Join 3,499 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

wait, you're girlonthemoon32? are you sure?
July 19, 2011 8:37 PM   Subscribe

Online dating etiquette: misrepresenting who you are.

I recently had the experience of going on a date with someone who was very thin in her pictures. She was fat in person. I sat through the date and did not have a good time.

How should I have played that? Should I have said something? Walked away? What's ok or not ok to do there?

We met and I could tell immediately I wasn't attracted to her and wasn't going to be attracted to her. Of course, it would be rude to leave upon meeting for that reason alone, and sometimes people look different in pictures than in person. But this was an extreme difference, and her pictures were surely old, photoshopped or otherwise deliberately misleading.
posted by J. Wilson to Human Relations (130 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
The polite thing to do is not to mention it, make the best of the time together on your date, thank her for your time together, and politely decline further dates.
posted by xingcat at 8:44 PM on July 19, 2011 [62 favorites]


You might request a video chat/skype call before meeting in person.
posted by wowbobwow at 8:45 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if she's gained weight recently it's not like she's going to be unaware of it. Bringing it up will only make things more awkward. You are not obligated to stay chummy with her afterwards.
posted by mossicle at 8:46 PM on July 19, 2011


If this is a huge thing to you do what wowbobwow said. If you end up on a date with someone who for ANY reason, secret fatness or whatever, is unappealing to you, do what xingcat said. There's no need to be a jerk about it, even if you think she was the bigger jerk by being secretly fat.
posted by Neofelis at 8:49 PM on July 19, 2011


My online dating etiquette is that I never expect people to look exactly like their pictures and I don't expect to be able to judge my attraction by a picture. This is why you meet in person before too much time passes!
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:51 PM on July 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


Everyone on an online dating site is misrepresenting themselves in one way or another: a written profile and a handful of pictures can never convey what a person is really like, you know, in person. Accepting this is part of playing the game.

You're free to say "Wow, you don't look like your photos" (or "Wow, you seemed a lot funnier from your profile"), but you should recognize that this would make you an asshole. You're complicit in this system too.
posted by telegraph at 8:51 PM on July 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


"You do not look like your photos at all, and I'm sure you realize this. You have wasted both my time and yours. Goodnight."
posted by blargerz at 8:56 PM on July 19, 2011 [12 favorites]


This is why you meet in person before too much time passes!

And why it's a good idea to keep the first date cheap and low-key. Do something it'll be easy to wind up after 15-30 minutes; if you really like the other person you can always extend it or get together again.
posted by asterix at 8:58 PM on July 19, 2011 [24 favorites]


You should make sure that your first dates/meetings with women from a dating site are short enough that you can be polite to them for the duration.

Prepare having no physical attraction by having something to do (fly a kite, take a talk etc.) or having enough in common with them to sustain a conversation.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 8:58 PM on July 19, 2011


Right, I'm trying to determine whether any reaction along those lines would have made me a jerk or asshole. I'd rather avoid that. If that's the consensus, thank you, good to know.

To be clear, I've done a fair amount of online dating before and never had this experience. There are always minor differences, which is unavoidable and to be expected. But there are differences in degree, and this was large: the body type in the pictures was Mila Kunis, the body type in person was Roseanne. I didn't like the deceit and the feeling that my time was wasted - if I posted five year old pictures from when I had a full head of hair and none of me now, when I'm completely bald, that would be not cool, I think.
posted by J. Wilson at 9:01 PM on July 19, 2011


"You do not look like your photos at all, and I'm sure you realize this. You have wasted both my time and yours. Goodnight."

Do this approximately never. It won't hurt to have one drink or what have you, and then politely say you've got to get going, but thanks so much, etc. That's all you have to do.
posted by sweetkid at 9:02 PM on July 19, 2011 [85 favorites]


If I was on a date with a guy and he said something like this, it would DESTROY me.

People put the best pictures they can find of themselves on these sites. Like others have said, don't expect everyone to look just like their picture. In fact, I've seen many pictures of my friends on facebook where they look good, just not really like themselves. Pictures aren't very reliable. They're just not. But something where you're telling a girl she's fatter than you expected? Awful awful awful. You wouldn't just be a jerk or an asshole. You could very well be a day/week/year-ruiner. And that totally isn't worth it to teach some sort of lesson about honesty in online dating.

(Even if she was for whatever reason posting fake pictures of herself or pictures of herself from years ago...Please don't say this. She knows she has gained weight, and she could very well feel pretty awful about it already, without someone calling her out on it AND calling her a liar.)
posted by violetish at 9:07 PM on July 19, 2011 [14 favorites]


I actually created an online profile making fun of my experiences with girls that lied about their appearances. It is dishonest and it ruins the first impression when you're sitting there thinking why the girl needed to lie about herself. There shouldn't be surprises on the first date.

@sweetkid: He doesn't owe it to someone who lies to be polite. If J. Wilson can pull the meanness off, he's entitled to. The date lied. And usually, there's an unwritten obligation for guys to buy the girls drinks.
posted by DetriusXii at 9:07 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I can't disagree more strongly with blargerz. No need to be mean; I'm sure your lack of follow up will speak loudly enough. Besides, there's no guarantee that you won't get a reputation for jerkiness within the community--stranger things happen. May as well be polite and wrap it up reasonably quickly.

Besides, if you've done a great deal of online dating and never had something quite this drastic happen maybe it's not worth really fretting over. Sounds like you handled this about as well as you could be expected to.
posted by Neofelis at 9:07 PM on July 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sometimes people gain weight because of injuries, medications, other illnesses and it's not really "them" so they feel self conscious about putting up pictures of themselves with extra pounds. It's not really a "lie." If you don't like it, that's totally fine, but there's no reason to humiliate the person, who maybe doesn't feel like themselves but still wants to feel dateable. It's not a fun feeling, I've been there. It really doesn't hurt to be polite.
posted by sweetkid at 9:11 PM on July 19, 2011 [20 favorites]


To prevent this in the future, always get the Facebook profile before the date, and pay close attention to pictures others tag her in. Sure she can always detag herself, but generally there are better representations on her FB profile than you'll find on the dating profile (where the images have been carefully selected).
posted by banished at 9:11 PM on July 19, 2011


Everyone on an online dating site is misrepresenting themselves in one way or another: a written profile and a handful of pictures can never convey what a person is really like, you know, in person. Accepting this is part of playing the game

This is absurd. There is a real and substantive difference between a lack of fidelity or precision in the medium and willful misrepresentations. There's also a big difference between good faith efforts to convey the truth and outright lies.

You might as well be starting a philosophical discussion about how there's no such thing as lying because we can't really "know" anything.

I think making a big to-do of this would, in most situations, be uncalled for and likely not worth the trouble it could cause, but I also don't think that someone who lies and wastes your time in this fashion deserves the courtesy of your participation in the fiction.

I would likely not go the asshole route simply because it gains you nothing, but I would probably have to talk myself out of sending a follow-up email explaining how much of a waste of everyone's time the person's charade is.
posted by toomuchpete at 9:14 PM on July 19, 2011 [14 favorites]


Let's face it: Many, many dates are a waste of time. You don't like the way she looks, she doesn't like the way you look, he's dull, she's too chatty, he's got a horrible laugh, etc etc. There are a million ways for a first date to go wrong. The fact that this one is centered around her weight doesn't change what your behavior should look like: be polite, walk away, the end.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:17 PM on July 19, 2011 [36 favorites]


It was uncool of her but it would be uncool of you to mention it.

That sort of situation gives you a chance to be an asshole or a gentleman (i.e. decent human being). In the latter, you go on the date, you are polite, then if she asks for a second you say you had a good time but weren't feeling it.

If the date is absolutely atrocious, you can always go to the bathroom, text a friend to tell them to call you in 15-30 minutes, and then when they do pretend there's an emergency and excuse yourself.
posted by schroedinger at 9:18 PM on July 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


She knows that she's grossly misrepresenting herself so there's no reason for you to remind her.
posted by The Lamplighter at 9:20 PM on July 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


The difference in this woman's pictures as you describe sounds extreme, so she was probably aware, but honestly, sometimes, people put their best photo up and don't realize they've changed that much. Sometimes it's hard to see your own changes- I've had lots of people say to me (real-life friends, not internet dates), "wow, you've lost a lot of weight", and it was something I wasn't really conscious of.

It wasn't cool of her to misrepresent herself; on the other hand, if a woman came to a date 30 pounds thinner than her photos, most guys would be perplexed but not angry. Something to think about.

As far as etiquette- just don't say anything.
posted by bearette at 9:23 PM on July 19, 2011 [14 favorites]


I would play it this way: upon first meeting her, make a comment in a fairly neutral tone of surprise, like, "oh I almost didn't recognize you, you look so different in your picture." Tone and timing are key here. You must say it very soon and you must be able to pull off an innocent tone of uncalculating bewilderment.

After that, say nothing, be polite and go through with the date, and turn down a second date.
posted by Nixy at 9:24 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


She knows that she's grossly misrepresenting herself so there's no reason for you to remind her.

Everyone keeps saying things along these lines. But I'm with you: any gross, significant, non-humorous lie in a profile online results in the date getting cut short. And I don't believe you should go to any special lengths to be nice to them because they already know that they're lying. I don't think you should be a jerk, but I think honest surprise is fine. "Oh, gosh, I didn't recognize you at all. You look nothing like your profile pictures!"

Follow this, if they don't have a reasonable or humorous explanation as to why their profile pictures reveal a vastly different person, with kindly saying, "I'm sorry, I don't think this is going to work out." And leave.

For me, the important part isn't the weight, it is the misrepresentation. And while I wouldn't say this immediately, if she probed, I would tell her that for me, relationships are built on honesty and respect - and that she had showed neither honesty nor respect by misrepresenting herself as a different person. Late-Twenty-something female's perspective.
posted by arnicae at 9:38 PM on July 19, 2011 [12 favorites]


Dating isn't charity. If the person you are going out with is feeding you false information you don't owe them a thing. They are wasting your time. Turn and walk out. Every time.

If the date is absolutely atrocious, you can always go to the bathroom, text a friend to tell them to call you in 15-30 minutes, and then when they do pretend there's an emergency and excuse yourself.

Also this is a terrible thing to do to anyone.
posted by grizzly at 9:42 PM on July 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


And turning on your heel and walking out upon sight of someone isn't a terrible thing to do to anyone.
posted by sweetkid at 9:46 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Find a place overlooking the date spot and stake it out with binoculars. If she shows up and is heavier than your taste permits, call or text to say something has come up and you won't be able to make it.

