Should I reveal to my upcoming quasi-blind quasi-date that I look different than he expects me to?
August 21, 2012 9:01 AM   Subscribe

Should I (and if so, how should I) reveal to my upcoming quasi-blind quasi-date that I look different than he expects me to?

I created an OKCupid profile about two years ago and had some good dating experiences. I stopped using the site when some health problems arose (plus a romantic heartbreak), and since then I've added about 30% to the weight I was in the head-and-shoulders picture of me on the site.

I've gotten the health issues mostly under control and am starting to lose weight now. I've successfully lost a significant amount of weight in the past, so I feel confident that I know how to do it, and thus very optimistic that I'll be back to my previous shape in a year or so. I have never been and will never be "skinny," or particularly athletic, and am at peace with that... but still, this isn't the difference of just an extra love handle or a single dress size.

I hadn't really planned on starting dating again anytime soon, but a few weeks ago I re-activated my profile while bored (and, admittedly, lustful), and started just poking around a little. As a result of that activity, I was "discovered" and contacted by an old college classmate who I haven't seen in 15+ years and who is apparently a fantastic "match" across every OKC dimension. We've emailed a handful of times with warm reminiscing as well as explicit flirting and some forward sexual innuendo (initiated by him and reciprocated by me). We never knew each other well, but it's a small school and there's often a kind of automatic feeling of connection among alumni, so I can't help but feel there's a bit of extra "oomph," and trust, between us than there might be for total strangers who meet via an online dating site. For what it's worth, he always came across as a smart, kind, interesting, good guy (and very physically attactive (to me))

Now we're planning to get together in three days, Friday night.

I think that an objective reader of our emails would say that Friday is a date, with the mutual hope that there is a physical if not also romantic relationship worth exploring. That said, there was also a clear underlying spirit of "of course we should grab a friendly drink and gossip about what our other classmates have been up to," more as a networking/buddy connection, no more significant than Facebook friend-ing, just in person.

In case it's useful as context, his profile says that he prefers "average" body types (the other three options were "slim"/"fuller figured"/"i don't care"), and he hasn't answered any of the questions that let you signal that someone being overweight is a dealbreaker, etc.. Also, I'm pretty sure he's a boob man, and I've certainly got those. On the other hand, he was a competitive athlete at school, is still extremely fit, and lists exercise as one of his "six things I can't live without."

Assuming we get along in person as well as we both currently expect we will, my ideal outcome would be that we develop an affectionate fuckbuddy relationship (even just a great one-night stand), and if I were more slim/fit, I'd think I had a really good shot at that. His profile indicates that he's ideally hoping to find a long-term relationship, but I know he still enjoys less-committed adult romps as well. Even with my current shape, I feel very confident about my sexual appeal, skills, and attitude.

I feel like my options are:

A. Just show up Friday, be confident, and go with the flow
B. Just show up Friday, but apologize at some point for the possible disconnect between my profile picture and reality and explain my health/body situation and outlook in high-level terms
C. Email or call him before Friday to say, hey, just wanted to mention that I didn't expect to be "found" on my outdated profile, so I hadn't updated my pictures, but FYI, I'm plump
D. Email or call him before Friday to clarify that I only want to meet up as friends, thereby taking any attraction issues/expectations off the table and being upfront that I'm not looking for a serious relationship
E. Say nothing directly, but try to communicate via my profile more accurate info about my appearance, e.g., change body type to Overweight or Curvy or Full Figured or something (I never know what the hell each is supposed to mean, guidance welcome), delete old photos and add a current-weight one, etc.. As a complicating factor, because we moved to "real" email almost right away, it appears that he hasn't looked at my profile in the past 10 days.
F. Cancel Friday, either explicitly telling him I don't think I'm ready for this, or just making up a white lie and fading away or maybe rescheduling for much later (I'll be doing a job rotation abroad all September)
G. Some approach I'm missing?

I have troubles with shame (in general, not just my body), and my M.O. in general has been to avoid emotional risk, vulnerability and judgment at almost all costs. I'm working on that, but I know it's not this guy's problem, nor can he fix it. Still, I'm scared.

So, wise metafilter, how do you think I should proceed to maximize happiness and minimize... the opposite? I'd truly appreciate any advice you can give.

