Love Doctor —
Man, am I glad I’m not single any more. Thanks to a lifelong history of feeling physically unattractive, I always struggled to approach anyone I was attracted to, unless, of course, liquid courage was involved. With the help of a few Jack and Cokes, I could seduce any woman with my patented “slur-some-compliments” method (yes, that was sarcasm).
Thankfully, internet dating came along and I felt more comfortable with a virtual wall between myself and whomever I approached. My hope was that by the time I actually met the other person, my personality would trump whatever shortcomings they might find in my physical appearance.
And yet, I still felt self-conscious and uncomfortable on dates, to the point where I felt guilty that I may have “tricked” women into thinking they were dating someone far more attractive than I really was. For example, I have always been told that I have a sexy phone voice, so I knew that when I first spoke with a woman over the phone, my voice and personality would carry me much further than any flirtatious glance or clever quip I might make in person.
But when I actually got to the “date” stage of the relationship, I remained painfully self-conscious and fearful that my appearance would sabotage whatever positive impressions I had made from a distance. In short, I was riddled with insecurities about what I had to offer the opposite sex. As a result, I couldn’t just relax and enjoy our time together, or worse, I would overcompensate by trying too hard to impress the woman. If anything went wrong, I blamed it entirely on my hideous visage.
Fortunately, I met Veronica at a bar, where she found me both physically and intellectually attractive. But even with her enthusiastic assessment of my sex appeal, I still struggle to see myself as anything but a Gagtoothed Groan. Things worked out great for me, but I know that there are others who are currently waging that same war on their own body, that same campaign of self-loathing and negativity.
Dating is hard enough for most single people without the added challenge of feeling uncomfortable in your own skin. A lack of self-confidence makes every effort toward meeting that special someone even more difficult. If you don’t feel comfortable approaching others, if you’re certain that nobody will ever love you or want you, if you take rejection as a personal affront to your worth and value, then this one-day course on body positive dating will make open your eyes to a new way of living and loving.
I’m a firm believer that the primary difference between those who struggle with dating and those who are in high demand is confidence. And confidence is not bestowed upon the attractive and denied to the unattractive. Confidence is an internal calibration, a personal decision to love yourself as you are. And when you love yourself as you are, others will be drawn to you as well.
But how do you acquire self-confidence? It’s a tough question, but Golda has assembled a team of experts on the subjects of love and sex for fatties, including Hanne Blank (author of Big, Big, Love), Virgie Tovar (editor of Hot & Heavy), and Rebecca Jane Weinstein (author of Fat Sex), among others.
To get the real low-down on this class, I asked Golda some questions about the class, which she has kindly answered. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below and Golda will fill you in further.
Why a Body Positive Dating Master Class? What inspired you to offer this?
Well, dating and sex is a topic that often comes up with clients and folks who write to me, and after the wonderful success and feedback I got from the Health at Every Size® (HAES) Master Class, I thought it would be fun to put a great group of speakers together to talk and give some body positive/fat positive advice on sex and dating.
What has been your experience with dating IRL and/or online?
In the mid-2000s, before I met my guy, I did A LOT of dating, mostly online. In fact, blogging about dating was one of the things that really got me into blogging! Honestly, I learned a lot from online dating and I developed a lot of guidelines for it. I think of it as a numbers game, really. It takes time, attention, kissing a lot of frogs, and seeing the good in those frogs too. I tried speed dating too, which I wrote about in Virgie Tovar’s awesome book, Hot & Heavy.
Is this class for men as well?
I generally gear these things toward women/people who identify as women because 99% of my clients fit that category. However, in thinking about the wonderful lineup for this event, I feel like male-identified people will get a lot out of it too.
What is the greatest challenge for fat people who are looking to date?
I hope this is changing, but I think a lot of the time we think that we won’t find people who are interested because of our size. And it’s true that there’s a lot of fat stigma and that potential dates may be put off by fatness, but there are also plenty of people who will be attracted. I also think there’s a lot you can do in your online profile to attract more of what you want, which is why I decided to make that the topic of my talk at the Master Class.
What’s the one thing that every fatty should do/stop doing right now in order to improve their dating life?
