I’ve been reading your articles and posts for several years now, and I have a lot in common with some the other people who write to you. I’m a 36-year-old man who did well in high school and college, has done tolerably well in the workplace since I graduated (I’m far from wealthy, but not struggling to pay the bills either), but spent much of my life struggling to fit in socially. I never faced a lot of bullying or overt hostility, but I spent my school years and much of my 20s feeling awkward and on-edge around my classmates and colleagues. Although I did make some friends with whom I remain very close to this day, I always felt incredibly anxious in large groups, and was tormented by the notion that everyone else found personal interaction a lot easier than I did. I always got along at least as well with women as I did with men, but I didn’t have any kind of romantic or sexual experiences until the age of 32, when I lost my virginity to L, an old friend from middle school, and went on to date her for a while. It was a great experience for both of us, but after six good months, it became clear that we were not a great match romantically, although she remains one of my very closest friends.
I am now doing very well in most ways– I have worked in retail since 2004, and constant interaction with both customers and coworkers has helped me to feel much more confident in social situations. For a little over two years, I’ve been working at a local health food store. It’s a great environment– the pay isn’t terrific, but it’s much better than I’ve gotten at any other job, and my managers really seem to appreciate my contributions. And my customers and coworkers are also wonder, most of them being intelligent, funny, and interested in many of the same things that I am. Naturally, quite a few of these customers and coworkers are women, and I have become quite friendly with some of them. In fact, there are several women (some of them customers, some of them co-workers from other departments) who stop by my department to chat very frequently, even though they usually do not buy anything. It seems possible that at least some of these women might be interested in me as something more than a friend.
Based on the excellent advice you have given to so many other people, I know exactly what I need to do in order to find out for certain: ask them out, listen to their answer, be cool with whatever the answer happens to be. Here’s where things get a little complicated: although all of these women seem like they have great personalities, and although most of them would be considered highly attractive by “conventional standards”… to put it plainly, I am attracted to larger ladies, and most of the women I am getting to know at work are very slender. Part of me thinks I should try asking some of them out anyway, because I really do love their personalities, we have a great time chatting, and I hate the idea of being superficial. And it’s possible that attraction would grow with time. But I don’t know if that would really be the case. L is a big, curvy woman, and when we were dating, I absolutely loved every inch of her body, including the parts that she was embarrassed about. She is still the only woman I have ever had sex with, so I don’t know to what degree I could become physically attracted to a woman with a different body type. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I shouldn’t “test the waters” and just see what happens. But on the other hand, I worry that it would be unfair to ask women to give me a try, when I am not at all sure there is the potential for long-term attraction.
So that’s where I was hoping you might have some advice: based on both your own personal experience and the stories you have heard as an advice columnist/dating coach, is it common for physical attraction to grow with time, even with people who are not our “type”, physically speaking? Or would I ultimately be better off trying to meet women who I feel more immediately attracted to, even if it means I have to look further afield?
-Inexperienced in The Nutrition Aisle