier. He said “well I think that’s good, but you should eat more of it because you’re looking a little gaunt.”
Painted_lady June 8, 2011, 3:24 pm
I had a psych prof once who went into physical attraction and the brain and all of that, and she said that regardless of what men say, the only real dealbreaker on body types is that a woman’s waist is slightly smaller than her hips. In her words, “Here women are, stressing out about five pounds and how he isn’t going to love her anymore, and the guy’s watching her and thinking, ‘Eh, your waist is slightly smaller than your hips. You look okay to me.'”
While it may or may not be true, this tidbit has stuck with me for ten years. Anytime I start freaking out about weight gain, I have a mental conversation with myself that goes, “Is your waist smaller than your hips? Whatever, quit freaking out, you’re fine.”
Annie1 June 8, 2011, 4:35 pm
This is actually true. They’ve done studies on this and the perfect waist-to-hip ratio for women, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, culture, etc. is 0.7%. It’s a correlation between fertility and female health, and men around the globe are more attracted to women whose waists approach or are at this ratio. It’s a biological fact that can’t be argued on the basis of self-esteem, cultural norms, or historical preferences.
Annie1 June 9, 2011, 9:05 am
I also forgot to add that the ratio isn’t affected by your weight. If you’re overweight, you are still considered “good quality” in evolutionary terms if you have or are approaching this ratio.
Katie June 8, 2011, 7:42 pm
that is so freaking interesting!!! wow. who knew? lol
LTC039 June 8, 2011, 4:46 pm
Oh! My mom is a zumba instructor! She did an infomercial that was a weight loss w/ zumba thing promoting the DVD’s. lol She lost 50 lbs w/ zumba! (& Weight watchers)
LTC039 June 9, 2011, 10:35 am
Really? Someone disagrees with my mom being a zumba instructor??
Sorry to hear that…lol
Brooklyn June 10, 2011, 9:58 pm
Maybe they didn’t like weight watchers?
Or they agreed but prefer the color purple?
camille905 June 8, 2011, 12:24 pm
You can’t be THAT unattractive. And even if you are- I know people who are physically unattractive to most but have sparkling personalities and are such amazing people in general that they never lack for company, romantic or otherwise.
I think it’s most likely a combination of things- attitude and where you live most likely. You don’t feel pretty so that is that attitude you are projecting. I know it sounds trite but confidence is sexy to men and it doesn’t sound like you have very much. You need to find even ONE thing about yourself that you love or that you’re really good at. It can be anything- maybe you have nice feet, a beautiful smile, or maybe you’re a fabulous cook. This can be a boost to your confidence. If you can’t think of anything- ask your friends.
You also say you’re sick of bothering your friends when you want to do something. Um, that’s what friends are for. A few years ago my bff and I felt stagnant and so we challenged ourselves to do an activity or go to an event that normally we would say no to and to TALK to someone at that event. We had a lot of fun! We checked out our local free weekly for stuff to do every week.
Ask your friends to set you up with people. Also, have you tried online dating? There are men out there that love large black women- you just haven’t found them yet. And if you just want sex, you can find that online if you can’t meet people in person.
I also am a black woman that has struggled with my weight and in no way do I fit into black stereotypes but I also figured out that living in a mostly white medium sized town in the south isn’t always ideal for dating. When I traveled to other cities, I got hit on all the time, at home, NOTHING. This made me realize it wasn’t me, it’s them.
EMBRACE yourself! Don’t starve yourself- it’s not healthy and won’t keep the weight off long term. You have to change your lifestyle to include healthy eating and exercise. I have a large frame. No matter how much weight I lose, my body does not get smaller than a size 10 and that’s hard for me maintain. I’m usually a 12-14 and that’s when I look my best. Find out what looks and feels right for you, which may be different than what your doctor says.
You say you have a creative mind- USE IT! Find new hobbies where you can meet other people. Join a book club, take a cooking class, or join your local kickball league.
I know it’s not as easy as all that- it IS a struggle. But the struggle will be totally worth it when you’re happy with yourself.
Sypher June 8, 2011, 4:02 pm
I grew up very sheltered in a predominately Caucasian suburb and I felt somewhat invisible. I never dated in school or college, but looking back I missed a ton of social cues and interest because I couldn’t bear to see men reject me so I avoided eye contact and the whole dating/flirting shebang. I didn’t date more until I started to _like_ myself more. There are plenty of less attractive people out there and sometimes you will meet someone and be confused: Why am I so into X, he’s not even cute, but I’m totally smitten. Personality really does go a long way. This is going to sound so cliched–many people have said it to me over and over again in my life, but you should focus on building relationships between people and not just finding a man. Focus on yourself and also put yourself out there. Focus on being 100% yourself and do things you enjoy or are inspired by, others are attracted to that. If you have confidence–live it, don’t just say it.
I lived under a social rock for a long time and haven’t had scores of men lusting after me or anything (you really just need the right one) but I know how u feel. I didn’t even lose my virginity until I was 22 and it was only because I was “tired” of the V label and the guy was very cute. I thought “What if I can’t get someone this attractive to sleep with me ever again?” So I did and it was fine. Not traumatic or anything.
I just got married last week to a wonderful man and the “trick” if you can even call it that was that when I met H I thought he’d be a hook up and not a relationship so I was utterly myself when we met. If I had been trying to impress him by curbing some of my less attractive behaviors or hiding who I really was—I don’t think it would have worked out as well as it did. My “nonchalance” helped in this situation because I was extremely casually dating someone else when H and I met, because I was forcing myself to get out there, through online dating (which I also recommend). Getting out there is hard and slightly rough on the ego but it’s like learning to ride a bike–sometimes you end up on the ground with bloody knees and elbows, thinking “Well, that SUCKED!” and sometimes your sailing in the wind, breathless and feeling like your flying. There are risks, but the right person is worth it. I am still overweight and I was when we met and I actually gained about 20lbs last year and he still proposed, he doesn’t care. Also, on a related note after moving to Chicago I had to beat the black (and a few latino) guys off with a stick—they definitely seem to enjoy a larger women. The Midwest is cool like that. Granted the man I married is white so keep in mind that while race _may_ be a factor it is by no means a real barrier. But I’m not suggesting you move I am only saying that the problem may not be you but your location. I’m not a stereotypical “angry black women” either and I have an college degree from an Ivy league school–so I feel your pain an a multitude of fronts.
Learn to love yourself as you are—-I couldn’t be in a relationship with anyone until I set some boundaries as far as what I deserve (a good loving stable person who is affectionate and respectful to me and mine). If you can’t love yourself you’ll end up as one of those women who take the scraps that manipulative men give you–and it has nothing to black, white, fat, or skinny–many women fall prey to the “I’m not good enough and I’ll just take whatever I can get” mentality.
I didn’t start really dating until I was 28 and I’m glad because I could have horrible scars and memories of abusive men–and BELIEVE me they are out there.
Don’t wait to lose weight to be fabulous–Be fab NOW! Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart, Old navy and the Gap have some really good online deals too–these are some good stores to vamp up your look. I used to wear baggy clothing trying to hide myself. My only clothing advice is to wear things that fit–trying to squeeze into a lower size just make me look bigger. Looking good will give you confidence. Screw the trends, find something you can look good in. I had a friend who was 100lbs more than me and she gets hit on like CRAZY.
It’s all about attitude. So get some attitude girl, if everyone in the world thinks that yours beautiful and tells you everyday—-it won’t matter if you don’t believe it yourself. You have to embrace it. Sorry for the long post–but I was you about 10 years ago so this issue is a bit close to my heart.
I couldn’t even lose weight 10 years ago (from size 24- size 16)–until I looked at myself in the mirror and said (until I believed it) that if I never lose a pound from this moment on– I still love myself.
I lost weight but I’m still a size 16 and I’ll probably never wear a bikini–but I think I’m beautiful (PMS tantrums notwithstanding) and so does the new husband. Actually the word he used was HOT.
Fairhaired Child June 8, 2011, 5:02 pm
Actually I don’t know if you have this store where you are- but Torrid is also an amazing store for “bigger girls” and the sizes range from a zero (12/14) – up to a 5(i think) . I usually wear anywhere between a 1 and a two. Depending on the outfit.
I absolutely love Torrid because its super cute and sexy clothes and though a tad pricey, they are made FOR bigger women. I was terribly upset when I went from a 10/12 to a 14/16 (more 16 now than 14) when I moved cities. I had worked so hard to get to the 10 – and then when I found someone I loved I also found contentment and both of us put on some weight. I hated shopping and I hated pants the most, but this store makes my body look amazing and the changes in “size” numbers makes me feel good too. ^.^
Rachel June 9, 2011, 5:37 pm
Maurice’s also has some really cute plus-sized stuff that’s sized in the same way (0-5 or whatever)
Joanna June 10, 2011, 3:23 am
Torrid is my favorite store. I buy almost all my clothes there. The only thing I don’t like about them is a lot of their shirts are cut for girls with small boobs and mine are extra extra large.
