December has always been a difficult month for me. Not because of all the holiday goodies I have to avoid, but because its the end of another year… where I haven’t met my weight loss goals.
I am so sorry I’ve been M.I.A. recently, I have had a lot going on, some good… some not so good, but I’m back now!
I think it was Rosanne Barr who said “If it weren’t for gay men, fat chicks would never have anyone to dance with”. To a certain extent, I agree… I can remember a few awkward moments on New York City dance floors when a random “gay in shinning armor” would come to my rescue and dance with me, saving me from the sadness of feeling invisible.
I feel like there is an unspoken bond between gay men and PSP’s (Plus Size Princesses). Its a natural pairing of two groups who are often on the outside looking in. As a PSP it can also provide regular male companionship (and a stand-by date, if needed). I love my gay male friends, they are all so different some are very professional, some are more creative and they all bring different things to my life… but as a PSP there is one type of gay man that I have to warn you about:
The gay man who thinks he’s straight.
Call it what you will “Closet Case”, “Suspect” or “Down Low” it is my observation that, these men often date big women. Its almost as if the gay man inside of them recognizes the connection they could have with a PSP, but somewhere things get confused and suddenly they are seeing her romantically even though they are sexually attracted to men.
I’ve had it explained to me that a woman with lower self esteem (as PSP’s often have) may excuse or ignore the signs that the man in her life might be gay.
I see how this can be easy to do, if you take a woman who often gets little to no attention from men, and suddenly a man (perhaps a well dressed, attractive, polite, put together man) is interested in her. This man knows how to make her feel special and isn’t afraid to tell her how important she is. Her choice then becomes: ignore how quickly he pulls up the online bingo tab to cover up the Britney Spears video, and all the other signs that put his sexuality in question, or face them and risk being alone… again.
I don’t want to be that girl, and so far I’ve dodged the bullet (Remember James?).
I found out recently that this is something I’ve been dodging since high school. When I was a Sophomore, John Tomsonni, who was like, “The Senior” told Andrew, my Best Friend (who at the time wasn’t out of the closet) that he wanted to take me to the winter formal. I could not believe that of all the girls he could choose from, he wanted to take me. Unfortunately I was 15 and my parents would not let me go on dates until I was 16. He went off to college that year and I always had hopes of rekindling what could have been. I sort of lost track of John, but found out recently that he’s living in Colorado with his longtime boyfriend.
I even have my doubts about Jeremy! I didn’t want to bring it up, but I sent my sister a link to his facebook page the other day. She called me a few hours later and the first question she asked me was “do you think he might be….”
“OH EM GEE… YES!” I screamed, “What made you ask?”
“I dunno… some of his photos” she replied. “there’s nothing wrong with them, but…”
I threw myself face first into my pillow to muffle the screams coming out of my mouth because I knew what she meant. I had spent a good amount of time studying his photos and there was just something about them; and my sister saw it too (who knew gaydar was genetic?).
Now, good gaydar doesn’t go off because a man is wearing a pink sequin shirt, it goes off on an x-factor, something you often can’t pinpoint. Its the kind of thing where even if a guy is wearing a football jersey, chugging beer and screaming at the TV set, you can still pick up that he’s Suspect. You just see something in him that makes you question.
But not all men are like that! Most men are just point blank, no questions asked, heterosexual males. So, why is it that every potential guy I come across has me with my head cocked to the side like Scooby Doo?!?!
The really frustrating part is that I think my friends are so eager to see me with someone that they compromise and don’t tell me what they really think. I introduced James to a few people and all of them kept beating around the bush. Even Andrew, who I trust, routinely avoided telling me that he thought James was a closet case. It took someone brazen like Dean to speak the truth and instruct me to move on. Of course, once Dean said “he’s gay” everyone chimed in to back him up, but if he hadn’t spoken up and I was just the tiniest bit desperate… then what?
