Online Dating (While Fat)

For some reason, 2012 has been a year where online dating is being mentioned in both my on- and offline worlds with increasing frequency. Pros, cons and (missed) opportunities seem to abound – and everyone who’s taken a crack at it seems to have a mixed bag of experiences under their belt, which I guess can be said of any kind of dating.

I’ll admit, online dating holds a certain appeal for me. I’m a bit of a social recluse at the best of times and, while I might be a gay guy, I’m not someone who’s into the “gay scene,”* which means that my opportunities for in-person interaction with other queer guys is limited, to say the least. So, being able to connect with other gay guys across the span of the internet, whether it be for a chat or the possibility of something more, isn’t something that I’m going to turn my nose up at.

It’s worked out okay for me in the past, too. Putting aside the fact that I’m currently single and it therefore hasn’t worked out too well for me, I can’t say that internet dating has been a complete waste of time. And as much as I have my own issues with how gay guys present themselves and interact with each other online (which is a whole series of posts in its own right, probably), I still currently check OKCupid and will check into at least a couple of gay male apps on my iPhone every now and then.

In other words, it is a thing that I do.

Of course, online dating is a particular kind of experience for people who aren’t necessarily of the (white, thin, straight) “norm.” There are certain decisions that need to be made about ‘outing’ yourself, for example as being queer, a person of colour, in an open relationship, a parent, etc. In some cases, you can hide (or choose not to divulge) certain things about yourself, for whatever reason. In other cases, that doesn’t really work.

Being fat is one of those things that can raise questions about the need for disclosure. It can be as simple as deciding whether or not to use the Myspace Angle (it’s an Urban Dictionary link, so click at your own risk) in your photos; it can be a matter of clicking the “curvy” (or equivilent) option for body type options on sites that offer that option; or it can even be a matter of saying straight up in your profile that you’re fat.

There’s also the option of signing up to sites that are specifically catered to setting up fat people with each other and their admirers. I tend to think that this is easier for women (and particularly women who are looking for men), but I also imagine that concerns about being the object of someone else’s fetish cross the minds of everyone** when considering these sites, regardless of their gender or sexual identity.

SO! I’m curious. How do YOU negotiate the world of online dating as a fat person?


* Yet for some reason every six months or so I’ll have an urge to go visit Oxford Street, because the idea of the place seems so much more fun than the reality generally is. What is up with that?!

** Unless you’re into that, in which case, cool!

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  • erinaree

    I’ve dipped in and out of the online dating pool, and am currently back in it.  Right now, my MO is to post realistic photos of myself, including a full body shot.  I choose the option of ‘body type’ which most fits my build, though I hate the word ‘curvy’ and would much prefer if there was a ‘fat’ choice.  When a guy messages me, I usually try to make it clear early that I am fat and okay with it, and if he’s not this is his chance to get out.  I usually put it a bit less blunt than that, but that’s the gist.

    I don’t want to waste my time, or anyone else’s time.  I’m not interested in ‘tricking’ someone into liking me and then having them feel uncomfortable when we meet because they don’t like fat people.  That’s not helpful for me or them.

  • David

    I tend to only use face shots, but at the same time I think I have the kind of face that clearly says “here be a fatty.” :P

    Ironically, on general dating sites and apps I get “ew, fatty” comments and on fat-specific sites I’ve been told that I don’t look fat enough. And this is using the same photos!

  • Curlylemon

    I’m a fat woman (350lbs) and I decided to give online dating a try two years ago. I went for a fat-friendly site called datingbbw.co.uk. I went on two dates, both which went well but no ‘spark’. Then I started talking to a guy who from the offset I just knew was special. Total whirlwind romance ensued and we are now engaged! I liked the fact that the nature of the site meant people were clear about what they were attracted to and what they were looking for. I was a bit sceptical at first but a convert now!

  • David

     I’m glad it ended up being such a good experience for you. :D

  • Sheltreese

    David here is how i deal with it

    this is from my OKcupid profile

    “I am a fierce fat femme who doesn’t like to take shit from people,
    unless I ask for it….i am a student, a scholar, great cook, a
    lover….i have Sexy Nerd Swag. I have a loving boyfriend and I am
    looking for cool folks to hang out with locally… I’m sapiosexual,
    I love to laugh and make super corny jokes! i like animated
    features which really means I love cartoons! i still like to color
    and yes i have two sets of crayons. If you like women who cook,
    laugh, eat, read, sleep, kiss, play, color, and overall like to
    have a good time…you might like me.

    please take note: i don’t like the words “full figured” because if
    we flip that term then there must be people who are half figured?
    Weird right…um yea im fat in real life and as one of my many
    political identity markers so feel free to mention bacon in your
    message to me :)

  • David

     I do like that you put it out there and just move on. It makes it clear that you’re both letting people know and (rightly!) suggesting that it’s not the only thing about you that matters.

  • scott

    hi do u mind if we be friends i love bbw

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