Connor Valentine

I lead a funny little life. I spent all of yesterday getting emails and messages from various people congratulating me for having sex. Because I’m basically a 15-year-old boy. 

I haven’t really calmed down yet. 

  • I find myself smiling just because.
  • I walked to work this morning playing Salt’N’Pepa’s “Whatta Man” on repeat for twenty five minutes. (I was singing it about me, not about my gentleman friend.)
  • My colleague thinks I’ve lost my mind. I keep singing and giggling for no reason, and clasping my phone, staring at it longingly and sighing. 
  • I keep catching myself tweaking my nipples, including once while teaching. 
  • I’ve forgotten at least six things I promised to do in the last two days. 
  • I keep getting flashbacks: I’ll remember him putting my One Direction cap on my head, or kissing me “there” or him doing THAT or me doing THAT to him. And when I get one of these flashbacks, I just freeze. 

An old schoolfriend of mine, in his “well done for having sex” email, asked me if it was love. I said it wasn’t, that I was leaving in three weeks and it was just a holiday romance. He responded by calling me Shirley Valentine. It’s not a bad comparison. In one famous scene in the film, Shirley emerges from the sea having been skinny dipping and her Greek waiter starts kissing her and works his way down her body. She remarks in shock, “He kissed me stretchmarks!” The Greek waiter, to her disbelief, says that he loves her stretchmarks.

I felt a lot like that. He doesn’t like me in spite of my gargantuan, gelatinous mass. He likes the mass. He likes the rolls. The largeness. The softness. The heft. 

It’s hard to accept someone finding your body sexy when you’ve spent your whole life being called names for that body. Sometimes I like being abroad because I don’t understand the insults of children, teenagers and drunks. My final year in Poland, I was able to understand when gangs of boys would shout “Fat Pig” at me, and it’s always been a problem for me in Ireland and in Britain. I remember watching Borat in the cinema and hearing the loud and unashamed groans of disgust all around me, from every part of the cinema, at the sight of a naked fat man rolling around with another man. Likewise the character of Fat Bastard in the Austin Powers film, whose only real role is to lampoon the idea of fat men being sexy, and everyone in the cinema fell around laughing at his delusion that hid big hairy belly and manboobs were sexy. My body is the product of an “obesity epidemic”. I am “grossly overweight”. How can this be sexy?

And in the last two days, I’ve actually begun to see my body as sexualisable. As I walked through the train station yesterday on the way home from work I found myself swinging my ass about. I’ve always resisted the description of myself as a “bear”. But for the past two days, I’ve kind of grown fond of it. I’m a great big loveable panda bear. And that’s OK. 

I’m not saying I now love my body and don’t want to lose weight, but I have found a way to think of myself differently and allow a bit of love in. 

And of course, I’ve asked myself the inevitable question about my gentleman friend. What happened in the psycho-sexual development of this good-looking, interesting, confident young man that he ended up being exclusively attracted to obese men? But I haven’t let it get me down. 

He’s messaged me. Yesterday and today. He’s away for the weekend, so we won’t meet again till next week. But we will meet again. I’m ready for another trip on the merry-go-round. 


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