Desiree June 8, 2011, 12:25 pm
Okay, girl, definitely has nothing to do with race. I think black women are gorgeous, and I know for a fact that many of my male friends agree. I also think that you need to work on a broader definition of beauty (aka. one that includes you!). Media certainly has presented us with a narrow vision of beautiful, but outside Hollywood there is a broader view. Fall in love with yourself, and treat yourself as such: do things you love, eat well, find athletic pursuits that make you feel good. I think that once you take a more positive approach to self-care, you will find that a lot of these issues resolve themselves. The man problem? That will take are of itself.
joy June 8, 2011, 12:25 pm
I totally agree that you need to learn to love yourself first before you can allow anyone else to love you. I’m an overweight Asian female. Not typical for being an Asian. While I watched my thin counterparts date all kinds of guys, I was always left out. I tried to deny it was my weight. Whatever. Well, I went to college and met someone who dated me for me. I wasn’t particularly interested in him mainly because I thought he was out of my league. It took a friend to show me he was interested in me for me! He was my first love but not my forever love. He treated me well and never brought up my weight. But we weren’t meant to be. I met my forever love 7 years ago. Guess what. I’m still overweight. But I have a loving husband (who is not overweight at all) and two beautiful boys. Yes, you gotta love yourself first. Don’t worry about what others are doing. Honor yourself and who you are, and some special person will recognize that.
sweetleaf June 8, 2011, 12:27 pm
I think that black woman are the most beautiful woman in the world. I’ve always said this. That dark, smooth skin is just so artistic and perfect to me:) You said you have 100lbs. to go. That is a significant amount of weight, but you are working on it which shows your determination to make yourself healthier. Have you asked your doctor if there’s a healthy supplement that my assist you and help with your metabolism? I say, keep working out and eating healthy (I know that sucks! But the pay off will be worth it) and in the meantime do some nice things for your self, like playing with different make-up/hair styles. I struggle with my weight too. I’m 55lbs. overweight. When I’m feeling really unattractive, I play with make-up, tweeze my eyebrows, listen to Van Morrison (he makes me feel beautiful) and put on some expensive perfume:) I will even go out and have a few drinks and flirt with guys, whether they will be attracted to me or not, they probably could use some attention too.
sweetleaf June 8, 2011, 12:30 pm
I would also like to add, loving yourself isn’t something that you just wake up and find. Life is a beautiful and constant job. We are always working on ourselves. Everyday until we leave this world.
missmolly June 8, 2011, 12:46 pm
I’d like to nominate your second comment for one of the best of the week 🙂
Bricka June 8, 2011, 12:53 pm
sweetleaf June 8, 2011, 12:56 pm
Thank you missmolly. I struggle with insecurities and mental illness which has inhibited my romantic relationships. A much older and wiser friend said that to me one day when I was feeling particularly low. I don’t remember the exact words he said (they were much more poetic and wonderful)
phoenix287 June 8, 2011, 3:38 pm
TheeCoolOne June 8, 2011, 12:40 pm
what does being black have to do with desirability? (as a black chick a little offended but i’ll give it a pass)
Even ugly people get dates so it’s not her looks. Maybe she needs to go out into a dating environment like a club or my favorite place to flirt a bookstore. If they aren’t coming to you then you need to go where the guys are. Try to dress/ look nice, seek men and be a fun/ interesting person.
Painted_lady June 8, 2011, 12:56 pm
There was some awful study published in a psych journal with questionable methods that seems to indicate black women are universally the least attractive demographic. The study was badly done, the results questionable, and a case of correlation being confused for causality, and yet there are people who have actually accepted it as validation that black women are less pretty. It’s really gross and makes me want to punch the woman who did the study.
mcminnem June 8, 2011, 2:57 pm
Did you know she/he was fired? (I was under the impression it was a man.) Though I think it should be the editor of Psychology Today that needs a talking to – articles don’t publish themselves. The study was gross and wrong and the author needs to own up to it, but some editor still had to have said “yeah, sure, that’s valid, we’ll publish it.”
Painted_lady June 8, 2011, 4:14 pm
I hadn’t heard that, and I think it’s a good thing that there were repercussions for doing such an irresponsible study – though firing might have been a bit extreme perhaps, it does send the message that the sorts of studies done in the earlier days of experimental psychology (Stanford Prison Experiment, The Case of the Twin Boys, even up to George Rekers) are not to be tolerated and that experiments that are as unbiased and scientific as possible will be taken seriously.
And yes, that editor needs to be taken to task. People like him or her are the exact reason people refer to Psychology Today as a psych journal exactly the way people refer to the National Enquirer as news.
moonflowers June 8, 2011, 6:05 pm
Satoshi Kanazawa (the Psych Today blogger in question) is a total dick, and the London School of Economics voted for his dismissal after the uproar over how he interpreted the study results. I’d read some of his chauvinist blog posts in the past and figured he’d be in trouble sooner or later.
Turns out Kanazawa majorly bungled the research methodology, and another Psych Today blogger, Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, ran his own analysis of the same exact data that proved that attractiveness was equal across all races. Here’s his post: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beautiful-minds/201105/black-women-are-not-rated-less-attractive-our-independent-analysis-the
camille905 June 8, 2011, 12:59 pm
Why are you offended that she equates black with being undesirable? That’s a message that is pretty common in the media and there’s plenty of self hate in the black community. If she lives in a largely white area (like I do) it may be a very real reason why she’s not dating the way her friends are. The last five first dates I went on (before I met my current beau) one of the first questions these [white] men asked me is if I dated white men regularly.
Painted_lady June 8, 2011, 1:11 pm
The funny thing is, I think you always want what you can’t have. Or almost always. I’m pretty damn Caucasian, and I work with and am friends with a lot of ethnic minorities. There is so much beauty in darker skin and more unique features, and while I love how I look, I think I’m sort of bland and boring in a lot of ways. I have naturally curly hair and tried to do sort of a ‘fro in college – I just looked like a white girl with a mop on my head. It was really a sad moment when I realized that was a hairstyle that was never going to be an option for me.
Colleen June 8, 2011, 1:46 pm
I think your perceptions are very true in some places. Like others have said, sometimes your looks, culture, or personality just don’t match up with the mainstream around you. I second others’ suggestions to get out of town (even for a short trip), try online dating, or look connect with a subculture that might be different than the majority in your area.
L June 8, 2011, 12:41 pm
You need to look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that YOU are BEAUTIFUL as you are, right here, right now.
Yes, it’s tough when you don’t feel it, but if you tell yourself every day, you will believe yourself. If you change your physical appearance, do it for YOU. If you lose weight, you’re doing it so that YOU can be healthy and happy. If you change your hair, or your makeup, or you buy new clothes, do it for YOU. Once you’ve reestablished your relationship with yourself, then you’ll be ready to get involved with someone else.
Also, have you ever asked a guy out or are you waiting for one to approach you? If you’ve never asked a guy out, I suggest you try it. Otherwise, you’re putting your dating happiness in another person’s hands. Take the bull by the horns! The worst that can happen? A moment of awkwardness. You would be surprised at how many guys really appreciate the girl doing the approaching. It shows them that you have confidence in yourself.
Beauty doesn’t have a size, shape, or color. If everyone were a size 4 white woman, we would live in a pretty bland, boring world, wouldn’t we?
GertietheDino June 8, 2011, 12:44 pm
Oh, honey. I think it’s time for a bit o’therapy. A good therapist can help you discover the joy that is you, maybe modify a few behaviors and teach/help you to love yourself for you.
spaceboy761 June 8, 2011, 12:57 pm
Your first sentence totally made me crave a Bit O’ Honey. Goddammit I love those things.
The only way that I got through the absolute fucking horror of shopping for wedding invitations with my now-wife and mow-mother-in-law was the fact that one of the stationary stores we went to had a pretty legit candy section. The owner was smart enough to buy me off with unlimited Bit O’ Honeys while the two ladies flipped through huge binders and henpecked each other. She essentially locked down a $1500 purchase with $15 of candy.
Painted_lady June 8, 2011, 12:51 pm
No, honey, just…no. First off, you’re 24 – it’s not unheard of to be a late bloomer, and it isn’t hopeless, either.
First suggestion: it may be how you are coming across. I have no Idea how you come across in person, so I would take one or two people who know you really well and who genuinely love you and ask them what first impressions you give off that might be off-putting to potential dates. Be prepared for the truth because it isn’t always easy to hear, and be aware that the first impression that you give isn’t who you really are – or these people wouldn’t be your friends. I had a good friend tell me a few years ago that what for me was actually shy and insecure was initially coming across as cold, condescending, and bitchy. I’m not any of those things, and he reassured me of that, so once I got over being hurt, I started making more of a conscious effort to be more warm and approachable when I meet new people. The effect on my life in general – not just my dating life, though that improved too – was immeasurable and I’m eternally grateful.
My second bit of advice is to take more care with the aspects of your appearance that you do have control over. My very best friend is probably about your size. When I met her, and for the first few years we were friends, she was pretty depressed. She hated being heavy, and she’d sort of given up on the idea of being attractive. She’s got a sister who looks like Barbie, and so she dressed and presented herself like she just didn’t give a shit. I don’t know exactly what prompted her to make an about face – part of it was adjusting her anti-depressants, part of it I think was getting away from her family who clearly favors her pretty but spoiled sister – but she started taking care of herself. Not like she was wearing a cocktail dress and heels everyday, but making the effort to do her hair and put on a little makeup and wearing clothes that flatter her bigger body and simply presenting herself like she had some self-esteem made all the difference in the world. If we get right down to it, I’m the more traditionally attractive (not *more* attractive, just what’s socially acceptable), but now when we go out she never lacks interested men to chat with. So figure out what you need to do to like yourself better – whether it’s talking to a doctor about the possibility of clinical depression, identifying factors in your life that are toxic to your self-esteem, etc – and do it. And realize, if you haven’t, that you have to present yourself (attitude, clothes, grooming) like you’re worth your own time to convince anyone else that you’re worth their time.
Also, don’t judge yourself so much by your friends and the fact that they’ve all had relationships. Both friends I mentioned here told me just after I got out of my last relationship how jealous they had been because they were both decidedly single. The thing I told them was that the relationship was the only upside to what was probably the most unhappy year and a half of my life. Given the option of being as miserable as I was while I was in that relationship or having to stay single the rest of my life, I’d stay single in a heartbeat.
LTC039 June 8, 2011, 12:52 pm
Next time you go out, grab the first guy you see & plant one on him!
LTC039 June 8, 2011, 12:54 pm
Make sure he’s single first, of course 🙂
spaceboy761 June 8, 2011, 12:59 pm
Hey, I tried that once! Long story short, now I’m a registered sex offender.
LTC039 June 8, 2011, 1:03 pm
Oh wow…Ok maybe that was a little extreme…lol I just wanted to give her a comedic “picker upper.”
All in all, there are PLENTY of black women that are desirable (not just celebrities) & the LW needs to love herself.
Positive energy attracts positive things, honey!!
Colleen June 8, 2011, 12:52 pm
I agree with all of the encouraging letters above. I would also encourage you to keep growing into the person you want to be all on your own. Having a significant other will not fill every hole in your life (at least, it shouldn’t in a healthy relationship). Don’t sit around waiting for someone else to come make your life what you want it to be… you are the only person who can do that! If you are content and healthy as a single woman, not only are you more attractive, but you’ll have better judgement and better relationships. As you’ve figured out, desperation isn’t attractive nor a route to healthy relationships.
