Over the past four years or so I’ve become an old pro at dating sites. I’ve tried OkCupid, Match.com, OurTime, and eHarmony (the worst!). I recently gave Match another half-hearted try because of a half-price deal. But I’ve become aware that dating sites have a dark underbelly that I can no longer stomach.
It isn’t the danger of encountering sexual predators or other psychopaths. You can protect yourself pretty easily if you heed the recommended precautions. No, the danger is psychological: if you aren’t popular, you must be thick-skinned enough to cope with rejection every single day.
You must be especially thick-skinned if you’re thick-bodied. I garnered considerably more interest on dating sites when I was considerably thinner. Now, after six years of depression and relative immobility, I’m nowhere close to the body type or fitness level desired by 95 percent of the men out there. Over and over I read “Slender; Athletic and toned.” Sometimes a generous guy will include “About average,” whatever that is these days. Let’s just say I fall much closer to the other end of the spectrum.
I’ve passed by many interesting profiles because of this phenomenon. As for my own current profile (which does not specify “Slender” or “Athletic and toned”), it seems to be floating in an unpopulated sector of cyberspace. Occasionally I wonder if it has in fact been rendered somehow invisible to everyone but me.
When you experience rejection every day, you begin to hear the echoes of a hundred No’s in your head. Over time those echoes grow louder, until your self-esteem is shot and you yank your profile from the dating site in disgust. Nothing much to do about this humiliating experience other than write some doggerel.
Zip, Nada, Zilch; or Those Dating Site Blues
“Slender, average, athletic and toned”
Is all that the guys on the dating sites seek.
Even the chubby men, even the grubby men
Don’t want an overweight woman in reach.
What about intellect? What about heart?
I can make sweet conversation an art.
Yet most of the time, a fleshier gal
Is completely rejected as even a pal.
I try to be patient and just let things be,
But all of the silence discourages me.
Is this natural selection at work in my case
To keep my potential from reaching first base?
I’m still on the field, but I’m pretty done in.
Might be time to give up and leave love to the slim.