(Also, if I go, what the hell should I wear??)
posted by mauvest to Human Relations (44 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Maybe you could find some smooth way to share a recent photo with him without explaining anything or making any excuses? ("Here's me at that concert last week I wrote to you about")
posted by Perplexity at 9:06 AM on August 21, 2012 [13 favorites]

I pick A.
E seems strange and nit-picky and he'll never notice and if he does it might be weird.
F is dumb.
I don't know much about men but I feel like it's probably a date.. you know, probably 90% of people on OKC are more overweight than their pictures show. And anyway, if you feel comfortable as the night progresses, maybe bring it up like "Oh, THIS? I've been having some health problems, nbd..."
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 9:07 AM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Honestly, I would just go with A - show up, be confident, etc. If your profile pic is just head and shoulders, there probably isn't even a big difference between that picture and your current look.

I think all your other options are kind of weird. I'm sure you're still attractive at 30% over your old weight...we're not talking 100 lbs here. Good luck!
posted by barnoley at 9:09 AM on August 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

I vote tell him. Its disingenuous not to tell him, and he may automatically DQ you for withholding the truth.
posted by emilynoa at 9:09 AM on August 21, 2012 [6 favorites]

Guy here: I'd go with C or close to it.

Lotsa men (myself among them) and women find substantially inaccurate profile information to be an immediate deal-breaker.

There's always the long-odds success story,but in that scenario, I s'pose some guys might try to get some fast, hit-and-run poontang while not liking or actually disliking the person, but it seems that's not what you're looking for.
posted by ambient2 at 9:10 AM on August 21, 2012 [7 favorites]

Just show up and see what happens. All the fat ladies I know are happily married or partnered. Having gained weight doesn't make you a pariah who needs an alibi.

But, if what is concerning you is that he will see you, be surprised by the change in your appearance, and think you're a shallow person who puts older, more flattering photos of yourself on dating sites, and that you'll be crushed by watching his face fall, then maybe send him an email with a more recent picture "so he'll be able to recognize you."

The idea that because you've gained 40 or 50 pounds it's your moral obligation to announce preemptively that you're not looking for sex because you know you don't deserve it because of your shameful fat doesn't make sense. Please get some help with that stuff when it's possible.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:11 AM on August 21, 2012 [25 favorites]

Can you send a current photo on the excuse that it will help him ID you for the meetup? Explain at that time your profile wasn't current and you are the process of losing the weight you gained due to a health hiccup, so your wppearance is a moving target anyway. Don't mention insecurities, etc. Try to leave the meetup in ambiguous, quasi date territory without making him feel deceived. He can decide whether or not to friend zone you but you don't force him upfront to decide to treat you merely as a sex object. He can still talk to you like an actual human being even if he wouldn't hit that.

Best of luck.
posted by Michele in California at 9:17 AM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

It would be considerate to send him a more recent photo of you, just so he knows what to expect. I like Perplexity's idea of offering it in an unrelated context, or you could be like, "We haven't seen each other in ages so here's a recent photo of me, just in case you don't recognize me after all this time, ha ha."

You don't need to preemptively remove yourself from the situation because you fear he won't be attracted to you. It sounds like you haven't explicitly planned a date, so if he doesn't offer an "I'm hot for you" vibe it can just be a fun reconnecting with a friend hangout and no harm done. You guys seem to have lovely chemistry, so even if the sexual attraction doesn't pan out I'm sure you'll still have a great time together. But I think if he thought you were cute back in the day when you were the same body type, he'll probably still think you're cute at this weight.
posted by milk white peacock at 9:17 AM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

E is something you should do anyway, because it's idiotic to have photos and descriptions of yourself on OKCupid that aren't an accurate representation of what you look like now, since the point is to meet people in person so they're going to see what you look like now eventually. "I used to be hotter" is not actually a selling point.

So I think "Hey, wanted to be sure we recognized each other Friday; my OKCupid photo is X years/months old, so attached is a photo of me from (recent event or whatever). What about you? Have you grown giant muttonchops? Moved to dreadlocks?" or something similar would get whatever awkwardness you anticipate out of the way.