Note: This is a completely shitty thing to do. However, it is likely to be less painful to your date, and less of a waste of her time, than condescendingly saying "you've changed a lot," or fake-emergencying during the date, or most of the other things suggested above.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 9:50 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


A friend of mine went to meet up with a guy after chatting and exchanging photos online. She got there, saw him, and said "Hi, Mike?" He turned around, saw her, and denied he was Mike. She knows it was him; she had his picture. He had hers, too, a recent one. So for the 30 minute drive home, she gets to think on what about her -- that is not apparent in a photo -- could be so repulsive that this guy would decline even to meet her.

This guy, for whatever reason, was not feeling it. He probably thought he was doing the most pragmatic thing. But it hurt her, and made it that much harder for the other guys out there who are dreaming only of a girl like her, to meet her.

I say the campsite rule always applies, even on a first date. You aren't feeling it? So what. Somebody would, and -- aside from being cruel -- it's uncool to cockblock *that* guy by making her feel repulsive. Be nice and move on.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 10:00 PM on July 19, 2011 [61 favorites]


From a big-picture perspective, if more people didn't humor liars when they caught them in lies, there might be fewer people out there lying. You could make a pretty strong case that calling out the deception is for the greater good of Internet Dating Land.

I still don't think it makes you a bad person to point it out -- although there are definitely ways you could do so that would make you a bad person -- but I stand by my earlier comment that you don't really get enough out of it for it to be worth the potential trouble.
posted by toomuchpete at 10:00 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


From a big-picture perspective, if more people didn't humor liars when they caught them in lies, there might be fewer people out there lying.

my sentiments exactly!

i'm with those who feel that any gross misrepresentation should be called out. it isn't the appearance, it's the lie. and i'm not talking a variance of 5 or 10lbs here. the OP is talking about hundreds of pounds. they lied and they know they lied and the minute you meet them, they know you know they lied. and it is a waste of your time. i think it is possible to call someone out on their lie without being rude: "i'm sorry, but misrepresenting yourself in your photos and i'm not interested in beginning any sort of relationship with dishonesty on either of our parts."

on preview arnicae said what i said only better.
posted by violetk at 10:10 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


You should also be polite - spend an hour with her, have a drink or two. Start yawning, apologize, pay for her drinks, go home, don't contact her again. That's how this works.
posted by The Lamplighter at 10:13 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]




You should also be polite - spend an hour with her, have a drink or two. Start yawning, apologize, pay for her drinks, go home, don't contact her again. That's how this works.


For real. This is dating. This is internet dating. Someone will feel this way about YOU, at some point. Also, these days I know people in real life who are on the same dating sites, so word gets around.
posted by sweetkid at 10:15 PM on July 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


Years ago a friend kept getting hit on by a particular guy she wasn't interested in... so she tried to get him interested in me. This all took place online. After about a week of great chatting, he finally asked for a picture of me. I'm fat but I'm told I'm not ugly. I sent him a picture. His reply was "I suppose it was a bit much for me to think I'd get a pretty girl." That was mean.

Be nice, at the very least. Fat people have feelings too.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:18 PM on July 19, 2011 [22 favorites]


You should also be polite - spend an hour with her, have a drink or two. Start yawning, apologize, pay for her drinks, go home, don't contact her again. That's how this works.

What? No, not unless you want to. For me, a big part of the fun of online dating was meeting mysterious and strange new people who might become friends. That I got a long-term relationship out of one of these encounters surprises me to this day.

But if you're doing online dating in hopes of meeting someone with whom you have something in common and want to build a relationship on, wasting your time and a not insubstantial amount of money to "be polite" (essentially, humoring the stranger on the plane waxing rhapsodically about the marvels of moustache wax for the entirety of your flight from Arizona to Washington) is senseless. Be polite but clear and leave.

If it helps, remember this: you're not humoring her or being "polite", you're wasting her time. And even if you don't say anything, she'll probably get that you are twitchingly eager to vacate the coffee shop or bar that you're at, and for me, that would be worse than being rejected for my looks.
posted by arnicae at 10:22 PM on July 19, 2011


I don't think that spending an hour with her is "wasting her time" unless she's terminally ill.
posted by The Lamplighter at 10:25 PM on July 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


really? bc spending an hour with anyone who's lied to me straight off the bat is a complete waste of my time.
posted by violetk at 10:28 PM on July 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


people are sensitive about weight. In our culture, it's likely for a variety of reasons that people might put on unwanted weight and not want to be super clear about it in a dating profile. Like it's been said upthread, if someone turned up skinnier than their profile, I feel few people would spin indignantly on their heels and walk out on the person. Again, you don't have to repeatedly date the person, just have some class in the moment. Honestly, someone will think this about you at some point, doesn't matter how honest you think your pics/profile are, or how great looking you think you are, and you'll appreciate the fact that they had a polite hour with you and didn't try to take you to task on the spot. Showing up to an online date is frickin scary, and you feel really vulnerable, and there's no reason to make it worse.
posted by sweetkid at 10:37 PM on July 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


My last online dating experience involved the girl meeting somebody else at the gig and ignoring me. Did I care? Nope, because its online dating, and shit happens. You met up with her, you didn't want to see her again, and you can leave things without awkwardness. Don't walk out in the middle, but don't make an effort to see her again.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:47 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Honestly, someone will think this about you at some point…

i honestly don't know how you could think this about this situation unless the OP decides to also grossly misrepresent himself in a similar manner. it wasn't like her pictures showed she'd gained 5 or 10lbs or even 20lbs. the OP implied that it was hundreds of pounds. that's not a mere, "oh, that's just a bad picture of me! sorry!" it's a downright intentional lie.

and there's no reason to make it worse.

by intentionally misrepresenting herself to such a degree, she already set herself up for making the situation worse, bc the minute her dates meet her, she's going to know they know she completely lied to them.

look, i don't believe in rudeness and i would never intentionally be rude to someone, especially if they don't deserve it. but when someone lies to me, i'm not interested in enabling their behavior by pretending that i'm cool with it and then buying them a drink to reward them for lying to me. and like i said, i think there are ways to call someone out for lying without being an asshole about it. then maybe, just maybe, next time, they'll think twice about doing it again to someone else.
posted by violetk at 10:49 PM on July 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Not a rhetorical question: do you believe, deep down, that when someone wrongs you it's better to forgive, if possible, than to be angry? To turn the other cheek, to let it go rather than getting even? If so --

I don't know if it's the same way for you, but I have a fairly strong natural inclination to want to get even with people who do me wrong, to insult people who insult me, to hurt people who hurt me, etc. Those are my emotions, but in reality I very much believe those things that I asked you above. It's pretty hard for me to get to a zen place if I'm pissed or hurt in some way, but when I do reach that place, I've found it's a million times better for my own emotional state and peace of mind. So in these situations, I try to remember that. Just think back on all the times when I felt so much better when I was able to let these things go. Talk to other people about the times when they've let things go, and felt better.

What this woman did, while it wasn't okay, did not really harm you in the grand scheme of things. There are times when you do have to defend yourself, or times where if you do let things go the person will continue hurting you. But that's not the case here. You have nothing to lose by letting it go, and letting it go if it happens again.

Now, if you don't believe in the things I was talking about above, and can't relate to what I said, then, I actually do think it's possible to say something to the woman without being an asshole -- only in a situation like this where there's clearly a RADICAL difference between her appearance and the pictures.

If I were you, and I felt she had done me wrong (totally valid) and it was important to me to have that acknowledged -- I would do the following.

I would greet her, and ask her to step outside with me or otherwise move to a quieter place where you could talk without being overheard.

Then I would say (not AT ALL in a cold, condescending, hostile, accusatory way-- better to be going more for a tone of confusion or even concern, even if you are really pissed): "Emily, I'm a little confused here."

Then don't say anything else. Just wait, looking confused/concerned. Wait as long as it takes until she says something in reply.

If she says "about what?" then you can say, "well, I'm confused about why you didn't show me recognizable pictures." Then wait for her to say something.

You may find that what she says is sympathetic, and it will be easier for you to forgive the lie, and maybe you might want to go ahead and have the drink anyway. Also, you might be satisfied by having brought up the topic.

Or, you might find that what she says is unsympathetic, and in that case, you can tell her, in a completely non-hostile but just from the gut way: "I feel disrespected that you weren't honest with me. I really need to feel like I can trust a person to even be friends with her, and I'm afraid we haven't started off on that foot here. I wish you good luck in the future."
posted by Ashley801 at 10:52 PM on July 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


it wasn't like her pictures showed she'd gained 5 or 10lbs or even 20lbs. the OP implied that it was hundreds of pounds. that's not a mere, "oh, that's just a bad picture of me! sorry!" it's a downright intentional lie.

Where did you get that 'hundreds of pounds' thing from.

i think there are ways to call someone out for lying without being an asshole about it. then maybe, just maybe, next time, they'll think twice about doing it again to someone else.

So what? What is the worst that can possibly happen if you go out on a bad Internet date?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:53 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Where did you get that 'hundreds of pounds' thing from.

from the OP: the body type in the pictures was Mila Kunis, the body type in person was Roseanne.
posted by violetk at 10:55 PM on July 19, 2011


I honestly think the people who are indignant about "omg we're starting a relationship on a LIE" are worried more about " oh ick fattiez" than anything else. If they said they worked at a florist but actually were VP of strategy at a conservative think tank, things would be different.

And yes, if you do internet dating for any length of time, someone will be grossed out by you. Yes they will.
posted by sweetkid at 11:00 PM on July 19, 2011 [26 favorites]


If they said they worked at a florist but actually were VP of strategy at a conservative think tank, things would be different.

you're analogy isn't quite accurate here. the comparison here would be that if someone was a florist and claimed they were a VP of strategy at a think tank, then no, things would not be different. your analogy would equate to the woman being rosanne sized and then oh, turns out that she's actually mila kunis sized. so yeah, things would be different then.

And yes, if you do internet dating for any length of time, someone will be grossed out by you.

fair enough. but at least it won't be bc i completely misrepresented myself to them.
posted by violetk at 11:05 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


To this who think of this girl as starting out a relationship as a liar:

If someone had an outdated job listed on their profile, and had since changed jobs but not mentioned it before meeting in person, would you care?

If someone was much thinner in person, would you care?

If someone had a difference hair color than that in the photo, had glasses, or wore makeup when you met them in person, would you consider these things predicating the relationship "on a lie"?

Look, I'm not saying I'd be happy if someone I went on a date with from the internet turned up a hundred pounds heavier than their photo. But weight is one of those things people care A LOT more about than other factors, and that's not necessarily fair. Why is it so much more important? Why is it more dishonest to "lie" about weight, than to lie about other things?
posted by bearette at 11:07 PM on July 19, 2011 [17 favorites]


Actually, OP -- I have the perfect solution for you.

