Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Laws of Attraction Pt. 2

Everytime I start writing this...I keep wanting to add stuff.

But from who?

Chunky Love

This is an area very near and dear to me because I’m chunky/thick/big/big-boned/large/heavy-sat/fat. There are plenty of people who have both been attracted to and repelled by my size. Weight for me has always been an issue. I was never really a small or skinny kid. You come to accept that. With size comes certain social expectations and predetermined roles. People either assumed I was nice and jolly or scary and mean. When it came to romance, people continued to reinforce this notion that certain women were out of my league purely because I was big. Being fat limited my social options and made me more inwardly focused and made me more observant of how social interaction was supposed to take place. It forced me to try to understand what the rules were to this game called life.

I dunno whether you were big or not...just making the point that in your life you were not loved in a healthy way which culminated in your blow-up...just clarifying
Things like the popular only going out with the popular, jocks and cheerleaders, nerds and nerds, fat and fat, went a long way toward not only lowering my self-esteem but to also make me bitter and resentful towards “the beautiful people”. If I had a nickel for every time I heard, “you’re a great guy but…”, “well, the thing is…”, “I do like you but not in that way.” and my favorite, “awww, that’s so sweet,” I would’ve been able to pay for all four years of Howard, on campus out of pocket lol. Rejection makes you overly self-conscious and very shy. No one enjoys being hurt. I would hate it when people would attempt to cushion the blow of rejection for me by trying to “spare my feelings” or “say it in a nice way” because no matter what was said or how it was said the same impending hurt was still coming and I still wasn’t going to get what I wanted. What kind of compounds this issue is that as a man, there generally is no effective or acceptable way of expressing hurt and anguish. While society has allowed men to be more open with their feelings often they are not met with the kind of empathy required because there’s always that fear that your boy will turn out soft. “You’ll be ok”, “suck it up”, “take it like a man”- these statements do nothing to alleviate hurt feelings; it merely suppresses them until those unresolved emotions erupt in violent ways (**cough** Chris Brown). I know my self-esteem suffered as a result of this.

For big/plus-sized women, there appears to have been progress towards including them in the discussion of what it means to be a woman, largely because they have made their voices heard. I see these Playtex ads with women of some size whose waists are in the high single digits and the teens being upheld as the standard of womanhood as they talk about one of the more intimate and important things for women, bras. That as well as Tyra’s continued inclusion of plus-sized models on her hit show America’s Next Top Model gave me some hope t hat the American standard of beauty was changing. Simultaneously, the role of larger women on TV and in movies largely hasn’t changed. They are always the mother, the dumb, devoted wife, the loudmouth, or the single, funny, lonely sidekick. Women of size hardly, if ever play, the beloved wife, the seductress, or the intentional heroine. Occasionally, they get to portray the freaky-deaky ho but that’s usually to highlight their poor self-esteem. They are not billed as leading ladies or box offices draws. They are simply minor characters who appear to simply be there for representative purposes. Women of size have been robbed of the social attractiveness.

She's not as hot in this picture...but you know that popped in your head
By contrast, men of size, while they have more options are typically portrayed in the same manner. Often on TV, there’s a large man with a slim, very attractive wife. This seemingly contradictory pairing leads to its own natural punch lines like fat jokes and questions as to why and how they even got together in the first place. Big, single men are pretty much always desperate or the wingman who assists on the booty but gets none of his own, other than the occasional leftover scraps. Why does size always have to be a point of reference? Can’t we just love and appreciate each other for the skin that we’re in, even on tv? Whether it’s on tv or in real life, fat jokes are always acceptable and never ill-timed or ill-conceived. Maybe tv/ real life is engaging in the practice of “negative elevation”, making people feel so bad about themselves that they are utterly compelled to do something. While that does work, is it the most effective method when it causes people to commit suicide based on body image disillusionment? Self-esteem is a powerful thing.

