DATING WHILE FAT: Why Aren't Dating Sites Easier for Overweight People?

I very specifically took full body photos of me on my not-most-awesome day, rather than choose more flattering photos. I embraced underpromise and overdeliver -- I was petrified of trying to deceive anyone.

Jun 10, 2013 at 3:00pm | Leave a comment

image

My fat little fingers are full of hope and anticipation.

 
Fifteen years ago, I was hired to help design an online dating site for Christian singles. As a Jew and an exclusively offline dater I did all my market research by using dummy accounts on the sites that mattered at the time: Match and Love@aol.
 
I remember being astounded by the shitty spelling and writing. Yes, that’s what I noticed. I figured that second to your resume, of all the things you’re going to spell check, your singles ad would be it.  
 
I didn't get into online dating back then. sounded embarrassing to tell people, and at the beginning, there was a stigma associated with it. Since I’m a fat girl, I'm all full up on stigma, thankyouverymuch.
 
Plus, when you’re fat, you tend to eschew blind date opps, and that’s what online dating felt like. I just kept picturing someone walking up to me in person and seeing a look of disappointment on their face. I was scared to even put my picture out there, because again.... stigma.
 
image

Oh, Yahoo Answers

 
It’s not that I think I'm ugly, I'm not really sure there is an ugly. We all have different pictures in our head of attractive, but its like when someone says they don't like dogs and you say "Oh, but you'd love my dog." I have a doberman. If you don't like dogs, mine's not going to make you swoon. If you don't like fat chicks, I'm unlikely to be the siren that helps you over the metaphorical fence. 
 
But, a few years ago, I decided to give it a go. anyway I signed up for eHarmony and Match and after something just less than a college entrance exam, I was approved. But some sticky points remained. For instance, body shape. Curvy? Slightly overweight? Rubenesque? These are not the words I want to use. I don’t want to be poetic about my weight. I want to just disclose it and get on with it. Online dating does not seem an ideal place to be coy.
 
I chose the closest word I was comfortable with and moved on. I very specifically took full body photos of me on my not-most-awesome day, rather than choose more flattering photos. I embraced underpromise and overdeliver -- I was petrified of trying to deceive anyone. I wanted it out there. “I AM FAT.  Also: excruciatingly intelligent, hysterical, crafty and have hair like a mermaid and a fab rack.”  
 
And the responses started coming in. FROM MEN WHO DIDN’T SEEM TO GET THAT I WAS FAT. Here’s how it went. I’d chat it up with one of them, some time later, I’d get a request for more pictures. And as soon as they got them, communication would fall off or I’d at best, get a very quiet reply. 
 
I think of the whole "Why are there so many fat girls on dating sites?” being a bit like straight men being convinced all gay men want to sleep with them. Look -- I’m just looking for someone who’s into me. I don’t think I would be all that comfortable with someone really fit or athletic, I happen to like feeling smaller than the person I’m with, so I’m not trying to trick you into sleeping with me.
 
image
 
And where are all the fat GUYS, anyway? Dating sites kept serving me up these dudes who weren't into fat girls. So after a week, I unsubscribed
 
It's been a few years and my well-intentioned friends have all been pushing me to get on OKCupid. And since it works for them and costs me nothing to try, I gave in and quietly gave it a go. Nothing had changed -- I couldn’t just search for dudes who would be more likely to fit into my body range. (I know not all big guys are into big girls, but it seemed like a more logical place to start.)
 
Yes, I understand you have a calculator somewhere that says I’d have a lot in common mentally and ethically with this attractive guy who claims he can’t live without biking a century every weekend, but I’m telling you its not gonna fly. When someone says it’s important to date someone who’s in shape, they usually mean it. The same is true in reverse.
 
Somewhere out there is my geeky dim sum-loving prince who thinks a night spent watching disaster flicks is 7 percent of heaven WHY ARE YOU BLOCKING ME FROM DESTINY?
 
So I did a little experiment, I went looking for sites just FOR overweight singles. It was like hopping into a time machine and setting course straight for Geocities -- just awful. 
 
If OKCupid acknowledges that attractive people are more likely to want attractive people, and religious people will want religious people and liberal people other liberals.. why are dating sites making it so hard for fat people to meet each other? Its not like its difficult technologically, its a 2 minute bit of coding for semantic data already in the database.
 
And if someone says they don’t want to date someone overweight, please -- don’t show me to them. It's not like it's difficult emotionally: just ditch these ridiculous euphemisms for fat and allow people to be matter of fact about it so I don’t have to feel like an interloper in skinny-town. Hell, I’d be A-OK putting in my height and weight and letting some calculator on the backend throw me into a range. 
 
If you’re a dude, and you’re overweight, where ARE you setting up shop in the online datingsphere? Just pop me an address and I’ll set my ship yonder. And if some XOJaner has a brother or dude-friend who thinks the dog park, followed by soup dumplings and “Volcano” sounds like a barrel of monkeys, please forward their names and three favorite coding languages to me.