So work on creating a life that fulfills you now, as who you are at this very moment. If you’re sick of calling up the same old friends, find new hobbies or groups. An exercise class or sports team is a good way to be social and active. Explore hobbies that help you feel talented and special. Ask your friends to introduce you to other friends of theirs. Ask an acquaintance out for coffee and get to know them better. If you’re not meeting men who expect and appreciate your intellect, take a class or join a discussion group where you’ll meet intelligent men who expect the same.
I know that taking care of your sexual needs on your own is not the same as it is with a partner, but it can help ease the desperation. Consider vibrators, porn, online interactions, or anything else that helps you take care of your own needs (which again, is helpful even when you do have a partner). I wouldn’t recommend a friends-with-benefits kind of scenario, because when you feel desperate and inexperienced it can mess with your heart to have those “firsts” with someone you’re not in a trusting relationship with.
I don’t want to tell you that you need professional counseling–your letter doesn’t imply any kind of serious problem that requires outside help. But if it’s something you’ve even remotely considered, give it a shot. I’ve found it helpful at tough times in my life when although I may not have been dangerously depressed or pathologically troubled, I just needed some support, new ideas, and a listening ear. A good counselor will be encouraging, wise, and able to offer neutral support that sometimes friends just can’t . Seeking that out doesn’t make you flawed or sick or needy.
There is nothing wrong with wanting a partner to enhance your life–significant others do indeed do that. But it’s so important to already be living a fulfilling and happy life. Ask yourself, “What do I want a boyfriend to bring to my life?” and then go out and try to find those things, boyfriend or not. When you’re confident and content, men take notice. They want to be with a girl who will share her interesting, rich life with them and help expand their world. Be that girl, and you’ll be happier both with or without a partner.
Emma June 8, 2011, 12:58 pm
Alrighty… where do we start?
First… there are a number of people who are attracted to black women. I am, my fiance is, and many of my male friends are. As someone who is naturally pale, I’ve always envied darker skin. It is unfortunate that there is a stereotype that comes with your race, but if you’re going to find someone you want to be in a relationship with, they aren’t going to be looking for a stereotype. They are going to be looking for someone who is smart, caring, and can love herself.
You say that you think self-confidence isn’t an issue. The truth is, it is. Girls with low self-esteem who have a lot of guys attracted to them tend to be in not-so-healthy relationships. They rely on their man (or woman) to give them all their confidence, and break down when that doesn’t happen. I’m not saying this is always what happens, but I’ve seen it happen quite a few times, especially for young ladies who have ‘daddy issues.’
You do need to have the self-confidence to be able to love yourself. I know the weight issue can be hard; I watched my mother drop almost 200 lbs over the course of a few years. It was hard for her, and she had to go to therapy to help her through it, but she did it, and you wouldn’t believe how much happier she is now.
I’d suggest going on Weight Watchers or something like that. It’s healthy, and it allows you to come down gently, rather than all this yo-yo dieting that requires starving, and then leads to bingeing. You might check whether you have a thyroid problem, too.
As someone else said above me, if you’re feeling glum, get out your make-up and experiment. Put on an outfit that makes you feel confident. Doll yourself up, and put yourself out there. I know this is what I do when I’m have anxiety problems. It helps calm me, like some sort of ceremony or something.
I really would suggest seeing a therapist. S/he can help you better your relationship with food, exercise and your body, as well as show you how to highlight the beautiful pieces of your person. Everyone needs a little help in feeling happy. And once you get there, I guarantee that the guys will be flocking to meet you.
Good luck; I know you can do this.
callmehobo June 8, 2011, 1:44 pm
YES! Weight Watchers is amazing. I lost 25 lbs when I did it, and it was nice to have a support system of women and men who all struggle with food. It’s not really a diet, but a way to teach and encourage healthy eating habits.
SpaceySteph June 8, 2011, 2:27 pm
Another WW devotee here! Do you realize that the standard restaurant servings are 2-3 times the normal serving size of most foods? That the serving size of a chicken breast is about the size of your palm? We have a culture that encourages overeating, we don’t even realize how much more than a serving size we eat in one sitting.
WW completely changed the way I looked at eating, for the better!
Monica M June 8, 2011, 4:35 pm
Another WW person here! I have lost 100 and still going.
Rachelgrace53 June 8, 2011, 7:30 pm
Wow that’s amazing! You guys are making me want to try it now, since I have a good 30 lbs to lose and have had little success thus far.
MissD June 8, 2011, 10:20 pm
Lost 30 pounds so far, 40 more to go. WW really does work, and it’s a great way to learn healthy lifestyle habits that stick with you so you can really maintain a healthy weight for life (which is/should be the end goal).
Christy June 9, 2011, 8:03 am
I just started WW and it’s pretty great–it’s a system to change how you interact with food rather than a diet. I’ve found that I feel better now that I’m eating healthy foods, and it feels like I’m indulging myself every day–I had an Oreo last night, and I got a Chick-fil-a sandwich the night before. It’s a really manageable, sustainable program.
demoiselle June 8, 2011, 1:02 pm
I think you are getting a lot of good advice here, but I do want to speak up about your age. You seem very distressed to be 24 and never to have had sex, especially since most of your friends have. I think that you need to go a bit easier on yourself. You’re not that much of an outlier, in my experience. Yes, many people have had sex by twenty. But many people have NOT.
In my friendship group, there were a lot of older virgins. I was 23.5, as was my mother in the 60s. One of my friends was 27 or 28. Another was 26. Yet another was also in her mid-twenties. And when I was in college and not having sex, I had sexually active friends who would tell me how lucky I was that I was managing to miss out on the trauma of their love-lives, learning by observing instead of by getting hurt myself.
None of us had any religious reasons for abstaining.
My mom used to tell me that there was no reason to suffer about starting to have sex late. No matter when you begin, you have the rest of your life to do it.
catscratch June 8, 2011, 1:37 pm
>>No matter when you begin, you have the rest of your life to do it.
Awesome. This can apply to so many things in life. 🙂
Thanks. I needed that.
Rachelgrace53 June 8, 2011, 7:43 pm
“No matter when you begin, you have the rest of your life to do it.”
It’s so true! People are always in a rush to lose their virginities, get out of their parents house, get a significant other, finish college, get married, have babies, buy a house. Why are we always rushing to do everything? We have our whole lives to do most of those things. Why can’t we just be happy where we’re at? I would give almost anything to re-do my college years, because I wished them away and just wanted to be out of there most of the time. But now I can see it was one of the most precious times of my life thus far.
SpyGlassez June 9, 2011, 3:37 am
30 year old virgin here, because I never met someone I wanted to have sex with (before the BF) and we’re taking things slowly. We’ve been together for over a year. Part of that is that I am mostly asexual (and considered myself completely asexual before I met him) and I just don’t have much of a drive. And believe me – if beauty was standardized, neither he nor I would be dating anyone! He has weight concerns and I’ve suffered from horrible acne since I was 12. But he tells me every day, many times, that I am beautiful, and to me, he is my handsome prince.
Sarah June 8, 2011, 1:04 pm
LW, replace overweight black girl with overweight pasty white girl and you’ve got me at age 21. I was heavy, incomprehensibly shy (like, couldn’t even look men in the eye shy), and lonely. I was exactly how you describe. The few times men would speak to me in class, I would not act in a way that showed that I was interested, I would say things I hoped were clever and would hope that would work. Instead it gave men the impression that I was not interested in dating or anything else. Oh, and I would get so frustrated when people told me that I really was beautiful. But I couldn’t see it, you know? I just assumed that they were saying it out of pity, and maybe some of them were. They didn’t know how it felt, so I couldn’t take their advice. I was so desperate to lose weight, but I would go to the gym and nothing would happen. Now, at 25, I am at a normal weight, I’ve had many boyfriends and I don’t look in the mirror and hate myself anymore, in fact sometimes I quite like what I see. Here is what I did to change:
1.) Look in the mirror and find everything you like about yourself. Got big breasts? A nice round ass? Pretty lips, eyes? Find it. Focus on these things every time you look in the mirror. Go to sephora and find a product that accentuates this. A new lip gloss or blush (I guarantee you nars in orgasm or a coral blush will make you feel more beautiful.)
2.) Change your scene. For me, it took traveling across the country for six months to change, but it doesn’t have to be so severe. What it really is is finding healthy time for yourself. And not the self hating time to yourself. When you catch yourself mentally checking off the things you dislike about yourself, slap your hand and go read a nice book or watch a nice movie. Make alone time HEALTHY. You need to stop looking at yourself at how you expect others to. Even though I love my family and friends, it took moving away from them to need to stand on my own impression of me without worrying about what they think.
3.) Get mad. Getting mad and frustrated at every person who made me feel small and invisible was/still is my greatest motivation at the gym. Did a dude you like ignore you? Ellyptical that sh*t out. Did a mean girl look you over weird the other day? Cycle that b*tch. Most importantly, get mad at yourself. Why the hell have you wasted so much time caring what everybody else thinks of you? Why the f*ck do they matter. Get a playlist that’s bad ass. Jay Z is my best gym buddy. Take kickboxing. Work it all out. The weight will come off, but that’s not the important part. The gym is where you’ll take back your self-respect.
4.) Go to a movie ALONE. Go to the park and read. Go shopping alone. When you’re ready, eat a meal alone at a table in a nice restaurant. That’s the real test. You have to find your own company pleasant, or you’ll never expect anyone else to.
5.) This one is the hardest. Men. I am still f*ck all awful at flirting with men. My friends call me the dwight schrute of dating because I have a knack for saying the most awkward thing to a man in an attempt to be cute. Example:
dude in a bar: Hey, has anyone ever told you you look like Taylor Swift?
me: Really? I usually get Grimace.
me: you know….*cough*….the uh…the purple guy? McDonald’s? He likes…..fries?
dude: ha. Yes. Fries. …Anyway…*darts to the next available chick*
I have always been shy and awkward and I always will be. But, I’ve discovered that if its used right, it can attract men who value an open personality instead of a girl who’s used to playing men. Instead of hitting on men, I make jokes. If they like them, they stay. If they get weirded out, peace. Use your strengths with men when you’re ready, with that and some more confidence the right ones will come to you.
