Dating a guy who expressed one thing that bothered me
November 4, 2016 12:45 PM   Subscribe

The "Are you disgusted by the extremely obese?" question on okcupid: he answered Yes and marked No as unacceptable. Help me work with this?

Super interesting guy who messaged me first and with whom I've had fantastic, relaxed email and phone conversation. 99% match, but more importantly, each of us definitely appears to find the other sexy.

Slim build himself, so he's probably unaware that every woman of my body type or heavier is quite clear she's obese – has likely been told that by every doctor and every BMI chart. I know there are flaws with BMI and I know I carry the weight well, but at 5'6 [167cm] and around 210 lbs [95kg], I'm solidly in obese range, both right now and in all my pics on okcupid. I'm only a few dozen lbs lighter than the 250 lbs most versions of the chart call "extremely obese."

I do get that "extremely obese" probably evokes a much higher weight in this guy's mind. But it's still hard to feel he'd be both disgusted by that and fine with me. I'm also troubled he marked No from the other person as unacceptable; that doesn't make much sense to me except as an expression of moralistic and/or prescriptive thinking (my partner should also be disgusted by that state, lest she ever get near it – and/or my partner should be 'health-conscious' and the definition includes this).

This is making me self-conscious about my body in the context of relating to him. And while I'm usually a really straightforward person, it feels like in this case, explicitly bringing this issue up would just make me way more self-conscious. Maybe I should see how compatible we are and let his actions speak louder than his words?

I really like this guy. We are currently figuring out a date for meeting in person. Thoughts, approaches?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (52 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I guess in your position I wouldn't want to date this guy, even if he were to find me acceptable, just because of the lack of empathy? I mean sure, go on a date if you want, but remember, it's not just about him deeming you worth dating - you're allowed to decide that his values are not compatible with yours. Finding obese people disgusting (not just unattractive, but disgusting) - to me that speaks of someone who is just not very kind so it would be a huge red flag for me. I'm not obese now, but have been in the past, and looking at how guys treat women they are not attracted to is one of the best filtering mechanisms there is - can they still relate to them as people who are worthy of respect? I've never found a guy who failed this basic test to be worth my time, whatever my size.
posted by peacheater at 12:51 PM on November 4, 2016 [69 favorites]

Honestly, if a dude is capable of finding one aspect of a human being as inherently "disgusting," it won't be limited to just that.

On preview: seconding what peacheater says about empathy and the lack thereof when calling another human being's body "disgusting" for whatever reason.
posted by griphus at 12:55 PM on November 4, 2016 [19 favorites]

Do you like him enough that it makes that kind of attitude acceptable to you? In that case, I guess you just live with it?

I wouldn't go out with him. I mean, I wouldn't be acceptable to him anyway, but I wouldn't on principle.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:02 PM on November 4, 2016

Does he have any other answers (or answer - acceptable response pairs) that don't quite make sense? Because another explanation is that he just misinterpreted this one question. That's not at all uncommon!

I would just ask. "Now that I've noticed I have to ask... we're incompatible on the 'Are you disgusted by the extremely obese?' question! Does that really matter to you?" This gives him the opportunity to feel like he'll satisfy you by saying "Oh hahaha no that doesn't actually matter to me!", in which case you can happily move along having dodged a bullet. And if responds "OH NO I completely misunderstood that one, ugh, I'm so sorry! I can't imagine being disgusted by someone's body... that's terrible" you can put it out of your mind and move forward.
posted by cogitron at 1:03 PM on November 4, 2016 [33 favorites]

Calling other people disgusting is a huge red flag, whether or not the person they're interested in happens to fit the description.

Good relationships and marriages should always be mutually respectful, loving and supportive. One person thinking that their partner's body type is disgusting is none of these things. It is not a good recipe for a positive, healthy relationship.

Personally, I'd walk away. If you think the relationship is salvageable, I would bring it up and press him on it until you are either satisfied with his answers or have drawn other conclusions and can live with it. The last thing you want is for this to fester and quietly poison things between you.
posted by zarq at 1:06 PM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Just letting you know that you "vote" with your participation. If you think that question is awful, delete your profile and to meet new people in other ways.

It could be a mistake, like he was just clicking boxes and not reading closely. If I remember correctly, not every profile question must be filled in? I don't know how you find out about this without asking directly! Meet him for coffee and see what's up.
posted by jbenben at 1:09 PM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Honestly, that was one of those questions when I was doing OKC where a "yes" answer was a dealbreaker for me. It's extremely unkind, first and foremost. But marking "yes" on that question and making it public means this dude is also okay with everyone knowing that he thinks obese people are disgusting. This is also a huge flag for future asshole behaviour.