I’ve seen this happen routinely to other big women out there and I refuse to fall into the trap… I refuse to have people sitting at my wedding wondering “is she blind?” or wondering “with all the gay friends that girl has… why didn’t someone didn’t say something”….
At the end of the day I can’t control the fact that gay men are attracted to me, I guess I just have to make sure I don’t start becoming attracted to them.
There are a two main reasons why I would never make the “first move”:
1.) I feel like if a guy is interested in a girl he will let her know.
2.) I feel like guys are never interested in big girls.
Of course if #1 never happens, to me it just proves #2 to be true.
So when all signs pointed to Jeremy being interested in me, I just could not wrap my head around it. I met Jeremy through a friend, he and I know a lot of the same people and from the moment we met, it was a flirt-fest. Because we run in similar circles, we ended up spending a lot of time together. I’d say we went from being “friendly” to “friends” rather quickly. We call, email and text, and when we’re together there’s a lot of unnecessary hugging, random hand holding and uncontrollable giggling (the giggling–um, that would be me).
A few weeks ago we were curled up together on a friends couch watching movies and out of the blue, he kissed me on the forehead… I’m not sure about anyone else, but that’s kind of an intimate thing to do and it really threw me off. I was confused, so I decided it was time to run the situation by a few friends. They all came to the same conclusion:
He likes you.
But I still wasn’t convinced! My friend Keisha was confused to the point of frustration when I continued to deny his interest in me and Andrew called my assumption that he wasn’t interested “weird”. But neither of them had a clue what its like to be a PSP (Plus Size Princess), so I didn’t even bother to explain to them why, even though all signs pointed to yes, I still couldn’t see it.
Of course with Dana, who is also a PSP, it was different. After listening to me, she was able to put my insecurities into words.
“Forgive me for projecting myself on to you,” she began. “But for me being a ‘bbw’… gosh I hate using that term! Anyway, being… um, plus size… I always assume men wont be interested in me. I assume men don’t like big women and unless I am in a setting like DIVAS or REWIND that caters to women like me… I’m like a fish outta water with men.”
Wow, she was totally right, that’s how I felt….
About a week later, Dana called me. “So I was looking at your Facebook page,” she said. “And I saw a cute photo of you and Jeremy… I clicked on his name and was looking at his Facebook page. What’s the deal with him being in a BBW group?”
“Like, he’s a member of a group for BBW’s around the world!”
I immediately went to his Facebook page… sure enough, there was a list of the online groups he was a part of. Nestled in between groups for Kanye West fans, Martial Arts enthusiasts and a million other things was a group called “BBW’s and BHM’S Worldwide”. Jeremy wasn’t a BBW or a BHM (which according to google means: Big Handsome Male). As I scrolled through the membership, it seemed to be mostly BBW’s and the smaller men who were into them.
Why was he a part of this group? What did this mean? What should I do? My head was spinning…. I didn’t even know if I wanted anything to happen with Jeremy. I wasn’t sure if I liked him, or if I just liked the attention he gave me. At the end of the day it was pretty clear that I probably hadn’t been imagining things… there was an attraction there.
But that opened up the question of why he hadn’t made any efforts to take things beyond flirting. I mean, even if rule #2 wasn’t applicable in this case because Jeremy did like bigger girls, rule #1 was still in effect, if Jeremy liked me he should have made a move by now, right? Why wouldn’t he? I mean, we like being around each other and we have chemistry….
I started to wonder if I should just lump him in with the majority of the men I see in the BBW scene. The men who have a fetish for bigger girls but would never consider actually being in a relationship with one.
I hope that isn’t the case with Jeremy… but only time will tell.
It was Saturday afternoon and Paige was calling me, that could only mean one thing… she wanted to go to DIVAS. I didn’t have plans so we decided to meet up around 10:30pm and head downtown… I had lost 20 pounds and Paige spent the whole train ride talking about it. “Oh my God, what am I gonna do when you’re all skinny?”, “You’re going to be small and leave me at DIVAS all alone!”, “All the guys are going to be all over you tonight!”