Put this in your profile: "Please send a *recent* picture. I don't want to waste your time or my own, so if, when we meet, I feel you've misrepresented yourself, I'll just leave and no harm, no foul."

That way, everyone knows where he or she stands. The people who think that's rude, won't date you. The people who date you, will either be what their photo shows, or be fine with being called on it. And then -- no one will have cause to think that *you* were misrepresenting either.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 11:09 PM on July 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


Also, I've seen profiles where the guy will say, " Skinny women only, please. No offense, but I don't like "average" or "curvy". Just a personal preference!" Add that to your profile and a lot of women will skip right over you. The ones who feel like they're thin enough to meet your requirements will reply.
posted by sweetkid at 11:14 PM on July 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


OP, your best options going forward:

1. Don't contact this woman again, or if you do, just tell her you didn't feel it and wish her luck.
2. Update your profile to specify that you only want to hear from women who "take care of themselves", or who "like to stay active". Those are online dating code phrases for "I prefer thin women". You can also weed out larger women by only messaging women whose profiles have at least one full-body picture, but you can also state in your profile that women who message you should have accurate, up-to-date photos.

Make sure your photos are current as well, and keep them current. Update them monthly. This indicates that appearance is very meaningful to you, and has the added effect of keeping your profile fresh and eye-catching.
posted by palomar at 11:20 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I honestly think the people who are indignant about "omg we're starting a relationship on a LIE" are worried more about " oh ick fattiez" than anything else. If they said they worked at a florist but actually were VP of strategy at a conservative think tank, things would be different.

I can't speak *at all* for the OP, but I am indignant about internet dating lies and it has NOTHING to do with the subject matter of the lie, especially weight since I've been attracted to plenty of guys of all sizes.

I once dated a guy who told me he was a vegetarian. At that time, I was in my early 20s and REALLY wanted to date another vegetarian for once, so even though he was 37, I went out with him and we'd go out to all these vegetarian restaurants on our dates. After a fairly short period, he started ordering fish when we were out, then chicken. Then he started telling me about how he really wanted to go on a backpacking trip where he'd kill and eat all his own food. Then, I found out that he'd been stopping after all our early dates at vegetarian restaurants to have meat on the way home.

I was incredibly creeped out and pissed! NOT because he wasn't a vegetarian, yeah I'd wanted to date one but I've in fact never happened to have dated another vegetarian since then. Because he totally lied to me in a creepy way to get me more interested in him than I otherwise would have been.

So that's where it's coming from at least for me, not in ANY way "ew fatties" since I would never hold that sentiment.
posted by Ashley801 at 11:20 PM on July 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, to echo palomar, make sure you say "I really like thin women," " Sorry if you don't take care of yourself, it won't work out," etc, and post pics of yourself hiking, etc. This will weed out all the women who aren't super confident about themselves at the moment. There are a lot of people who say things like this on online dating sites.
posted by sweetkid at 11:25 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


/sigh/

You're getting some pretty terrible advice here about how to change your profile to weed out certain physical types. Anything that is negative-to-neutral ("thin women only" and the like) is likely to put off even women who meet your qualifications. That seems to be a pretty big overreaction to one bad experience.

Instead, if you want to change your profile, you should emphasize positive things that are likely to correlate with your date being skinny ("somebody to join me in running/triathlons/etc").
posted by Metasyntactic at 11:45 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


things that are likely to correlate with your date being skinny ("somebody to join me in running/triathlons/etc").

I know a lot of women who are very active in running/triathlons who are not skinny. So that doesn't work.
posted by sweetkid at 11:49 PM on July 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


To this who think of this girl as starting out a relationship as a liar:

If someone had an outdated job listed on their profile, and had since changed jobs but not mentioned it before meeting in person, would you care?

If someone was much thinner in person, would you care?

If someone had a difference hair color than that in the photo, had glasses, or wore makeup when you met them in person, would you consider these things predicating the relationship "on a lie"?

Look, I'm not saying I'd be happy if someone I went on a date with from the internet turned up a hundred pounds heavier than their photo. But weight is one of those things people care A LOT more about than other factors, and that's not necessarily fair. Why is it so much more important? Why is it more dishonest to "lie" about weight, than to lie about other things?


I'm worried that I'm getting too far afield from the OP's question, but to me that IS why it's dishonest and the examples you mentioned probably wouldn't be. You know, or can reasonably assume, that this is something the other person cares about. The guy I mentioned in my example knew for an absolute fact that I wanted to date a vegetarian. In American culture, we all know weight is a thing, whatever we think of that. In American culture, hair color is not generally a thing (but I'm sure there are people who request to only date a natural blonde and I wouldn't think it was cool to mislead those people either, whatever I think of their requrements.)

It's also a matter of degree. If you saw a picture of a guy with 1 tattoo, and then when he showed up his entire face was covered in tattoos, it would probably bother you, and that has nothing to do with tattoos themselves.
posted by Ashley801 at 11:50 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


My dating profile has what I think is my best picture, taken about 3 years ago, as the main photo, and I also added four or five others which give a true depiction of what I look like.

If someone has truly misrepresented themselves, to the point where they're unrecognisable, then they're going to be contacted by people who will inevitably be disappointed when they meet in person. This is not only a waste of time, it makes people wonder what else they're not being honest about.

Maybe women lie about their weight (I don't know, I never look at women's profiles) but I know that men lie about their height, age, hair, or lack of. I met someone a couple of weeks ago who was not 50, and he was not 5'7. If he'd said he was actually 60 and 5'3, that wouldn't have bothered me, because I'm 52 and 4'11, but the fact that he'd lied about those things made me a bit cross and wonder what else he'd got to hide.

As far as the OP's situation is concerned, I don't think a brief email after the date is a bad thing - if it's worded kindly.

"You know, I don't think your profile picture is a good likeness of you. In fact, I didn't recognise you as the man/woman in the picture when I met you in person."
posted by essexjan at 11:51 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Assuming the difference in weight is as great as the OP says it is, this is not just an "eww fatties!" thing. If she were a little heaver than she appeared in the photos, that would be OK. That sort of thing is to be expected. But there's a limit, you know?

For example, I'm somewhere between 5'7" and 5'8," but closer to the former. In my online dating profile, I rounded up and said I was 5'8." Do you think it would be OK if I were to say I was 6 feet tall? Short men are at a fairly substantial disadvantage in the dating world, too - probably not to the same degree as overweight women, but still. This is especially true in online dating, because people can set filters for height. So, should I just blatantly misrepresent myself?

Of course not. A woman being a bit heaver than she appears in her pictures is totally fine, and no different from me saying that I'm half an inch or so taller than I really am. A woman posting outdated or MySpace-angle photos so that she appears thin when she is in fact significantly overweight is deceitful. And deceit is not OK, social stigmas notwithstanding.

All that said, while you could say something if you're polite about it, I agree with toomuchpete that it's just not worth the trouble. Really, this stuff is why your first online date must be some simple that can be wrapped up quickly. Think coffee or a drink. If it doesn't go well, you finish up in half an hour and go on your way.
posted by breakin' the law at 11:52 PM on July 19, 2011


I'm not bashing the OP. I personally have been 'skinny' and 'not so skinny' based on my health and some injuries and other factors, and I will honestly skip over profiles where guys are specifically asking after skinny women, because I'm not that and I don't feel like I'm going to meet that requirement for most guys who feel like they want to call that out on dating profiles. Seriously, if a guy wants to turn and walk right out of a bar because a girl is overweight, I'd really rather know that upfront.
posted by sweetkid at 11:53 PM on July 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Anything that is negative-to-neutral ("thin women only" and the like) is likely to put off even women who meet your qualifications.

That's a feature, not a bug. I wouldn't want to date someone who would just bail on someone they weren't attracted to... even if they *were* attracted to me. I suspect a lot of women (though obviously not all) would agree.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 11:56 PM on July 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


Sweetkid - I never said it was a perfect correlation, and almost offered myself as a counterexample :)

However, I think anything more explicit in the profile's text is going to alienate a lot of people - just look at how many people are offended in this thread by any suggestion of anti-fat bias!
posted by Metasyntactic at 11:59 PM on July 19, 2011


I think anything more explicit in the profile's text is going to alienate a lot of people

Right, but that's good. If what you want is skinny people, you can make that really clear in online dating profiles. I'm not being snarky, I'm being serious. Make it very clear how much you want a skinny woman, even list a weight range. The women who don't feel like they measure up, or simply don't want to, won't contact you.
posted by sweetkid at 12:03 AM on July 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


When I was online dating, I routinely put things in my profile to indicate exactly what I was looking for. "No smokers, I'm extremely serious." "Please do not be religious, I am the opposite of a believer and if you're religious we will not be a match." "I really don't enjoy going clubbing, so if you're looking for a girl who wants to go dancing all night at the hottest clubs in town do not message me."

This is what you're supposed to do -- weed out what you DON'T want. If you have a particular "type" and you know that going outside that type is not what you want to do, then you need to indicate that information very clearly in your profile. That way, no one's time is wasted. It's not rude or cruel to do this upfront, it's rude or cruel to hide this information until after you've met in person.
posted by palomar at 12:03 AM on July 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


You know, I would date a fat guy* (and have in the past), but if I met a guy online and he sent me a picture of himself as a skinny dude, and we met and he was much, much fatter, I wouldn't date him again. It's not so much the deception -- which is why I guess I'd be a little more forgiving of some "positive" lies. It's more that he thinks if he doesn't like something about the way he presents himself, he can just ignore it and pretend it doesn't exist. That's beyond lying, that's self-sabotaging self-delusion, and it's not a quality I want it a partner.

I don't think I'm alone on this; I just wanted to throw that out there in response to everyone who's convinced that those of us saying we're miffed about the deception are just lying to ourselves about how we feel about fat people. I mean, I'm sure some of the people in this thread are lying to themselves, but there are [many] people out there who would genuinely be happy to date an honest fat person. I don't know if I'd have the guts to actually say that to someone I was out on a date with in the OP's situation, but I would hope that someone would eventually point out to the girl that presenting herself dishonestly is just self-sabotaging because she'll either encounter people who hate fat people, hate liars, or who hate both. Maybe, if she asks the OP why the relationship is not continuing, that would be something worth mentioning. But not on the actual date.

