What Body Types on Dating Sites Really Mean

Last week we brought you the story of Max, a man who stood up his date when he discovered she lied about her body type. Criminal? Justified? Hard to say. I’ve gotten emails that run the spectrum. But I’ve also gotten many notes complaining about the general practice of fitness deceit. Here’s one from reader Kelly L.

I’m 5’9 and about 150 pounds.  I work out 6 days a week and I eat healthy food, but I’m in no way a diet freak and I like to splurge on the weekend.  Now, when asked to define my body type as either “Slender,” “Athletic and Toned,” or “Average” I’m at a loss.  I would say I’m pretty slender, but given my Scottsdale, Arizona club scene surroundings, I don’t think my version of slender applies.  Anyone who has been to a Scottsdale club on a Saturday night, or a Monday for that matter, will know what I mean.  

(I thank God I have no idea what Kelly’s talking about.)

With the exception of their enormous, fake double-D implants, the women that frequent these clubs are waif-like.  

(Actually, that doesn’t sound so bad…)

So, if I mark slender, I have a feeling my dates may be a little disappointed. Now “athletic and toned” is another tricky description given my surroundings, particularly when I’m a member of Gold’s Gym (beef cake central).  I’m not athletic by any means (as in I don’t, nor should I, play sports) and toned is another one of those relative terms.  I’ve got good legs and I’ve been told I have a “great ass”, but I wouldn’t say the rest of my body qualifies as toned.  Needless to say, I select average and move on to the next question……

(I don’t know. I feel like you’re ever told you’ve got a “great” anything, then athletic and toned merits consideration. My cat once told me I’ve got a great lap, but I don’t think that qualifies.)

So, a few days pass by and I’m confident in my body choice selection.  That is until so-called “average” men start contacting me.  To put it as nicely as possible, it has been brought to my attention that men have an entirely different understanding of the word “average.”

Case in point (see attached photo).  I blocked out the guys eyes, because I don’t want to be a complete bitch. 

(I have seen the photo, and let me say, the only place this man is average is at an Italian hoagie eating competition. I won’t repost the picture, because I don’t want to be a complete bitch either, but I’ll give you a reasonable facsimile.)

(OK, moving on…)

Now, in all fairness, this guy could be a saint. Maybe. But “average”, really?!  I think not.  Do they really think we won’t notice?

As I said, emails like this one from Kelly have been common over the last week, and I agree with the general thrust of her argument: people lie like rugs. She was focused on guys, because those are the profiles she sees, but of course women do the same thing. So let’s try to get to the bottom of this: what do these body type categories on sites like Match.com really mean? Below are the available fitness options, and their real life translation.

(I want to make clear that I am truly not trying to make fun of the overweight here. I am no skinny minny, and there was a time in my life where I was most decidedly a fatty matty, so I understand the struggle. But this isn’t about being large or small, it’s just about the funny things people do online. OK? OK.)

Now, onto the list…

SLENDER:

In internet dating parlance, slender means circus skinny. Guys don’t want to be thought of as slender, they want to be toned, muscular, or even imposing. Women also don’t want to be slender because it makes them sound small-chested or, as Kelly suggested, too body conscious. So no one’s gonna put themselves in this category unless it’s absolutely necessary. Like “you could slip me under a locked door” necessary.

ABOUT AVERAGE:

This means you have a body. No more, no less. Could be anywhere from:

to:

Honestly About Average can run from Chris Christie all the way to Christy Turlington. I’ve been out with triathletes who for some reason consider their physique average, and bigger-sized women who weren’t willing to jump up to the higher categories. It goes both ways. So when someone tells you they’re About Average, all they’re really saying is that they’re alive and a human. Most of the time.

A FEW EXTRA POUNDS:

Never seen it. Not once. Honestly, as far as Match.com is concerned, there is not a person on Earth who is carrying a few extra pounds. Which is curious, because when you walk down the street pretty much everyone you see is carrying a few extra pounds. We should probably all be in this category, but we won’t admit it to ourselves, so let’s just move on.

CURVY:

Curvy means hot. Always has, always will. If I find a women claiming to be curvy, I email her almost instantly, regardless of any further details. Recently out of prison? Have an alarming fondness for using symbols instead of words? Are politically conservative? All is forgiven with a few curves.

Now, if you’re one of these tyrants who doesn’t care for a little extra padding on your dates, then curvy may not be for you. But in my experience, curvy reads as a bit of a boast, a way of saying “I’ve got a figure you’re not gonna forget.” And rarely has that boast not followed through.

Unfortunately, ladies, the curvy category doesn’t exist for dudes. Which is too bad, because I’d love to put myself in the category, just to see what happens.

HEAVYSET, STOCKY:

Fat. These just mean fat. I think they’re nice ways of saying fat, but everyone who reads them just understands them as fat, so I really don’t know what the point is. Unlike “A Few Extra Pounds” however, I have actually seen people use them, and they are the greatest people in the world. They know they could probably get away with a skinnier label, the way everyone else is behaving, but they’re gonna be honest and straightforward. God bless you heavyset and stocky, gentlemen and women!

“What about me? Am I not Big and Beautiful?”

FULL FIGURED, BIG & BEAUTIFUL:

These are separate categories, but for the life of me I have no idea what the difference is between them. Does full-figured mean that you’re big but distinctly not beautiful? Like you’re chubby and ugly at the same time? Why isn’t “Big and Kinda Funny Looking” an option? And why does “Big and Beautiful” get an ameliorating adjective when no one else does? That’s unfair. Why can’t I be “About Average and Studly?” And why do these categories exist only for women and not men? Men can be Big and Beautiful, right? I don’t get a lot of what’s going on here.