Just kinda rapping this section (sorry I got a lil emotional lol), one of my biggest pet peeves (and it’s really kind of a small thing) is when people constantly feel the need to refer to me by my size. You don’t not have to put “big” on the front of everything for me to know that you are talking to me. I’m not oblivious. I do understand that it’s the easiest thing to say and a common point of reference but let’s be a bit more creative. Also, people of size often don’t show themselves enough love or the people that are also of size. Statements like, “I’m big but I’m not THAT BIG!” aren’t helpful to the self-esteem of others. How bout we go workout together? This semester you can catch me in the pool four days a week. lol

Holla Gone Wrong

Can he holla at ya?
“Hollas Gone Wrong” or HGWs are the main reason that most of us have friends of the opposite (or same sex). I can’t count the number of females that I have become friends or associates with because at one point I was attracted to them and wanted something other than friendship. I think the same is true for quite a few males. And tacitly, I do believe that this applies to females as well. One of my favorite things to do is sit on the yard and watch HIPs (Hollas in Progress). No matter what your relationship may be to a female you can always tell when another guy is interested in her. You can feel it. (Whenever women say that they don’t understand men, I don’t get it. We’re very simple.) When a person is interested in another person, they are intent, engaged, and very protective.

I think all people were programmed with certain physical techniques that they use to fend off those who may be interested in that other person. Whether it’s as blatant as an arm around the shoulder or that subtle lean-in, everyone has a move. Conversely, everyone also has a move to show disinterest. You try to create separation and move out of what in proxemics is referred to as “intimate space”. Building relationships is highly theoretical. You come up with a hypothesis, test it out, if it works you stick with it. While some may leave well enough alone, I always enjoy watching the dogged persistence with which some people approach others. (Ohh, you’re washing your hair Friday. But what about Saturday? What about Sunday? Lol)

It really isn't...good growth process...hurts like a mutha tho
Within the realm of HIPs, supposing you get past the initial phase, there’s comes a point in the relationship where interest generally has to be declared or the opportunity is permanently lost. The person who is in pursuit will more than likely try to plan an outing during which to showcase the non-platonic side of himself, which will allow “hopefully” the pursued individual to see this other side and have a “hmmmm…” moment in which they reevaluate the role that they initially saw the person occupying in their life. Outings like this are generally at night because the evening tends to lend itself to romance and there’s more stuff to do. Sometimes, HIPs don’t even get to this point. More often than not they don’t. The pursued individual becomes more and more elusive and vague and non-committal, will do things like offer to hook you up with a friend (aka the push and pass) or always want to keep things as public and open as possible.

An HGW is reinforced by the constant nudging of the pursuer into that nebulous sexual hell known as “The Friend Zone”. The platonic nature of your relationship is constantly reinforced through doing the things that she/he would expect their buddies to do or try to force their significant other to do, e.g. shopping. However, The Friend Zone isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For an opportunist, allows them the proper vantage point from which to get to that new friend’s single and more open-minded friends. We cannot regulate attraction or chemistry but I’m a proponent of making lemonade out of lemons. If she/he were right for you, they would be with you.

Final Thoughts

The micro-question in all this is “How much does effort really matter?” If I go out of my way for you, if I change myself for you, if I hound you down, does that impress you? Does that bring us closer? My answer would be while it may bring one side closer, the one who is constantly making all the concessions and all the compromises is moving further and further away from who he/she is. When people say stuff like “I want somebody to find me”, it makes me upset. Yes, we all want love to magically appear into our laps but life generally doesn’t work that way. Love is a happening of space and opportunity.
Daily, many of us miss out on deep connections we could have by chasing an elusive ideal which may be what we want but far from what we need. I believe that love happens organically. It is not more or less of one individual. It is a constant exchange of energy from one body to another keeping the synthesized whole intact. It can’t always be 70% you and 30% me or vice versa. There will be moments definitely where one of us might be stronger than the other but that one is not static or fixed. That’s how relationships end- platonic and romantic. We’ve got to respect the energy.
It's not always gonna be this way...but you have to balance it out and keep the whole intact.