*I do realize it's slightly more acceptable to be a fat guy than a fat girl in our society
posted by lesli212 at 12:44 AM on July 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think Ashley801's example was a bit different than what the OP was talking about because she was telling the story of a man who misrepresented himself while they were dating. he misrepresented his views and principles. The OP's date cannot do that- she looks how she looks and its not going to change, and furthermore the OP can see her once and decide to stop. BY showing up for the date, she is showing him the truth and he really hasn't wasted a whole lot of his time (unlike Ashley801)

Also, overweight people (especially women) face a lot of prejudice and denigration based on how they look. Of course it's a bit ridiculous to put a photo up when you are 100 pounds thinner (or whatever), but the pressure to remain a certain weight is great and some women feel very ashamed of themselves, and want to be seen as being attractive. Some denial happens there too, that wouldn't happen with misrepresenting about other things.
posted by bearette at 12:58 AM on July 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


I online dated for a while, am a straight woman so dated straight guys, and honestly, appearance misrepresentations were so common that I came to expect them. Il faut dédramatiser, as they say in French, take the drama out of it all. People will be very different from what you see on their profiles. Heck, the guy I'm currently super happy with is quite different from what he seemed in his profile, and I liked both his profile and, obviously, the way he is in reality. Sometimes it's the opposite, and it can go either way – someone you might not be attracted to on teh intarwebs can have a personality that makes them stunning in real life. Anyway. Dédramatiser.

She wasn't what you're looking for. Move on. No need to make it personal or a statement about people in general. As others have suggested, if you have dealbreakers, state it somehow – on OKCupid you can answer questions about body types and mark them "required" or whatever it is now (I'm not on there any more, so don't remember), then compare to what another person has answered. I found that much more helpful, and polite, than anything written outright in a profile, but YMMV.
posted by fraula at 12:59 AM on July 20, 2011 [14 favorites]


She must think the photos are pretty close to reality, or she'd be afraid of being called on it. I would be too scared of that to put up vastly different photos (although of course flattering photos are a different story). It is a waste of her time too if her dates keep going nowhere because she doesn't look like her photos.
posted by superfish at 1:48 AM on July 20, 2011


[Folks, I've removed some comments. Please don't get into arguments with other posters.]
posted by vacapinta at 2:04 AM on July 20, 2011


Hm.

OP, I have been in similar situations. On one first online date, I didn't recognize the guy because while his pictures showed him husky, in person he was closer to morbidly obese. I don't know if it was artful positioning or if he'd recently gained weight, but it was really awkward to show up to meet someone I thought I'd be attracted to to find that I wasn't attracted to them at all. I had dinner with him and even met up with him a second time. But do you know what bothered me most? That in our online chats and in his profile he said he never drank, but on our first date I found him waiting at the bar. With a drink. Not a big deal, I drink too, but the red flag there is as other people have said -- misrepresentation because they can't deal with an aspect of themselves? Or worse, to hook someone in? Not cool. Seriously, that's a bag of drama you're not obligated to open with someone you just met.

On the other hand, I once introduced myself to another guy on a first date. He looked me up and down, made a grossed-out face and said, "Are you sure?" I was crushed. My picture was only a year old and I looked exactly the same -- at least as close as you can ever come to looking like a photograph in person. If anything I'd lost five pounds and my hair was a few inches longer. We had a great time and he stood me up for the second date. (Why I asked for a second, I do not know.) He's down in history as an ass -- for taking the shitty way out by showing me I wasn't his type instead of saying something like, "Sorry, it's just not was I'd been hoping for." (I heard that a lot; women can handle it better than you may think.)

So, from my experience my advice is this: show up, have a good time, beg off early. A little follow up that it was fun but you weren't feeling it may be appropriate. (Gauge on the level of pre-date contact was my rule.) Do not mention her weight.

Then, if she gets in touch with you wanting to know why, what went wrong, why you won't see her again, be gently honest. Tell her frankly that she didn't look like you were expecting. And it's not necessarily that you find her unattractive because she's fat, it that she misrepresented herself and that it made you uncomfortable and you can't explain it beyond that. Maybe she'll think you're an asshole, but by then you won't care because it's online dating.
posted by motsque at 2:32 AM on July 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think it's a whole different ballgame being vague about one's job on an internet dating site than misleading someone about something that's likely to be a deal-breaker in the first place.

For example, my job has a public profile, and I work in an organisation that's the only one of its kind in the UK, so it'd be fairly easy for someone to find out where I work and my surname if I put my actual job title in my profile. So I just describe myself as a 'lawyer' (which is also true - I am a qualified lawyer).

Being vague, though, is different from lying - I would not say I was a lawyer if I worked in Starbucks, for example. Years ago I met a guy who told me he worked in travel and catering. He was mysterious about what he actually did, but he made it sound as if he was a chef on a luxury liner or something. Then one day, a couple of weeks after we'd stopped dating, I saw him refilling a chocolate machine on the Tube station. Not quite how he'd described it ...
posted by essexjan at 3:09 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is this a dating site that asks people to describe their build? If so, what did she put?

Being different from your profile pics isn't just dishonest, it's disrespectful. The first thing you're saying to the datee when you meet them in person is "I have lied to you, and we both know that, and I am expecting you to be okay with it." Hardly a basis for an evening together, let alone a relationship.

The best way to get out of it? "I'm sorry, you're not the person your profile made me think you'd be."
posted by Hogshead at 3:20 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


It seems unlikely that this woman put thinner pictures of herself on the site, knowing that she is currently larger, because she is EEEEEEVIL and manipulative and bwah-ha-ha-ha, watch this, she successfully duped another guy into going on a date with her and is now cackling with glee!

Maybe she just wanted to put the best pictures she had of herself on the site, in the hopes that she'd cast the widest possible net of possible dates, and then that she would hopefully hit it off with someone who liked her overall package so much that the weight difference is a secondary, if not irrelevant, consideration.

Or maybe she just wanted to get laid, and in her experience, there are many guys who aren't interested in dating her at her current weight, but WILL fuck her after a few drinks, and at least through online dating she has contact info etc. rather than just trying to pick up a stranger.

My point is, we don't know, and this is just one of those risks you run with online dating. She knows well the risks that she is taking with this approach (see above), and I'm sure she's getting a range of reactions from the people she meets in person, but... so be it. If she's going to get a range of reactions, I'd rather be the guy who was polite and classy than the guy who felt the need to make himself the Online Dating Truth Policeman. (and for the record, I'd rather be the person who lets potential dates opt themselves out if they're full-stop never ever going to be "attracted" to Someone Like Me, but that's for each individual online profile-maker to decide, no?)

I agree that the best advice is to keep initial dates short, enjoy yourself if only for the chance to hear a funny story or two from a new stranger (even one who you don't want to shag and who makes different choices than you would about whether online misrepresentation is okay), then move on. Little is gained by "calling her on it," especially for you.
posted by mauvest at 4:29 AM on July 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think anything more explicit in the profile's text is going to alienate a lot of people

Right, but that's good. If what you want is skinny people, you can make that really clear in online dating profiles. I'm not being snarky, I'm being serious. Make it very clear how much you want a skinny woman, even list a weight range. The women who don't feel like they measure up, or simply don't want to, won't contact you.


But you also won't be contacted by women — of any weight — who think you're superficial or tactless. A man who says in his profile he only wants to date women with a specific bra cup size is probably not going to succeed at meeting any women, even if they are that size. (The same goes for both genders; as a man, I often skip over women's profiles on dating sites that make a big deal out of appearance — even if I fit her criteria.) The comment about alienating people is right.
posted by John Cohen at 4:50 AM on July 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


You should also be polite - spend an hour with her, have a drink or two. Start yawning, apologize, pay for her drinks, go home, don't contact her again. That's how this works.

Was going to agree more or less fully with this until I noticed the "pay for her drinks" part. If you're meeting someone casually for the first time (male or female) you should absolutely feel no obligation or duty whatsoever to pay for their drinks, especially if you feel that they've misrepresented themselves. This is why casual first meetings work best for online dating. Just be polite, hang out for a bit, and go your separate ways.
posted by the other side at 4:59 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]



If she says "about what?" then you can say, "well, I'm confused about why you didn't show me recognizable pictures." Then wait for her to say something.


I do not think that this approach is a good idea. You're not a boss or a parent - "Emily" is only approximately accountable to you in the ambiguous transactional relationship of online dating. This whole "now 'fess up like a little soldier and then I can put you in detention" approach is just weird.

What exactly do people expect to get out of punishing a woman who has been punished by society enough already? She's not in a relationship, she's not going to get a relationship with you personally, she's probably endured a lot of fat shaming that's come as a shock to her if she used to be thin - and now you want, in addition to making it clear that you were not attracted (by refusing a second date) to verbally punish her, preferably by extracting a confession of wrongdoing from her.

What do you expect her to do? Blush, hang her head and cry? That's what's going to happen, or else she'll yell at you. You won't like that, even if it makes you feel good to "punish" strangers for not living up to your expectations.

You're in a situation where, for some reason, you want to date only women with "Mila Kunis" bodies, but you're not seeking out one of those thin girls/rich guys sites...and you're not making it clear in your profile that fitness and thinness are important to you, but you're getting all upset because not all your dates are hot? Practice letting go.

1. You sound young. Practice letting go of the minor "wrongs" done to you by your fellow human beings in the course of routine interactions.

2. Solutions to social problems are social, not individual, and they're not fast - misrepresentation on dating sites is a social problem, mostly rooted in fat-shaming. If fat people are routinely shamed just for existing, some of those fat people will hide and lie and post misleading pictures. Work against the fat-shaming where you can; that boosts truthfulness. Fat-shaming just makes people more likely to lie.
posted by Frowner at 5:04 AM on July 20, 2011 [30 favorites]


"you're getting all upset because not all your dates are hot?"

I wish people would stop saying this. It wasn't that she just turned out not to be hot (to him), it was that she fundamentally misrepresented who she was. He's not shaming her for being fat, or "just existing," he's annoyed that he's been deliberately lied to. Which is a reasonable reaction regardless of the reason for the lie (which I will agree may be societies fault and fat shaming does suck etc etc).

OP, I'm sorry people here seem to be assuming from this one experience that you're a totally shallow person who only wants to date really skinny women with rocking hot bodies. Unfortunately, this is an issue people have a lot of strong feelings about. And putting "skinny people only" is a pretty much a guarantee of repelling most women who even fit into that category, and I can't help but feeling if people are suggesting it they are being naive or deliberately trying to sabotage you as some sort of punishment for you being so "shallow".