I just realized how f*ck all long this thing is, but please read it and know I was right where you are and taking these steps is what changed my life.
spaceboy761 June 8, 2011, 1:12 pm
FWIW, the Grimace line would have worked like hell on me. The road to my heart is paved with snark and pop culture references.
Sarah June 8, 2011, 1:45 pm
Thank you!! See, I knew some men loved that sh*t. I’ve had WAY worse ones though. This one is my absolute worst pick up line:
dude in a library: Hey, aren’t you in my anthropology class?
me: I think so *blush*.
dude: What are you studying for now?
me: Me? Uh, chem. You?
dude: Got a huge essay to write for my religious studies class, I’m writing about the holocaust.
me: Oh yeah? My grandfather died in the holocaust. He fell off a guard tower.
callmehobo June 8, 2011, 1:50 pm
Sarah, I would like to date you now!
silver_dragon_girl June 8, 2011, 1:52 pm
I’m struggling with laughing at a holocaust reference, but that’s hilarious… 🙂
SpaceySteph June 8, 2011, 2:31 pm
Haha I’m Jewish and one of my good friends at work has a very german last name. We always tell the guard tower joke. Someone will make a hitler joke and I’ll say “Thats not funny, my grandfather died in the holocaust.” Then he’ll say “Yeah mine too. He fell off a guard tower.” And then we all have a good laugh.
Sometimes you have to make light of a terrible situation, or else you spend all your time being depressed.
Neil G. June 8, 2011, 4:12 pm
Crude, crude humor… Holocaust Jokes are in bad taste, Anne Frank-ly they’re not even funny.
Seriously though, I’ve told the guard tower joke before and it got me more than a few funny looks, mostly because my family is German and so people didn’t quite know if I was serious. Anyway, a sense of humor like that would’ve definitely been a huge selling point, and if I were single I’d promplty ask you out.
MissD June 8, 2011, 10:22 pm
That’s why we love you, spaceboy! Or at least, why I do. =)
spaceboy761 June 9, 2011, 11:59 am
Time for some outright sexism.
I know a lot of girls that are pretty. I know plenty of others that are cute, smart, interesting, sexy, and a bunch of other positive adjectives. I know SO REMARKABLY FEW that are funny. If you find a woman that makes you laugh, hang on to her.
Bethany June 8, 2011, 2:22 pm
“The gym is where you’ll take back your self-respect.”
I love the power in this line- you don’t ‘get’ it back, you TAKE it.
kerrycontrary June 8, 2011, 1:06 pm
You say that confidence is not the problem, but you focus on all of the negative aspects of your body. Sure, for health reasons your doctor may suggest you lose weight, but that doesn’t mean you can’t feel beautiful in the body you have now while you’re trying to lose weight (and congrats on losing 10lbs!). How many big women out there LOVE their bodies? Because I know a lot who do. And please don’t assume that black women are universally not beautiful. You are not only insulting yourself but all black women. Just because you hear some lame-ass study on the news says men don’t find black women beautiful doesn’t mean you need to believe it! Start trying to focus on the positive aspects of your appearance. Do you have great eyes? Big full lips? Play up all the positives and push away any negative thoughts. This will help with the body-confidence issues.
Don’t worry about men who reject you because you don’t adhere to stereotypes. Do you really want to be another stereotype? Or do you really want a man who wants that? The answer is probably NO! You just havn’t found the right person yet. Give online dating a chance. You may just be facing a problem of meeting the right person in the right setting. Meeting people is hard! Please keep your head up and don’t believe for one second that you are not a beautiful black woman!
Tristy June 8, 2011, 1:06 pm
Normally I just lurk in the shadows and don’t comment, but after reading this letter I just knew I had to say something. I TOTALLY know how you feel. I’m a black woman and a big girl too, so many of the thoughts you are having now I’ve had them. I used to feel like I was the most undesirable thing on earth and that no man would want me b/c I was fat and unattractive. So, like you, I began focusing on my physical appearance and doing the craziest things to lose weight and be “pretty.” I think someone mentioned this already, but you should be doing this FOR YOU and not b/c you’re trying to attract men. It took me a long time to realize that. Once I (finally) understood, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I still have a long way to go, but I feel so much more better about myself b/c I wanted to improve me for ME and not for someone else. For example, I hated my teeth so I got braces. I had been wearing the same glasses for years so I got new ones. I started doing different styles with my hair. It’s amazing how a few changes can make you feel better about yourself. And you thinking black women are at the bottom of the totem pole is just CRAZY. I get approached more by men who are not black! It’s all about how you carry yourself. If you walk around thinking you are no good/ugly/etc, people will pick up on that. Some of the most confident women I’ve met are plus sized women and the men flock towards them. So if someone like me – who had extremely low self esteem, self worth & confidence – can change for the positive, then I KNOW you can.
convexed June 8, 2011, 1:08 pm
First, I will say that losing 10 lbs in 3 months is not failure. Weight lost gradually, at a steady pace, is a lot easier to keep off in the long run. And the long-term investment is all the time spent on and with yourself, at the gym, doing something for you—your health, your body, your life. That is worth the time it takes.
That said, like other commenters, I do not believe your weight or looks are such that you are barred from the dating game. I have seen much more beautiful women than myself be lonely, and people that might not be perfect tens glowing in happy relationships. I’ve heard my beautiful, slender, lonely friends wonder how they could still be single, when so many conventionally ‘less attractive’ people are hooking up, getting married, etc. I don’t have an answer, except that dating and attraction are complicated, multi-faceted experiences, and it’s a mistake to fixate on just one element–say, attractiveness. My gorgeous friends think all they have to do is be gorgeous and love will come. They find themselves, often, wrong. The rest of us who have had to try a little harder to be good listeners, good communicators, to develop our personalities deeply and broadly, may not attract the immediate attention of every guy at the bar. But when we find a connection, we have a strong foundation in ourselves to build any relationship or intimacy on.
So, you say you have confidence. I believe you. But don’t compartmentalize–have confidence that you are good enough to be loved, or kissed, or hugged. That you are lovely and worth it. It’s not empty talk–it’s true.
Second, think about who you’re looking at or approaching. Once you have your first experience with dating, you’ll gain so much more confidence. So, the first time you ask a guy for his number, don’t aim at the hottest, most haughty guy in the room. Go for the average-looking, but nice, guy in the corner. Strike up a conversation, like you would with a new friend, and get to know each other a bit. Ask him if he’d like to get a drink (or coffee) sometime. Simply as that. After a bit of conversation, if he seems interesting, nice, cool, say, ‘Hey, would you like to get a drink with me sometime?’ Now, some guys have girlfriends already and some just won’t be feeling it, for whatever reason. Don’t let it discourage you. Try again next time—at the bookstore, at a party, on the train platform. You don’t need to sleep with or have a relationship with any of these guys. You just need to go out and get comfortable
with going on dates, making conversation with guys, maybe flirting, and putting yourself out there as a creative, smart, and worthwhile person.
And it’s true—it may be where you are. If you have a friend in another city, go on a visit, and pay attention to how the men are there. Do they check you out? Make small talk at the bus stop? Sometimes the nerdy math kid is never gonna get laid in the football town. But get that kid to Seattle, or a RIT, and watch how their luck changes, you know?
LTC039 June 8, 2011, 1:12 pm
Oh! & one more thing…Starving yourself DOES NOT help you lose weight. It slows down your metabolism immensely therefore making it difficult to lose weight (go figure!). I strongly recommend you try weight watchers, I’ve seen it work wonders to many close friends & family of mine. It’s a slow but sure path to weight loss & also helps you develop better & healthier eating habits for your future. Seriously! I’ve seen really overweight people drop to sizes 4s & 6s thanks to WW! It’s the best way to go! But also continue the gym, that’s good too, just don’t “kill” yourself there please!
Also, I know this is rather on the corny side but that quote “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is soooo true! Just because one person doesn’t find you attractive doesn’t mean another person won’t either. EVERYONE has different tastes & different qualities that attract them, so as long as you’re confident in yourself & you love yourself, you are beautiful!
Lindsay June 8, 2011, 1:17 pm
I’d never been particularly good at dating or any romantic endeavors. But something I’ve acknowledged recently is that everyone just wants someone awesome to date. If you think you’re not awesome, then it will project that idea to others, and they will assume it’s true. But if you acknowledge all the great things about yourself, they’ll see it, too. From what you wrote, you obviously realize you have a lot of great traits — you’re smart, well-spoken and passionate. And really, do you want someone whose sole idea of being awesome is about looks? What a superficial idiot that would be! For what it’s worth, I know quite a few bigger black girls who have boyfriends and husbands, and what they all have in common is accepting themselves, being confident and making the most of their lives.
I think you know that starving yourself is not healthy. But beyond that, that sort of high-maintenance behavior is not appealing to others, so it’s not going to help you get a date. Being well-balanced IS attractive. So is being active. Something I found that helped me feel better about myself was doing dance (zumba, hip hop, etc.) because it felt good, made me feel sexy and, of course, was beneficial to my body.
convexed June 8, 2011, 1:19 pm
Now, a shallow piece of advice. Sometimes people that question their attractiveness hide themselves in clothes that don’t fit or flatter them, or choose not to wear makeup or style their hair, because they say, ‘what’s the point?’ i’m never gonna look like a model’, or whatever. I don’t know what your style is, but choose colors that bring light to your face, and clothing styles that fit, that skim (not hide) your shape and say something about your personality. A shimmery or bright lipgloss or tinted balm is low-maintenance and broadcasts confidence as it draws attention to your face and your smile.
Some people will say fashion and beauty are superficial or shallow pursuits, and of course everyone has different preferences. But, presenting a pulled together, calm and collected face to the world shows that you care about yourself, and that others should, too. You are worth the time spent to look good. And, trust me, no one is gonna be saying, ‘she shouldn’t be wearing stylish clothes. only us gorgeous people are allowed to!’.
I’ve heard it said to me this way: you can’t change your body overnight, but you have 2 choices: you can be the chubby girl who tells the world she hates herself by hiding under hoodies, sweatpants, and the certainty that nobody will ever (or should ever) look her way, or you can be the chubby girl with great style, a mind of smart opinions and a killer smile, who walks into the room like she owns it.