I think it’s important to not blame every rejection on your size. Everyone gets rejected, especially in online dating, which is essentially blind dating. I used to always blame a guy’s disinterest or not getting a second date on my size. Of course, that may have been the reason, but I had plenty of thin friends who went through the same thing. It just happens, and it’s important to remind yourself that the person rejecting you is the one missing out, not the other way around.
What do people seem more in need of: help with fat dating or fat sex or something else?
I think it really varies. That’s why I wanted this event to be a balance between dating advice and sex advice.
How does being fat affect your ability to date? Is the pool of eligible mates really limited for fat people or is it that the pool is different for fat people?
I think that the pool is somewhat smaller, not because fat people aren’t attractive, but because fat stigma is so rampant that I think some people are kind of in denial about their attraction to fat partners. However, I think the pool is MUCH BIGGER than most of us realize.
Have things gotten better or worse over the past decade for fat dating?
It’s hard to say. I think this is such a weird time in our history. On the one hand, I feel like the “war on obesity” has grown and consolidated in many ways, and yet you have more and more people embracing Fat Acceptance, body love, etc. A few years ago, I could never have imagined a time when you could do an online search for “fatspiration” and actually find some. So I see more and more people embracing the body that they have and not trying so hard to make it thinner, and to me that is huge and has got to make fat dating a little easier.
Are fat people having sex? Is that a thing?
Fat people are definitely having sex. I don’t think it’s an issue at all. That’s why a lot of the sex-related talks at the Body Positive Dating Master Class are more about keeping an open mind and enjoying sex more. And honestly, these topics are not just for fat people. A lot of folks suffer from body image issues and other issues that may keep them from enjoying/having as much sex as they want.
What are some of the most interesting sex positions for fatties that you’ve heard of/read of?
I’m going to leave that one to the awesome sexperts in our lineup!
What is the one thing you would tell your younger self about sex? What is the one thing you would tell your insecure self (if you ever had one)?
I wish I knew back then that I was attractive. I had more than one instance in my life where I met a guy when I weighed more, put up a wall because I assumed he wasn’t interested, lost weight, started dating the guy, and then had him tell me something like, “I thought you were cute before, I just didn’t think you were interested.” I think if I had known that weight loss wasn’t a prerequisite to having fun dating, it would have been one less reason not to diet all the time. It just didn’t occur to me. Luckily, I did ascribe to the belief that if I was having sex with someone, they were attracted to me, so I always thought of sex as a “natural, zesty enterprise” (to embarrassingly quote The Big Lebowski).
What are some of the general insights you expect people get get out of your Master Class?
Participants are going to get so much. We’re going to be covering things like getting over breakups, having better online dating experiences, writing your profile, having more fun in bed, letting go of limiting beliefs about sex and dating, finding fat positive partners, and so much more. Now that I’ve organized a bunch of these events (like the HAES® Master Class, Body Love Revolutionaries Telesummit, etc.) I can tell you honestly that the guest speakers often surprise me with the depth and breadth of what they share.
When is it? Where is it? Can I ask questions? Will lunch be served?
The live event is on Saturday, February 9 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time). This is an online event. When you buy your ticket, you’ll get live access to all of the talks. You can dial in over the phone or you can listen via your computer. If you attend live, you can ask questions of nearly all the speakers (one or two may be pre-recorded). Ticket holders will also get access to recordings of all the calls, so if you can’t be there live (or want to listen again) the recordings will be included! If you have more questions, check out the F.A.Q.
What was your worst dating experience?
I’m going to be sharing a lot of examples of the “please learn from my mistakes” variety in my talk, but, yeesh, I’ve had so many weird experiences. I went out with a guy who tried to get me to join a cult. I’ve had dates with guys who talked to themselves more than to me. I went out with a guy a couple of times when I was 21 who was allegedly 32, and about five years later I saw his profile online and it said that he was still 32, which made me wonder how old he really was when we were going out. I’ve had some not-so-great relationships too, but those were less humorous.
With such an amazing lineup of speakers, this is the kind of class I wish I had access to a decade ago. Fortunately for all you single swingers out there, Golda has you covered.
As an added bonus for our readers, anyone who buys a ticket by clicking through the links on this post will benefit our ongoing fundraiser to upgrade Fierce, Freethinking Fatties (and we’ll have more on that soon).