Nobody on Earth ever wants to hear anyone else talk about their weight, why they gained weight, how they're in the process of losing it, blah blah blah, when they're getting together with old friends.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:19 AM on August 21, 2012 [24 favorites]

Since this is someone you have known before, I think I like C, along with mentioning you have had a health issue. You are already friends, so I think there is safety in that.
posted by Vaike at 9:21 AM on August 21, 2012

I say A, with perhaps a slight helping of could update your OKC profile with a few more pictures, some updated personal interest info, and add that you're interested in friendship so he doesn't think you're trying to revamp romantic inquiries before you even date him. If he sees it before your date, he'll see the new pictures

I really don't think he'll care. You haven't seen him in a long time, and all he has to go by is a headshot. I naturally assume everyone I haven't seen in a while has gained weight, just because, well, life.

Don't worry about this at all. Have fun!
posted by phunniemee at 9:21 AM on August 21, 2012

[Folks, it's easier to remove deleteworthy comments if you don't reply to them. Please be constructive.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:22 AM on August 21, 2012

I think I would email him, tell him your pictures are a little out of date, and include a recent, flattering picture "so he can recognize you." No need to mention your weight gain in the email. If health or exercise habits come up on your date, you can talk about it then.
posted by insectosaurus at 9:22 AM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

I think it's only fair that you're honest with him. He is allowed to have preferences and your outdated profile is not the best reflection of what you look like now.

Send him an updated picture that better reflects how you look now and just sent it with a note that "This is a more up-to-date picture so you know who you're looking for Friday! Really looking forward to catching up with you."

I think you'll be fine if you do that.
posted by inturnaround at 9:25 AM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

Is there a way to schedule a Skype session with him before the date? "Just wanted to talk face-to-face before meeting for the first time," would be the way I'd put it.
posted by xingcat at 9:32 AM on August 21, 2012

Do not "explain" about your weight! Seriously, that's just inappropriate. Your body image issues and health issues are yours to manage. They're not something old college acquaintances want to discuss while they're catching up.

But do fix your profile and photos to be more accurate, so that you aren't having this whole melodrama every time you meet someone from OKCupid. If that means that guys who are looking for women who weigh what you used to don't pursue you there, so be it; if they pursue you right now, they're not going to find what they're looking for anyway, and perhaps be miffed that you were being misleading to boot.

I have a lot of women (and men) friends who are driven to distraction by male online daters posting misleading photos.* 60 pounds ago, 15 years ago, you name it. One man who had lost an arm didn't mention it and posted photos of himself before the amputation! My friend who encountered this gentleman would have been fine with dating an amputee, but not so much with someone who was so enmeshed in shame. "Did he think I wasn't going to notice?" he asked.

People's bodies change. How they respond to that says a lot about their characters. Prevaricating and denial are not attractive qualities.

(* For whatever reason, the men and women of my acquaintance who are looking to meet women for dating haven't chosen to use online sites, but I imagine there's an equal level of pointless dishonesty across women's profiles...)
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:32 AM on August 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

I say A, but during your gossiping/laughing/having a cocktail, crack some sort of joke or slip in a nonchalant comment that you're ridiculously happy to be over your health issue and because of that you can FINALLY start exercising agaiin. Then ask him about what kind of outdoor activities he likes to do now.
posted by floweredfish at 9:34 AM on August 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

I would update your profile and just show up with confidence. lots, maybe most, people gain weight during and after college. I don't think a head and shoulders picture would be that much different with a "30% weight gain" except maybe in your cheeks, though real #s may be more helpful in figuring that out than a percentage.

I have a friend who is overweight and doing online dating. Of the people she meets in person, she has a 50/50 success rate of future dates. Noone has ever told her that the reason for turning her down is weight. Even if this meeting doesn't lead to anything, please don't jump to the conclusion that it's your weight. That's a quick way to develop a soul sucking complex.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:42 AM on August 21, 2012

Please go with C. You don't need to apologize or back out of the date- just update him neutrally.

This isn't about what you look like- you SHOULD and CAN still be sexy and dateable at any size.

It's about misrepresenting yourself. Whether or not he would find you attractive at your current size, if you represent yourself differently before you meet, he has every right to feel disappointed and somewhat betrayed, and it lessens your chances of this being a fulfilling and enjoyable meeting on both sides.
posted by sarahnicolesays at 9:45 AM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

None of the above. How about sending him a message prior to meeting, saying "excited to meet you tomorrow! Lets meet in front of the movie theater/restaurant/zoo so we can find each other easily. My pictures on the site are a little old so not sure if you'd recognize me right away".

