Last week Liz's aunt invited me to go wig shopping with her. A brunette, S. wanted a long blonde wig for her Halloween costume. After we found the perfect synthetic hair to complete the illusion, we went to dinner.
S has been a puzzle to me since I met her at the Wednesday bike rides this summer. She's very attractive: size 4, beautiful, great smile. Smart. Funny. Charming. And yet, she's single.
At dinner, I figured out why: More than a decade after an ugly divorce, her defenses are three miles wide and twice as thick. As she told me the details, I heard more than her story. I heard my own.
S has a hair trigger on the reject button. She drops men who raise even one red flag.
I bypass the messy parts and reject myself before a guy gets that chance. It's been three years since I've even gone on a date. I tell myself I'll try again when I lose some weight. This internal conversation usually occurs over margaritas and nachos. This summer, I rode at least 10 miles a day, 6 days a week. I must have seriously stepped up my eating, because I lost 10 lousy pounds.
The morning after S and I had dinner, I downloaded a free 7-day pass to 24-hour Fitness. Friday I did a water aerobics class; Saturday it was lifting weights to music; today I'm trying something called Zumba. We'll see if I make myself join. I hate exercise classes. I feel like an elephant in a herd of gazelle. When an instructor tries to help me, the glare of attention feels like a spotlight of shame.
But something has to change. I need to get healthy, inside and out. When I drop my defenses, my weight will drop, too. Meantime, I'm trying to tough out those classes.