When we arrived, the place was packed and Paige and I had to push through a sea of soft bodies just to get to the dance floor. Through the crowd I noticed a guy with a newsboy cap on. He was very attractive and tall, and looking in our direction. I leaned over to Paige, “That guy is so cute!” I yelled over the music. At that moment another guy grabbed me to dance. As I danced with him I watched Paige turn on her heel and walk over to “newsboy cap”. She whispered something into his ear, turned and pointed to me, he glanced up, saw me and whispered back to her. Then she took his hand and they began to dance.
The night continued like this, Paige and I dancing with different guys, people buying us drinks etc. During a song I didn’t particularly like, I took a seat on one of the couches surrounding the dance floor. I felt someone standing over me, it was the “newsboy”.
“Mind if I sit down?” he asked
“Sure,” I replied, scooting over. Newsboy was from Brooklyn and he worked as a manager for the Marriott in Times Square. After chatting for a while, he motioned for me to come closer.
“I have a confession,” he whispered. “Earlier your friend asked me which one of you was cuter… I didn’t want to be rude, so I told her that you were both beautiful girls, but I really wanted to say– you.”
“Um, thanks” I said. I could feel my face getting hot, not because of his compliment, but because Paige would even ask such a question… I was not in competition with her and pitting us against each other wasn’t cool… it was awkward.
Suddenly the DJ switched songs and Newsboy jumped up “This is my joint, right here!” he said taking my hand. He rocked and grooved to “Buddy” by Musiq. I liked the beat of the song but didn’t agree with the lyrics that spoke of a guy looking for a casual sex partner (aka a “Buddy”).
For the rest of the night Newsboy and I were inseparable. When he offered to drive Paige and me uptown so we wouldn’t have to take the subway late at night we agreed. Paige lives in the Bronx and I live in Manhattan, so we drove her as far as we could and she took a cab the rest of the way.
As Newsboy drove me home that “Buddy” song came on the radio. He reached over and turned the music up singing “It would be fly… if you were my B-U-D-D-Y…”
As we neared my apartment, Newsboy asked if he could come up. I said no. He pulled into an open parking space across the street from my building. “Lets just sit here and talk then” he said. He unbuckled my seat belt and put his arm around my shoulders, pulling me towards him. He asked questions like “Did you have fun tonight?” and “You know I’m really feeling you, right?” I sat there rigid, with my head on his shoulder wanting to believe what he was saying. As he played with the ends of my hair, he began to tell me how glad he was to have met me and how I sexy I was.
“You should let me come up,” he whispered. “I promise you wont regret it.”
I reached under my seat to retrieve my purse so I could get out of the car. I wasn’t exactly surprised that a guy who is obsessed with a song about having a “sex buddy” was acting this way. But I was frustrated because newsboy was so cute! He was making me wish for a moment that I was the type of girl who could have a guy up for a no strings attached night… but I wasn’t that girl.
“Goodnight.” I said as I went to open the door.
“Hey” he said.
I turned around and he gave me a big smile. “You can’t blame a guy for trying.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. I leaned in to give him a hug and when I pulled away, he kissed me. Everything in me said to get out of the car, but I didn’t move. I let him kiss me again and before I knew it I was kissing him back. Maybe I can do this… I thought. I closed my eyes and let his lips travel down my neck. Maybe this isn’t so bad…
“Lemme show you what I’m workin‘ with” he murmured into my hair.
I was lost in my own thoughts when I heard a “ziiiip” I opened my eyes and saw that Newsboy was proudly showing me his…um… “newsboy”. The sight of it jolted me back to reality.
Very few of the guys that go to DIVAS are looking for anything more than one night, so what is the point of the gorgeous plus size princesses who go to DIVAS pitting themselves up against each other? So, Newsboy liked me and not Paige– that didn’t mean I’d have a chance at a relationship, a date or even a connection… the only thing that insured was that he was going to try and have sex with me and that’s not worth any competition.
