Prefer Not To Say: Online Dating and Obesity

In 2014 54% of Canadians reported themselves as being overweight.

That’s 14,222,521 Canadians… thereabouts. And those are just the ones that admitted to it.

Because, let’s face it, nobody wants to admit that they’re overweight.

Case in point: In the past few months I’ve been on and off a couple of dating sites.

I know, I know. I was. It’s a thing.

Stop judging.

The fact of the matter is that you don’t meet people awkwardly fondling citrus anymore. It just doesn’t happen.

During this little rendezvous into the high powered and incredibly lucrative world of match making I noticed a couple of things.

Number one: there are a LOT of nurses on online dating sites — like a LOT of nurses. I think they should have a site called “Plenty of Nurses”, because there are a metric fuck-tonne*. (*not an actual measurement*).

Number two: people are afraid to admit the shape and size of their bodies.

Tinder, not so much, because you don’t have to come out and say your “body type”. Although you can twist and contort the angles of your face to make yourself look a little more svelte.

I’m pretty much an all-star at that.

Plenty of Fish has been around since 2003. The brain child of Markus Frind, the site offers people from all over the world the chance to connect with other singles (or in some cases non-singles, couples, goats — you name it).

It’s a free service that you can pay for if you want to. When you pay for it you can find out if people have read or deleted your messages. You can also find out other helpful tidbits like if they’d rather eat in a restaurant or not, or if they’re a middle child. Why any of that matters is beyond me.

But, I digress…

One of the points of interest with POF is the extensive sign-up process.

This is where you click boxes to best describe you you are and what you’re after.

Your profile is then created from this information.

During this little sign-up thingamajiggy, there’s a section labeled “body type”.

You have several options, and they are as follows.

1.) Prefer not to say

2.) Thin

3.) Average

4.) Athletic

5.) A few extra pounds

6.) Big and Tall/BBW

If you’re overweight, this is the part of POF that really kicks you in the preverbal guts.

If you put down “prefer not to say” people will automatically think you’re hiding something, if you put down average but then your photo says something different then you’re lying, and if you tell the truth… well… if you tell the truth chances are you’ll experience the online equivalent to tumbleweeds blowing in the desert.

You’d have a better shot at starting a conversation as Anders Behring Breivik than somebody who’s “a few extra pounds” for Christ’s sake.

And that guy ain’t exactly a dreamboat, if you know what I’m sayin’.

Overweight is synonymous with a lot of things:

Lazy

Careless

Ugly

Lonely

Stubborn

Poor

Stupid

Gross

Bovine

Blimp

Swollen

Dumpy

Elephantine

Whalelike

Know what is missing from that list?

Human.

For all intents and purposes (or porpoises) fat people are best described as animals. Beasts of burden on a crumbling health infrastructure.

Whenever the government is short on cash you can bet your bottom dollar the first thing people cry for is to tax the drunk, the smoking, and the overweight.

And, sure, I’m all for a tax on junk food. I hate that in some places in this country it’s cheaper to buy a big mac than it is to buy a head of cauliflower — but I don’t set the food pricing. Do I?

The real puzzling part of misrepresenting yourself online when looking for the love of your life, or of July, whatever comes first — is that you aren’t just misrepresenting yourself to a perspective match, you’re misrepresenting yourself to you.

It indicates a level of self-loathing and shame that is perhaps even more societally prevalent than obesity.

What is this mythical standard that we all hold ourselves up to?

Is it the George Clooney’s and the Gwyneth Paltrow’s of the world?

Because, I guarantee you, as sure as there’s shit in a cat those folks probably aren’t too fussy on themselves either.

What’s the solution?

Stop fucking comparing yourself to a broken ideal. To a fucking unicorn that doesn’t even exist. And start telling the truth to the person that counts the most.

Be you. Love that.

If other people don’t like it, then — to quote my mother — “stick bubbly, I hope their balloon bursts”.

I have no clue what that means… it just sounded right in this context.

If you’re not perfect right now, don’t worry. You never will be. You can improve things about yourself, for sure. But, if you think that some day you’re going to wake up and be perfect — it’s time to lay down the pipe, cause it ain’t happenin’.

In the meantime, If anyone needs me, I’ll be at Sobey’s violating the lemons.

Swipe carefully.

7 thoughts on “Prefer Not To Say: Online Dating and Obesity

  1. “stick bubbly, I hope their balloon bursts”…love this, no idea what it means but i’m stealing it! love reading your blogs and can so relate to your messages…on line dating – it’s a love/hate relationship and whenever someone talks about it all i hear is ‘omg you should give it a shot cause so and so met there and now they’re so happy’…all i hear is ‘blah blah blah’…my motto is if i can love myself, i can live a happy life and with one life to live, god damn it it’s gonna be good 🙂

    danielle…

  2. Fabulous post Dave! I feel your pain with the POF body type questionaire! I opted for honesty and went with Big and Tall/BBW. Tall is hardly an accurate descriptor for me, but the rest fit, sorta.
    Yeah, I’m not on POF anymore. And I don’t give a shit. Thought I’d let you know that the silly “Stick bubbly, I hope your balloon bursts!” quote originally came from your Nanny Sullivan. I don’t know exactly what it means but it has the same connotation as, “Shag ya then! See if I care!” I’ve actually started a little list of “Momisms”…she had a million of ’em, God love ‘er!!

  3. I suggested that Markus add a category called ‘curvy but fucking fabulous’. He didn’t listen. See you in the produce section (on my way to the Hawkins cheesies).

  4. I did the online dating thing. I was super honest about who I am: middle aged, funny, clever, smart, fat, strong, and saving up to ensure my kid gets adequate therapy.

    Men weren’t sure what to make of me. What you saw was what you got. I shoot from the hip too. I heard a lot of “wow, you’re so…..normal”. Never has any one accused me of that before.

    However, it all paid off. My self acceptance meant when I fell in love, he fell I. Love with me. Not a facade but all of me.

    Own who you are. Love who you are. Let someone love you, as is.

  5. Fabulous is right!!! I like this line: “you’re misrepresenting yourself to you.”

    Well said, AGAIN.

    Enjoy the journey, it is called life.
    Shanon

  6. Hi Dave. Have read a lot of your blogs/posts/rants. Have agreed with many points while others piss me off. About what I imagine you would expect when you are posting about your journey through life. I must say though that I really enjoyed this post. I haven’t tried the online dating sites. After my second marriage I seem to have signed myself out of the relationship lotto. Even though I classify myself as Tall, Slim and The Best Looking, at 300 lbs and 5’9″ even I have to admit I might be stretching the truth just a tad. I have to report however that I have successfully managed to scare all women away from me for 7 years to date, ever since the last Other asked me to leave. Before you ask, yes, I am under a doctors care and truly hope this Black Dog called depression lifts soon. Keep up your posts. They make people Think and that’s so very important.

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