LTC039 June 8, 2011, 1:30 pm
I completely agree with you. It’s not shallow at all, taking care of yourself & spicing your wardrobe up are very helpful. When you buy something that fits & looks good on you, you automatically feel good about yourself & that carries over into the way you carry yourself when you’re out.
BriarRose June 8, 2011, 2:32 pm
100% agree. I’d say I’m of average looks (the insecure part of me wants to say below average, but I’m currently beating her with a stick to be quiet) and on days when I make the effort to actually do my hair and not just clip it up, and put about 3 minutes into picking out some of my more flattering clothes, not only do I feel better, but I notice people are generally more receptive to me. That’s just how humans are. That quick visual assesment when first encountering a new person speaks volumes.
camille905 June 8, 2011, 3:03 pm
This is SOOOO true!! I used to work at Lane Bryant and women were always trying to wear clothes that were too big. Clothes that are too big just make you look bigger. Figure out what your body type is and dress to flatter it- do you have a smaller waist? Find a cute dress that you can wear a belt with that will accentuate your figure. There are so many blogs out there such as- http://ww1.stylishcurves.net/ that have tips for how to dress your body. Wearing clothes that flatter your body can make you feel more confident and it SHOWS.
A June 8, 2011, 1:36 pm
I’ve never commented here before, but I feel compelled to now. LW, life is TOO SHORT for self-hatred. I don’t know how you could ever think that black women are undesireable, but it’s a fucking lie! I would encourage you to disassociate from anyone or anything that says that you aren’t beautiful/good enough the way you are NOW (fuck the haters of the world). If you want to change yourself for YOU that’s fantastic. Self-confidence is what ultimately attracts others to you, independent of weight, height, skin color, etc.
YouGoGirl June 8, 2011, 1:45 pm
I am a 53 year old widow who always considered myself very ugly, even though I was not. After my husband died, I realized that my lack of self-confidence was caused by childhood trauma and an abusive marriage. So I went through several years of free therapy through my church and a community organization. As my self-confidence increased, I bought attractive clothes. I gained a lot of weight after my husband died and now weigh 200 lbs, so I discovered that Lane Byrant has beautiful clothes for plus-size women. I also began to wear nice jewelry all the time. (I never wore makeup because of my allergies.) I enrolled in graduate school and began exploring the country and taking photographs. I met a very nice man who likes me just as I am and we are starting to plan a future together. I also am beginning to lose weight for health reasons.
I want to encourage the LW that you can find romance just as you are. I know you are very discouraged, but you are not as alone as you think. Many normal-weight 24 year old women also have not yet found romance. If your lack of self-confidence is due to deeper issues, therapy will help. You can also buy some pretty plus-size clothes and get a flattering hair-cut. Find activities you enjoy, go out with friends and get involved in your community. While these other activities do not fulfill the need for a relationship, they keep you busy and involved until you do meet someone.
kerrycontrary June 8, 2011, 2:47 pm
such an encouraging story!!! I’m glad you took hold of your life and changed things for the better 🙂
silver_dragon_girl June 8, 2011, 1:47 pm
I’m not going to tell you my whole story about not getting male attention until I was 22, because people above have said the same thing much better than I could. I’m not going to give you another pep talk about keeping up the exercise and building confidence for the same reason.
What I am going to tell you is something I’ve just started to learn in the past couple of years: If you want someone to want to be with you, you have to be willing to make yourself somewhat emotionally vulnerable to them.
This can be really difficult for some people, and it gets harder and harder the longer you go along with the “nobody wants me” attitude. Every week that goes by without getting hit on, you retreat further into your emotional shell. Then when a guy does talk to you, you respond with a witty/sarcastic quip, or a monosyllabic answer, or something else defensive because
1. You’re utterly convinced that he’s not interested in you the way you are in him
2. You’re terrified of revealing your interest and getting shot down.
I did this for years. I was the sarcastic girl with the dry sense of humor. I had a huge crush on a guy I worked with in high school, and found out years later that he thought I didn’t like him because I was always being sarcastic and rude. I was trying to be funny, because I thought that’s all I had going for me, and was absolutely convinced that if I just had a normal conversation, or made eye-contact, or asked him a question about himself, he would be like “OH NO SHE LIKES ME SHE’S SO UGLY WHAT WILL I DO RUN AWAY AAAAHHHH!!!!!” It took friends repeatedly telling me that I could come across as very rude to people who don’t share my dry sense of humor before I realized that that’s probably what some of the problem was.
If you want random guys to show interest in you, you have to show interest in them! Be nice! Ask them questions! Answer sincerely!
Now, I don’t know if you do that exactly, but I’m willing to bet that somewhere along the way you put up some pretty major walls. You didn’t do it on purpose, but they’re there. The sad truth is that yes, you will get hurt. Some guys will look you up and down and be assholes. Some guys will make polite conversation and then leave. But some will enjoy talking to you and ask if they can see you again! And of course those are the ones worth talking to 🙂
Painted_lady June 8, 2011, 3:07 pm
Yes!!!! And it’s not something that’s exclusively limited to women who think they’re physically unattractive. My attractiveness physically is something I was lucky enough never to have questioned – as an ex of mine would put it, I “won the vagina lottery” there to have inherited a face and body from two terribly attractive people. But I had a lot of other self esteem issues and emotional scars that made my sense of humor as a younger adult, um, an acquired taste. It was easier to be mildly insulting and self-deprecating in an attempt to be funny than to be nice and genuine and open (still funny, but in a less hostile way) because to indicate interest is to admit vulnerability.
Ultimately, that which was an attempt to avoid getting hurt was still hurting me – I was just robbing myself of the pleasure of letting other people get to know and like the real me.
As scary as it is, you have to let down your guard, because it’s not doing you any favors anyway.
Jubietta June 8, 2011, 1:52 pm
When I was a kid my dad taught me, “Cute is only worth 2…on a a scale of 100.” He wanted us to focus on other parts of ourselves and other parts of the people in our lives for building relationships. He may or may not have been right, but I’m grateful to have that mindset when I start judging myself unfairly when I slip into comparing my appearance with other people’s.
Dear LW, you’ve walked a unique path and grown into a unique person. I only have a few paragraphs experience of you, and I love your honesty, intelligence, and desire to be whole. In addition to the “accentuate the positive” advice already given, I’d offer one more word…SMILE.
Though a smile can be tough to manifest when you’re feeling less-than your best, it has three benefits: the act of smiling triggers some of the brain chemistry surrounding happiness so it gives you a little lift, it transfers a little pop of energy to the person you’ve smiled at, and it’s an invitation for that person to have a positive interaction with you. Smiles are free, they use muscles and so burn calories, they’re contagious, and they look good on any sized face. Maybe starting with a smile will help bend your path toward fulfillment.
kdog June 8, 2011, 2:27 pm
I second soooo many of the comments here.
Do something special and loving for yourself. Start with once and week and then shoot for once a day. And when I say do something for yourself, I don’t mean just buying junk we’re lead to believe we “deserve” from every commercial. I mean something that truly shows self-care. For me that started out meaning going to therapy, than eating healthy, than starting to work out. Sometimes it just means reading a book or heading out of town to visit a friend for the weekend (just a short drive, not some expensive flight or far away place). And often it just means not saying mean things to myself, like that I am unworthy, or unattractive, or don’t fit in this world. Research insightful books and articles by black women about finding beauty in themselves and critiqueing homogenous standards of beauty. Empower yourself! You have more power in your pinky than the people who don’t question what they’re being told. I bet you a million bucks you will land a man (or ten) when you start to really believe you are special.
kdog June 8, 2011, 2:30 pm
sorry, than should obviously be then….
kdog June 8, 2011, 2:37 pm
Oh and I am going to recommend blackgirlsguidetoweightloss.com as well. The writer is very insightful and helpful. NOT saying that you need to lose weight to be loveable, but if you’re interested in it, she’s got a pretty great take on a lot of things.
DramaQueen224 June 8, 2011, 1:39 pm
A while ago The Frisky posted a video ). They called it “The Sad Truth: Pretty Girls Get Free Stuff”, but that’s not actually what the video showed. The same (pretty) girl received a lot more attention when she dressed up and was flirty and smiley. Her body didn’t change at all, but her hair, makeup, clothes and attitude did. Realistically, a lot of what people find attractive is easily changeable. I know this is super shallow and my inner feminist isn’t thrilled with me at all, but it works. Try getting dressed to the nines, going out and flirting like a crazy woman for one night (being tipsy also helps- just don’t go to far).
callmehobo June 8, 2011, 2:40 pm
LW, I’m going to ask you something that I don’t think anything anyone else in the comments has asked..
Why do you need a boyfriend/sexual partner/guy?
I want you to think about it for a while. Is it because you need some sort of outside confirmation that you are a desirable person? Is it because you are unhappy and you feel that being in a relationship would make you happy?
Having sex/attention from a guy is not going to change the way you feel about yourself. Your self esteem issues come from YOU and YOU are the only one who can change them. When you step up and decide to love and respect yourself, you won’t feel that anxiety from not being attached to a person. That also happens to be the time when men start paying attention to you- because a confident, self-assured woman is pretty damn sexy.
So take some of the above comments advice and learn how to love yourself first. You can’t learn to love someone else until you are in love with you. How can you expect someone to like you when you treat yourself like you don’t like you? Take some time for you- pick up a new hobby, dress and groom yourself with respect, and learn to like YOU.
SpaceySteph June 8, 2011, 4:14 pm
I know how you feel, LW, wanting a guy. Because you’ve got all these friends who are out there dating guys and having sex.
My best friend and roommate in college was “pretty” by traditional standards and had a parade of guys through our apartment. Boyfriends, hookups, etc. I was so sure that she would fall in love, get married, and leave poor, single, fat, virgin me behind.
Well, it didn’t work out. She, like me, is still looking for Mr. Right. Because most of those guys didn’t see the amazing person that I know my friend is, they just saw her big chest, tiny waist, and willingness to put out. I was jealous that she had boys, but I neglected to realize that she didn’t have quality boys, quality relationships. I have only seriously dated 2 guys… the first didn’t work out, but they both have been quality relationships with guys who saw a quiet, chubby, smart girl and didn’t shy away from that.