You're letting him know that you're not exactly like your picture while keeping it light and friendly. Who doesn't have slightly old pictures of themselves up-- and not even just weight gain. People dye their hair and get different hairstyles, tan, or get piercings/tattoos.

(I see my advice is slightly similar to insectaurus. Include a recent picture if you feel it necessary but I think you can send the message without it)
posted by lovelygirl at 9:46 AM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Fat isn't shameful - posting misleading photographs of yourself on a dating site is. You should update your pictures ASAP.

Telling this man you plan on losing weight would be unproductive. Every overweight person "plans" on losing weight, but most of them don't. The desire to change is useless until it has been proven through actions rather than words.

I think that your best bet - difficult as it may be - is option F: to cancel the date and reschedule when you look more like the girl that he's attracted to. Your second best bet is option C or D, because that way you are being honest and giving him the option of cancelling if this is a dealbreaker.

Personally, one of my biggest pet peeves - the thing that can absolutely drive me into a cold fury - is people who waste my time with BS. I'm perfectly capable of going on a date and becoming friends with somebody even if I'm not attracted to them, as long as they don't mislead me. However, if there's any sort of deception involved, it's a dealbreaker. I'm an exceptionally busy guy and when I schedule a date, the odds are that I am missing out on some other fun social event or activity, or even another fun date. When somebody makes me miss out on those other opportunities by lying to me to get me to go on a date with them, it makes me feel angry and vindictive.

That said, I want to reiterate that there's nothing wrong with being overweight, and there are some very attractive curvy women out there. (In fact, once upon a time, having curves was a societal standard of beauty.) Don't assume that this man will turn you down simply for your weight - just be honest and tell him the facts in a straightforward and unashamed manner.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:00 AM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

I would go how and get a haircut/colour, get a new bra and maybe new clothes/shoes/perfume to boost your own self-confidence. You want to feel good. Send him a flattering pic the day before with a note saying you have a new haircut and you wanted to make sure he recognised you because you are looking forward to meeting him. then go have a good time - if he rejects you because you what he expected ... well then consider yourself lucky to not have invested much time in him (and don't mention his bald spot, or his scar from biking, or any of the other physical problems people tend to develop 15+ years after college).
posted by saucysault at 10:00 AM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Here's the thing: it's significant enough a weight gain that he will notice it. I've gained/lost 30% of my body weight before - I know what the before/after photos look like. The question, as others have said, isn't if he will find you attractive at this size, but if he will be put off by the (perceived) subterfuge. Some people are - even people who might not see this as a deal-breaker (I wouldn't) might feel... a bit put off by it. It raises questions of what else you might see as ok to mislead people about (when really, it's just that it's an old profile you hadn't gotten around to updating yet).

I'd suggest going with C. And then just be your gorgeous self when you meet him on Friday. Knock his socks off. *electronic fist-bump*
posted by pammeke at 10:23 AM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Another vote for update neutrally + current picture and maybe a short explanation about how you left a picture up while taking a break from the site. Just because there are people who deliberately post misleading pictures.

Don't cancel the date; he's partly interested based on college which was even further back.
posted by BibiRose at 10:24 AM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Are you on facebook? Do you have recent photos of yourself on facebook? If so, I would say just friend him on facebook. Problem solved.
posted by mskyle at 10:27 AM on August 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

I go with insectosaurus, bibirose, etc. He will feel misled, and even worse--you do not want to see that first look on his face when he does a double-take to recognize you. I promise you that.
posted by uans at 10:29 AM on August 21, 2012

Don't wait to do ANYTHING "until you lose weight." That's madness. What if your thyroid goes wonky tomorrow? What if you develop another health issue that means you have to go on steroids or some other med that has weight gain as a side effect?

Live in your now. It's great to be working on health and fitness goals, but don't put your life on hold until you get where you want to be.

Living in the past or some imagined future is what got you into this stressful situation. Update your life and your mindset and your dating profiles. Lying and denying do nobody any good.

