Cliché, hackneyed and true: it’s hard to meet people these days. When your friends are all married (or partnered) and their friends are all married (or partnered), you work with mostly women and/or unavailable men, and you don’t enjoy sitting in a bar waiting for a drunk to drool on you, your romantic networking options are limited. Add being larger than the average gal and you have better odds of winning the Kentucky Derby on foot than meeting “the one” randomly in the produce aisle of the Pickup Publix. (‘Cause that’s where all the big girls are hanging out these days.)
So in an antithetical Cheers moment, you go to the one place where no one knows your name: The Internet.
For the millions of online dating success stories, I promise you there are millions of failures, or at the very least, millions of non-success stories. I happen to account for at least two hundred of those. I have met some good guys, some hysterical mismatches, some guys I couldn’t pick out of a lineup today and a few horrors. I’ve changed my approach dozens of times and tried screening suitors with varying criteria such as family background, education, income, profession, interests, height, weight, goals, humor and even teeth (but that’s a different post). I’ve used at least 6 different sites and have come to the same conclusion: everyone comes across better online – including you!
The beauty of online dating is that you can be whoever you want to be. Love skydiving? Sure! Enamored with the vegan lifestyle? Of course! Finished with that Ph.D? So close! Now, are you an airborne, vegan, almost-doctor? Probably not and they probably aren’t either so do not just assume that everything they are telling you is true.
Am I recommending fibbing on your online dating profile? Absolutely not. Be true to yourself and your intentions. If you signed up for Match looking for your match, you shouldn’t settle for the only guy that emailed you back. When you wanted to find your harmonious partner on eHarmony, you shouldn’t change your tune and let a guy take advantage of your insecurities. If you are really intent on finding someone, then your best foot forward should be an honest one. That being said, there is no need to disclose your snoring, stretch marks and 580 credit score upfront. Always remember that what is true on a real date is also true on an online interaction: don’t over share because men like a little mystery.
But as a chubby chick in a superficial town, it is imperative that you share one thing up front: a picture with more than just a close up of your pretty, pretty face. Every chubby chick has that great picture where her chins melt away, her eyes sparkle, her smile is dazzling and her hair is perfect. And those pictures are the universe giving a little bit back after the 247 other pictures that make her look like a Yeti competing for Miss Awkward. We are all tempted to crop out the other people in that magic picture along with any evidence that that gorgeous face isn’t attached to an equally dazzling body. But as tempting as it may be, you will be saved a boatload of time and heartbreak if you make sure the person you want to meet is pleasantly surprised by the woman you are rather than shocked at the size of your butt.
See, every man has pictured who he wants to be “the one” and for the most part, that perfect fantasy doesn’t shop at Lane Bryant. (And if she does, it’s for their wealth of clearance size 12-14’s.) I’m not saying that men don’t find heavier women attractive – they both can and do. Some men truly do not care about size – and we cherish those wonderful guys. But generally speaking, the highest quality men (read: employed, educated, classy, normal) are not going online to seek their Tracy Turnblad’s. And the ones that are seeking that really full-figured gal either have a fat fetish (read: chubby chaser) or are out seeking confirmation of the rumor that fat girls are easy. And let’s face it ladies: sometimes that one is true.
You have to be really careful if you are coming from a position of being ignored or left out of the love scene. A free glass of wine and a compliment may seem like enough to earn your suitor an all-access pass. It’s really not.
Now if you are seeking that kind of relationship, then by all means, go for it. (Safely – remember that the CDC is in Atlanta for a reason…) But I think if we are being brutally honest with ourselves, we will admit we are looking for more than just a guy who’s wiling to be nice enough and eager to get into bed with us.
Are you afraid if you say no, he will disappear? Well, he might. And good riddance. But if you say yes too easily, you will also take away his sense of victory, a critical component in making him consider you a long-term prospect. Have you ever looked at those skinny, tan little goddesses who treat their nice, sweet, near perfect boyfriends like dogs and you sit by and wonder how he can miss a gem like you and subject himself to a vapid predator like her? Well, it’s because she made him work for it and now he wants to enjoy the spoils of his victory.
Want to know the best way to make the live version of yourself meet or exceed the online version of yourself? Make him want to work for it by carrying yourself well, being yourself, being playful and light-hearted and not coming across desperate.
Ladies, stay open to all of your opportunities, both live and online. Make a guy chase you a little bit before you make any decisions because if he won’t chase in the beginning, he definitely won’t make it to the finish line. And balance your optimism with meeting someone new with a little knowledge that what looks perfect online will definitely have a few manufacturer’s flaws when you see it live and in person. So let’s go put our best feet forward and jump into the steaming pile of hidden flaws known as online dating!