ATHLETIC AND TONED:

Personally, I don’t date these people. I feel like if you’re already ripped and smokin’, then you really don’t need my attention. You’ve got enough interest coming your way already, so I’m gonna focus on the normal humans like me. But visually anyway, I can’t see much difference between the ladies claiming to be athletic and those claiming to be average. And there does seem to be a peculiar circumstance where women who probably belong in “A Few Extra Pounds” place themselves in “Athletic and Toned,” just to, I don’t know, throw people off the scent? So I’m sufficiently confused by these people to stay away altogether.

Now, for the ladies, I would imagine “Athletic and Toned” is the closest male equivalent to the “Curvy” sweet spot. Where women can be prideful of their curves, so are men about their muscles. It’s something we’re all aware of – whether we’re toned or not – so we’re unlikely to lie. If our physiques are impressive, we have no problem telling the world, but if they’re not we just quietly change the subject. So ladies, if hot bods are your thing, A&T is the place to shop.

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93 Responses to What Body Types on Dating Sites Really Mean

  1. Rob says:

    Given that the average American is overweight, isn’t about average really just about overweight?

    One thing I know for certain: Women can fall into any category except maybe BBW and it doesn’t seem to affect their success, whereas men need to be A&T, slender, or about average. Anything bigger then that you mind as well save your money, Jared.

    Oh, and I think stocky just means short and fat. I always interpreted the difference between BBW and Full Figured as BBW having larger “assets” and Full Figured meaning fully engulfed in Fat.

  2. Max says:

    I live in Milwaukee where beer, sausage, and cheese may have bent the rules a little bit. Curvy most definitely does not mean hot here. Somewhere along the line women here have developed the mathematical definition of the word and will put “curvy” even when talking about convex curves rather than the hourglass you’d expect. A gal listed as slender is probably the safest bet in my experience.

    This is one area where OkCupid crushes Match by the way. OKC gives more choices: skinny, thin, fit, athletic, jacked, as well as average and all the synonyms for big. Wouldn’t Kelly love to call herself merely thin or fit in contrast to skinny?

    On both sites I think the biggest trap will always be athletic as its just so subjective. The only way around this is to make people pick a body type from a list like this: http://i44.tinypic.com/mbiaky.png

    • David says:

      I agree on the “curvy” point.. I think “curvy” gets used a little too much…

    • B says:

      I have also found, after doing some recent searching on OKCipid, that they wisely de-emphasize the priority of the body type. Because Match lists it right next to a person’s name and picture, it takes on unnecessary significance. OKCupid buries it lower, and I find I hardly ever look at it. You have the person’s pictures, you have a good snapshot of their personality, what exactly does a selection of their body type tell us? You know it’s a minefield of inaccuracy for countless reasons, so why even bother reporting it?

      I would like to say, in addition, the surprising lack of support for the Curvy genre. Curvy!

      • Pat says:

        Too often I have found that many women are substituting “curvy” for “overweight”.

        Personally, I like women who are not thin (“curvy” would probably be my type), but to me “curvy” implies that she is bigger top and bottom and has somewhat of an hourglass shape…not huge all over or only huge in the behind (or that their stomach protrudes more than their chest, because thats not “curvy” either). Unfortunately, its been my experience that many women think “curvy” means pear shaped (small chest, large behind). So, when you see “curvy” and no whole body pictures be aware that what you think is “curvy” may not be what they think of as “curvy”. I have also had a few that said they were “a little extra” that looked like an egg with arms, legs and a head…which is “a lot extra”, not a little. I dont mind overweight, but I want curvy!

    • kaybee says:

      is #6 pregnant? or is that a beer belly?

  3. David says:

    Hey, I’m part of “the greatest people on Earth”.. When’s my parade? Aslo, shouldn’t “about average” and “a few extra pounds” be the same thing, at least in the US? Average in this country is kind of overweight…

  4. Why does it have to be more complicated than Fat, Normal, Skinny? Yes, the fat people would still put Normal but that’s why we put full body shots of awesome moonbounce fun on our profile! Mine says average because in my head “curvy” is just a nice word for fat. Athletic and toned implies that I actually you know, do athletic things, like go to the gym (Which I don’t). So that one’s out. Slender implies to me that skinny look which I, with my assorted assets, really can’t claim either. Average is the catch all but means it’s a crap shoot what you’re getting into. If it’s already a crap shoot why not keep it down to three choices?

    On the bright side? On Max’s scale I’m closest to 3. Hells yeah.

  5. Peter F says:

    Hmm. Having been fooled by “curvy” a few times, I think the term should be eradicated. I also have been out with slender, which usually turns out to be “sack full of antlers”or nipples on ribs. Body types vary too much to ever classify, and most pick what they want to see as their body type, or have a broad interpretation. So, the solution? A certified internet photography studio or some such which confirms the date taken and shots which don’t hide how you look or height. Think of it, certified pictures….

  6. Sgt. Slaughter says:

    I disagree with most of the author’s definitions. As a man, looking for women, I LIKE slender because (as other comments stated) Average is such a wild card. Sure, you date ten Slenders, you might get a skeleton but eight out of ten times you get a body type that is… Slender. Not American Average or Curvy/Fat.

    Athletic and Toned is tricky because, as Max discovered, anyone can run a marathon. And, frankly, many women that go to the gym twice a week for half an hour just hijack A&T. Ladies – the key word is Toned. That means “firm” or at least not “squishy” in most or all your areas.

    Don’t worry, I’ll get to the men in a second.

    Curvy is just a way to say I’m heavy but have big boobs. And that’s a fine look. But just realize that’s what we’re all getting in to.

    Ok. Men. We are mostly liars. Most of us are A Few Extra Pounds. But most say About Average and hope for the best. This hurts us in the long run because it encourages lying in women, too.

    Unless you have close to a six pack, men should NOT use A&T.