Answering actual question, on the other hand: be polite. Politeness never hurt anybody and I think we should all try to be the bigger person in awkward situations. There's never any need to be cruel. But don't feel the need to pay for drinks.
posted by stillnocturnal at 5:19 AM on July 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


The user name in the post title is made up. Not hers, and as far as I know, not anyone's.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:46 AM on July 20, 2011


J. Wilson, it's shitty of people to wildly misrepresent themselves on dating sites. But you did the right thing by taking the high road and sitting down for a short date anyway. Please go right on doing that. Dating sucks, unfortunately. Some of the people you meet will lie and do all sorts of stupid and disgustingly selfish and immature things. Please don't join them in that behaviour, no matter how much they may seem to deserve it. Please don't take some of the advice in this thread, about arranging an "emergency phone call" in the bathroom, or telling the woman flat out that she's fat when you were expecting a thin woman. Once you lower your own standards, it gets easier and easier to treat others badly until you will just take it for granted that this is how people act. You can guard your own interests and still be kind and tactful and honest.

If the woman should pursue you and want to know why you're not interested (but I bet she won't, because she'll know why), then you get to tell her civilly that she misrepresented herself. Fortunately this woman is an outlier. A LOT of people misrepresent themselves a little, but it's rare that anyone would do it to this extent. I predict that your next date will look very much like her pictures, and that you'll enjoy it, and this unfortunate twenty-minute episode will be forgotten.
posted by orange swan at 5:55 AM on July 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


I don't understand why anyone would suggest that he spend ANY time with her after realizing that her photos misrepresent her appearance. This has nothing to do with hurting her feelings; she's the one who misrepresented himself, there's a REASON people put photos in their profiles.

I'm with all the folks who say you should say, "You look nothing like your photo, this isn't going to work, goodbye."

This is not a "minor wrong." Her misrepresentation is a fundamental lapse in judgment that absolves you of any responsibility toward her.
posted by jayder at 5:58 AM on July 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


People are always partial with the truth on online dating sites. Men pretend they are fitter/slimmer/wealthier/have more hair, women pretend they are slimmer/younger, everyone pretends they are younger and more desirable than really are. In general the women are after someone with money, the men are after someone they can sleep with.

That's why the first f2f date should be of short duration. If it doesn't work out, just make polite excuses and walk away. Being angry, remonstrating with them or demanding some expression of remorse for their "cruel deception" denotes an unpleasant degree of self-righteousness on your part.
posted by epo at 5:59 AM on July 20, 2011


What do you expect her to do? Blush, hang her head and cry?

If enough people called her on it, I'd expect her to put up pictures that look like what she really looks like, so that people who are attracted to what she looks like can go on dates with her, and people who are not attracted to what she looks like do not have to go on dates expecting her to look completely different. You don't have to shame the person, but a "Wow, I didn't recognize you from your photographs" is a a subtle enough way to to let her know that you think she is a profile-liar.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:00 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, I have a close friend who photographs beautiful, even though she looks like a regular girl in real life. Something with her bone structure that is not apparent in person. She is also pear shaped, with a long, thin neck. Photos of her from the waist up, in other words, are almost unrecognizable. Just something to consider.
posted by Malla at 6:06 AM on July 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


People are always partial with the truth on online dating sites. Men pretend they are fitter/slimmer/wealthier/have more hair, women pretend they are slimmer/younger, everyone pretends they are younger and more desirable than really are. In general the women are after someone with money, the men are after someone they can sleep with.

Speak for yourself. I can personally attest that not everyone misrepresents themselves on dating sites.
posted by tel3path at 6:12 AM on July 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


I thought about this a lot more on my way to work and decided to make another comment.

1. Before you do anything think very carefully about what you want the outcome to be versus what's likely to happen. At best, you're going to shame the woman and turn on your heel so that you don't have to deal with her tears or anger. You may end up with an angry or sobbing stranger to deal with. If you only say something "casual" and don't walk away, then the whole date is going to be about her explaining and apologizing and having flop sweat - which won't be fun for you unless you're a total, total douche who feels that an hour of fumbly discomfort will be amusing to watch. You know you'll have sent someone home to feel bad and repulsive. It's extraordinarily unlikely that a woman who has so much shame that she is dramatically mis-representing herself will change into a confident, fat-positive person because you shame her.

In fact, all you'd be doing is striking a blow for men everywhere who shouldn't have to accidentally have a cocktail with an unfuckable girl. Do you want to be that guy?

2. Think about why this date-that-wasn't triggers such strong feelings that you're taking the story here for advice. I mean, yes, it's a bummer to have wasted a date - but if you're internet dating, you're wasting a lot of dates to get to a keeper. Why is this one so traumatic?

I get the strong sense from your question that you want 1. to be able to get payback/revenge on this woman for misrepresenting herself and 2. to feel good about it - like you're "teaching" her a valuable lesson. Ask yourself why this is.

Is it projection - ie, you can't get payback for the innumerable small wrongs you routinely suffer (we all suffer routine wrongs, and perpetrate them) from co-workers, parents and strangers, so in this situation you definitely want your "rights"?

Is it because you subconsciously believe that a lie from a woman about her body is a more punishable lie? In my experience, a lot of dudes are socialized to believe that women have not only the responsibility to be as fuckable as possible but also to be sure to represent that fuckability as transparently as possible, to protect straight guys from accidental social entanglement with a fattie or an older woman.
posted by Frowner at 6:26 AM on July 20, 2011 [19 favorites]


...misrepresenting who you are.
...someone who was very thin in her pictures. She was fat in person.


Being fat or slim is not who someone is, it's how someone is. Somehow I feel that it belongs to online dating etiquette, too, that you should be able to sit through a date without squirming, even in the case of a pounds-mismatch. As others say, you can go away afterwards and forget about it. People put too much importance into so-called wasted time.
posted by Namlit at 6:26 AM on July 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


[removed a bunch more comments - you folks should have taken this to email much earlier...]
posted by jessamyn at 6:27 AM on July 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Just be nice, what's a few hours and a few drinks? Seriously.

I'm a straight, single female and am currently online dating. I'm a very avid marathon runner and triathlete (I'm doing 8 marathons this year, 4 are already done AND a half Ironman). I'm 5'9" and according to my scale this morning, 150 pounds. Sure, I have online dating pictures posted from last August when I was a bit more ripped because I had been doing less running and more biking and swimming and was 10 pounds lighter, but right now I'm 10 pounds heavier and am I'm running 80 miles a week for training.

I would be devastated if someone told me that I looked heavier, and honestly, it's posts like this that take my already skepticism about online dating and skew it more towards pulling my profile (which I've already been on the fence about). Do you know how many MEN lie about their height? There's so many on there that say they are 6'0" and then when we meet up they look at me like some alien because I'm tall. It's crappy.

Online dating is tough enough. People already treat one another on those sites like they are disposable human beings because they don't seem to mesh with their "ideal" partner. Just be nice. Maybe you'll even make a new friend out of it. Just going on one date for a few hours won't kill you.
posted by floweredfish at 6:43 AM on July 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


If a guy has nice hair in his profile pic and shows up as bald, are you girls really going to stick it out just to be polite to the guy who basically lied to you before meeting you?

If so, you're doing it wrong.

Same goes for fat women posting pics of when they were slender.

If you acquire a date on false pretenses, be prepared to suffer the consequences when said date walks out on you.
posted by eas98 at 6:51 AM on July 20, 2011


I don't know why she posted an inaccurate picture. Maybe she had evil intent, but probably not.

Either way -- what is your intent?

Do you want to be a person who interprets the placing of said picture as a personal offense and has to get her back for betraying you in this grave manner?

Or do you want to be a person who can shrug, smile, and decide to have the best time you can, and evaluate afterwards if this is someone you want to pursue?

If you decide afterwards that you don't want to pursue it, it really doesn't matter why unless you're her best friend or her therapist -- it's not your job to teach her picture etiquette. You thank her for spending time with you, tell her that it's not going to work for you, and go on with your life.
posted by MeiraV at 7:14 AM on July 20, 2011


I met my fiancee on an online dating service, and I think they work best as gatekeepers, rather than matchmakers. The matches I was continually being suggested were never a particularly good fit, but I had good successes filtering my searches for women who fit my interests. I hit it off with one, and now I'm going to marry her. So, hooray.

I'm of two minds here. Since I used the site only to filter whom I met, I think you really have to be honest with yourself and your potential suitors. If you're thin, say you're thin and show thin pictures. If you're more generously proportioned, say so. (This is neither here nor there, but I'd probably be more interested in the more generously proportioned, so truth in advertising goes both ways.) Moreover, if you're religious, say so. Be honest about whether you smoke and drink or have kids or want kids. I realize people tend to put their best feet forward on these sites--and to some extent, that's fine--but be who you are. Often, there are people looking for exactly who you are.

On the other hand, somewhat against my better judgment, I met my fiancee even though she claimed on her profile to sing Bon Jovi in the car. I really love (my) music, and I really can't stand Bon Jovi, and I honestly couldn't imagine spending the rest of my life with a woman who listens to Bon Jovi, much less sings Bon Jovi. No, I don't care about your views on whether this is an acceptable reason to reject a potential mate, thanks for asking.

However, it turns out she was lying. She doesn't actually sing along to Bon Jovi in the car, and she was just saying that because she's an inveterate nerd (like me) and thought that it would make her seem more "normal." I'm glad she chose this lie rather than saying she was a die hard baseball fan, or totally loved Two and a Half Men, because I would not have made the same exception.

So, be truthful, be truthful. But sometimes give the other person a chance, because you might be missing out on someone special.

And remember, there's no prize for being a bad guy, though I understand the frustration over being lied to.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:15 AM on July 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've online dated and I'm very careful to describe my figure accurately and post current photos (face and figure). The sad part is that she's doing herself and potential dates a big disservice. There are plenty of men who prefer larger women! By posting out-dated thin photos, she's decreasing her chances of finding those men and pretty much setting herself and her dates up for disappointment.

I think you would do her a favor to bring this discrepancy to her attention. It doesn't have to be a shaming, critical thing. You could do it gently and tactfully, adopting a "hey, we're all in this together and I just thought you should know" attitude. I would tell her -- in person or via email -- that she would increase her chances of finding men who are genuinely physically attracted to her if she posted accurate photos.
posted by Majorita at 7:39 AM on July 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


[T]here's no prize for being a bad guy

This pretty much applies to all our interpersonal relations.
posted by orrnyereg at 7:41 AM on July 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


I really wish the OP had lied about what lie she told. If he had said that she listed herself as politically very liberal but showed up wearing a Palin 2012 button, I posit that 75% of the "just be nice" replies wouldn't be here.

She lied. She might not have been doing it to achieve some malicious end, but that doesn't mean that it was okay or that it should be ignored.

