I couldn’t wait to meet Danny for the first time at the airport. But what would he think of my excess baggage?
By Jane Davidson, 32, Billericay, Essex
As I logged into Facebook I felt a familiar thrill of excitement as I noticed the red icon in the top right-hand corner of my screen.
1 message from Danny.
I beamed as I clicked into it and began reading his cheeky chat. I’d come to look forward to our virtual banter and I couldn’t help but wonder… was he flirting with me?
I’d become Facebook friends with Danny through his sister, Kelly, who I knew well. We quickly got chatting about travel, work and music but because I was living in Cyprus we couldn’t meet in person.
I’d moved out to Cyprus when my mum, Jo, and sister, Sarah, emigrated there. I loved being close to my family but when Mum died in 2010 after a battle with lung cancer, I was devastated.
Lost in grief, I turned to food for comfort. I’d always been a yo-yo dieter but had never ballooned any bigger than 12 stone.
But now, I didn’t hold back. Desperate to fill the gaping hole that my lovely mum had left, I ate anything I could get my hands on.
I’d gorge on sandwiches or big portions of pie and chips. And I’d have a takeaway at least five times a week, treating myself to a greasy kebab.
On my own, I didn’t bother cooking healthy meals for myself and a couple of years later, by 2012, I’d eaten my way to 20 stone and a hulking dress size 24.
‘You look gorgeous,’ Danny typed. ‘I’ll have to come over to Cyprus for a holiday – and to see you.’
I felt my cheeks flush red with excitement. True, all the photos on my Facebook profile were older snaps, taken when I was much thinner. But I was hardly going to post unflattering pictures.
Besides, Danny and I had a great laugh during our Facebook and Skype chats. We shared a special connection, I knew it wouldn’t matter.
I typed back: ‘I’m planning on coming back to the UK but I’m stopping off in Barcelona on the way, to catch up with friends.’
Danny’s reply was almost instant. ‘What dates are you going? I’ll fly to Barcelona instead. I really want to see you.’
After that, we excitedly began planning our long weekend in the Spanish city. My friends pulled out of the trip at the last minute, so it was just going to be me and Danny.
I could barely contain my excitement. I told him: ‘I’ve booked us into the same room… but it’s a twin room!’
I didn’t want to seem too forward but deep down, I didn’t expect us to be in separate beds for long. I thought the date would go brilliantly and fully expected thing to heat up in the sizzling Spanish sun.
Danny said: ‘I’ve hired a car. I’ll be there at the airport waiting for you when your flight gets in.’
I excitedly picked out a pretty white, summer maxi dress to wear when we first met. As I smoothed the floaty folds of fabric over my size 24 curves, I felt pretty.
I wanted to make a good impression.
I spotted Danny as soon as I came into arrivals at Barcelona. Over six foot tall and chunky, he was all man. Gorgeous.
‘Hi there,’ I flashed him an excited grin. I watched in horror as Danny met my gaze and his face fell in shock.
He tried his best, but there was no disguising his disappointment. He obviously didn’t fancy me in the flesh – my considerable folds of flesh.
‘Oh… hello,’ he stuttered, before turning away. ‘Let’s get to the car shall we?’
As I waddled behind him, dragging my case through the airport, I wanted the ground to swallow me up.
Danny didn’t fancy me. It was mortifying. This is going to be an awkward four days, I thought, as I heaved my case into the boot of Danny’s hire car.
Our date in one of the most romantic cities in the world was excruciating. We still managed to have a laugh and had a few nice chats but Danny and I spent the whole time awkwardly avoiding the huge elephant in the room… me.
My cousin, Becky, agreed to pick the pair of us up as our plane landed back in the UK.
Danny said: ‘I’ll, er, give you a ring then,’ as we dropped him off at his. Not even a goodbye kiss.
As we pulled away Becky turned to me and grinned: ‘Come on then, spill – how did it go?’
I grimaced. ‘Oh Becky, it wasn’t good. We had a few nice chats but it was like I was one of the lads. The fact is, he just doesn’t fancy me.’
Danny couldn’t get out of the car fast enough and we certainly didn’t arrange a second date.
I was mortified and a couple of weeks later, I found out through Kelly and Facebook that Danny was seeing someone else. That was it. My humiliation was complete.
I was devastated… but determined. Danny’s rejection was the jolt I needed to change my life and just a couple of months later, in October 2012, I booked myself in for a gastric sleeve operation in a clinic in Prague.
I’d inherited a bit of money after Mum died and I knew she’d have wanted me to use it for something for myself – and my health.
I booked the surgery on a Friday and flew out the following Monday. I didn’t even tell anyone I was going and a week later, I was home.
I felt awful for the first couple of weeks. I couldn’t keep anything down and didn’t have the energy to get out of bed.
But as my body adjusted to the sleeve, I watched with delight as the weight started to fall away. Within three months, the change was unbelievable. The op had been worth every penny.
Eight months later, in July 2013, Kelly gave me a call. She said: ‘Why don’t you come over for a catch up?’
I’d kept in touch with Kelly and her family despite what had happened – although I hadn’t seen Danny since our disastrous date.
‘The weather’s great, we’ll fire up the barbecue,’ Kelly went on.
It sounded good, so I slipped my new 10 stone frame into a pair of skinny jeans and a strappy top and headed over to her place.
‘So how have you been? You look amazing,’ Kelly said, admiring my slinky size 14 outfit.
I stretched out in the sunshine and was about to reply, when… Danny walked in. Kelly hadn’t said he would be here.
As he clocked me, his jaw nearly hit the floor, but this time, it was for all the right reasons.
He exclaimed: ‘Oh my God, Jane! You look so… different.’ I’d lost ten stone, I was literally half the woman he’d met that weekend in Barcelona.
I felt a feeling of smugness creep over me.
‘We should meet up some time,’ Danny said as we got chatting over the hotdogs and burgers. ‘Go for a drink or something.’
But I was still smarting from being stung in Spain. ‘Yeah maybe,’ I replied vaguely, refusing to commit to any definite plans.
Besides, I had another date lined up with a guy who lived in Loughborough. Danny had his chance and he blew it.
But the date turned out to be a disaster and I found myself thinking of Danny. I pulled out my mobile and sent him a quick text.
‘I’m coming to get you,’ he typed back. ‘I’m getting in the car now.’
Danny drove all the way up to Loughborough from Brentwood in Essex to pick me up. Maybe he does really like me, after all, I thought as I got into his car and he whisked me home.
We didn’t waste any time after that and quickly, our relationship became serious. Just a month later, on New Year’s Eve 2013, Danny proposed and in November last year I had our first baby, Dan Edward.
I’m still trying to shift the baby weight but I know now that Danny loves me whatever my size. Still, I’ll never forget that excruciating Barcelona blind date!
Danny, 40, says: “I was expecting Jane to be attractive and I was very surprised to see how big she was when she turned up in Barcelona. I couldn’t hide it. I’m a terrible liar. When I saw her the second time I was stunned. She looked so different but she was the same girl inside and we’d got on so well.”
Jane was mortified when Danny ditched her – and her excess baggage. So when she lost 10 stone to win back her man, she decided to share her happy story with the readers of Take a Break. We helped Jane reach a wide readership – Take a Break is the biggest selling magazine in the UK – and also get the best price. If you have a relationship story you’d like to tell, complete the form on the right and we’ll call you for a no-obligation chat.