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Thighs Matters

Last year, I had a one-night stand with a guy I'd gotten to know online. I was very attracted to him, mentally and physically. Apparently, he didn't return my feelings, because he blew me off totally — probably because of my significant weight problem, and my deep insecurity about it, which made our encounter extremely awkward. (I wouldn't have dated me either.) Well, that night was part of a big wakeup call that my weight was getting in the way of who I really am. I've since lost 85 pounds, and revamped other areas of my life. I'm happier and more confident than I've ever been. I recently saw the guy at a club. Although he didn't recognize me immediately, he did remember me, and asked for my number. He's called several times, and I don't answer even though I want to. Is it OK to want to give him another chance? The vast majority of my friends say no way, while 25 percent are in the yes camp. I look, feel, and act like a totally new person, but the catch is, I'm not. —Less Is More

Guys are not standing around at parties, whispering to each other, "Wow, get a load of the personality on the girl across the room with the butt zoned for two-family housing." The exception, of course, is in that dating Disneyland where the vast majority of your friends reside. In their world, nice men don't even blink when they see a woman whose scale suggests she has a Shetland pony strapped to her back. There, Sports Illustrated swimsuit models run into the hundreds of pounds, and get hoisted onto the beach with heavy-duty cranes. Victoria's Secret girls are chosen by how closely they resemble Drew Carey when the lights are dimmed.

Back here in the real world, fat girlfriends don't go over so big — and, no, not because men have been brainwashed into wanting thin ones, but because they were hard-wired that way back in the cave. According to anthropologist Donald Symons, cross-cultural data says men seem to partner up with whatever-sized woman will make them look like Joe Alpha. The ideal amount of body padding appears to go up and down with the food supply. Here, where there's a 7-Eleven next to every 7-Eleven, guys go for girls who are slim-to-fading. Where food is harder to come by, like in Eskimo country, blubber is beautiful.

No, you don't have to look like a breadstick to have a boyfriend, but 85 extra pounds and all the heavy thoughts that went with them were enough of a barrier to make you un-dateworthy even to yourself. But do remember, four score and five pounds ago, this guy did think enough of the you buried under all that flesh to want to meet. Now, after viewing the impressive results of your recent excavation, he's hot for the whole package. This is a problem?

Your real problem is your method of decision-making: a mini Gallup Poll. Extend this to other areas of your life, and it should make even the simplest errands exceptionally slow: "Paper or plastic?" — "Um, hold on ... lemme phone a few friends." Chances are, you still see yourself as the fat girl, and you're looking to your friends to tell you how thin girls are supposed to think. Well, the happiest ones think for themselves. The question isn't what's the right thing to do, but what's the right thing for you? Just a guess, but: answering the ringing phone, going out with a guy you like, who also likes you — now that he can find you.

One Flu Over The Cuckoo's Nest

I'm a single male exec, 32, no kids, hardworking, active, happy with my life. Despite dating heavily in search of Miss Right, I've only found Miss Wrong, Miss Not Right Now, and Miss Can't Get Over Him And It's Been Nine Months. I don't need a cover girl, just a normal, happy woman who wants to share a happy life. Why is this so impossible?—Wrong Again

It's a big world, filled with people in need of years of therapy. If they all had the flu, they'd take pains to avoid spewing their germs on you. Unfortunately, few people feel such restraint about their raging mental health issues. To increase your odds of finding a woman who has completed the 12-step program for her childhood toilet training trauma, find dates through friends. You wouldn't hire somebody without references; dating should be no different. Then again, dating is a numbers game. Beyond getting fixed up, be relentless in trying to meet women: talk to them everywhere, throw parties, arrange group gatherings for friends and friends of friends. On the bright side, the more crazy women you date, the more likely you are to find a sane one. (Or go nuts yourself, considerably increasing your options.)

Copyright 2004, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail [email protected] (www.advicegoddess.com)

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