I have never written to an advice thing before so I’m just gonna jump right in. I hosted a NYE party last week and I had a mix of friends and family there. My cousin (who we will call Jeff) was there and he’s one of my oldest and best friends. We are just two years apart and we went to high school together. Jeff played baseball in college, but then he messed up his knee. In the years following, he kept up with his partying, but slacked on the athletics, and he gained some weight. He’s not ginormous, but he’s definitely let himself go. I’m prefacing with this not because I’m a judgy bitch, but because it’s part of my question. Jeff is single and has been for a while. Every time he gets a few drinks in him, he corners me and/or my husband and talks about how much it sucks being single. He usually asks us to set him up with one of our “hot single friends”. He’s had eyes for my friend Jen for a year or so now and brings her up whenever I see him.
Here’s my issue, though: Jen is a hot yoga enthusiast and marathon runner. She’s super fit and motivated. She gets after it and it shows. I love Jeff, but he’s become pretty lazy. He’s hilarious and sweet and so much fun. I really think he’s a special person and prize, but he orders out constantly, goes out with his bros and pounds beer on the reg, and has a membership to a gym he never uses. In short, he’s not Jen’s physical type. He’s actually not the type of any of the young, single, fit, professional women I know. He once mentioned that he’d been set up with a friend of a friend and told me she wasn’t that attractive. When he showed me her pic, she was cute, but a little bigger. I thought that was unfair of him, but I didn’t say anything.
I love Jeff like a brother. I want him to be happy and I want him to be healthy. How do I bring this up without breaking his heart?
I think your quandary is one that many social types have come up against at some point. It’s hard because you want your cousin to experience a loving and rewarding relationship and you want him to clean up his act and get that blood pumping a bit.
I’ve noticed that a lot of single guys like Jeff are kind of just stuck in a rut; they have done things their way for so long and there’s no one in their lives holding them accountable. There’s no one suggesting that he use the rest of the chicken breast instead of ordering a pizza. No one is there to side-eye him or to lovingly discuss mutual goals with.
Another thing is that Jeff probably notices is that there is always what I call the King of Queens exception. Some guys like him are dating bombshells. I’ve seen it, you’ve seen it, the media perpetuates it. Apart from that, we all know that women are typically are less judgemental when it comes to looks.
Some guys have this narrative going through their mind- “I’m deserving of someone out of my league because I just…am.”
I suggest hanging out with Jeff one on one, maybe getting dinner some night. Wait for him to bring up how lonely he is or something along that line. It’s important not to just throw it at him, make sure it comes up organically. You might not even get to address it the first time you want to. If you’re a healthy person (sounds like you are), mention how much getting out and exercising has helped your own confidence. Talk about cooking and how attractive that is to women (because it is!!). You know your cousin very well at this point, so try to find a way to communicate in a way that won’t cause him to immediately shut you out. If he doesn’t have anyone in his life holding him accountable, ask him if he’s open to it. Take it slow, gauge the flow of conversation, don’t charge in with an agenda. If you feel comfortable enough, bring up the fact that rejecting women because they are overweight, but expecting the fit girls he’s into to accept him no matter what is a double. fucking. standard.
Ultimately, it’s up to Jeff, though. He might never change. His body might just fuse with his couch and become one with it. Maybe he’ll get real lucky and his very own Leah Remini will show up at his doorstep with a plate of baked ziti. Maybe he’ll strike it rich and secure his very own Melania! OR he might do what a lot of young people do- he might grow up, he might start to look for ways to improve his life, he might shed a few pounds.
In the meantime, keep cuzzin’ on, Cuz,