I grabbed my purse and jumped out of the car. “Have a good night okay?”
“Yeah,” he said. “I’ll call you later.”
It wasn’t until my elevator doors closed behind me that I realized he didn’t even have my phone number.
Autumn in New York makes me want to be in love….
So, when I checked my online dating account and saw that I had a message from a guy named Steve, it was perfect timing. I could tell Steve was creative from his online profile which said he was into things like punk rock, doo wop and that he collected vinyl records. He had one photo, which was an angular close-up of his face, showing his big brown puppy dog eyes through black framed glasses.
After a few emails back and forth, Steve and I began talking on the phone. He was from London originally and I loved listening to his accent. We chatted easily, and soon he asked me if I wanted to have dinner with him. It was Autumn in New York and I wanted to be in love, so of course– I accepted.
When we hung up the phone, I remembered the diet I was on! I was weeks into the Weight Management Program and was dropping 5+ pounds per week. I didn’t want to ruin my progress, but I also didn’t want to ruin my chances with Steve… I was stuck.
As part of the WMP, I receive weekly calls from Natalie, my nutritionist, on Fridays. She calls to check in on my progress since our Tuesday meeting and also to provide encouragement for the weekend ahead. My date with Steve was Friday Night and when she asked me if I had any upcoming hurdles I told her about it.
“Do you feel comfortable explaining your diet to him?” Natalie asked.
“Maybe you could do something other than dinner…” she suggested.
“Maybe, but I don’t know him that well, dinner is safe and I don’t want to change our plans at the last minute”
“Okay, I understand. Well– go on your date, have fun… but eat your prescribed foods before you go. Double up on shakes and entrees, and that way you’ll be full and it will be easier to order something small.”
I agreed to follow Natalie’s advice, she wished me luck and we hung up.
I rushed home after work and started getting dressed. I decided on a denim skirt and a pink turtle neck sweater. I zipped up my slouchy soft leather boots, pulled my bangs back with a green scarf and I was ready.
I took the train downtown and called him. As we spoke on the phone trying to locate each other by describing what we had on, I realized I didn’t really know what Steve looked like. From his photo I knew he had brown eyes and black framed glasses and because I asked, I knew he was 6’1 but that was it! I scanned the crowd and my eyes fell on a man wearing black framed glasses talking on the phone– He was about 5’11, portly, with badly slouching shoulders and as he scanned the crowed it seemed that he had a lazy eye. That couldn’t be Steve… could it? I slowed my pace and continued talking to him hoping that the person I was looking at was on the phone with someone else and not me… but sure enough his mouth was forming the words I was hearing.
I walked over to him, we said our hello’s and he ushered me into a trendy restaurant. We sat down and I focused intently on the menu so I could gather my thoughts. My mind was racing! I felt so foolish! I wasn’t sure if I should blame him for his “optical illusion” profile photo or blame myself for leaving so much to my own imagination. I needed to get over it, and as I composed myself I could feel his eyes on me.
“You– You’re much prettier in person,” He said.
I looked up from my menu into his asymmetrical eyes, he smiled, and our dinner began. After a few drinks I pushed past my physical disappointments with him. It was then that I realized I had another hurdle… he was was really awkward! Not just awkward, but borderline weird. It made me anxious and my whole diet went out the window. I had cocktails, I had a full dinner and when he insisted that I order dessert, I caved! (but I only ate half of it).
Dinner was winding down and he began complimenting me again on how attractive I was.
“What made you put that green scarf in your hair?” he asked. “it looks great!”
“Um– I dunno…” I stammered.
“Its very retro, I like that… I noticed your boots on the way in,” he continued “can I see them?”
He leaned over the side of the table and before I knew it I was sliding my leg out.
“Lovely…” he murmured. “… and your bag?” he said glancing at the leather xoxo tote I had in my lap.
“Very nice,” he said nodding “very nice.”