I'm sorry to be talking like a roomful of slogan t-shirts!
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:42 AM on August 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

Thanks for the candid advice and perspective so far. A few clarifications/details, in case it's helpful:

First, I am not meeting, contacting or responding to anyone else on the site, and will absolutely have an up-to-date profile if and when the time comes that I want to date new people. I get that, and I agree 100%. This was an odd and completely unexpected one-off -- that's why I feel so lost about how to proceed. It's as if he saw my contact info in the alumni newsletter with no photo at all, realized we both lived in the same city, so said via LinkedIn, "hey, we're in the same city, we should catch up!" In that case, would/wouldn't it have seemed odd to mention my upper-percentile weight as an aside in an email before meeting up with him? The fact that we both happen to know that the other person is single (and has many compatible dating preferences) makes it more loaded than that, of course, as does the willing participation in flirting, but I promise that by no means was I "lying to get him to go on a date with me." It makes me even more upset to think I'm already at risk of that, and being thought to have "wasted his time with BS" because he found an old photo of me online and my first email back to him didn't say "by the way, I'm fat." I mean, I haven't even told him what my job is. Or if I've been married. Some of the what I've read here so far confirms my fears enough that I'm really compelled just to cancel.

From a practical standpoint, unfortunately, the "you might not recognize me" angle might come across as even more overtly weird (even with the weight change, and a hair color change!), because I totally look like me. I'm just one of those people that's instantly recognizable. Also, unfortunately, he's not on Facebook, though that's a great idea.

I've been pretty camera-shy this year, maybe with a few exceptions from the Christmastime that at least show show fuller cheeks, but in order to send a photo that's more indicative of what I look like now, I'd have to take it myself in the full-length mirror. I can do that, I just wanted to be clear about I'm working with. Obviously this is awkward.

Finally, I am working closely with a psychiatrist (therapy and medication) on my feelings about myself, my body, my personal relationships, my health, and my fears of judgment/rejection in general (even as a fit person). But this is happening now, not further along in that process, and I just feel like I've managed to ambush myself. In retrospect, of course I should have taken my photos down even just to poke around OKC, since I didn't intend to (and didn't) communicate with anyone. I will either update the photos or disable the profile ASAP, and again, I assure you that my ideal would be to meet someone who either is specifically turned on by or at least neutral about someone in my weight range and knows that before we meet. I just need to figure out how to get through the next few days with my dignity and optimism intact, if at all possible.

Thanks again, everyone. I mean it.
posted by mauvest at 11:33 AM on August 21, 2012

Whoa! Go with Sidhedevil posts - makes perfect sense!

we live in a world where everyone often tries to over-share or make excuses for everything. Some stuff you don't have to explain to everyone, but you should be honest about who you currently are. It isn't really about the weight but representing yourself accurately.
posted by flesti at 11:34 AM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't see any reason to cancel. The issue you need to address is how nervous you are, not whether or not he is okay with your weight. Focus on finding some means to address that without putting it on him to make a judgement call upfront about you as a sex object. Maybe you can somehow convey how flustered this has you without making it into more drama than it really is. You already called it a "quasi date" so I think you are clear you are meeting in part to determine if you both want to proceed. It is okay if the answer is "no". It is not okay to ask him at gunpoint to predecide the thing he is having the meeting to help him decide.

Maybe you can just let him know you are more flustered than you thought you would be and ask him to not read anything into that except flattery?
posted by Michele in California at 11:43 AM on August 21, 2012

The question, as others have said, isn't if he will find you attractive at this size, but if he will be put off by the (perceived) subterfuge.

I appreciate the sentiment behind this, I truly do. But making this an important ethical issue is not severable from suspicions about whether he will find her attractive at this size. If that's not an issue, then it isn't "subterfuge" any more than it would be if you had lost weight -- which I suspect nobody would tell you that you have some important, treat-him-fairly, don't-be-a-jerk ethical obligation to disclose. If the guy takes one look at you and decides you're a deceitful liar and stomps out, that is absolutely bound up with a value judgment about not finding you attractive at the size you are, and if you're going to own up to the fact that you should have current pictures up, he doesn't get to pretend that judging your attractiveness has nothing to do with it, it's just honesty. Nobody says, "How dare you lie to me and make me think you're less attractive than you are! This date is canceled!" It's only if he perceives you as less desirable than advertised that he will act like he's been defrauded.