  7. Confused Ryu says:

    I’m athletic. Period! I’ve been running for almost 20 years, and when someone looks at me they WILL know. I have NO problem with showing my body off to anyone that thinks otherwise.

    I’m just glad I’m one of the few who can put toned and athletic, and will be actually telling the truth. The down side is finding women that can keep up with me. The average woman isn’t about about doing anything related to fitness or sports. I’ve heard it so many times. “I was in shape when I was high school…..”. Sorry this isn’t high school anymore, and I’m talking about now. I’m not a gym person so I have no interest in lifting weights.

    What I’ve found interesting is that most women would rather have a guy who’s average to overweight. I feel like athletic guys make too many women feel self conscious about themselves. With the average person in america being overweight, it’s easy for bigger people to be with each other. They are a better match based on the type of lifestyles they lead.

    In closing, I’d like to say that I may be short, but at least I don’t have to worry about being ashamed about how I look.

    • FunnyStuff says:

      Haha! I think this entire reply critiquing women’s physiques could have been summed up by one partial sentence…”I may be short, but…” Womp, womp. There’s the rub, my friend. Women like men that are taller than they are, doesn’t matter how “athletic and toned” you are. If you are a short man, you really shouldn’t be so picky when it comes to women. Them’s the breaks.

      • iluvflowers2 says:

        Your being insensitive. I’m a woman and will/have dated tall and short guys. I realize there are smart, funny and handsome men out there of ALL sizes and shapes. Give some women some credit on not being so narrow minded.

      • Pegs says:

        So true. It’s like this: ” I’ve done something most women around me haven’t done. I’ve run for 20 years. Sure, I’m a little diminutive, but heck, you’ve got no claim to fame girl. You’ve got 20 extra you’s packin” Search the world over honey pie, find your runner and stop wondering why “Jane Doe” wants to preserve her knees and have a glass of wine.

  8. Tommy says:

    You know, it works both ways. I tend to like the larger ladies, but they spend so much time hiding it and miscategorizing themselves, they miss out on the men who would appreciate them. Let’s face it, If you’ve got an ugly face, no category of headshot will hide that, and if you’re lying about you’re weight, you’ll disappoint 100% of the time.

  9. Anon. says:

    I just have an issue with ‘A&T’ being concidered ONE category, period!

    A few years ago I worked as a bike messenger during the summers and would often lose a lot of weight. I never became super thin or jacked but you could tell I was active. I had my upper 4 abs showing clearly but still had a small beer gut completely hiding the bottom 2.

    I would definetly say I was athletic, but toned? I dunno, maybe I could say toned as well, but for me “toned” means no gut and I can see at least some muscle definition….

    Overall, ‘A&T’ just sets you up for dissapoinment unless there are clear and new pictures in the profile.

  10. Chris says:

    I’m new to match, but I find that most women on OKcupid who select “curvy” are fat. So I tend to shy away from curvy on there. We’ll see how it goes on match. They should really require you to submit a picture from head to toe. If every one of the girl’s pictures are just of her face, I think it’s safe to assume that she’s pretty fat.

    • mike says:

      i call them neck-uppers because they only show pictures of the neck and up. i’m dealing with this as we speak. a young girl expressed interest in me and is decently cute in the face, listed average body type. she’s 18 and i’m 27, so naturally i was hesitant as that’s younger than my youngest sister. she was persistent and i’m always open to making new friends, that’s nothing new, so when she asked if i wanted to hang out this week, i agreed. she then added me on facebook and i saw the rest of her. not only were those pictures on her dating profile likely the best pictures she’s ever taken in her life, she’s as tall as i am and about 50-60lbs over weight. this wouldn’t have bothered me either since i’m cool with bigger people and just wanted to be friends at her age anyway, but i feel like i was lied to and now i want nothing to do with her. in fact, i stumbled across this forum. i was searching for advice on how to tell someone you’re not interested without hurting their feelings. i just don’t understand why someone would think they can be in a relationship with someone when they start out misleading them!

      • Lynne75 says:

        sounds like you did her a favor… better for her to know early on how superficial you are.

      • Aaron says:

        Despite Lynne75′s resentful reply, there is nothing superficial about not wanting to be lied to. Nor is it superficial to want to date someone you’re physically attracted to.

      • BuxumBranwen says:

        Re: “advice on how to tell someone you’re not interested without hurting their feelings”. With an 18 year old female there is no way around “hurting their feelings”. I wish men worried less about “hurting my feelings” and could just be plain old honest and upfront. “Friends” = “He’s just not that into you” and women know it; we are insulted by it; and it HURTS. My dilemma is that I used to be very big and beautiful so I had no problem at all indicating or identifying as “BBW”. Now though I have lost weight and workout quite a bit because I want to be healthy. I am no longer a “BBW” but am far from A&T. I am fit, truly curvy but still overweight. I have been told by guys that adore BBW I am too small to be a “BBW”. Guys that prefer A&T and Slender would categorize me as BBW or Fat. I am ok with fat. I use “curvy” because I am in fact curvy: larger chested, bigger butt, with a small waist. I am fully aware that head shots, where I am concerned, can be very misleading as my face is slender. I notice I get many views online because of my head shot which is btw NOT a “glam shot”. I am a beautiful women; not drop-dead gorgeous but beautiful. I am honest and mature enough to ensure my profile has full body shots so as not to mislead. In turn I don’t get nearly as many contacts as I do views. I am perfectly ok with that. I feel if you are online to meet a partner there is no place for dishonesty. If you are willing to lie or mislead your appearance what else are you hiding? I’m just saying….

  11. Melanie says:

    I always put full-figured, because that’s what I ACTUALLY look like. Since I’m only looking for guys on these sites, I never get to see what other women list as their body type, but now I’m quite curious. The stereotype for my body group is lazy Cheeto eater, which is probably why other women of my size put “about average” or “curvy” (which by the way, I think curvy should only apply to the likes of Sofia Vergara and Beyonce, but apparently I’m alone in this way of thinking).