Lying is not okay, and there are ways to call people on them lying about sensitive issues without being a jerk, even if that sensitive issue is weight.
posted by toomuchpete at 7:46 AM on July 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


That's a feature, not a bug. I wouldn't want to date someone who would just bail on someone they weren't attracted to... even if they *were* attracted to me. I suspect a lot of women (though obviously not all) would agree.

Everyone has flaws, and the point of an online dating profile is not to say "Here are all my flaws, am I undateable for you?" Most people don't want to date ex-cons, but nobody should write "I was in prison for a while" in their profile because it's self-sabotage. People emphasize their good points in their profile, although they should not go as far as misrepresenting themselves.

I routinely put things in my profile to indicate exactly what I was looking for. "No smokers, I'm extremely serious." "Please do not be religious, I am the opposite of a believer and if you're religious we will not be a match." "I really don't enjoy going clubbing, so if you're looking for a girl who wants to go dancing all night at the hottest clubs in town do not message me."

Personally I think this is a mistake, especially for guys, since men on dating sites have a lot less people contacting them and as a result get a lot less unwanted contact from people they aren't interested in. Your profile should mostly be about who you are to give someone a good idea about you. Trying to use it as a filter is not really what profiles are good for, you should use things like actual filters and settings (to prevent smokers/religious people/whatever from showing up in searches or sending you messages) and just plain reading people's profiles to figure out if they are incompatible with you. Most likely the people who are so clueless that they can ignore that your profile says you like hanging out at home and reading and think you want to go clubbing every night with them are the same people who don't bother to read or understand your explicit requirements for people contacting you.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:52 AM on July 20, 2011


Back when I was dating, if I ever had a "Hmm, this really isn't going to work" feeling about a person, I told them so at the end of the date because I really wanted to be fair and make sure that it wasn't going to work out. It takes some people a little bit of time to warm up to a stranger, especially a stranger whom they initially found attractive.

I never turned down anyone right off the bat due to differences between online photos and their "real" bodies because I know how different my best pictures look and how I looked in person then and speaking as a former skinny girl who was edging towards pudgy (and now is leaning towards fat), there's a reason why we hang onto those best pictures (or the ones where we cheat out our faces, bodies, etc.).
posted by TrishaLynn at 8:18 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even though online dating has been around for about 10 years, I feel like we really haven't figured it out yet. Traditionally we'd meet someone and get to know them organically. With online dating, we learn a bunch of facts about a person and then decide whether to meet them. It's backwards, it defers the whole question of chemistry, and nuance gets trampled by absolutes. And while we figure out this new medium, we make mistakes. Because we're trying too hard, or we're afraid nobody will pay any attention to us, or we don't express ourselves well in writing, or whatever.

So, while I would not like the misrepresentation, I'd cut that person some slack. Not that I'd go on another date, but I would at least be polite for the one date.

I did the online dating thing. With online dating, first dates can go wrong in a hundred ways, not just in terms of dismay at your date's looks, so my approach was to try to enjoy it on its own terms, and if it went anywhere beyond that, bonus.

I was aware of the problem of misrepresenting oneself online, and tried to be scrupulously honest about myself, but I'm certain some of the women I met were surprised and disappointed when they met me, as I was in a few cases when I met them. I went on some hilariously bad dates, and I'm certain some of the women I met would say the same about me. I also met my wife through online dating.
posted by adamrice at 8:21 AM on July 20, 2011


Sure, lying is not ok, but you also are not the Enforcer of Ideal Behavior. Who cares if you didn't start out on a foundation of honesty and respect -- there isn't going to be a second date, so the foundation doesn't matter. You have a choice between calling her out on what you both know is happening, and seeing her get angry or ashamed or tearful or insulted, or dealing for an hour and then politely declining to see her again if she gets in touch later.

People have probably been shitty to her already. That's why she put up misleading pictures. Being cruel (even in the guise of honesty) again to teach her a lesson isn't going to accomplish anything. Not that it's your responsibility to be kind to her; I suppose it's within the bounds of reasonableness to say something polite about "not what I expected" and bail. But I can't imagine feeling compelled to do that. I think in most scenarios, if you're choosing between being kind and being right, you've misunderstood the choice.
posted by little cow make small moo at 8:26 AM on July 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


I've had maybe 2 or 3 internet dates ever where the guy looked a lot like his photo. Generally the guys have to find me because I don't recognize them and then I can tell a vague resemblance. Usually they look like they could be the far less attractive and older cousin of the person in their photo.

I don't think this is intentional. Never underestimate a person's disconnect from what they really look like and the image they see in their head.

Don't be cruel. Don't go on a date unless you've seen multiple clear photos of the person and don't ever commit to more that a drink on a weeknight or a coffee on Sunday afternoon.

One day someone is going to meet you and be horribly disappointed and you'll appreciate that they didn't act as though you were so repellent that they wouldnt even have a drink with them and make a little polite conversation. It's really just basic decency.

Although you do get to be an asshole if they misrepresented their marital status, age or some other objective thing about themselves that in no way could be the result of simple denial or a mistake that they clearly knew would be a dealbreaker.
posted by whoaali at 8:42 AM on July 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


Just be nice, what's a few hours and a few drinks? Seriously.

You're not being "not nice" when you terminate the interaction. The other party was arguably "not nice" when they suckered you into spending time with them by using an unrepresentative photo. It doesn't make sense to spend money on drinks (or A drink) with someone with whom you have no intention of having anything further to do.

Arguably it's "not nice" to go through with the date and give her false hope. No need to be cruel, just say "this is not going to work, have a nice night."
posted by jayder at 8:59 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


In general, I think that explicitly misrepresenting yourself on a profile is wrong. (I once came upon the profile of a co-worker who I knew had a daughter that lived with his ex and the profile said he had no children. This creeped me out tremendously.) But with photos, it's really hard to say whether this is "misrepresentation" or not. Photos do weird things to people. I think that most of my photos look worse than I do, in real life, and when I was on OKC, I used only a headshot because I didn't want anyone who would message me due to a bodytype. In short, unless the difference is radical (like over 100 lbs heavier than in the photo), I think what she was doing was marketing rather than lying, so the OP needs to lighten up and just not go out on any other dates if he isn't attracted to the lady.

On preview: what whoaali said.
posted by Kurichina at 9:37 AM on July 20, 2011


It doesn't make sense to spend money on drinks (or A drink) with someone with whom you have no intention of having anything further to do.

Of course it doesn't make sense. But to get up and leave, tell them (even politely) "Sorry, this isn't going to work out", makes the whole thing sound very mercenary. Like a business transaction. And I guess it's not wrong to view dating that way, but it just sours me on the whole process of online dating, or even dating itself in general.
posted by FJT at 9:44 AM on July 20, 2011


Your profile should mostly be about who you are to give someone a good idea about you. Trying to use it as a filter is not really what profiles are good for, you should use things like actual filters and settings (to prevent smokers/religious people/whatever from showing up in searches or sending you messages) and just plain reading people's profiles to figure out if they are incompatible with you. Most likely the people who are so clueless that they can ignore that your profile says you like hanging out at home and reading and think you want to go clubbing every night with them are the same people who don't bother to read or understand your explicit requirements for people contacting you.

I put things like that in my profiles because on the site I used, even though I would indicate in my "what are you looking for?" settings that smoking and religion were dealbreakers, self-identifying Christian dudes and dudes who smoked (at least, they indicated this in their profile settings) would still message me. I found that laying out a clear statement in the text of my profile stopped dudes from messaging me and getting mad at me when I would gently point out our incompatibility.

Please note, I am not saying this should be the only text in your profile. Good lord, why on earth would anyone suggest that? Yes, your profile should be about you -- how is listing out specific dealbreakers NOT information about you and what you're like?

A few years back I was in a six-month relationship with a guy I'd met via the local alt-weekly's personals. The profile questions included "What are your favorite local haunts", and I answered truthfully that I like this bar or that restaurant, blah blah, but I tend to be a homebody who mostly socializes at friends' houses and not bars. This guy had said similar things in his profile, but when we broke up after six months he told me that what he had really wanted was a girlfriend who would drag him out to all the clubs and "know where the party's at", and that he figured my statement that I'm a homebody was just one of those personals-ad exaggerations like "I'm equally comfortable in jeans or a cocktail dress". I, in turn, had no idea that he wanted a club-goer, because he hadn't specified that.

I see now that he is still out on the personals, but he's updated his profile to be more specific about what he DOESN'T want -- his profile currently says something like "I'm an introvert but I need lots of interpersonal stimulation in between my bouts of alone time, staying in all weekend drives me insane so if that's your thing we won't be a good match." He's also more specific about what he DOES want, what he likes, what his current hobbies are, et cetera. We have mutual Facebook friends and from what I hear through the grapevine, he's much happier and more successful in the dating world. I had much more success and was a lot happier when I started being more specific about my dealbreakers and "must-haves" in my profile as well. I feel it's a win-win for everyone.
posted by palomar at 9:57 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was the fat online-dating girl, once upon a time. Believe you me, I blamed every failed date on my weight, even the ones where I didn't like the guy anyway.

If your date's misrepresentation was as blatant and extreme as you describe, yeah, that's shady. But it's likely to be a sore emotional point for her. If you call her out on this, she's not going to hear "you misrepresented yourself, and that's dishonest." She's going to hear "you're fat, and that's repulsive." You're not going to teach her anything, you're just going to make her feel like shit.

She probably picked right up on the fact that you were put off when you met her, anyway. Don't rub salt in it.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:03 AM on July 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yeah but the first date should only be about one hour long anyway. It's not a date at that point so much as a narrow-eyed pre-screening disguised as a date.

I have very very little discretionary time (like, 45 minutes on a good a day) and I find that one hour actually is quite costly, especially when you factor in time to get to and from the meeting point; it's more like two hours. If I'm just not attracted to the person, that's the risk you take. But if I was expecting a single greenie and I got a Monsanto exec whose wife doesn't understand him, I'd begrudge that wasted hour quite a lot.
posted by tel3path at 10:13 AM on July 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Last year I came across an attractive profile on a dating site. The site decided we had very high compatibility. I happened to know this person in real life as an acquaintance/coworker. I noticed that the photos on the dating site looked nothing like her. She was much, much heavier in person. Having met her, I had never thought of her as someone I might like to date--and yes, because of the weight. But if I had seen the profile first, I probably would've thought otherwise.

I would have been angry, as you were, if I had met her through the dating site first, based on her profile. I wouldn't have been angry because of the weight--I simply wouldn't have been attracted to her--but because of the dishonesty. I know this because after I saw the profile, the lie made me think badly of her character. I never made an effort to be friends with her because of it. Lying is a dealbreaker for me, not only for partners but for friends as well.