Relationships are not about quantity… I’m glad that instead of 30 jerks and hookups, I’ve had 2 long quality relationships. Instead of feeling unlucky to not be popular with the douchebags, be glad that you aren’t having to waste your time kissing 1000 frogs.
moonflowers June 8, 2011, 6:34 pm
Can’t second this more.
If there’s anything you want to change about yourself, the change has to come from inside you. Sure, a hot new guy might make you feel good for a short period of time, but if you haven’t vanquished those demons of self doubt yet, the initial pleasant surprise of “Wow, he’s with *me*?!” turns into a negative, doubting, “He can’t possibly really want to be with *me*.” If he truly does love you, hearing you doubt him like that will really upset him, and that will kill the relationship sooner or later.
In order to find love, you have to honestly seriously believe that you are a lovable person. That way you’ll be receptive to other people’s love and be able to believe it when they offer it to you, instead of (accidentally) discouraging them by doubting it’s true due to insecurity. The only way to achieve this self-love is to work on yourself – to reexamine why you think you’re so unattractive and replace it with more rational or positive thoughts about yourself, to put in the effort on your own behalf (weight loss, hair and makeup, getting honest feedback about how you come across and acting on it, etc.).
Finally, being single is not a sign that something is wrong with you any more than being in a relationship is somehow a sign of superiority. Horrible people like Hitler had lovers, and wonderful people like Emma Watson (the skinny blonde British beauty of Harry Potter fame) are currently single (she was lamenting that just a few days ago!). Sure, anecdotes aren’t data, but on the whole, dating involves a lot of random chance and being in the right place at the right time with the right guys around you. None of those are fully in your control, so don’t beat yourself up for something that isn’t of your choosing. Work on what you can control, don’t sweat the rest.
Skybird June 8, 2011, 2:49 pm
I speak from experience. Starving oneself does NOT help with long-term sustainable weight loss. Here’s a tip for you. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR. If your doctor is not helpful, find a certified bariatrician. I have been overweight for most of MY life, and I’ve been seeing a bariatrician since January, and have lost 40 pounds so far, the HEALTHY way. Seriously look into the low carb/high protein options, but you have to have high protein part of it. Get your fasting insulin tested – INSULIN MAKES YOU HUNGRY. There are medications that help moderate the insulin levels in your body and reduce your hunger. I’m also not ashamed to say I am taking an appetite suppressant. These things WORK, but only if you’re doing it for yourself. I finally came to the conclusion that “I’m better than that.” I’m worth losing the weight and working towards my weight loss goals. Something else that helps with weight loss is speaking with a counselor. I see my doctor every month (legally I have to to keep getting the appetite suppressant). But until you really feel you’re worth the effort and time it takes to lose the weight, you won’t have any good success. Work on yourself first. You’ll find if you’re happy with who you are, other people will be attracted to it. I wish you the best of luck my dear. Life doesn’t necessarily begin at 20, 24, 25, or even 30. Hell, I’m almost 40, married since I was 22, have a small child, and don’t feel my life has really started yet, but I’m getting there. I’m working towards it, I have goals, and am happy with myself the way I am, but I’m working to make myself better. Focus on YOU.
Sonia June 8, 2011, 2:52 pm
I had a friend that used to complain all the time about how much easier it was to date in high school, and this was 10 year after we’d both been out of it. One day out of exasperation I screamed at him “Stop sounding like Al Bundy and his 4 touchdowns in a single game!” I then went on to tell him that just beucause it seemed easier in high school there were also a limit of choices – now he had the hwole world of single women at his fingertips, only every single one of them could smell his deperation and wanted nothing to do with him…LW, these guys that don’t seem interested aren’t only surprised that you don’t fit a stereotype. They are also reading your desperation – esp if you ” talk about sex all the time, more than I would like, out of exasperation and desperation. A girl has her needs! ” You know you’re desperate because you feel left behind, but the thing you need to do most is RELAX
BriarRose June 8, 2011, 2:55 pm
First of all, my sister is 28 and never been on a date and is most definitely a virgin, and my very dearest friend didn’t have sex until she was 30. So there you go–actual human proof that there are women other than you in the same situation.
Secondly, no you are not too unattractive to find someone. No, no, no, a thousand times no. The type of guy you want is one who likes you for your personality, and brains, and sense of humor–not one who only likes the way you look. If some guy makes a 2 second assesment of you as not his type, or not pretty enough, or whatever–is that really someone you’d be interested in spending time with? I doubt it, because you sound a lot smarter than that.
All that aside, I know it’s frustrating. I get it. How do you meet people to date if you feel like you can’t even get your foot in the door, so to speak? There’s the whole cliched “joining groups, going to activities, etc, etc”. That’s a good start and definitely worth trying. I’ll also be the one to suggest online dating. It’s a fun, low pressure way to meet people, flex your conversational skills, and get into the dating scene. Your sense of humor might not be for every guy. I scared off plenty of guys online with my sarcasm! You might not match up with other guys based on your interests or things like that. But it was good practice talking to people, and I went on plenty of first dates/meetings with guys. It was fun, not fun, annoying, but still, a great learning experience. I actually had a few guys like me, and learned a lot about myself, dating, and life. Might be something to think about.
Turtledove June 8, 2011, 3:04 pm
“Because of how I look, people generally expect me to act a certain stereotypical way, including many of the guys that I’ve been attracted to. When I don’t “fulfill the stereotype,” people (and especially guys) are always “surprised” that I’m articulate and have a creative mind, which makes me even more depressed about dating.”
Ok, so I’m going to take a guess here… people don’t usually assume that someone fits a certain stereotype unless they’re looking and superficially acting the part. For instance, if I was waking down the street and saw an overweight black woman, I would not assume anything about her from the fact that she is overweight and black; but I would make assumptions from the way she is dressed and carrying herself. If she was wearing a colored suit dress on a Sunday, I might assume she had just been to church. If she was wearing a band t-shirt and carrying a guitar, I might assume she was a musician. If she was wearing too-tight jeans and a too-tight shirt I might assume something else. Do you see?
So, my advice is to really look in your wardrobe. What do you wear? If you wear ill-fitting clothing, either overlarge or oversmall, you are to banish them immediately. Clothes that are too big make you look larger and also telegraph that you don’t care what you look like. Clothes that are too small also make you appear larger and generally telegraph desperation.
So. Perhaps your confidence is a little shaky, you can’t magically fix that. Perhaps you want to see a therapist, perhaps not. Here’s what worked for me… fake it till you make it.
So, step one, stand up straight. Train yourself to stand up straight and look people in the eye. When you shake hands, do so firmly.
Step two, find a style icon. Perhaps this is a friend who dresses well and can take you shopping and offer advice. Perhaps someone you see on TV or the news. Banish all clothing that does not fit with your icon (except of course the one or two outfits that never leave the house). Really. If you haven’t got a friend you trust to help you pick out clothes that fit well and look stylish, then make an appointment with the personal shopper at a department store. It will feel awkward at first to change your style so drastically and you’ll be self-conscious, but I promise, you’ll grow into it.
Lastly, I’m jealous. I’ve never seen you, but I am so jealous that you are a beautiful black woman who can wear jewel-toned eye shadow a la Grace Jones and can wear the new shades of bright pink lipstick and have it look fabulous no matter the shade. Please, go to the makeup counter and have the ladies there assist you. Or, if you are embarrassed to do that in public, make an appointment at a spa to get a makeup lesson.
moonflowers June 8, 2011, 6:41 pm
I’m always jealous of black or brown folks because my favorite color, purple, looks just amazing on brown skin. Mrs. Obama rocked that one purple sheath dress in a way this pasty Asian here never will!
Elle June 8, 2011, 4:06 pm
When I was 21, I remember I didn’t like my body. At all. Didn’t like my nose, didn’t like my legs, my boobs were too big… Now, 12 years later and 25 pounds heavier, I like my body. My legs are fine. My nose is ok. My boobs… well, they’re bigger… Anyway, me liking my body didn’t happen over night.
A couple of things happened.
I started fantasizing about getting surgery to fix my legs. I imagined myself with perfect legs. And I was repulsed. Because those imaginary perfect legs weren’t mine. My legs, the way they are, are part of me, and define my own (twisted) personal charm. Did a similar mental exercise with my nose. Nope, the perfect nose would turn me into a stranger. I would no longer be “me”.
Then I put on some weight. Then a little more. I didn’t realize it at first, it was so gradual. My mom told me, and I got mad at her. I tried to control my weight. 5 more pounds. Eventually, I managed to stop gaining weight. I tried to lose (some of) the weight for a while. Only managed to slow down my metabolism. For a couple of months, my daily calorie intake was 1100-1200 calories, but I didn’t lose an ounce.
And I realized that I was hating myself, I was hating my body. And given how long I tried to lose weight and nothing happened, I wondered if I was going to hate myself for the rest of my life. And I decided that it’s not worth it. It’s simply not worth it to hate your body for the rest of your life. So what did I do? I accepted myself the way I was/still am. I still exercise, because I want to be healthy. I eat as healthy as possible, but occasionally succumb to ice-cream, ribs and fries. But not hating myself is such a relief.
I don’t remember the TV personality, but she managed to lose a sizable amount of weight. She later declared that, even though she was looking great, she was still miserable and depressed, because in her head, she was still the same person as before she lost weight. Her mind didn’t keep up with the change in her physical appearance, and apparently, she fixed the wrong problem!
Yes, I agree with most people here, confidence is the greatest asset. And it only comes from within. The rest – make-up, hair, clothes, shoes, accessories, are just additions. They do help, they do give you a confidence boost, and they’re not enough by themselves.
I suggest you make a list of all the advice you got in all these comments, and try just one a day. I think you’ll make so much progress in the first week, and you’ll feel so good, you’ll never look back! I am really looking forward to the update!