    It sucks that I’m lumped in that category since I go to the gym 3+ times a week, and don’t just bounce up an down on the bikes without breaking a sweat. I’m there for 2-3 hours weigh lifting, squatting, various cardio/dynamic techniques. But that doesn’t automatically put me in the neighborhood of thin, so I refuse to mislead someone I’ll eventually have to meet in person. I might be more active than my skinny counterparts, but in no way shape or form do we look a like or have the same dating advantages.

    Let’s face it, When a guy puts “I just want a girl who would enjoy going to the gym with me”, which describes me to a T, I still don’t message him because I know that’s just a far off wish compared to his top criteria of being thin.

    Men are extremely visual creatures and cannot be won over with personality if there’s nothing about a woman’s looks that they like upon first glance. Where as women are the opposite. We can see this example by how long it takes a woman to dump a jerky stud bucket vs. the time it takes a man to dump an idiot bombshell.

    I would respect men on these dating sites more if they put the truth of what they ACTUALLY wanted in a woman physically. Cut the crap, most men could care less if a woman is actually “athletic”. What they really mean is they want skinny…maybe not Olsen twin skinny, but I’m willing to bet they are turned off by anything bigger than Britney Spears. Sure a hiking partner would be great, but they’d give that up in a heartbeat if she just fit into the category of “thin”. they would almost always settle for a thin girl who eats brownies on the couch all day as long as she had good enough genes to keep her thin.

    I think OKCupid has it almost perfect in their body description choices, but as a lover of all things John Cena, I don’t think the jacked option is enough. Might I suggest semi-truck lifter as a possible addition?

    • Aaron says:

      This is probably the most accurate summary of online dating body types/expectations I’ve ever read. Thanks for being spot on!

    • iluvflowers2 says:

      “…..how long it takes a woman to dump a jerky stud bucket vs. the time it takes a man to dump an idiot bombshell.”
      LOL loved that comment! haha. Amen girl, so very true.

      Also, I would like to add a thought: To me it’s annoying when I see a picture of a guy with a beer gut that is listed himself as “average” and puts that he is only interested in “average, fit and toned”. Come on! I would love a “Mr. Olympia” with billion dollars etc. but that is NOT going to happen. Look at what your representing and have realistic expectations please. He could at least go up to “a few extra pounds” for his choice in a match.

      • TTFK1 says:

        So I need to ask this of you:

        I used to be in the “few hundred extra pounds” category. Well, couple hundred extra… point is, now I’m not. What I do have is some (not a ton) of leftover skin from my weight loss.

        If a guy is 6′ tall, 200lbs, toned enough that you can see a vein going all the way up their warm and shoulder, honestly works out three times a week lifting things much heavier than his bodyweight, but still has that skin apron they are a bit ashamed enough (enough that you wouldn’t see them on the beach without a shirt still).. but is otherwise fit and healthy, how would you rate that?

        Fit? Average? A few extra pounds since they are still carrying around that skin they can’t afford the thousands of dollars in plastic surgery to remove?

        That is the conundrum of those who have turned their health lives around but still live with the scarlet letter (apron?) of their past.

      • iluvflowers2 says:

        This message is to TTFK1. First off AWESOME job dude!!! Congrats on all that hard work getting the extra pounds off. Now if you could bottle that determination up and sell it, you’d be rich :) LOL.

        To answer you question, my opinion is that you should put yourself under “a few extra pounds”. I know others may disagree but the way I see it, you have a few extra pounds of loose skin on you but other than that you are firm, if i understand you right. If that’s so then that is what I think would fit you.

        I understand the expense of skin removal but, if i may just put a thought out there, people get loans for education to better themselves and their lives, so why not for skin removal? And have you checked your insurance? They might pay part of it. The worse they could say is no. Hugs to you and God bless.

  12. Mia says:

    I’m glad you posted this…I had a great laugh!

    Seeing as I’m having difficulty choosing my “category” on Match, this was helpful. Only I don’t really “fit”. I’m clearly overweight but very pretty and extremely curvy. Great t&a, curvy muscular legs and sex goddess thick, curly, long hair.

    So, I’m “full-figured” AND “curvy”. I’m very honestly more than “a few extra pounds” but not “big and beautiful”.

    Ok wait…I am beautiful and I am big but not in the fetish sense. Really! I joined one of those dating sites and those guys all told me I was gorgeous but not “big” enough.

    So WTF does a great gal in this funky middle space DO? I get a lot of attention in public, yes the drooling over the boobs type but attract losers.

    Another thing: most guys on Match desire “slender”. I don’t think they realize how skinny (Keira Knightly, Calista Flockhart) “slender” actually IS. Which means they’re excluding about 98% of the women over 25 category.

    Guys…slender means slightly underweight with no curves.

    Anyhoo…I know I’m eliminated by people when they see “full figured” but at least I’m honest. I post realistic shots too. I don’t post the sexy black dress cleavage like Jessica Rabbit shots because I want them to want me for my mind and personality…both are brilliant btw ;)

    Blah blah blah…long story short. Guys are being really superficial on Match. Come on now, I exclusively only use to date hot guys. Hot as in 6’2″ MMA fighters.

    Yum.

    But I grew up. And here at 36, I just want a regular nice guy who treats me with respect and love. Ok…and who maybe leaves a little bit of drool in the cleavage…

    Guys & ladies be more *open* in your weight/height/muscles/athleticism requirements…you may be avoiding someone truly fabulous and kind…

    The End.

    • Sonali says:

      I’m the same figure wise. I’m overweight but I have a flat stomach but boobs and a butt. I also go to gym 5 times a week and I work out a sweat. I’m fine when athletic and toned men ask for athletic and toned. but when I see obviously overweight and not fit men looking for skinny and athletic and toned, it’s just stupid really.