If I had met her through the dating site, I probably would've had coffee, gone home, and not called her back. But I'm not very confrontational. I think I'd be within my rights to say, "Look, you're not how you represented yourself on your profile. This isn't going to work out." I wouldn't be cruel, but I don't think it would be wrong to walk away as soon as I realized I had been misled.
posted by smorange at 10:15 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Suffering through the date is a horrible thing to do because it gives her false hope that he is attracted to her. What if she really liked J. Wilson? He's never going to call again. It's her own fault, yeah, but why participate in that waste of time? I recommend against going through with the date; if there's no attraction and never will be, it's pointless at best and harmful at worst.
posted by desjardins at 11:02 AM on July 20, 2011


I guess I'm on the "be polite" end because I have been in the OP's exact situation a few times (like, I met the girl and she clearly had about 75-100 more pounds on her frame than in her pictures) and while I was not attracted and disappointed it was still possible for us to both have a good time. And I could not imagine telling her straight up "You're fatter than your photos." I went ahead with the date, we talked, enjoyed ourselves (even though she's an OMG LIAAAAAAR), and at the end of the date went our separate ways. I declined further dates. You be polite and make the best of the situation.


(I would not and have not ever used the "text message emergency" technique I described above--but if OP is the type who cannot possibly imagine not ditching the date then it's a hell of a lot better of going "You dirty fat liar" and leaving her at the bar.)
posted by schroedinger at 11:18 AM on July 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Echoing what others have said and follow 'golden rule'.

Imagine if that girl was Mila. She agreed to a date with a dude who sounded interesting and fun on his online profle.

You met and Mila could tell immediately she wasn't attracted to you. Of course, it would be rude to leave upon meeting for that reason alone, and sometimes people are nervous meeting on a first date. But this was an extreme difference, and your description of yourself was surely embellished, exaggerated or otherwise deliberately misleading.

How should Mila have played that? Should she have said something about what a dud you are? Walked away? What's ok or not ok to do there?
posted by seesom at 12:57 PM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing is, when you make a date with someone, you make a date. You agree to meet for a drink, or coffee, or dinner or what-have-you. It's "let's meet for a drink" not "let's meet in person, we can size each other up and make a split second decision whether you are good enough to actually have a drink with."

If personal appearance is so important, make the first meeting a short one, so that you can establish whether there is any possibility of chemistry without a huge time commitment. Or don't do the online thing at all, and only date people you meet in person first.

Before online dating, people often went on blind dates. If one party showed up, looked at their prospective date and then bailed, I think that would have been considered pretty rude, and it would have gotten back to the people who set them up. Look, online dating is a gamble, and people use their profiles to put their best foot forward.

Back in my single days I encountered plenty of guys who lied about their height, their hair (or lack thereof) or the fact that they were looking for someone to raise their children. But I was always polite, and even cordial, because you know what? We all have our burdens to carry, and I didn't think it was my place to add to theirs.
posted by ambrosia at 1:10 PM on July 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


That only works if you assume that misrepresenting oneself is an inevitable part of the dating process and that someone who lies is entitled to go unquestioned even when the lie is obvious.

If I misrepresented myself to the point of absurdity, of course I wouldn't want to be confronted about it, and I probably wouldn't welcome any feedback. That doesn't mean somebody "shouldn't" question me, though I agree that in this case it clearly isn't worth it.
posted by tel3path at 1:14 PM on July 20, 2011


All I'm saying is that when I met a guy for coffee whose profile said he was 5'9" and he turned out to be more like 5'6", I had my coffee and had a cordial chat. And when he emailed again to set up another date, I declined. Should I have said, "Dude, your profile says you are three inches taller than you actually are, what's up with that?" He knows how tall he is, and unlike the woman in the OP's scenario, he is never ever going to be three inches taller. She might actually lose the weight, but as Space Kitty wisely noted, shaming her isn't likely to help.
posted by ambrosia at 1:25 PM on July 20, 2011


If you'd like some help finding a kinder way to frame this, I may be able to assist.

Lying implies intent. It is possible that she's unaware how different her current day appearance is from the photos she's posted and that no deceit entered into her intent . I know that many - in fact, most - people are equipped with an everyday vanity that makes that seem unlikely, but it is possible. I somehow gained 30+ pounds genuinely without noticing. I'm short and this is significant weight for me.

Yesterday I was in a bar with my husband and we struck up a conversation with a friendly tourist. I later remarked to my husband that it is a continual surprise to me that I am not that man's age peer - he's probably 10 years younger than we are, but he's exactly the age at which I think of my self as being (and appearing.)

Apparently, while I'm well-equipped with emotional self-awareness, I lack a particular type of appearance self-awareness. I will perpetually picture myself as 28, reasonably fit and punching soildly in the attractiveness stakes. I realise on some level that this is no longer the case, but only in the abstract. It doesn't really impact my sense of who I am fundamentally.

In your date's situation, it might also not impact the photos I chose to represent myself. I understand that you may not understand that; I'm simply saying that she may not be actively lying.

In any case, I'd say nothing. I'm not sure what benefit would be achieved. Either she will figure out there's a problem through her experience of no second dates, or she'll come to terms with the fact that her ploy is not working.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:29 PM on July 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


It's not uncommon to meet people who don't look anything like their profile pictures when it comes to online dating. Keep the first meeting short and inexpensive. You can always extend the date if you're having fun, or better yet look forward to a longer more traditional date for next time should the first meeting go well. Online dating is hit or miss. That's why I think you should meet with someone as quick as possible so as to not build up false hopes at to what the other person is like face to face. You'll never know until you actually meet. I will also say this...don't be so quick to judge someone based on physical appearance. I'm not saying you should pursue a relationship with someone who you're not physically attracted to...but(and I'm sure you've heard this) looks will fade. The most thin and beautiful person can gain weight and lose their looks. But people's souls, their hearts...almost always stay the same for most of their adult life. So give people a shot. If you know you're not interested, have some tact. It's just coffee, a drink, or a bite to eat. It's the opportunity to meet someone new regardless of whether it turns into the one. Be polite.
posted by ljs30 at 1:29 PM on July 20, 2011


Supposing I met a guy for coffee who said he was a postdoc at Kings, but it turned out that he only had two semesters of a distance-learning Bachelor's degree and that that was twenty years ago. And that I found this out not because he said so, but because I Googled him and was immediately confronted with irrefutable evidence.

He probably said it because he felt "less than" and selfconscious about his education and not having had the same opportunities in life as I did, right?

And if I said something like, "So, Bob, I'm a little confused about your postdoc position, how is that possible without a doctorate?" because nobody wants to be called stupid and publicly humiliated like that.

Or I might just keep my mouth shut for my own safety, in that case. But I'm not obligated to think highly of him for it.
posted by tel3path at 1:32 PM on July 20, 2011


jayder: "I don't understand why anyone would suggest that he spend ANY time with her after realizing that her photos misrepresent her appearance."

I wouldn't want to have someone so grossly misrepresent who they are. That's a real problem, and I say that as someone who is not prejudiced against weight at all. The dishonesty would bother me.
But there are real benefits for J. Wilson if he is just polite and moves on.

Just saying, "Oh, hey! I didn't recognize you from your picture," is fine. It points out how different she looks and gives her an out ('Oh, yeah, that was before I started taking this anti-depressant/gained all this weight/was cursed by a gypsy', etc.). But maybe she volunteers nothing, and it's clear she isn't going to.

So you have a short date, and then politely let her know that although you appreciate the chance to meet up in person, you're really not feeling like this is going anywhere, and you wish her well. Good night.

Now, when that woman goes home, you know what she's not going to do? She's not going to go around the internet, bad-mouthing J. Wilson for calling her fat or embarrassing her in public. She's not going to email all her friends to tell them what a jerk this guy is. She's not going to say that he dumped her because of he weight. She's not going to feel shitty about herself.

And that works for the OP, too. He might end up dating someone else on that dating website, or another one, and he won't have to worry that his past is going to come back to haunt him.
posted by misha at 1:41 PM on July 20, 2011


"There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind."
- Kurt Vonnegut

Yes, your date messed up. However, there is no reason to be cruel or insensitive even if she lied to you. You're never going to see her again and it takes so little to be kind.

In the future, make sure first dates are short dates (tea or coffee, not dinner and a movie).
posted by deborah at 2:48 PM on July 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


I haven't read the 113 responses above so I don't know if this is repetitive.

It's not the misrepresentation per se but your choice of words that has prompted me to write here.

Are you sure she deliberately, actively and intentionally "misrepresented" herself?

I know the picture and the person didn't match. But did you try to ask why? That was probably the key question you should have tried to get an answer to. Anything as simple but non-accusatory as "You look a little different from your pic!" would get the right response from any sensibly online-dating person.

Stress for one can make one lose/gain a ton of weight in an amazingly short time. All bodies are different. Who knows why she looks different.

I know you are not attracted to her as a heavier person but if you didn't try to know the reason at all, you do deserve to feel disappointed and let-down. And frankly, the results for both parties seem to be in their best interests so maybe get over it already?
posted by xm at 4:28 PM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree with the people who said you should post your weight and appearance requirements on your profile, or describe them in a message before you go on the first date. That way fat girls won't waste your time, and you won't have to deal with awkward in-person meetings. And, you won't waste the time of girls who don't want to go on dates with people who "don't have a good time" because they're sitting across from a fat girl. I'm a size 2, and I can guarantee you would be wasting mine.
posted by crackingdes at 6:55 PM on July 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


If you go into online dating with the idea that "honesty" requires telepathic understanding of the prejudices of any potential date, it's not going to be very useful or much fun.

"Not what I expected" does not equal "lying." First IRL dates show you all sorts of things about people's personalities online versus offline, as well as your own expectations.

Even though online dating has been around for about 10 years, I feel like we really haven't figured it out yet.

More like 20. None of these services are remarkably different from the dating BBSs of the early 90s.
posted by desuetude at 11:17 PM on July 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


No mind-reading was required from her, as he made his preferences plain when he set up a date with someone answering the description she provided.

