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