I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew I had to leave. He paid the bill and I stood up abruptly, I couldn’t make my way out of the restaurant and onto the train fast enough. I woke up early Saturday morning and forced myself to do a double work out. After 45 minutes on the treadmill, and 15 minutes on the stair climber, I jumped in the pool for 30 minutes of laps.
Steve– what a waste of calories!
I stepped onto the digital scale and watched the digits roll around a bit until they settled on a number, I winced a little and looked away.
I had taken off my cowboy style belt because it was heavy and would have added to my weight, but now that small amount I had shaved off seemed pointless. The nurse gave me a big smile and scribbled the number down.
“This is the beginning!” she said.
And she was right, it was. I had signed up and paid for this medically supervised Weight Management Program (WMP) and there was no where to go but up… or down rather, in weight. After being weighed and a conversation with the doctor who ran the program, I got in line to purchase my food. For the next 10 dress sizes, I was going to be eating:
- Shakes (made with powder, water and ice.)
- Snack Bars (in one of three flavors)
- Tiny Entrees (the size of two iPhones put together)
But I could eat as much of the above foods as I wanted… *sigh*. According to the informational meeting I attended, these meals, combined with weekly weigh-ins and meetings were going to bring my weight down tremendously, without surgery. I looked around at the other participants, they were chatting and munching on Snack Bars– complimenting each other on inches lost, and slimming faces. The program had a rolling admission, so I was the new girl.
After purchasing food for the week, we were ushered into one of the hospital’s conference rooms for our meeting. I walked in and took a seat at the huge table. I started reading the back of my shake container and when I glanced up, I noticed that everyone was writing their name and weight on the whiteboard. Hopefully this part of the program was optional, because my actual weight was something I did not want to share with strangers. I mean, the number was something I didn’t care to see for a brief moment on the scale– why would I want to stare at it in red dry erase marker for 90 minutes?
Natalie, the counselor for the WMP, entered carrying a blender, a bottle of water, a box of shakes and a bowl of ice… and so the meeting began. She made us a chocolate shake and added little pieces of the prescribed peanut butter snack bar to the blender before whipping it into a smooth drink. She passed out samples for us to try and called it a “Reese’s shake”. She explained that if we are creative with our limited food selection we wont get bored.
“You can eat as much as you want– as long as your eating the prescribed foods!” she reminded us. Then she asked everyone to go around the table and state their name and weight loss for the week. As people shared their progress, she would give encouragement and kudos where needed.
Then she got to me…
“Hi, I’m Celeste”
There was a chorus of “Hi’s” “hello’s” and “welcomes” and surprisingly Natalie didn’t ask me about my weight. Maybe she saw the fear in my eyes or maybe she forgot– either way I was grateful.
The following week I followed the program 100%. I avoided social gatherings where dinner and/or drinks were involved. I drank shakes, eat small entrees and nibbled on snack bars. And when I wasn’t doing that, I was at the gym.
Seven days later, I was in the doctors office for my second WMP meeting. The nurse ushered me into the room to be weighed.
I slipped off my belt buckle stepped onto the scale and watched the digits roll around a bit. I couldn’t believe my eyes– I lost EIGHT POUNDS!
There was still snow on the ground when I looked at my most recent paycheck and decided that I needed a new job.
- When Gina heard my California accent over the phone, what did she imagine me to look like?
- Do millionaire bosses only want receptionists that double as eye-candy?
- I’m cute, but am I cute enough to be a posh receptionist??
It was a rainy Spring day as I sat in Dr. L’s office. Dr. L was an endocrinologist at the largest Upper East Side medical facility in New York.
After she went over my results, she glanced down at my feet. “Cute boots,” she said.
“Thanks,” I murmured.
They were bright orange rubber rain boots with cute little white flowers. A drag queen had given them to me the year before. Usually I would jump right into the random “only in New York” story behind the shoes, but I couldn’t. I was too busy trying to maintain composure despite the lump in my throat. This was a new doctor, but these weren’t new results….