I once got matched with and had high expectations for a guy who answered "yes" on the "do you believe a man is the head of the household?" question, and once I noticed that, I asked him about it. He gave me a response that seemed totally reasonable but in retrospect was kinda him just covering his ass -- the "oh, I don't know why I marked that!" genre. I went out with him and he turned out to be a super controlling asshat. He for sure believed himself to be superior to me because of his gender. I am loathe to tell you to give up on someone who you're interested in, so I think you should ask him about it, but I kind of believe that question is high up on the When People Tell You Who They Are, Believe Them-o-Meter.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 1:14 PM on November 4, 2016 [42 favorites]

He clearly doesn't find *you* disgusting. There's a possibility he's just clueless about what obesity means medically vs a mental image of someone from Wall-E who tools around on an electric hovercraft because they're too fat to walk.

I would meet up with him, see if you have a good time, see if he seems to be into you. If not, go home and don't worry about him again, because he's a shallow tool. If there's chemistry, and you expect there to be a second date, bring it up before you leave, or else you'll be obsessing about it afterwards and second-guessing everything. "I have had such a good time tonight, and I'm glad you did too. I was a bit put off by your profile, it seemed as if you might have an obsession with super-thin people, and I know that's not me and it's just not how I relate to my body." He could, at this point ruin the whole date. He could say something super-douchey about how your weight isn't too bad and he likes you anyway, or about how you're pretty anyway, or about how he's got some threshold of disgustingness and fortunately you're under it. Or maybe it will be a perfectly reasonable conversation. He might have ticked yes because he thought only people with a fat fetish ticked no. He might have just been ticking boxes and not worrying about it too much.

It's easy to check a tick-box without thinking about all the ways that could be interpreted. I actually think it's kind of icky of OKCupid to suggest that "disgusting" is a good adjective to consider for obese people.

In short, I don't think it's a reason not to meet up with him. I do think it's a reason not to care if things don't work out - it's enough of a red flag that I would find it pretty easy to shrug and walk away. I also think it's a reason to make up your mind sooner rather than later, set the date soon, and bring it up on the date - it would be really easy to waste a lot of time worrying about this.
posted by aimedwander at 1:16 PM on November 4, 2016 [15 favorites]

I would go out with him! Honestly OKCupid questions are so simplistic that you can't really tell much about anyone from one question alone. Also people are often trying to game the answers. So he's probably thinking of the people he thinks of as extremely obese, which is like aimedwander says above, rather than the "medical definition".
posted by corb at 1:20 PM on November 4, 2016 [7 favorites]

I love the Oprah quote "When people tell you what they are like, BELIEVE THEM." I think this goes into that category.
posted by matthew.alexander at 1:21 PM on November 4, 2016 [13 favorites]

There's a huge gulf for me between "I'm not attracted to the extremely obese" and "I am disgusted by the extremely obese."

As a fat girl, I'd be ok with a dude who answered Yes to the first question but was still into me. The second answer is a big flag though.

Did he answer other questions that might give the impression that he would be an asshole about a woman who "did take care of herself" to his standards? I don't need my SO tsk tsking me about skipping the gym or eating carbs, or not wearing makeup or the like. so for me those would be hard Nos, especially with if I were just a few pounds away from being at a level that he thinks is "disgusting."
posted by sparklemotion at 1:21 PM on November 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

When people tell you who they are, believe them.

If you're dating for the short term, you may not care. But from the land of middle-age spread: Red flag. If that's his attitude, is this the person you want to audition for the role of partner just because he's probably not thinking of someone about your size? Careless random cruelty also is not a happy-making trait, IMO.

On preview: jinx.
posted by warriorqueen at 1:22 PM on November 4, 2016 [9 favorites]

You are almost certainly thinking about the question/answer 100x more than he did. (Nothing wrong with that, and you're right to be concerned.) Most likely he was answering in a rapid fire fashion and didn't think about it particularly except that he's not attracted to the "extremely obese" (he is probably reacting to a nonmedical, imaginary version of what this means in his own mind), and doesn't expect his partner to be, either, since as aimedwander says, some people might interpret it as a fetish question in the context of a dating site.

This doesn't mean he's not a douche, or that he answered correctly, just that I'd probably keep waiting to see where things are going and assume that binary answers to a survey question on a dating site are not the best reflection of a person's true thoughts. (It's very possible he does not find them "disgusting," but also does not want to date a person who fits his mental idea of obesity, so answered "yes." It's also very possible that he is moralistic and prescriptivist about other people's health, or that he's just plain shallow or cruel. You'll probably find out soon enough.)
posted by stoneandstar at 1:22 PM on November 4, 2016 [6 favorites]

Meet him. If it goes well otherwise, ask about it.

Could easily be a mistake; I (female, approximately straight) once filled out a doctor's form saying I sleep only with women. Then the poor doctor got very confused when I said I was using birth control for, ya know, actual birth control purposes. I think she was about to explain the facts of life to me (c. 30 at the time) before we realized I'd just fucked up on the form.
posted by nat at 1:23 PM on November 4, 2016 [13 favorites]

You haven't met him yet? Then naaah, consider it a deal-breaker and move on. There are dozens of other guys you can hit it off with who won't have that awful answer to the question ("disgusted"!).

