Okay, I did it. I survived. I made a deep dive into five popular dating apps and surfaced alive and unscathed. I had used a couple of these apps in the past, but truth be told (and a feeling I know many of us fat women have had), we didn’t entirely tell the truth about our size. This isn’t because we are ashamed of who we are and what we look like, but perhaps because we understand the fat phobic society we live in, and with dating being dog-eat-dog as it is, the trolls will also come out to play. In the past, it had been the usual good photos used for profiles; the head shots, the angled shots, the posed and poised. No skin. No bikinis. And certainly none of our full bodies. Surely this would push me into the ridicule pool?
No, I had had enough. It’s not that past dates were surprised by my size at all (I’d always highlight ‘Big/Tall’ as my body type and made it clear that I am 5”11 and love food). However, I wanted potential future lovers to see me and ALL of me as an experiment to see their reactions, to see if the dating climate would change or to see if people treated me differently. It was time to be 'body honest'.
Here’s how it went down on each app:
I got a few matches, but one guy in particular stood out to me for the most peculiar reason. The conversation went like this:
Him: Do you think I look like a toad? [His actual opening line]
Me: Is this the start of a bad joke or do you need some self-esteem coaching?
Him: No, I’m being serious. My mates tell me I look like a toad and it really makes me mad. What do you think?
Me: Maybe you should get some news friends, they sound like arseholes... because you don’t?
Him: *Proceeds to send me the love hearts message thing nine times in a row, and another an hour later when I didn’t reply*
Not even sure that I know what to make of this…
2. Plenty of Fish
This is my favourite because I’m already familiar with it from past dating experience. I met my most recent ex on POF and had a long-term relationship. It hasn’t got the disposability of Tinder, so even though there are some fish that are only in it to ‘catch the worms’, many clearly state what they are looking for with a lot of detail about who they are, meaning you can have actual conversations with either you or them initiating. And no comments were made about my size.
I like the concept of Bumble. Us queens making the first move to get the honey from our bees. However, the bees I spoke to didn’t seem to respond. A couple of them were hard to initiate, I’ll admit. Their profiles didn’t have much information about their interests which means I asked about their job or tried to make a joke related to their field. The others had interests listed so that was a lot easier and nicely, especially where we had things in common. Still no replies. Who knows the reason why…
I liked Happn a lot as you know that person is an actual human being who has passed you in the street. However, as much as there were interesting people on there, the problem came when I realised that they were miiiiles away from me. For example, they all came across me at train stations. Once I realised where we had passed (with a map of the exact location), it would say they were 50+ miles away. I've done long distance relationships before — I don’t dig them, even just for casual dating. Not helpful.
A lot of middle-aged men whose vocabulary does not exceed ‘Hiya x’ or ‘Hello gorgeous’. Without sounding harsh, this app is like the last dregs from the other apps, those who pictures of farmer’s firearms while wearing tracksuits as daywear with a Nike cap (when it’s not sunny) are their highlights. I know you lovely lot have self-respect, so unless you have a success story you would like to share with us from Badoo, then please steer clear.
This whole experience left me slightly baffled. I was extremely happy that I was proved wrong in a way, that actually being up-front with photos did not put me at a disadvantage and I was not trolled heartlessly. However, people not speaking to me much made me think that this was actually their way of ridiculing me, that they went by my face when scrolling and not paying attention, and once they had matched with me, looked closer and realised I didn't fit their body ideal. I don’t know. That’s just me surmising. To say the least, I’m going to wait out dating until the climate improves a bit. The summer may be a good time, and then I can delight people with more bikini photos of my sexy size 16/18 body.
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