She had run so many tests, drawn so much blood, and there was still no explanation. I am 100% healthy, no diabetes, no high blood pressure, no nothing. Everything about my body is perfect… except that I am overweight.
She went into the age old suggestions: Exercise… Portion Control… Fruits and Veggies…”
I sat there nodding mechanically. Tears began stinging my eyes. I felt an eruption of emotion and I’m not sure if I was speaking to myself or her but I heard myself saying “I do those things, and… it’s not working!”
I couldn’t make eye contact, I found myself fixated on my boots. Last week Dr. L saw me wearing nothing but a blue paper jacket, but in the statement I just made, I felt truly naked.
Dr. L took a pause and looked at me, her eyes softening. She sat down on the edge of her desk, “Well,” she began “we need to explore other options.”
Then Dr. L mentioned something that had never crossed my mind, “weight loss surgery”.
My mind began to race… Wasn’t weight loss surgery for people on the Discovery channel who were confined to their beds for years at a time?? I was a young, fashionable, active girl who still took dance classes weekly (and rocked it), I easily trot up the stairs when exiting the subway and I walk just as briskly as the next New Yorker… do I really need surgery to reach my goals?
“Absolutely not.” I replied, “No.”
Dr. L smiled “Good, that’s what I wanted to hear. I really think you can do this, now– we have a program that I think may work for you. Its been very successful…”
She wouldn’t tell me much about the program, just that it would drastically change my eating habits and calorie intake. She signed me up for an informational meeting the next week.
Though it was still raining, I left her office in a sunny mood. I tucked my jeans into my rain boots and walked through Central Park on my way home. Might as well get a head start on (yet another) weight loss journey.
In the craziness that is New York City Nightlife, is it possible to meet “Mr. Right”? The general consensus of my single girlfriends, plus size or not, is No.
But I would magnify that decision dramatically when it comes The Scene. While many of the plus size divas who attend these events seem to be open to love, the men who flock to the parties seem to view a plus size woman as a sexual fantasy, not a potential relationship.
So, what’s a girl who is looking for The One to do? I was brought up to expect certain things from a male who was interested in me. I am looking for courtship, chivalry and of course ultimately… love. After much disillusionment I realized I probably was not going to get that from a guy that I met in a club, BBW or otherwise….
One of my old co-workers recently became engaged. When she called me with the news, I asked how they met.
“Officially, we met on the subway,” she said. Then she lowered her voice, “but between you and me, we met on the Internet!”
This was the third successful relationship I had heard of that started online. Maybe my past experience had scarred me. I hadn’t looked into the Internet in years, maybe it was time for me to revisit. I started with the sites whose commercial theme songs I knew by heart, but after weeks I had little to no response.
Then I began to do some research, ha! I should have known that there were sites specifically for plus size princesses. I found an online community where you could register to be on sites based on things like religion, race and body type preferences.
I began talking to a banker named Matthew who worked on wall street, we had been talking via phone and Instant Messenger for the past week. One night Paige was over and as she checked her email on my computer I heard the chime of an IM come in (I had forgotten to log off).
“‘BKBANKER’, hmmm I know that name,” Paige said.
EEK! Paige was getting a glimpse into my new dating world and I didn’t like it. “That’s a friend of mine,” I said “I don’t think you know him…”
“I do,” Paige said. “Is his real name Matt?”
How did she know?
She saw the look on my face and laughed, “CeCe are you on an online dating site?” I had no choice but to confess. As it turned out, Paige was on the same site and, according to her, so were many of the other BBW’s from DIVAS.
“I used to talk to Matt. You shouldn’t bother with him– all he wants is sex.”
Augh! Here I thought I had found a loop-hole, a way to get out of The Scene and still find guys who were interested in a plus size princess. Somehow, I ended up walking right into the online version of the scene I was trying to avoid.
I wasn’t going to loose hope completely, I still had an inbox full of messages, hopefully from men Paige had never spoken to….