It’s 2017 and dating apps are a big part of how people find love (and fulfil lust) nowadays.
According to stats from a site called Dating Sites Reviews, 44% of those who choose online dating said that it led to marriages or serious long-term relationships.
I’ve been online dating for just under a year now and it’s been quite an experience for me. Especially as a fat woman.
READ MORE: 18 kinds of guys you’ll find on Tinder
You see, online dating is already a pretty difficult game to play.
You’re exposing yourself to being judged purely on your looks (no matter how witty and clever your actual bio is) and matching with people (and here I mostly mean men. Go ahead, roast me) who will either say foul things to you or try to be overtly sexual.
But dating as a fat woman is even worse than just being an average sized girl looking for love or companionship on dating apps like Tinder or Bumble.
I’ve been fetishised for my size with comments like “Oh yeah, big girls are great in the sack” or “I like BBWs (Big Beautiful Women)”.
I’ve had men ask for pictures of me in my underwear not even 30 mins into a conversation or ask me if I “suck dick” because they know other big girls who like that.
I’ve gone on quite a few dates with some of the men who don’t outrightly sexualise me or treat me differently at first because of my size but I’ve often seen some disappointed faces when they finally see me in real life.
I’ve had guys on Tinder match with me and immediately message and ask if I want to have sex with them or engage in sexting.
If I say no, then they either unmatch me or insult me physically. Once, I told a guy he was being too much and he told me I must “stop eating so much”. Sour grapes much?
But I’m not the only one.
READ MORE: I tried 3 different dating apps – here’s what I've learnt
When I decided to write this, I decided to ask my Twitter fam about their dating experiences and I got quite a few responses from many different women around the world.
Krissy, who eventually actually found love online, says she had her fair share of fetishists.
Men who had never been with a fat woman and saw her as a sort of trophy. “I always had to divulge that I was bigger too, lest we meet up and he be shocked,” she says.
Cindy, who admits she has a rather limited experience with online dating, says she wasn’t blatantly fetishised but she did deal with her fair share of pushy men who would want her number immediately or try to get her to go out with them.
Which may not point to her size, but it does make it obvious that men can be trash.
Mandisa* says things get sexual way too quickly for her liking.
And while she’s not sure if a lot of the comments she gets are purely because she’s a big girl or because a lot of men will just try their luck, she has felt that matches have been pre-occupied with her size.
She’s had comments like “your cleavage looks so soft” and "your bum thigh area looks very warm" and very soon after starting conversations.
Meg has been treated differently for her size and once had a date with a man where she had great sex with him but he never called her back and then she saw that he included on his profile that all matches must have a full length picture included.
She’s also dated other men from dating sites who seemed less than happy with her body and brought it up often or who were visibly unhappy about it.
“Then I dated a guy off of POF (Plenty Of Fish) who wound up being a controlling jerk but really poured on the I love yous and brought up my size a lot.
When he brought up my size it came with the assumption that I was not happy with my looks and that I would be surprised to find out he was,” she says.
Luckily, now she’s in a happy relationship with a man who rarely brings up the subject.
READ MORE: My online dating match wasn’t woke enough
Wendy says her experience has been 90% negative but she did find her current partner online.
She’s had lots of sexual remarks right off the bat telling her they would love to have sex with her or commenting on the size of her breasts.
And she found there was always an assumption that big girls don’t have relationships. “The thing I found most puzzling was that when they received a polite rejection they turned nasty and made it all about my looks.
I’m fat, ugly, undatable, a hippo, a troll, a fat slob. I should have been grateful for the attention. Funny how their opinion of you changes when you aren’t interested!”
Tabea was inundated with messages from men saying how soft she must be and how they want to cuddle her.
“It’s annoying. They're looking for some mom type that strokes their hair and bakes them a cake or something. I know it has to do with my weight because all it says in my profile is that I'm not looking for love”.
As fat women we're often treated as if we don’t really have feelings because of our size.
Could this be due to the relative anonymity of dating profiles?
Does not actually having to look into our eyes as they say things about our bodies make them a little bolder?
It seems the answer is probably yes.
Society is still largely fat phobic even with things like the body positivity movement and companies using plus-sized models to represent their brands.
And while we can’t change the fact that some men just aren’t attracted to fat women and some fetishise us, we can have conversations about how we’re treated and how that needs to change. So I’m starting now.
*not their real name.
Have you had similar dating experiences as a fat woman? Please share your story with us. Here's our email address: email@example.com