Before we became a couple, he said he liked athletic bodies.
As my body hasn’t got an athletic bone in it, I concluded he wouldn’t be attracted to me. I was OK with just being friends.
It confused me a little when he touched my thigh one day.
I was sitting by the side of the pool after a short swim, and he squeezed my thigh gently as he walked past me. I brushed it off as a meaningless incident and decided not to think anything of it.
A few weeks later, when he came to my place for a casual visit, he gave me the sort of hug that meant one thing, and one thing only.
He ended up staying at my place for nearly 48 hours, most of them spent having sex in one form or another.
Our relationship lasted for three years.
Throughout it, I was constantly surprised at how much he was attracted to me. My body being nothing like his preferred body type.
And this was especially so toward the very end of our relationship. I was going through a phase in my life in which I had minimum-to-none physical activity. My body reshaped itself with my belly growing bigger, my buttocks expanding, and my love handles protruding from my underwear which was getting tighter and tighter.
All along, he was continually concerned about his own body. Doing more exercise and restricting his diet to trim his own waist. He was oh-so-proud of his disappearing body fat, whilst I became more and more uncomfortable with the changes in my body.
I started hiding in the dark.
Wrapping myself in my towel before joining him under the covers at night.
One day I asked him: “Why are you still attracted to me?”. My body has never been flabbier. He shrugged his shoulders.
“I don’t know”, he said.
Finding a body attractive can have little to do with what that body actually looks like.
He wasn’t the first man I had been with that had told me outright he didn't like my body type.
I had been with another boyfriend who was turned on by athletic women, and others who preferred skinny, model-like bodies.
I was never any of those.
Perhaps whilst wearing clothes I can give the impression that my body is relatively trim, but once the clothes are off, I have nowhere to hide.
And all of these guys were as perplexed as I was.
They were still attracted to my body.
These experiences have cemented something into my consciousness.
It is futile to change your body in order for other people to like you.
Changing your body for your own sake is one thing.
Living in a body that you feel comfortable in is important. Mind you, sometimes it’s not so easy to ascertain whether you are changing for your own sake or for an internal critic that has taken up residence in your mind. And that’s a whole different story.
But if you know you’re doing it for someone else, stop.
The people that like you will like you regardless of the shape of your body.
Those that feel attracted to you feel attracted to you not for your body, but for something that emanates from you.
It might be your humor, your wisdom, your energy or your vibe. It might be a combination of those or something different altogether.
But if someone ever tells you your body is not attractive enough for them, please don’t try and change it.
If they liked you in the right way then they would have found your body attractive.
To all of my exes who didn’t like my body:
I don’t mind that you told me my body was not your type.
I know you were attracted to me. You showed me in many beautiful ways.
In a way, it reassured me that you’ll still be attracted to me even if my body changes further into something completely different to what your ideal body type is.
You built my confidence and made me feel comfortable with what nature gave me.
Yet, in the back of my mind, something tells me it would have been nice if every now and then, you told me you were attracted to my body just the way it is.