The truth about Online Dating? As Dr. Gregory House so famously quips, “Everybody lies”.
Here is my predicament: I am a short skinny guy. I am short not by choice, but I am skinny due to some good luck with genes and a concerted effort of diet and exercise. I’ve plumped up before, so I know how easy it is to get “big”. Knowing where I’ve been, I make sacrifices and decisions every day to stay at the size and shape I am. Not trying to brag or preach, but this is my lifestyle. Having someone who fits congruently with that is incredibly important.
Now, the modern Online Dating Site offers a myriad options and specifications to help narrow down my search for true love. I can match myself with someone based on their astrological sign; from the arbitrary date of her birth and my birth I can pick out only girls born during certain times of the year– down to thirty specific days! I can set height parameters and find a girl of a specific height– down to the inch! Heck, I can even find a woman who considers Jedi-ism to be her one true religion and is a practicing Jedi-knight.
But when I’m looking for someone who shares the same healthy lifestyle as myself, I’m given just a series or rather ambiguous adjectives: “thin” fit” “average” “curvy” “a little extra” “full figured” “overweight”, and no those last four aren’t just a bunch of synonyms I pulled from different sites, those are all options on the same website.
Imagine if the other factors were scaled like this:
Age: baby, youthful, average kinda older, middle aged-ish, old, geezer, fogie, freshly dug grave and headstone
Height: Midget, dwarf, tom cruise, average, college basketball player, professional basketball player, Yao Ming,
Income: Tiny Tim pauper, kinda poor, average, ballin’, professional basketball player, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg
It’s ridiculous, right?
I rule out “Overweight” right away because anyone who has the ambiguity and liberty of the Internet and still calls themselves “Overweight” must be big. Thank you for your honesty, but really not my cup of tea.
“Curvy” and “Full Figured” are two weighted (ha ha) terms for me. When I think curvy or full figured I think Kate Upton (NSFW); I think Jessica Rabbit. To me curves means breasts and hips, not breasts roll, roll, roll your boat… hips. But people on the internet use those thinly veiled terms to hide massive bulging bodies. But I’m reluctant to cross that one off my list, because what if Kate Upton’s body double listed herself as curvy too? So instead I have to sift through a mountain of linebackers.
“Average” is another empty term, because according to the Center for Disease Control 35% of Adults over 20 are Obese, and 69% of adults over 20 are overweight. So damn, average actually is just another word for overweight if you’re going by base statistics.
So I’ve been going by pictures. Pictures of women on online dating sites are essentially pictures of omission. Based on what is missing I can figure out how big they are.
Now imagine for a moment, I’m in the market for a house. But I’m a small guy, so I don’t want a particularly big house. But instead of being given the square footage of any of the houses on the market, I’m given a couple close up pictures of the shutters and the drapes, and a paragraph telling me what a good house it is. Larger women will almost always just show just close up pictures of just their faces. Usually a combination of cleavage and face, leaving the rest of her out of the picture entirely. So I’m left to imagine, is the rest of her Jessica Rabbit? Or more like the Hulk?
So based off of a small face picture, I’m trying to reverse engineer how big the rest of her is.
Is that fucked up? Well yes, and no. There are two opposing forces at work here. Women are trying to hide things that they perceive to be their physical “flaws” in order to attract more men. A seventeen-year-old version of myself would call this deception and lying, and I would ramble on about how women are evil vile creatures made out of deception and ash, and then I’d link to the Chris Rock bit about how all women are liars… but age and experience has taught me that the world is not so black and white.
What women do with their photos online is more like… tidying up the house when company is expected over. You put the crap on the coffee table away. You wash the dirty dishes in the sink. Visitors know the place doesn’t always look like this, but to the outsider coming in for the first time– maybe it could be.
Again, two opposing forces: the finite amount of information she supplies, versus my ability to interpret her information as either desirable or undesirable. Nobody is lying, but nobody is fully telling the truth either.
Instead of playing with a bunch of ambiguous words and skewed pictures, why not include a measurable number like weight as a factor? Or more tactfully, pants/dress size? Or if you want to get really specific, a Body Mass Index? Something measurable and calculable, instead of just arbitrary words. Sure everybody lies, but everybody lies within reason. Maybe they’ll drop a dress size or two, or shave off ten pounds. Even if the data is stretched (or in this case shrunk down) it’s still calculable, much more than empty words.