Sweet Home Chicago: “Part II – Rock On!”

When we last left off, my friend had just finished convincing me to sign up on to the social networking site Migente.com. I didn’t join because I wanted to get in on the whole social network experiment. My reasonings where a bit shallower than that. I was just attracted by all the cute looking ladies that I saw while being introduced to the site. I’m sure you will forgive my male chauvinist reasoning’s. But what else would you expect from a 22 year old kid?

For the first couple of weeks, all I heard was crickets, when I would check-in to see if anyone had bothered to check out my page. I wasn’t surprised to learn I wasn’t exactly a hot commodity. After all, there was that little matter of me being well over 400 lbs. And with no Biggie Smalls, or Big Pun, around to make being big look fashionable, well lets just say it was a tough time to be a big fella’ in the city. It was only at that point that it dawned on me that the four year old picture that was serving as my profile pic was not going to attract anyone’s attention. Although this was before the time of selfies, duck faces, or narcissistic bathroom abs shots, it was still imperative to have one decent looking picture of yourself. Unfortunately for me, I really didn’t have one. Or at least not one that disguised my size. If I was going to make any type of positive impression with the ladies, I would have to put in some effort, and make my page stand out from all the other dudes that were on the site. Thankfully that wasn’t too hard to do. A good 95% of the male profiles usually went a little something like this:

Yo Ma what’s good? This is Tito Pena AKA Joey Wallnuts, cumming atcha from Da Boogie Down Bronx. You know how we do! Just trying to hook-up with some honnies and get things poppin’. So if you like what you see and you ain’t scurred ( yes you are reading that correctly. Scurred not scared. Remember we keep’n it real here) holla atcha’ boy. Ya feel me!

Terminal 5, NYC
Terminal 5, NYC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now I have known plenty of ladies in my day that would have been perfectly fine with that guy. But that wasn’t someone I could pretend to be. Plus that’s not the kind of girl I wanted to attract. I was trying to meet the sweet, girl next door. The kind of girl that didn’t mind putting some time in to read an extra wordy profile from a guy that was obviously trying way too hard. That wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen with a big fat guy. The kind of quirky, down to earth, funny, playful, full of life chick that you only see in movies being played by Zooey Deschanel. Who, as a side note, I have had a major problem with since seeing 500 Days of Summer. Why did she have to be such an asshole in that movie? She did Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character Tom so wrong. But that is neither here nor there.

Since being my boring self got me nowhere, I felt my best bet was to try and become someone else. Or at least use someone else’s words. I spent several hours looking for thought provoking quotes that would perhaps make me come off as a deep thinker with a sense of humor. Thankfully a few key search words on the ol’ trusty browser lead me to all the deep sounding quotes and funny musings that I would ever need. Looking back I can’t help but feel a little embarrassed for thinking that I could sound like the second coming of Mahatma Gandhi because I copy and pasted a few quotes. But at the time I didn’t care. They sounded good too me and I thought it made me seem sophisticated.

To my happy surprise my superficial changes seemed to make a difference. I started getting a few more visits to my page. And a few girls actually signed my guest book which was a thing in those days. Then came the notes. I was receiving a few messages a week from a few of the girls that had checked out my page. They all mentioned the same thing. I love your page. Great quotes. So deep. And so on and so forth. I felt I was well on my way to Bootycallville. Now I just need to start corresponding with some of the ladies.

My first few attempts at striking up a conversation failed miserably. My so called game was way too rusty. I was trying desperately to come off being cool, swave, confident, and funny. Instead I just seemed awkward and probably a little desperate. Which always sent them fleeing; rightfully so. I needed to recalibrate my efforts.

I tried to take things a little slower, which is not exactly something I have always excelled at. But I did my best to make an effort. I took the time to get to know them. I planted the seeds of friendship. Which in turn led me to learn all about their wants, dislikes, dreams, and hopes. And just like that, it all started to fall into place. A couple of months in, I was talking with a few girls through notes, and over the the phone on a regular basis.

You would think that I would be happy with the way things were going. Yet that wasn’t the case at all. You see, I was suffering from– well let’s just call it stage fright. The problem was that every time I spoke with these girls I was putting on a front. I was pretending to be someone that I really wasn’t. I guess that we all do that when we are trying to hook up with someone that you are attracted too. You know, put your best foot forward. The thing was that it wasn’t even my foot. I mean I wasn’t using an alias or anything that dramatic. But I wasn’t being honest about who I was or what I really looked like. Eventually I would reach a point when the girl would suggest we meet up; and then I would have to go through a list of excuses that I had made up in order to try to delay the meeting. There was this particular instance when I was in high school that had stayed with me. I was going up a flight of stairs and several steps below me were a couple of girls that I thought were pretty cute. I overheard as one girl asked the other one “What do you think about him?” I knew that they were referring to me since there was nobody else in the stairwell. Her friend responded with  “He’s cute. But he’s SO big.” They were talking in hushed tones so that I wouldn’t hear them. So it wasn’t like they were going out of the way to hurt my feelings or anything. I just happen to be unlucky enough to catch what was being said. I gotta say that hearing those two say that about me hurt me plenty. You never really want to hear that you aren’t attractive to someone. It is a bit of a punch to the fat gut.  This was pretty much the only reason why I didn’t want to meet any of the girls I was talking too. I was afraid they would react in the same manner. Plus I didn’t need to deal with the added disappointment of having to explain to them that I did not actually possess a 14 inch penis. Eventually all the girls that I would talk with would all tire of my excuses and move on. And I would find myself back at square one.

Then on April 6th, 2002 I got a notification that someone had signed my guest book. I took a quick peek. The message read:

“Hey what’s up? Just wanted to leave my rocken’ mark on your spot! Well take care and ROCK ON! ROCKERS RULE!!!”

All these years later and that message still puts a smile on my face. You see in addition to all the silly quotes that I had plastered on my Migente page, I also had a small listing of the bands that I was really into at the time. Bands like Radiohead, Sublime, No Doubt, Weezer, and the Strokes. I never in a 100 years would have thought that anyone would have been drawn to my page because of the music I listened too. It was just something I had posted to fill some of the empty space. But as you can tell by reading the message above, it got the attention of a kindred spirit. Someone that also appreciated a good song with a heavy riff. Someone that was also a bit of a lost soul. That someone would turn out to be my future wife.

Little did I know that I was about to enter a miniature golden age. Fate was playing her little games with me; and once again, I found myself clueless about the significance of another pivotal event in my life. I was about to be swept out to sea by a tidal wave. I just didn’t know it yet.

To Be Continued: Sweet Home Chicago: Part III – Getting to Know You

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