Love Handles: Chapter Eight


By Bob Merrick is proud to present the wacky and wild (and absolutely true'although some names have been changed to protect the guilty) adventures of a 30-year-old guy in Hollywood who just wants to lose a few (dozen) pounds. And find eternal happiness and fulfillment. Is that too much to ask?

Part Eight: Taking a Fresh Dip in the Dating Pool

Roseanne Roseannadanna would utter the very simple, but oh-so-powerful truth, 'It's always something.' The other morning I was looking at myself in the mirror, admiring my shrinking mid section. The downside came when I turned for a better three-quarter view and noticed some glaring new features. Like a map to remind me of every drive-thru I've visited, at the base of my stomach I now have stretch marks.

I fear they will only get worse the more weight I lose. As a child, I remember noticing my mother's stretch marks at the beach. She would lather them up with coconut oil, hoping the tan would make them disappear, but the darker her tan became, the lighter and more prominent they'd become. When I asked her how she got them, she blamed her pregnancy with me. This does not give me high hopes for bathing suit season, where my goal is to confidently be able to take my shirt off at the beach. Who will I blame? Perhaps I'll tell people I gave birth to my twins, Ben and Jerry.

I am happy to report that my current body fat is at 29.7% (down from 30.8% last month). It's still considered obese, but it is progress. With that also comes the first time I have set foot on a scale in over a month and I am even happier to say that I am at 260 pounds, which makes 35 pounds lost since January 1st. It's true that each drop in the bucket adds up.

As I lose weight, I'm also gaining confidence and encouragement. Shirts that have only been taking up closet space are beginning to fit again. Funny enough, outfits I would have ripped off my body in disgust for showing off my curves while I was gaining weight are now being worn with pride as a symbol of success. This was the case last Thursday when I found an old, beloved shirt that hadn't fit for a few years. It helped me create the kind of courage-inducing outfit I needed for my big date that night.

My friends Adam and Katie and I had hatched a plan to force ourselves back into the dating world. I have personally avoided dating for almost two years after one horrible date too many. The plan was to date in a circle'a 'Circle Date' if you will. I would find someone for Katie, Katie someone for Adam, and Adam someone for me. To raise the stakes, Adam already had someone in mind for me, a friend of his who was returning from a two-year job in England. Katie and I had a week and a half to find two quality men.

Katie's job at Trader Joe's in West Hollywood gave her access to half the gay men in America, but my search for her man had stalled. Despite the fact that my straight-to-gay friend pool is hetero-deep, every man I know was spoken for. Twenty-four hours to date night, and Katie was about to be dining alone. At 9:45 p.m., I called Adam in a minor panic and we attacked the Virgin Megastore, determined to find Katie a handsome, willing straight guy who'd let us Queer Eye him into a date with a curvy redhead.

At 10:30 p.m., as Adam began asking gay men if they would play straight for a night, my friend Angelo called me and saved the day. Not only was he straight and handsome, he was available. Katie didn't just have a date'she had a catch.

I was excited all day Thursday. I liked that Adam had someone he felt was compatible with me, and not just a warm body for this experiment. Adam had described me as 'bigger' and his friend had actually said he was relieved because none of the men in England had any meat on their bones. I had healthy expectations of the evening and zero thoughts of picking out china patterns this time. Then Adam called me on the way to the restaurant.