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August 5, 2009

In some ways Bob was different from many of the men who called but his quirks and self-deprecating flattery charmed me. What better way to get a woman to call back? Well, perhaps a woman who did not pull the trigger too soon after a breakup before placing a personal ad.

But back to Bob. Like a surprising number of the callers, even though I mentioned nothing about appearance, Bob felt compelled to lead with his statistics: age, height, weight, hair and eye color. One key reason I did not ask about appearance and such statistics in my ad and message is because I did not want my ad to be about mine. And Bob’s stats confirmed my fears about this subject. He was taller than me and weighed slightly less. That brought up a lot of “stuff” for me.

The dating relationships I’ve had with men have all come about because of shared intellectual and cultural interests and after we’ve talked and communicated. On the other hand I’ve been rejected by guys who consider me fat and therefore unattractive. Add that to all the messages I’ve received throughout my life about the connection between my size and my worth, it is no surprise that appearance was not an issue I wanted to use to limit the possibility of connecting.

I’ve never not had body image issues so that’s mine to work through. I totally understand why for most people who now use electronic means to facilitate dating, pictures are an important screening tool. I begrudge no one their desire to see a picture and willingness to respond only when one accompanies a contact. Also, I’ve confessed my own sins in this regard. The irony, of course, is that when I look back on pictures of myself from that time… I was smoking hot. Nevertheless, I let the voices I carried around in my head of men who called me fat, obese and disgusting drown out those who called me voluptuous, sexy and beautiful.

It would be up to the men I met to teach me important lessons about the wisdom of my approach, but Bob was not one of the ones I met. Still, back to Bob, for real this time.

He was an entrepreneur (something I’d longed to do since I was a little girl) and in a field in which I respected and enjoyed pretty much everyone I’d ever encountered. He was a vegetarian and, at the time, I was, too. His musical tastes were fairly safe and mainstream but not off-putting. In addition to telling me that my musical tastes were more eclectic, he offered that I read more. But I didn’t believe him. I think we just read differently because his line up of reading material was excellent, just not what was on my shelf. He worried that he might not be “super smart” but I thought we would have lots to discuss.

He listened to talk radio in the days when you could listen to and have discussions with thoughtful public intellectuals and before it devolved into a morass of partisan shouting matches. Perhaps radio is where he got the idea for the clever message he offered me to give in order to get his attention on the work line he left for me to call. He said to say that I was calling about a city that has an old-fashioned name which is funny to say and then offer to hold.

Bob, I’m sorry I never called about that city.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 21, 2009 7:29 pm

    Am I am idiot for not getting the second to last line? Despite my ignorance, I appreciate this 3X5 enormously. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • 3x5x60 permalink*
      August 21, 2009 7:55 pm

      First, thank you, Suzanne – your kind words mean so much to me.

      Second, I cannot fathom that you are an idiot in any way, shape or form. It likely doesn’t make sense because of my efforts to not say exactly what the callers said to protect their privacy. But since I changed their names to protect them from teh googles – let me attempt to clarify with specifics:

      Bob asked me to call him at work and he owned a travel agency. So that he would know it was me calling and take my call he asked me to say: “I’m calling about Paducah and I’ll hold.” Paducah I presume because of how unlikely it would be hire a travel agent to organize an itinerary for Paducha (though reading about it, it looks like a quite interesting town to visit. Plus it’s just fun to say 🙂


  1. Mark « 3×5x60

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