MiMi June 8, 2011, 4:11 pm
While it is a lovely fantasy to imagine that a great guy would look at you across a crowded room, see you sitting in a corner, and magically infer from your glance that you are an intelligent, articulate, and creative woman….it ain’t gonna happen. You believe people expect you to behave in a stereotypical manner based on how you look, so how DO you look, that would lead folks to be “surprised” to find that you are articulate and creative? Your grooming and wardrobe choices can be kind of a walking advertisement for how you feel about yourself, so if what’s in the closet is not representing you positively and accurately, it’s time to make some changes. What is the mode of your creativity? Are you a writer? An artist? The world’s best pie-maker? How can this be expressed, visibly, to give others a clue about you and offer a way for conversations to start?
Target some activities that will show off your verbal abilities to the best. Toastmasters might be good for an articulate person, or find a coffee-shop or bookstore that has open-mike night and write a poem to read there, or find a way in your community to be a voice for those who are not being heard.
Get out of your head and take an active role in finding ways to express who you are, so it isn’t a mystery to others. When you are actively holding the reins of your life, you will be in a better place to find a partner of interest and will, in turn, be a better partner yourself. Win-Win!
fast eddie June 8, 2011, 4:02 pm
I don’t believe it’s size or race that keeps romance away. There’s a big women category of search on erotic sites so that can’t be the issue. As Bricka put in the first comment, your own self image is the single most important factor to enhance. A good way to accomplish that is to acquire some education, make that a lot of education. Not only will you benefit financially but a LOT of self confidence en-route. During that process you’ll meet other people who also value that and perhaps find love therein. When I was going to school some of my classmates were large black women that if I hadn’t been married I’d have dated in a heart beat assuming they were interested.
sobriquet June 8, 2011, 5:28 pm
Are you trying to date men who are out of your league? It’s something we all deal with in one way or another. The ONLY way your appearance could hurt your chances at dating is if your expectations are too high. I wouldn’t think race had anything to do with it, although I realize we live in a very prejudiced society. Are you going after men who are also overweight? I’m not saying that you should “settle”, but if you expect to date a Brad Pitt look-alike, you will probably keep getting rejected.
Honestly, if I were you, I would give online dating a shot. I guarantee there are men out there who find you smokin’ hot!
kati July 21, 2011, 6:34 am
thats what i was going to say. i dont know how to say it without being a bitch. but some overweight people i know complain about people not wanting to date them when they actually want to date average size people. (its like, you dont find people who look like you attractive, but you want people who look more healthy than you to find you attractive-seems unfair) you might be able to attract an average sized man, i’m not saying you can’t because some overweight people do attract average weight partners (and not only rich men.) however, reality check, many many average sized men and women would avoid dating a person 100 pounds overweight. and for those that would be open to it, you have a lot of confident overweight, experienced, flirty ladies who are your competition. i just hope your expectations are realistic in what a suitable match would be.
since you are articulate and creative why not try to meet people (guys) doing these types of activities; (politics? debate? art?) you’ll be among peers and noone will be surprised you have these qualities.
lk June 8, 2011, 7:12 pm
If you’re having trouble finding the beauty in yourself, try going to a coffee shop and playing my favorite game:
I love to people watch, so I just sit somewhere and watch each new person come in…
Then I pretend they are the **love of my life** and I watch the little things about them (ooh, she likes Americanos! that is so cute that he tipped when the cashier wasn’t looking! that color looks amazing on her! his hair is so soft and shiny! I love the gap in her teeth!) become enchanting.
As you get better playing this game while looking at other people, you will start to realize all the little things that make you unique will be the things that other people love about you.
twiglet June 8, 2011, 7:14 pm
i like your game. I’m going to play it tomorrow just for fun, thankyou.
twiglet June 8, 2011, 7:13 pm
I have not read the rest of the comments, so I might be repeating, but if you have a creative mind, then use it. Create something, anything, paintings, sewing, anything,(REALLY anything) go to a creative class,exhibit somewhere local, show what you can do. The best artist the year above me had all the guys round her-she was plain, older than them, but they loved her beautiful mind. Bodies fade and fail, find a man who loves what you make.It can be small, just find a place to show what you can create and it will draw the right souls to you… Good luck.
fast eddie June 8, 2011, 8:18 pm
My sentiments exactly.
sarolabelle June 8, 2011, 6:40 pm
I don’t have a pep talk to give, sorry. I just wanted to let the LW know that she isn’t alone. There are many many women who don’t have an ounce of experience and it isn’t because of any weird reason. It’s because relationships, dating, sex, kissing is really hard. I have met many people who are just not interested in any of it. I think it might have something to do with what city you are in.
Katie June 8, 2011, 8:13 pm
oh LW, so many things…
1. a study was done recently on men’s preference when searching for porn on the internet. the number one choice was bigger women. men like that, even if they wont admit it
2. i think it is so funny that everyone wants what they cant have. from your distaste in your skin color, I assume that you would rather be light-skinned. and here I am, whiter then rice, getting made fun of in the dead of summer because i dont tan, and I wish i had darker skin. trust me, there is no perfect
3. you can only ever love someone else if you love yourself first. i dont know what makes you happy, but you need to find that, and do it. do it often, and never stop. i dance and scrapbook. dance to me is freeing, a chance for me to escape to a different world. i scrapbook on days that I want some alone time. i sit by myself, all my pictures and memories and stickers and paper all layed out on the floor, and i make my books. they are my most prized things i own.
4. you can never compare your life to others lives- once again there is no perfect. your friends may be getting a bunch of guys but that does not mean that they are happy. there are women who from the outside appear happy, and inside are slowly dying. again, you have to love yourself first. always.
5. i feel like i have no fasion sense. for that reason, i dont ever feel as pretty as other girls i see. ever. i recently went to the pool at my new apartment, and there were all these girls, with their hair all done, makeup perfect, their perfect little bodies inside designer swimsuits, drinking mimosas. and then there was me, who didnt even wear a coverup to the pool, had to slather sunblock all over myself, hair still messy from work, and not a stich of make up on. it was not terribly fun. there are so so many places for you to look at on the internet for advice on makeup, and hair, and clothes. maybe if you revamped your style a little bit you would feel better about how you look.
6. i really hope that you take all of our words to heart- i read almost all the other comments and as you can see, there are people in this world that support you and know that there is a beautiful, loving person in there, even if you cant see her just yet. and i hope that you see that everyone woman in the world has felt the way you feel at one time or another. i hope that one day you can look back at this and say, wow that was a bad time in my life. i have come so far.
fast eddie June 8, 2011, 8:30 pm
Your first point’s an especially good one. Larger and less then “top model” women are real and have realistic expectations. I dated a woman that had a Playboy level body. It was the worst experience of my life. She had a lover on the side and just used me to fund her entertainment. I’d much rather have someone with flaws and a few (or more) extra pounds to create a relationship based on trust, common goals and shared ambitions. That’s why I love my wife and I’m hanging on to her.
SpaceySteph June 8, 2011, 9:34 pm
Second your thoughts about wanting what you don’t have. I also am very pale. Someone once said to me “You can’t really be from Florida, you don’t have a tan.” Though I am from Florida, had a pool in my backyard, spent many weekends at the beach… I burn, then I peel, then I pale again. So I am just as jealous of your dark skin that isn’t awful and bland and see-through as you are of my light skin; I wish I were darker, you wish you were lighter. And we are both stuck with the color we’ve got, so why not love it?
Morgan June 8, 2011, 11:01 pm
To start with the black women aren’t desirable thing: As a straight, white female, I am just going to throw this out there…I would fuck Beyonce in a heart beat if she were interested. In a heart beat. Why? Well, for one, because she is amazingly beautiful. She is black, and she is beautiful. But also because she embraces her body, she embraces what she has, and she works it. She comes across so pulled together and so confident and so assured of who she is and that she’s fabulous. And that attitude is attractive black, white, brown, olive, purple, blue, or polka dotted. And it is attractive size 00 or size 24. Find your inner fierce and embrace it. The rest will come.
AKchic June 8, 2011, 11:23 pm
Oh honey… *hugs* I am so sorry you are feeling this way.
Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and most importantly, intelligences. There are men (and women) out there that love bigger women. The phrase “more cushion for the pushin'” was coined just for them.
Right now, I think you should be more concerned with your self-esteem than your lack of sex and sexual partners. Low self-esteem leads to poor partner choices. I think you would rather have a B.O.B. (battery operated boyfriend) than an abusive sexual partner.
You could look online at dating websites that cater to bigger women while you continue to lose weight. A happier person can lose weight faster/easier than someone who is depressed/unhappy.
You might also want to re-evaluate the kinds of guys you want to attract. Do you have a type you are interested in and just can’t get? I mean, not everyone can expect a Denzel or Clooney. Sometimes, we have to look more at the Urkels and Sambergs to see what we can find. And trust me, the “nerds” have a lot to offer. Usually, they are sweeter, and a lot more attentive to the ladies than the guys who know women are vying for their attention. They work to please their ladies. (I have a nerd myself… and wouldn’t want it any other way)
A more intellectual (and less physically attractive) guy would also be less likely to think of the stereotypes and judge you for you and be open to your intellectual and creative ideas. This can also raise your confidence, which in turn will help you with your weight and body image issues.
Honey, no matter what, intelligence is the most beautiful thing in the world. Do not try to cultivate the stereotype just to get a cheap, quick sexual gratification. Be yourself and mellow out on the sex talk. Look at ALL of the guys in the room, not just the ones everyone else is looking at. I’m sure that someone will come around eventually, and when he does, he will be WORTH your wait.
dude23 June 9, 2011, 2:09 am
Good luck with your weight loss.
Also, don’t listen to pretty, skinny women telling you how great you look, and what a great catch you are.
LOOK HERE IS THE DEAL. No woman on this earth, if given the chance, will CHOOSE to be look fat / obese. (with the exception of Rosie O’Donell …). What does that FACT tell you ?
Do not be fooled by the fake compassion of people on the internet, people who don’t know you and what it’s like to be in your position. Being over weight is a significant hurdle.
If you are totally desperate, sign up on a BBW dating websites. But Beware, it mostly attracts people who are “nuts”, have fetishes about fat women. You cannot have a healthy relationship with them.
Ignore the naysayers, open your eyes and look at the world. How many couples do you see (in the media, on the street, in your social circle, whatever) where an obese person is in a happy long term relationship with an attractive person?