    • BuxumBranwen says:

      I hear you sister!!! We should start our own site. Not big enough to be fetish BBW, not tiny enough to fit in a man’s palm, but sexy enough to warrant some darn attention ;-) !!!

  13. SallyMJ says:

    Yes, I am wondering too. I am going to go on a couple of sites – don’t know what their descriptions are. I was going to put Average, cuz I’m not skinny and I’m not fat. And then I thought, maybe I should put curvy? My weight is “healthy” per the BMI, not skinny/slender, athletic/toned, or overweight. Average sounds like Dullsville to me. Curvy sounds prettier, sounds feminine. I am told I have a cute figure – good bum & legs, nice on top (not flat, tiny, huge, or implants). So guys, what should I put? If I write Curvy, some men will think I am fat; if I write Curvy, others will think I’m fat. And I’m not. And I’m not skinny/slender, athletic/toned, overweight, or obese. So guys (or women who know the answer), what do you think I should I put to show myself in the best light, but not lie? Thanks!

  14. wildchristy says:

    Great post. The guys I have a problem with are the ones that say they’re athletic but they don’t look it. Guys, just because you have a gym membership does not make you athletic. I’m sure there are women out there that do the same thing.

    • Agreed. I go to a gym 4-7 times a week. I see lots of ‘regulars’ there — men and women – who aren’t exactly in shape. In fact, the really hot bodies are in precious short supply, truth be told.

  15. Charles says:

    I went out with an athletic and toned once. She kicked my butt hiking, did a 1000′ vertical climb over 2 miles at 100F in the desert without a drop of sweat. I quickly changed my profile to ‘average’ after I got shown up like that. I could loose 1 inch on my gut, but everything else is right on. I work hard outside, so I’m strong, but never go to the gym. This lady could crush my skull with her legs and had ZERO fat. Could probably bench press me too.

  16. Eric M says:

    I know I’m part of the problem, but after 30 I think the goalposts shift a bit. I work with lots of guys around my age, and the reality is that guys who work in offices are usually quite paunchy by their mid-30s. So based on my peers, I’m on the good side of “about average”. Likewise, I appreciate that a 34 year old single mom who hangs out with nothing but other 34 year old moms, where she is known as “the hot one” considers herself average.

    The part that I think is silly is that people like using the peer group for their own category, but not for others. I train in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and I’m in the dojo 6 days a week. Most of my peers there are athletic guys who think 28 is old, and the metabolism to drink a six pack yet still have a six pack. If I claim to be athletic and toned, women expect me to look like these dudes. That’s just not realistic at 36.

  17. Lars says:

    I recently joined a dating site, the first visitor I got had a “quick fact” body shape set to “Normal” (the presets being something like Slim Athletic/toned, Normal, a few extra, Fat) so anyway at the bottom of her profile she said “check my gallery for more” so I go check out her pictures. The VERY FIRST picture is a picture of her that betrays her statement, her body shape was rounder than Baloo from the junglebook. I wasn’t aware that being morbidly obese was the new “normal”? If you’re gonna lie at least make it close, I mean anyone can be a bit optimistic about their appearance, but if you look like a burn victim there’s no way that you could think that you are George Clooney or Jessica Alba’s long lost twin so that makes you a liar, and that don’t sit right.

    • Pat says:

      Welcome to the f-ed up world of online dating. Or, as my favorite quote from Die Hard puts it “welcome to the party pal”.

  18. Philip says:

    I love kelly’s rambles here…but I dont get how everybody seems intent on picking a description for themselves based around what other people look like, in their Area on in America as a whole etc etc. 150 – 5’9 and not muscly is enough of a description Kelly. Weight, height and a little qualifier is all you need to know to deduce, or a picture of course.

  19. winserver says:

    Great post!
    Thanks for sharing this post and i have really enjoyed reading your posts about online dating…

  20. Pat says:

    Nice blog! I have enjoyed reading your posts.

    I have been online dating for about 3 years now, and my experience has taught me that you cant ever really rely upon what they say their body type is and should instead look at the pictures carefully.

    I have had dates with perfectly average women who said they were “a little extra”, and dates with women that were morbidly obese and said they were “a little extra”. I have had dates with women who said they were “curvy” and were fairly thin (but with a larger chest for their frame), and dates with women who were easily 80 pounds overweight and had no chest but claimed to be “curvy”. I have had dates with women who said they were “average” but were rail thin, and dates with women who said they were “average” but looked like the stay-puft marshmallow man. I dont date A&T because I figure they are higher maintenance, so I wont even go there.

    I am a guy and I am honestly about 30 pounds overweight. I carry it well, but used to call myself “a little extra”. After several of my dates remarked that I wasnt really “a little extra” from their experiences, I changed my profile to average and posted a full body pic to my profile. I figured that while I wanted to be as honest as possible, I also wanted to be sure that I wasnt setting the wrong expectation as many expected me to be more of a panda bear type because I put “a little extra”.

  21. ChipInSD says:

    Having looked at thousands of online profiles of women, in my experience “A few extra pounds” and “Curvy” are predominantly used by women who are significantly overweight. There are a few exceptions here and there, but it’s fairly consistent in my region. About average usually means overweight more in the 10-30 lbs range.
    Another curious thing I’ve noticed which another poster mentioned is that much younger women tend to have really good self images, which is great. As a result they use Slender and Athletic to describe themselves when they are quite heavyset. As women get older the Slender and Athletic descriptions get more accurate.

