Flirting Fail: In Which Steff ‘Fesses Up

At the tender young age of 36, I find myself having to learn infinite new things because of the ways in which I’ve changed myself over the last two years, after a lifetime spent insecure, unhealthy, and fat.

One of those things I’m gonna have to learn now? Flirting. Truth be told, I’m a pretty terrible flirt as a result being fat and completely lacking in pride for my last couple decades.

I’ve faked it really well over the years, thanks to the marvel of online dating.

Now? I’m losing interest quickly in pursuing men online — it’s just not worth the hassle, neither in traditional dating realms nor on the newer avenues, like Twitter. But it’s also because I’ve done ENOUGH, I think, to justify moving away from my horrid “last resort” avenues I always had to use.

In the past, I felt online dating sites were all the shag-opportunities I had available to me. After all, what man would want damaged goods weighing in close to 300 pounds, a girl who didn’t believe what she claimed she offered?

Now, though? Things have changed. I may still want to lose more weight, but I’m also happier with how I look than I ever have been. Content? No. Happy-er. In the winter of our societal discontent, I’ll take that.

This whole growing-into-a-new-person thing is really tough and strange sometimes. There’s no guidebook for how to be truer to yourself when you’ve been false and cruel to yourself for most of your life.

That’s what I was, after all. I lied to myself about how I felt about life, I lied about why life hurt me and how I dealt with it, and I punished myself when I ate myself into oblivion. I let my body deteriorate. I wasn’t grateful enough for what I had.

When you’re like that, I believe it radiates — maybe not to everyone, but at least to the people who know it when they see it. I know I radiated discontent for several years — anyone could have seen it in my eyes then.

It made me feel invisible.

I didn’t get seen, I didn’t get attention. In the end, it was the same as much of my life — “Why would some guy off the street be interested in ME?”

Sure, I’m still a size 16 and not my old size 24, but I’m pretty damn cute.

Yet, when I get checked out now, it feels foreign. When guys are nervous around me, I’m still assuming they have other things causing the jitters, or that they need a bathroom break. It’s really odd, getting used to being someone who’s clearly more attractive than I once was. And I still don’t really know what I exude, what it appears like to the outside observer.

But I’m learning.

Not very friggin’ fast, though. Earlier this year I recounted an Epic Flirting Fail that’ll probably give you a chuckle, you can find that one here.

For a while there, I thought guys checking me out were actually judging me. I thought it was a negative thing. No, I’m not stupid — I’m a girl overcoming a LIFEtime of insecurities.

And it doesn’t get overcome overnight. It’s a relearning of one’s self. It’s hard.

I don’t ever want to forget how much it hurt to be Invisible Girl. I do wish it was easier to get past the years of emotional hurts, the intrinsic betrayals that come when you don’t believe you deserve good people around you. I wish it were easier.  But it’s not. Life doesn’t come in size “Easy”.

So, just the mere act of connecting with some strange guy’s eyes on the commuter trains after a long day, that’s… that’s huge. I don’t look away in shame anymore — I look away because they’re not my type. This has been a recent development, too. First time in my life I’ve felt able to do that.

It’s… it’s really huge. Because it means I feel worthy. I’m worthy of them, or at least worthy of the idea of them.

Don’t miscontrue all this opening-up about my flirting fails to mean I couldn’t get comfortable sexually with a guy once I knew we had a connection. Don’t think it meant I couldn’t make love with the lights on or pad around naked or even initiate sex. I’ve been good on all THOSE counts for years — once I’ve had that “wow, I dig you” chat with a fella I fancy.

The last year, I’ve not been flirting at all, with anyone. I haven’t had sex since before I injured my back, and I frankly haven’t been interested at all until recently. Now I think it’s time to really just try again…

…But the problem is?

I’m tired of the online thing. I’m tired of feeling like THAT’S how I have to meet men. My schedule and life demands don’t allow me the freedom of being as social as other people get to be, so that interferes, too. My inability to flirt with guys I barely know in person still? That’s totally interfering.

And I want that. I want that for the first time in my life since high school and college — some guy picking ME out of the crowd and saying, “Yeah, she’s my type…” and making the approach. I want old-school, old-fashioned connections — not this online shit that feels like I’m somehow copping out and going for the FailSafe option.

Perhaps that’s why I’m not rushing things. Perhaps the old black-and-white-movies fan in me wishes for some classic dating fireworks that skips this horribly impersonal digital revolution. Bogey and Bacall. An arrested crossing of a hotel lobby ‘cos you’re floored when you see THOSE eyes, you know? Such a romantic, me.

…And the problem was?

I stopped working out. When I’m not active, I don’t feel hot. When I’m exercising and strong, I think dirty little thoughts, my blood flows, I get more charged about life in general. Without it, there’s a total self-security shutdown.

After losing 65 pounds, changing back to an old lifestyle “but being smarter about it”, causes one to feel like a fraud. It’s not ABOUT the numbers, and people are lying to themselves if they think it is. It’s about the change. Lose the change? You lose the right to the boast of the accomplishment. That’s how I feel about it. I’m no fucking fraud, man.

Now, I’m getting my game on. My back is mostly healed. My attitude about life is better than it’s been in years. I’m getting more and more attention.

And I like it.

Soon, I’m sure I’m gonna figure out exactly what to do about it. Well… I know *what* to do about it. I know THAT very, very well. I could probably write a book about the WHAT to do about it.

I just need to GET TO the What.

Without needing a computer to make it happen, I hope. Joining the gym is a start. I’m fuckin’ impressive there. I make most of the skinny girls look like they’re getting a fuckin’ pedicure when they’re doing cardio, and I know it’s hawt.

And when I get the notice from the kinda guy who finally makes me my eyes go BOING like an old Warner Bros. cartoon, I thank god all it really takes is the right innocently-dirty smile and sparkle in the eyes. And god knows I have those; I just need to conjure them on unexpected demand now.

Yet another fun project for the year ahead.

PS: Man, I can’t wait to see who I am a year from now. I really, really can’t. Each of the last two Christmases has been a pretty wild journey-of-self ride. This is just another.