How about this, instead: she could have put a disclaimer on her own profile saying "my appearance may have changed since this photo was taken." if, as seems to be the caae, she couldn't be expected to put up a new photo? That would weed out shallow respondents, and conform to the level of non-game-playing honesty that MeFites usually take such a hard line on.
posted by tel3path at 12:11 AM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, presumably there were other things besides the picture that made these two want to go ahead and set up a date. That's why the "and a bad time was had by all" narrative doesn't make sense to me. If you're not happy with the picture/reality match up, just talk about Harry Potter or Cut Copy or that funny story from your trip to Jamaica that you'd emailed her about before the date, and then just bounce off politely and don't ask for more dates.
posted by sweetkid at 6:57 AM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I had a more or less identical experience as the OP with an online date years and years ago. I take some of the blame in that case since my suspicion levels were raised based on the woman's profile pic being an obviously heavily touched up "Glamour Shots" photo (always a bit of a red flag in online dating when none of the included pictures are candids). Still, it came as quite a shock when the woman who introduced herself to me at the restaurant that night bore little to no resemblance to the woman from the profile. Honestly, I don't understand the logic behind this behavior. I mean, if I suddenly found myself single again and decided to try online dating I have little doubt that a photo of me from 10 years ago would likely attract more attention than a more current one. But to what purpose? Inevitably setting up a potential date to be disappointed in your physical appearance once they meet you in the flesh seems like a bizarre strategy if the goal is a successful date that leads to others.

In my case, I continued on with the date, if I'm being honest probably due as much to me being really bad at confrontations and awkward conversations as me being some sort of super nice, polite guy.

I find some of the harsh attitudes towards the OP to be out of line here. The only “shaming” I see going on in this thread are those who are trying to portray the OP as some sort of overly superficial jerk for being upset that a date consciously misrepresented herself. The suggestions that he specifically note in his profile that he only wants to date fit, stick-thin woman come off as really passive-aggressive. Wanting your date to bear at least some resemblance to their profile photo doesn’t make one a shallow jerk. And I really don’t understand the purpose behind the “Short guys often claim they're taller” or “Bald guys often put up profile photos of when they had hair” comments. Because lots of other people engage in dishonest behavior makes it ok?
posted by The Gooch at 9:35 AM on July 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


The suggestions that he specifically note in his profile that he only wants to date fit, stick-thin woman come off as really passive-aggressive. Wanting your date to bear at least some resemblance to their profile photo doesn’t make one a shallow jerk.

Seriously. There are a lot of folks on here who need to step back and check what's going on with themselves: it may upset you that some people prefer certain body types, but that's tough. Them's the breaks. I myself am mostly bald and short, and when I've used dating sites in the past I've been diligent about not exaggerating my height, and posting up-to-date pictures (within the last six months at least) that show what I currently look like. They can (and should) be nice shots of course, favoring my better qualities, but they are not deceptive.

As many others have noted, it is not out of line for the OP to be upset that he was misled. Take the fact that he was misled as to this woman's body type out of it, or flip it so that this was a woman meeting a bald, short man instead, and the chorus of shouting voices here would dim considerably, I suspect.

In any case, this is still a bit far afield from the original question: what should he do? Maybe the solution is not one to specify particular body types or activities (as others have noted, body type does not necessarily correlate to healthful activity) in his profile, but rather to emphasize the importance of honesty and straightforward communication in his relationships, since this is the actual issue here. That may be more likely to weed out these people in the first place than any sort of indicators of the body type he is interested in.

And finally, how to deal with this when finally getting into the situation where he is faced with a date with someone he didn't realize he was going to be on a date with? Well, I agree that there is no reason to treat this woman poorly out of some need to seek retribution. That just seems pointlessly cruel. The suggestions to structure the dates as events that could be quite short in the first place seem smart. But I also feel like there is no need to humor someone for very long if they have misled you. I think it is reasonable, if the OP is comfortable with it, to state clearly something like, "I'm sorry, but your picture was obviously quite different from your actual appearance, and I'm feeling misled. This doesn't give me a good feeling, and I'm going to have to bow out—I don't think this is a good place for us to start." That gives this person some food for thought which may actually be useful, not cruel, if it is not about her weight but the act of being misled. I don't know that there is necessarily much that is kind about burning an hour or whatever, leading her on, only to have her guessing when the OP never calls or mails her back other than a curt "sorry it's not for me" sort of message. There is something to be said for being honest here, I believe.
posted by dubitable at 6:27 PM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


No mind-reading was required from her, as he made his preferences plain when he set up a date with someone answering the description she provided.

Eh, not everyone focuses on the same characteristics to the same extent. I wouldn't think to preemptively disclose that I dye my hair, but to the chagrin of some, I'm not actually a natural redhead. What if your description doesn't specifically disclose that you're a Trekkie? Or a Republican? And, echoing what was said upthread, what if she were 100 pounds lighter than her photo?
posted by desuetude at 8:10 PM on July 21, 2011


Eh, not everyone focuses on the same characteristics to the same extent. I wouldn't think to preemptively disclose that I dye my hair, but to the chagrin of some, I'm not actually a natural redhead. What if your description doesn't specifically disclose that you're a Trekkie? Or a Republican?

These hypotheticals are not analogous to the OP's situation. What his date did was intentionally misleading, which is not the same thing as neglecting to disclose every last minute detail about oneself.

To use what I believe to be a more apples to apples analogy, if a man claimed in his profile that he earns over 100K per year, when in reality his annual salary is more in the 35K range, I wouldn't think a woman who agreed to date him based on that information was necessarily some sort of superficial gold digger if she was upset at being misled.
posted by The Gooch at 9:11 PM on July 21, 2011


What his date did was intentionally misleading

How do you know that for sure?
posted by palomar at 9:28 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


[folks, we're getting far afield from the original question in a difficult thread, please do not turn this into a discussion of the word golddigger, thanks]
posted by jessamyn at 5:53 AM on July 22, 2011


I suppose it is possible that a person could gain 100 pounds and be in sufficient denial about it that they could post a picture of themselves 100 pounds thinner and fully believe that it's accurate. In that case, though, the denial could turn out to be as problematic in a relationship as outright lying; I would have difficulty dealing with someone so unwilling to face reality and so likely to insist that I play along.

It's also possible that they could, due to a medical condition, gain weight so very very quickly that it wasn't possible to put up a new picture, but that's not really believable, because in that case how were they able to find clothes big enough to get dressed and leave the house but not able to put up a new photo? The only plausible explanation for that would be that the change was so fast they didn't have time to incorporate such a dramatic change into their self-image. In which case, they might at least proffer an explanation "I've gone on [x treatment] this week so that's why I've changed so much from last week's photo." That she didn't do this may not indict her for deception, per se, but it certainly leaves something unexplained that needed to be explained.

It's always possible to turn yourself into a pretzel to think of good-faith reasons why someone would say something that clearly is not true, but that just leads you down another problematic path.

If you want to be accepted as you are the best chance of attaining that is presenting yourself as you are. People who insist that you accept them as they aren't can be very difficult to relate to.
posted by tel3path at 6:52 AM on July 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


[Very seriously dial it back. Do not speculate on people's favorites. If you can't reply to this without fighting with other people, please go for a walk. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 1:49 PM on July 22, 2011


Thanks for the many thoughtful answers; there's a lot to think about here.

As I tried to make clear, we were talking about literally a 100 pound difference -- that's far beyond the scope of using a flattering picture, and is plainly a lie. Absent that lie, we never would have made a date, and an hour and a half out of a night isn't a negligible time commitment to me, so I think I was right to feel annoyed by this, in stark contrast to a blind date or a first internet date where one or both of just wound up not liking the other.

I still don't know what I would do if this were to happen in the future. I don't regret having sat through the date, in the sense that being a jerk and saying something hurtful isn't something I want to do. On the other hand, it's quite possible she picked up on my discomfort despite my attempt to put on a good face. And maybe not being treated with honesty and respect justifies a different reaction. Fortunately, in my experience and contrary to some of the pessimistic views in this thread, people are very honest on dating sites (about what they look like, what they do, their marital status, what they like, and everything else I would care about other than chemistry, which obviously can't be predicted) -- so I don't expect this to happen again, and I'm not looking for advice on how to avoid this kind of situation.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:37 AM on July 23, 2011


Someone wasted a bit of your time, and hers. You care about weight and looks, and so does she, but she hasn't dealt with her real weight. You keep 1st dates short because people deceive themselves and others, and because people are unable to truly present themselves online, and because we all perceive ourselves differently than other perceive us. If a girl says she's really sweet, and is really not, would you have posted this? Maybe your profile should be one of the ones that says "Looks and weight matter to me."
posted by theora55 at 10:03 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


To me, you handled it exactly how you should have handled it (to address your original question). I don't feel that you are obligated to act like you are having a great time if you aren't. If she picked up on that, so it goes. I think you are justified to feel a bit annoyed, but it sounds like you managed your annoyance in a kind and generous manner.

I also think you would have been justified in winding up the date a little earlier than you did, but that can be tricky. From my (limited) online dating experience, this sort of disconnect between a profile and reality doesn't happen terribly often (although as people have said, lesser examples happen fairly regularly).

I won't get into the idea of changing your profile in various ways, because you haven't asked about that here - but I will point out that I know more than a few people who have been very specific about what they want in profiles and have had that ignored, and also a curvy person who was contacted by someone who was really over-the-top in their profile about how much body-types other than slender disgusted them, so . . .
posted by Nabubrush at 11:22 AM on July 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe your profile should be one of the ones that says "Looks and weight matter to me."

I hardly think expecting your date to be within 100 pounds of his or her profile photo necessitates branding yourself with this sort of, "By the way, in case there is any confusion, I'm a really superficial jerk" tag, as much as some people here want to shame the OP by projecting this attitude onto him.
posted by The Gooch at 11:39 AM on July 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


I am sorry to hear that your date didn't go well. I don't think that it is right to post misleading photos of oneself. I am certain that it was incredibly irritating to feel as those she wasted your time.

However, if I were you, I would just consider it the cost of doing business on a dating site. You can never guarantee that someone's photos are accurate. That's the nature of not meeting in person.

I don't think you should have said anything, personally. You already knew you weren't going to be going on a second date with her. I am glad to hear that you were polite enough to sit through the date.

Consider the alternatives: demanding only recent pictures from your prospective dates? Making a comment about the body types you like in your profile? Video chatting before every date? If I was messaging someone and they asked to video chat before setting up a date I would totally be suspicious that they didn't think I looked like my pictures, and would not be interested anymore.

I went on an OKCupid date with a gentleman who, when I met him, had obviously gained a significant amount of weight since his photos. It was such a shame because the stark contrast was distracting and I was not attracted to him at all. Had he had more accurate photos, I probably still would have gone out with him and maybe it would have worked out differently, who knows.

Regardless, though, I didn't call him out on it. I accepted that it happens, and had a lovely coffee date. I told him later that I didn't feel the spark but that I wished him the best. He was very nice. I am glad I was not rude enough to bring up the obvious discrepancy.
posted by amicamentis at 11:47 AM on July 23, 2011


« Older Help Mefites! Stupid fireplac...   |  Mid 30s and healthy. Who shoul... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.