  22. kinsley says:

    Guys – The biggest mistake I see on your profiles is listing a body type preference for your date at all. I list myself as “about average” since I’m a size 12, DDD, flat stomach, nice curves and include a full body picture. But I really better fit “curvy” but very few men in my part of the country list “curvy” as a preference. That being said – my view/email/contact stats are similar to “Olivia’s”. I can’t tell you how many men approach me on match, write long soulful emails. and when I look at their profile they list they are looking for only “A&T” or “Slender”. When I see that, I just think well, they are closed minded in general, don’t get women, and I automatically don’t reply.

    Women – don’t be intimidated about contacting someone if they don’t list your size as a preference. Let your pics convey your size not a drop down box! Men don’t really know what they like until they see it.

    • No, not really. Men DO know what they like by seeing it. We’re visual –very visual – from birth. Why not just post an honest height and weight? I would if I were out there.

      • melzie86 says:

        That’s pretty much what kinsley said. Men need to see what they like, not select it from a drop down menu. Plus the definitions of body types aren’t exactly universal.

  23. Lynne75 says:

    Personally, I think men need to take the time to be honest about what they prefer and exclude: B&B, full figured and curvy if they know weight and body size is more important than mind and personality. My displeasure is to see so many men not list a preference at all. It’s as if they are afraid they will be seen as shallow or discriminatory against overweight women. As someone who would categorize myself as full figured or big and beautiful. I am amazed how many men’s profiles list both as preferences, yet in truth they are not interested. Men are just as guilty as women in describing themselves….more so…since they are also guilty in falsely describing WHO they are looking for.

    • Yes, it’s tricky. If you list certain specifics, you look bad. If I was “out there”, I think I’d be very very honest about myself and what I wanted. I wouldn’t want to waste anyone’s time, including my own. People like what they like and shouldn’t be made to feel bad because of it.

      Pictures are everything because people have different definitions of “Fit” or “Average” or “Athletic”. I dunno. If it were me, I would post a bunch of shots that make me look exactly as I am. Head to toe. If someone didn’t like it, why would I want to try and trick them into a date by hiding what I really looked like? Such a waste of time.

      • Sadly, you will still get messages from people who apparently have time to waste and are thrilled to waste yours too. While I haven’t had issues with body-types via dating sites, I’ve had plenty of issues with getting messages from demographics I specifically said I did not tolerate in my profile… albeit further down in the text, or in the sidebar if such an option was available.

        Eventually, the very first line of my profile was something to the effect of, “No smokers, druggies, or religious freaks.” Guess what I got even more messages from? Those exact groups, as if I was somehow extremely fascinating to them for wanting nothing to do with them. What’s left… CAPSLOCK?

        That was OKCupid. I eventually gave up and shut down my profile because ain’t nobody got time for that.

  24. Fortunately, I’m not single and not “out there”, but according to my single friends who date via on-line means tell me that lying about body types is RAMPANT among the women they meet. I think the solution is pretty simple. Be honest. Post recent photos. Several of them. Head to foot shots. And your exact height and weight.

    One thing that this one guy told me was this — “If a woman posts only a head shot, she’s almost always fat”. So nobody — male or female — should skirt the truth about your body type, hoping that your personality will overcome potential objections to what you look like. Isn’t it better to just be honest about it and not waste anyone’s time, including your own?

  25. Ms.Lu says:

    I’ve always thought that Heavyset or Stocky generally meant the same thing; both imply a short and over weight build. Big and beautiful implies a taller and over weight build (not a hugely gross BMI, but close to Amazon.Queen), with evident curves, with a sparky personality that might keep the athletically toned dudes out on the track all day; might be a good match.

    • Just Me says:

      I like the “close to Amazon Queen” description and have been referred to that in the past… It is quite a complement by the genuine guys who use that term with altruistic intentions…

  26. Lauren says:

    For women….can’t we define these by some degree with clothing size? Slender being a 0 or 2, A&T being 4 or 6, about average being 8 or 10, and so on? I use A&T. While I know I am not ripped nor do I look like a supermodel I am definitely athletic and wear a size 4. I would not use slender as I am not skin and bones but I also would not use average as I am smaller and in better shape than average. However, like I said above I am not ripped and 100% toned so really none of these options truly fit me.

  27. Bruce H. says:

    The easiest way to deal with this would be for the sites to eliminate the labels and just require a recent body length photo or two… and I don’t mean in a winter parka from 100 yards away. No photo posted? Hit the old “Report” button for failing to follow the rules (that’s why they are there, right?) and banish them (I’ve done it when the “required” photos were of her dog… it was a painless process and when she finally came back she had now posted pics, presumably of herself). And, if you aren’t exactly truthful in your pic(s) being recent, then you have only yourself to blame if your “date” walks out on you when you first meet… afterall, you are the one who started out being deceptive. It sounds harsh, but upfront honesty would make this less awkward for all of us… because let’s be honest… looks matter.

    • Aaron says:

      That’s actually what eHarmony does and I find it works very well. I TOTALLY agree with your statement about only having yourself to blame if you lie through your pics then get hurt if your date walks out. I did that once, and everyone thought I was so mean. But this girl wasn’t just 5 or 10 lbs heavier than her pics, she was(no joke) probably 100 lbs heavier. I really didn’t feel bad though, it was never my intention to offend, but she bold face lied in the first place, so what was I supposed to do? Side note to my previously mentioned story. While we were talking on the phone, she mentioned that the previous couple guy she went out with just started pounding drinks and ended up getting wasted. At the time, I thought “that sounds weird, I wonder why?” After meeting her, I totally understood!

      • Sisi says:

        Wow. You guys are total asshats. I’ve been on dates with people who looked nothing like their pictures and still managed to be pleasant. This is what adults in polite society do. You should try it sometime.

        By the way, I’ve noticed that guys who drone on and on about how girls pictures lie tend to not be, let’s say, Bradley Cooper lookalikes. I’m personally a lot more concerned about what someone’s face looks like, and can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t post at least 2 or 3 clear headshots. (I should probably state that I’d fall somewhere in athletic and toned, average, and curvy in the non euphemistic sense of the word, and haven’t had a guy comment negatively on my appearance on any date I’ve been on, Internet or otherwise).