I'm not saying the "he will feel betrayed" business is wrong (though I personally don't think it's warranted and I absolutely don't believe all guys react that way), but it's hardly a free-floating admiration of honesty that isn't, at its base, about not being attracted to her because of her size. If that doesn't affect his feelings about how attractive she is, he won't be upset any more than he would be if she showed up with glasses instead of contacts.

I understand all the different approaches to the ethics of this, but I don't think it's wise to pretend that looking at someone who turns out to be heavier than you thought and concluding that you've been sold a bill of goods is a fully separate issue from whether you think she's equally attractive at whatever weight or not. That just invites confusion and more weirdness.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 11:48 AM on August 21, 2012 [6 favorites]

I hear you. And perhaps I'm a bit pollyanna-ish about this - as well as focusing a bit too much on the "date" part of the "quasi-date" situation presented - but if it were me in the gentleman-in-question's shoes, I'm old/experienced/neurotic enough to worry (when I've been on a "quasi-blind" date with someone who showed up looking significantly different in person) if that's the tip of the iceberg. Which is quite different from the sentiment that the difference makes the person less physically attractive - and I may be overly nervous, but having a fellow show up significantly skinnier (or more muscle-y) than in posted photos has also caused a bit of alarm on my part. That said, yes, it's likely naive of me to try & separate the two in light of the presented situation.
posted by pammeke at 12:00 PM on August 21, 2012

Yeah, I hear you, too. I just think it's important for people to realistically understand -- yes, sometimes people will take one look at you, and they'll get polite and remote, and it will be about your looks. It will. It won't be "well, it's your looks, but really it's that you look like you have low self-esteem or you don't take care of yourself" or something like that that people often feel obligated to say because they've been made to believe it's shallow to care about looks.

For some people, it's your looks, and that can happen to you literally no matter what you look like. No matter what you look like, there are people for whom you're just not aesthetically their thing. And the great thing is that you still won't die, and you're still okay, and you'll still meet somebody else. That's the part that's harder to learn and more important.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 12:11 PM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

I would go with B, but instead of apologizing, just bring into the conversation at some point the fact that you had health issues that made you gain a lot of weight (and whatever else you want to say about that, which may include that you're relieved it's over, you're looking forward to fitting back into your old clothes again, it was a difficult time for you, or maybe nothing at all).
posted by chickenmagazine at 12:43 PM on August 21, 2012

Just wanted to reiterate--if you'd LOST 30% of your weight everyone'd be all "Oh what a pleasant surprise" and that's ridiculous. Being fat is not inherently grosser or more unattractive than being skinny. I met PLENTY of guys online whose photos were outdated as hell, and I'm tired of this Deceptive Fat Woman stereotype.

I say go on the date and don't mention it at all. If he's not attracted to you then you still got to go out with a friend for a night. Bringing it up at all makes it a point of conversation and who the hell needs that?

Lose weight or don't, but just don't talk about it and make it A Thing. I can't imagine a more awkward date or pre-date convo!
posted by masquesoporfavor at 12:56 PM on August 21, 2012 [8 favorites]

He's athletic, and lists exercise as one of his 6 "must haves" - he is likely physique-conscious. That means he will notice and react (silently). You want this addressed *before* showing up.

We check your OKC profile one last time before heading out to meet you - this is the most indirect way of "letting him know." The better way would be to email him an updated picture. You won't be the first to do so, and it shows above-board ownership.
posted by Kruger5 at 2:49 PM on August 21, 2012

Not saying Kruger5 is wrong, because that will be correct for some athletic men, but even when I was extremely plump I had no trouble attracting athletic men -- body builders, sports fanatics, career military, etc.

Honestly, I try like hell to not broadcast things like what I prefer in male appearance or traits. I have run into the problem too many times that if you say "I prefer blondes" you will be saying it to the one and only brunette on the planet that you would sell your soul to get with and now they won't speak to you because you hurt their feelings.

Some guy I knew when I was very plump who talked unceasingly about The Importance of Petiteness in a woman once told me he would talk to me if he thought it might lead to something. I wouldn't tell him I was crushing on him real bad because he went on and on and on about how the only thing that mattered was that a woman be some tiny little waif and that is not me even when I am thin. (I am 5'8" and have a Germanic build). So even men who have a distinct preference will make exceptions. He would have considered making an exception for me.