Fat does not have to be bad. There are lots of BIG men and women, who can run 10k and not break a sweat, they are just naturally BIG and healthy. Focus on being healthy, don’t worry too much about being perfect in shape and size.
But don’t listen to people who tell you what you want to hear, preventing you from changing for the better.
SpyGlassez June 9, 2011, 3:58 am
I don’t see how some of what you said is supposed to be supportive. “Do not be fooled by the fake compassion of people on the internet, people who don’t know you and what it’s like to be in your position. ” — I think it’s been expressed here, over and over, that many of us DO know what it feels like to be in her position. No one is telling her not to lose weight; people are telling her to do it for health and for herself, NOT to catch a man. If the goal in losing weight is just to snare a guy, then what would be the incentive to keep the weight off after she had him?
Like you said, some people will always be bigger. My boyfriend was a competitive swimmer in high school and has been in other sports. Based on his build and his family, he’d never weigh less than high-200s because that’s who he is. I have gotten soft since injuries forced me to quit doing 30+ hours of karate and martial arts a week, but even when I was working out every day my lowest weight was about 150 on a 5’3″ frame.
Indeed, if she focuses on being healthy, inside AND out, she will find that she likes herself better, and THAT is the secret to finding happiness. People want to be around happy people, and THAT is what will attract people to her.
And to the LW, I cannot recommend some form of martial arts high enough. NOT necessarily for the weight loss (as I said, I never turned into a svelte model doing it) but for the confidence boost it will give you. Aikido is low impact and a good place to start if you are not sure of how well you’d like it; someone else mentioned kickboxing; I would also recommend karate if you find a good dojo.
dude23 June 9, 2011, 5:28 am
A lot of comments are repeating the same old cliched crap.
“you need to look in the mirror, and love yourself for who you are NOW”.
This girl IS confident.
” I don’t believe “confidence” is the issue”
“I’m articulate and have a creative mind”
she know’s who she is.
She needs to lose the weight her DOCTOR told her to shed.
I’m not a weight loss expert, but I’m telling her to focus on the problem that is preventing her from having fulfilling relationships: her weight. And not get distracted by cliched posts.
Christy June 9, 2011, 8:17 am
Just because you’re articulate and you don’t want to admit that your confidence level is an issue does *not* mean that you are confident. Everything the LW says in her letter (other than the single phrase “I don’t believe ‘confidence’ is the issue”) indicates that she is unconfident in herself, at least in this area of her life.
While you are probably correct that losing weight would help her have a fulfilling relationship, it’s probably not just skinnier–>fulfilling relationship. I bet it’s lose weight–>feel better, physically–>lose more weight–>get more confidence–>lose more weight–>realize that guys are finding her attractive–>start flirting–>date around–>find a fulfilling relationship. But the confidence is key.
Oh, and people with fetishes can have fulfilling relationships too. Check out Savage Love if you don’t believe me. And being into BBW women is *so* not a fetish. My best friend would pick a BBW with a great rack over a skinny chick any day. Lots of people like curves, even if they’re not hourglass curves.
Sarah June 9, 2011, 10:16 am
“I’m simply not attractive.”
“I’m a black female, and it seems that being a black female comes at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of desirability.”
“I’m very different looking, so being too unattractive to date wouldn’t surprise me that much.”
Does that sound like a confident girl to you?
Christy June 9, 2011, 8:33 am
LW, I totally know where you’re coming from. During my senior year of college, I actually did a happy dance because I remembered that when I was a junior in high school there was a guy I’d met who was interested in me. (Even though I wasn’t interested in him AT ALL and only saw him once, it was a major victory for me.) I was ecstatic to remember that at least once in my life, a guy had been interested in me.
Now, a lot of my issues stem from the fact that I thought I was bisexual and that it took me approximately forever to realize that no, I’m a lesbian. But it was largely the same experience.
I still can’t really flirt to save my life. Text message flirting is a way to ease into it–you can think about your response for as long as you want, so you can be clever in everything you say. Also, enlist your friends. I had this really great friend that I would confide in about this girl that I liked, and when it turned out that he worked with her best friend, he would (1) slip me into conversation and (2) let me know when the girl’s best friend would mention me on her own. It took about 4 months of high school-level maneuvering and awkward flirting (and I’m talking really awkward flirting), but we actually dated the summer after I graduated. And the reason we stopped talking was (I’m pretty sure) that I was so hesitant about everything because I didn’t want to mess anything up. Take some risks! (But let me tell you, that first hand-hold and first kiss were spectacular, even at 21. And I know this is silly, but you can go for the first kiss too–otherwise you might be waiting longer than you want to.)
Anyway, that little bit of a relationship let me know that people found me attractive. I’ve gotten a little better with flirting, and I’ve gotten more confident. I’ve also started wearing flattering clothes. That helps too. Now, I’ve gone on a few more dates but haven’t clicked with anyone, and that’s fine too.
Oh, and related to the confidence=more attractive–One night I was walking down the road near the campus I was staying on to meet this girl (as I was just starting to date her) and I knew I was wearing an outfit she found me attractive in, so I was really excited and confident about going to see her, and all of a sudden a car with some young-20s guys yells out something about me being sexy, turns around, pulls up to me, and the driver basically asks me out on behalf of his best friend in the passenger’s seat. I was so flattered that it took me a minute to say, “Sorry, I’m a lesbian” and laugh off his response when he said that was fine too. But that encounter built my confidence as well.
FWIW, I’m overweight (about 75 pounds out of the healthy zone) and the girl I was dating was black, so it didn’t seem to stop either of us.
dude23 June 9, 2011, 9:01 am
So girls are flattered by random guys pulling up next to them, and making sexual comments?
spaceboy761 June 9, 2011, 9:23 am
Nothing says ‘I love you’ like willingly putting yourself on the list of registered sex offenders.
Christy June 9, 2011, 10:25 am
It had never happened to me before, and I didn’t feel threatened by them (I was in a small town at the time), so yes, it was a confidence boost.
The time I walked down the main thoroughfare at the beach with my hot best friend and she got almost 100 car honks/shouts, she was not flattered, just annoyed.
MsMisery June 9, 2011, 10:55 am
First, continue working on your health. Not only is it good for you, but you’ll start feeling better emotionally. Next, get thee hence to a sci-fi convention. You shall be worshipped. I promise.
Lulu June 9, 2011, 1:04 pm
I gained a lot of weight in my teen years that I have yet to get rid of. I am overweight and short. Never the best combination in a society that plasters only one type of beauty for all to see.
I recently went to my doctor for a check up. I’m absolutely healthy, my heart is strong and my cholesterol is really good. So I am a healthy, chubby woman. There is no reason health wise for me to lose weight and I am happy as I am.
I decided this in college when I had to work to support myself and do all the school work that my profs loved to hand out. When I had free time I would rather read a book or see a good movie I don’t want to spend by precious free time at the gym. It just isn’t something that appeals to me.
And now I am living with my boyfriend I met online. He likes me for me and we share common interests and have so much fun together. That only happened when I became confident enough with myself to put myself out there.
kate June 9, 2011, 1:56 pm
There are other reasons to lose weight other than cholesterol. Being overweight puts you at a higher risk for diabetes or insulin resistance, higher circulating cytokines and basically means you are in state of constant inflammation.
LeahW. June 9, 2011, 2:01 pm
CGN, sometimes it’s hard to get perspective when everyone around you seems to be in one place in their lives and you’re in another, so I’ll tell you about my history. My first date was at 21, first kiss at 22 with a man twice my age, first had sex at 23, first boyfriend at 24 in a relationship that lasted 3 months, and then I barely dated until at 28 when I met the man I’m going to marry. It doesn’t really matter if you have a late start, as long as the quality of your relationships is good once you DO start!
What did I do in the meantime? I spent a lot of time working on myself, putting myself out there and learning how to dress up, feel good about myself, and flirt. Although your unhappy friends might have boyfriends, maybe they’re just lucky or are sending out signals that you’re just not seeing and it’s helped them meet men. Hell, maybe you ARE meeting men, but you’re so down on yourself that you don’t see it or respond in a negative way that motivates them not to pursue you further! I know I did! I was so shy and screwed up that if a guy looked at me I’d immediately look away so as not to maintain eye contact. No wonder I never got asked out!
As far as your immediate future goes, it sucks to be so horny and not have any prospects. But frankly, if you really wanted a meaningless hook-up to just have sex you would have done it by now! Dress like a slut and get drunk by yourself in a bar and you WILL have men interested in taking you home. Instead, you’re interested in someone who appreciates how articulate and creative you are and those men are very hard to find, particularly in your early-20s, no matter what your weight or color.
In the meantime, I would suggest buying a vibrator (or a few, until you find one that you like), continue to work on your health, and practice getting dressed up and going out and just talking with men. The more you talk and flirt with men the more confidence you’ll gain, so when you DO meet a man who isn’t totally shocked that you have a brain in your head you’ll be comfortable and confident. Start out by bringing a book with you to the bar and talking with the bartender. You might get hit on by weird men, but in a way that’s good practice too and there’s no ego boost better than rejecting some loser who’s trying to hit on you.
There’s no such thing as being too ugly to date, but if you FEEL ugly and undesirable then men, the good and bad, are going to pick up on it. Remember, you might feel old but you have all the time in the world to have these experiences! And right now you have all the time in the world to focus on bettering yourself.
KL June 9, 2011, 8:49 pm
I didn’t get together with The One until I was 31 years old…and btw, I was 50 pounds overweight at the time (and still am). And it was at the moment I least expected it.
You may need to look in a different “pool” of men. I remember when I was in college, I was always trying to date a particular Abercrombie & Fitch type of guy…but I wasn’t that type of girl, so even if I had been able to cosmetically fit their ideal, I wouldn’t have had the personality type they wanted. For me, the holy grail turned out to be science fiction & fantasy fandom. I’m a geek and I needed to be looking among geek guys. When I did, I found my BF, who doesn’t look any more like an A&F model than I do, but whom I find irresistibly hot, and who finds me sexy because I’m busty and love dressing up in sexy clothes and because I can talk geek stuff with him.
Obviously, depending on your interests, some other “pool” of men may be your style. You talk about creativity–maybe there’s some kind of workshop for your preferred art form in your town?