      • Bruce H says:

        Dear Sisi,
        First off, let me congratulate you on being almost every man’s dream. I do find it interesting that you describe yourself as being “pleasant” and “polite” and yet you feel the need to insult or belittle someone because you simply disagree with their opinion.

        Shame on me if I find something like honesty to be a desirable trait in the women I date. And, while I am certainly not Bradley Cooper, I am honest in portraying who I am… in both my written description of myself and in the photos I post. And “polite society” does not make a habit of being untrue, deceptive or deliberately false in who they are. I think it is my perogative to decide whether I want to be with someone or not, based on their ability to be truthful.

  28. B, you could not be more wrong on Curvy.

    I agree that the real curvy is sexy. But the definition of curvy on match.com is more like Kirstie Alley. (2013 Kirstie Alley, not 1982 Kirstie Alley.)

  29. Bob says:

    I think what has really happened here is you have discovered a big glitch in our education system concerning the teaching of the English language or maybe semantics. Some of us get so educated that we cannot understand why a baby is crying. Our language is being redefined every day by news media, music(?) industry, technology etc. The words like love, pot, gay, ignorant, stupid, marriage, sex (thanks to Willie), drinking, have been redefined and some by the laws of this land by our superb courts (pun intended). So if you cannot understand what a word means do like I do and don’t buy it, don’t accept a picture of it, don’t take anybody’s word for it, find it, look at it, test it and if it is acceptable for the purposes you need it for then GET IT!

    • Nancy says:

      Well put. Good golly, all the pissing and moaning. Terms/words are subjective. I can’t imagine going out and spending time with such whiney people – whah, whah, whah. BTW – I am average according to BMI – what other measurement is there (per my view point)? I train 6 days a week but this ole body just won’t buff up to athletic and toned and really, I don’t want to go to the gym with my mate – men cry when you beat them. If you are looking for perfection then you know why you are single – cause perfect no one is, including you.

      • Nancy says:

        The things that don’t need to be lied about are – what your occupation is, how much you make, how tall you are, your college experience, and the things you do, not what you like. Every man I have dated has lied about one or more of those things. And these things aren’t subjective, they are hard cold facts yet people lie about them too. Incredible. You really have to enjoy the person who is 50+ and is obese and talks on and on about wrestling in high school. I am not dating you 35 years ago, I am dating your now version. Another man I dated was thin as a rail, had played a lot of softball as an adult but was so crippled up he could barely walk, yet he went on and on about all the championships his team(s) had won. The only championship I would see him win is a wheel chair race. I don’t plan on living with you in your past grandiose, I’m planning on living in the future. Duped? So many lies.

  30. John says:

    Maybe a guideline for the ladies as to what is acceptable is this: does your stomach / belly stick out more than your breasts? If so, you are fat. Boobs are SUPPOSED to stick out more than your gut, irrespective of “body type”. Is this fair? You tell me.

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  32. will says:

    This is rediculous. These people are mostly obese. These values have already been decided for you, the BMI chart will tell you if your slender average or obese. Look up your shit and represent your self truthfuly… there are exceptions to the bmi chart men(or women) with a lot of muscle are going to be somewhere on the bmi scale that doesn’t rep their actual body type… they can put athletic and toned. Women with big boobs or butts and a thin waist are going to be on the bmi scale somewhere that doesn’t rep their real body type they can put curvey. As for full figured these are thick womenj who aren’t realsly fat but still have an attractive body with a bigger build. if on the bmi you’re over <18 – 20ish you're slender/thin 21- 25 you're average 26-30 a few extra pounds over 30 you're obese and that's… and for fucks sake if you're 5'3" and 190 pounds you aren't a little extra or a few pounds over weight you're a fat fucking slob that's 50 pounds over weight you're obese!

  33. Bob says:

    If someone intentionally lies about their physic there is something worse than their appearance……..they are liars which means there are two problems: the second being worse than the first.

  34. Truth Hurts says:

    If people had DECENT pictures that showed them from the neck down as well, it really wouldn’t matter what they put for body type…

  35. JaJa says:

    I met a guy on match.com, who described himself as “stocky”. He was very cute (he only had head shots) and had a lot going for him, according to his profile. I was really trying not to be totally superficial, because I think with a great personal trainer and a little bit of drive, anyone can whip it into shape.

    Ok, so when I read “stocky”, I automatically thought of an Old English Bulldog; short limbs, thick and athletic enough that he could probably handle himself in a brawl. I mean, I like bulldogs, I think they’re cute. I agreed to meet him and it was bad. He was just plain fat in person. He was obviously trying to hid it because his clothes were so tight. He was sweaty and miserable even sitting. I felt so sorry for him. He reminded me of Chris Farley when he was trying out to be the Chippendale’s dancer on SNL. The poor guy was wearing cowboy boots and even they were stretched to the max. I don’t why I felt bad, because he was the one who lied. I now know to beware of “stocky”. Did he really think he was “stocky” or was he just scared to tell the truth?

    My ex is on match and he has himself described as athletic & toned. He is NOT! He was A&T in high school, but he is not now. I would say he is “average”. He looks like someone who used to be fit, but has let himself go with age. What is “average” though?