In short, don't say no for him and if he is truly asinine about it, you probably don't want him anyway.
posted by Michele in California at 3:55 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

oh jesus christ. gaining weight is really not some sort of moral shortcoming that you should feel the need to confess and atone for prior to your get-together, as some people seem to think. you can't do anything about your present weight now, so it does you absolutely no good to apologetically alert him to it beforehand. if anything, that'll prevent him from coming to your date fully engaged and finding out what a fantastic person you are and what a great connection you have!

in your position, I would allude very vaguely to the fact that you faced some health issues in the past and are looking forward to getting back to your fighting weight. being in the process of returning to a certain weight is completely different from 'hey, I'm now this weight and I don't intend to change, so deal with it.' most people who are not egregiously superficial are more concerned about their partners maintaining a certain mid-range attractive-to-them standard than their hewing to a very specific set of parameters.

and as Michele in California says, if he makes a huge-ass deal out of it, I guarantee that all things considered, you do not want to get with this person, either romantically or sexually.
posted by dynamiiiite at 4:24 PM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Be confident and don't apologize, but yeah, if you don't look like your pictures it will bother some people (including me). I don't appreciate the false advertising about appearance or anything else, and I'm not sure your history changes that. I don't know how this guy will feel, but I'm in the "here's a recent pic so we recognize each other" camp.
posted by J. Wilson at 4:36 PM on August 21, 2012

mauvest, even if he sees through the "here's how to recognize me" ruse as a way for you to send him a more recent picture that reflects your current appearance, it's a diplomatic way for you both to save face. He doesn't want to gawp at you in surprise that you don't look like your OKC picture or like you did in college, and you don't want to be embarrassed by seeing him be surprised, so it seems like a reasonable move to me.

And yes, it would be bizarre to tell someone you had gained or lost weight in an email unless it made you unrecognizable, so again you're back to the "attached is a photo so you can recognize the 2012 me!" as the least odd option.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:38 PM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh and I will add you do not need to take it in a full length mirror. If you can come up with a current face shot, that should be fine and will give some idea you put on a few pounds.

A full body shot is over complicating the issue. It is also making it too much about assuming he treats women as nothing but sex objects. Give him the benefit of the doubt. Don't lay that on him. Even if all you ever dated were men who treated you like a sex object, give him the chance to be the guy that treats you like an actual human being in addition to liking you sexually. The point of sending a pic is to give just enough info to make you less freaked out about this and give him the chance to adjust mentally before the meeting, in case he needs that, which he may not. It isn't supposed to present you as a piece of meat on display asking for his preapproval in that regard.

Anyway, best of luck, whatever you decide. It is still your decision.
posted by Michele in California at 5:10 PM on August 21, 2012

Ooh, just thought of something. This COMPLETELY depends on your personality (for instance, it would 100% work for me and for anyone I'd ever let myself be in a relationship with, but I could see a lot of folks not being into it), but you could send him an email saying, as others have suggested, "hey! this is a recent picture so you'll be able to find me easier tomorrow at [place]." Except instead of a normal picture, it's you making some TOTALLY ridiculous face, or doing something doofusy (like I have in my profile picture), or wearing a silly hat, or OOH OOH EVEN BETTER, those silly disguise glasses with the fake nose and moustache.

That way, you'll be more comfortable because you won't feel you're misleading him, AND it won't be all weird because it will clearly be a joke.

However, barring this, I still think it's entirely unnecessary that you address this at all. IF it comes up, you can be honest, and say (only) that you haven't used OKC in years and haven't updated any of your information for a long time.
posted by phunniemee at 5:20 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Go with Sidhedevil's suggestion. I think that's how I'd want the situation handled if I was in your friend's position. You would be letting him know, but not making a big deal out if it, so he likely won't either.

What to wear? Whatever outfit you're most comfortable and confidant in. Good luck!
posted by youngergirl44 at 7:58 PM on August 21, 2012

Nthing Sidhedevil's approach. I'd send him an updated photo "so you can recognize me," as much for your benefit, so you won't have to be so nervous about his reaction, as for his. Then I would meet him with confidence and OWN it. I would NOT talk about your health issues, your desire to lose weight, your ability to exercise, etc, unless he somehow brings it up. It's really none of his business at this point and you don't owe him any kind of explanation or apology as if being full-figured is some kind of moral lapse.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 8:35 PM on August 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

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