    I also have a male client, who is on match. He’s really into riding bicycles, does tons of cardio and is very tall, has slim legs, wrists and long fingers. I would say he is “Slender”, but he has himself as “A&T”. Yes, he’s athletic because he rides a bike like 40 hours a week, but he does not have muscles and is not toned. To me, “toned” means you have some muscle definition outside of normal anatomy that is apparent when not hyperflexed. I have not seen him naked, but he wears skinny jeans. I’m sorry, if you are a man who can pull off skinnies, you’re “Slender” in my opinion. As a side note, he has on his profile that me makes over $150K a year, but I know he does not. He rents a house and is always telling me about how broke he is and how he plays “beat the bank” with his checks! He also says he’s 43 and he’s really 50. His pics are older than dirt. What a liar! Why would you start your whole experience out with so many lies? Does he think that he can charm his way out of it when he meets someone?

    My doctor is on match. He has himself as A&T. He is fat! He is built like Grimace from McDonald’s. He works out at my gym with a trainer, because I see him quite often. I’m sure he spends a zillion dollars to work out with this guy, but he’s still overweight. Not just that, he’s got a woman’s body. He’s small on top with a FUPA and a broad ass. Bless his heart, he did not get the best set of genes. It really makes me think that he believes because he is a doctor, that his status trumps his weight. Maybe it does? Does he think because he works out with a trainer 5 days a week, that he’s A&T? IDK, I’m confused.

    I hear from plenty of men that they are equally in the same boat with women on match.

  36. I *definitely* like slender couch-potato but with an interest in doing physical stuff or a mind to not eating a bunch of garbage. Basically, a runner or someone who can enjoy walking and talking at the same time. And I’d like to be able to have playful moments where I can at least pick her up. But, I’ve noticed that people I have a preference for generally tend to lead lifestyles that return the favor to them. Go for what you’re into and don’t dwell on what you’re not into. And be the person *you’d* be interested in if you were the other person. Simple enough?

    • Nancy says:

      Couldn’t agree more about being the person *you’d* be interested in but the problem is most people aren’t objective enough to understand that. Goes back to the person who is 80 pounds over “normal” weight and they deem themself “average” because they have seen someone bigger than themself and this goes for both men and women. I have dated men who spent date after date after date sitting and complaining about their ex – these men were not a “catch” in any category – weight, looks, personality, wealthy, interest, etc. They were just whiney men. Men that would make you crazy because not only are they unhappty with their ex they will soon be unhappy with you – you will never be able to live up to their weight and looks expectations thus all problems within the relationship will be because of you the woman, you just become their next “life let me down” scapegoat. After 4 years of dating, using on-line dating sites ( I have been very succcesful – had 3 marraige proposals, dated somewhere in the region of 6 different men a year), I have decided to go about dating the old fashioned way, meeting and dating people who I have met in person because the online hype, super charged expectations, trolling leads to so many unhappy people and that shows when you date. I have a daughter that is over weight and she is a dynomite fun maker and I’d rather spend everynight in her cheery company then with a person who is pissed off because my picture didn’t look like what they envisioned. I also have a perfect “10″ friend, thin, blond, big chested, A&T, wealthy, and I can only take her in short spurts – 2 hours out to dinner is way more than enough time spent picky people apart and complaining which are her favorite activities. Thank goodness I am no longer on online dating sites with so many unhappy, miserable people. Is it the male mantra “Don’t waste my time”? LOL, what ya doing with your time that it is so valuable? My ex always used that line to whine, it was his way of saying he wasn’t happy and generally miserable cause no one could live up to his “expectations”. Frankly he couldn’t live up to it himself yet that didn’t stop him from judging everyone else. LOL. Whaaaaaaaaaa. Get off the dating sites if it isn’t working for you instead of trying to make everyone feel bad for not meeting your expecations – how they look, they they think, how the reason, blah, blah, blah. You don’t think you are the problem do you?

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  38. You’re missing: “Ample”, for a woman: that is. Even though I am not one and am a man.

    • Laura says:

      I think this is the most vague and euphemistic term I’ve heard yet, perhaps aside from curvy. Ample what? Ample breasts? Butt? Gut? Arm flab? Thighs? Double chin? Cankles? Ample could be anywhere from 5-30 pounds overweight (or more), depending on how/where the weight sits on one’s body.

  39. ttfk1 says:

    I have been considering lately where to list myself on the “spectrum”…

    Background: 15 months ago I was a 6’1″ 360lbs fat tub of lard. Decided to finally get my life together the right way. Fast forward to this morning, the scale read 200.2 (before my morning constitutional, probably should of waited a half hour!). Got in shape by eating right and lifting lots of heavy things over and over again.

    My dilemma: Despite losing 160lbs (and counting), going from a 44 to 34 waist and building solid amounts of muscle (last time in the dressing room at Target, I flexed and could clearly see each back muscle well-defined), I am still torn as to how to define myself due to the remnants of my gut still there as a skin-apron around my abs. It has been slowly disappearing, but it makes me extremely self-conscious to where I still won’t take my shirt off in public.

    In many respects, I guess I can fall under A&T, but when I see what I haven’t managed to yet get rid of, it makes me want to put Average. It doesn’t help that I have always been hyper-critical about myself…

    Given this scenario, where would YOU put me?

  40. john says:

    i think there should be another category, a few hundred extra pounds

  41. Christopher says:

    Okay guys i have one for you I haven’t tried match or Okay Cupid I am on a site called Agam4 Adam. If you haven’t figured it out this is a gay site i am a gay male the options they list are very few They give you the choices of slim average swimmers athletic muscular body builder or large. Now at one time i had to put large i was a size 42 waist and just fat and nasty weighed almost 300 ibs I have lost 80ilbs amd can now where a 32 to 34 waist in jeans I still have a belly and i want to lose anout another 20 to 40 ilbs i an 5’10 I knopw that i am over weight but i am by no means large any more but thay really don’t give me any other choice I post full body shot nothing nude but have gone as far as posting wearing nothing but my trunk I have thick legs mostly muscle my face is nice and round (meaning fat). I go through profile and others on ther with waist larger than mine say 36 to 40 sat they are average. With the choices i have how should i cescrige myseld

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