Consider that every interaction you have with him will be tainted by the knowledge that he judges weight in this harsh way. That self-consciousness you're feeling will only get worse. If you broach the subject on a date, he'll either lie, deflect/excuse, or say something awful confirming it, none of which are appealing.
posted by naju at 1:25 PM on November 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

The word 'disgusting' isn't his choice of words, it's a question that he answered on OKC. I don't think it's fair to berate him for calling someone disgusting, because he didn't. Sure, he could have skipped the question, but it probably carries a lot less weight (pardon the pun) to him that you think it does. In my personal experience, any questions I answered on that site were almost entirely irrelevant when compared to interactions with the person themselves.

I'd go out with him. He knows what you look like and is obviously not disgusted by you. If you feel strongly about it, communicate your concerns in a way that isn't accusatory. Kindly, it seems like that question has really touched a deep insecurity, and you probably shouldn't let that color your opinion of him.

Guys that you mesh with are hard to come by. I'd at least give this a shot before you write him off based on one of hundreds of dumb questions OKC users come up with. You might be overthinking this.
posted by Everydayville at 1:27 PM on November 4, 2016 [15 favorites]

I am and always have been in the "normal" BMI range and I would not date this guy. The question itself repulses me (disgusted?!?!?).

It's just an awful, cruel way to think about another human being. I would also not want him anywhere near my "obese" friends and that alone is just a total dealbreaker for me.
posted by lalex at 1:27 PM on November 4, 2016 [17 favorites]

I'd skip it, because you'll be thinking about this the whole time and wondering. And if you do wind up liking him and he bails you'll be wondering if it's your weight. And if you guys hit it off it'll be this weird conversation you'll need to have and uuuggghh I just wouldn't.

(But I am an introverted person who avoids unnecessary awkwardness whenever possible, specifically hates talking about body stuff, and did poorly at online dating back in the day, so take what I say with lots of salt.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:38 PM on November 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

If I started dating someone who was into me but "disgusted" by the "extremely obese", I would worry about what would happen when that person met, eg, people I know in my life and care deeply about who are "extremely obese". I would worry about hearing a bunch of mean comments from that person if we shared transit with a very large person. I would worry about that person voting against healthcare proposals because a lot of people do all that "but we can't provide health care to faaaaaaat people because how will we encourage them to be thin" stuff. I would worry about being in a restaurant or movie theater or something with that person and having them act the fool.

If everything else on their profile suggested that they were a nice person who had maybe been a little ignorant, I might say to them "when you're talking about being disgusted by obese people, you're talking about being disgusted by [me?] [people I care about such as....]" If he seemed ignorant rather than committed to that line of thinking, I might give him the opportunity to realize that he's talking about real people.

You do encounter very fat people with mobility issues in life, and I am absolutely opposed to the whole "some fat people are okay but not those fat people" because that kind of thinking has done social violence to people I love very much.
posted by Frowner at 1:47 PM on November 4, 2016 [21 favorites]

I hear that bringing it up would make you more self-conscious, but still: I would clarify that that wasn't an error, and not say anything about yourself or your weight. Just say that being disgusted by the extremely obese is a dealbreaker for you. And it totally can/should (IMHO) be. The question isn't even asking if you would date someone extremely obese, or if you're ever attracted to extremely obese people. It's asking if you find the existence of a particular group of human beings, whose personalities you know nothing about, disgusting. Saying yes to that would be a dealbreaker for me and I'm not overweight.

When I see really glaring things like that sometimes I'll ask someone (like the queer woman who wrote to me who'd answered a question suggesting she was anti-reproductive choice) if they'd made a mistake. Sometimes it really has been a mistake and their response has proven to me that they are telling the truth--like, "Oh, no, I used to volunteer at Planned Parenthood, I had no idea I'd made that mistake! Thanks for the heads up!" in the situation I mentioned.
posted by needs more cowbell at 1:52 PM on November 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think you have the right to not date someone for any reason you please, at any point, but especially so when you haven't even met them in person! So, if this is a dealbreaker to you or just makes you feel uncomfortable about meeting this dude, I think you should feel comfortable about just not meeting up with him. One thing I learned from online dating is that there is not this one magical right soulmate in the world that's the only person I can ever fall in love with -- there are lots of potentially right people in the world for me, it's about finding one of them when we're both at the same place in our lives to be right for each other. If this guy isn't right for you right now, for whatever reasons, it's okay to recognize that and own it.

That said, I personally wouldn't judge someone too harshly for one multiple choice question clicked at one point in their lives. You don't necessarily know if this person would answer the question the same way today (maybe he filled out all those match questions a few years ago and hasn't bothered to update this one!), or if he randomly clicked by mistake, or misread the question, or just wasn't thinking too hard about it. Perhaps he really is a giant douchenozzle (of course, there are plenty of those out there!), but if all signs point to him being cool and non-douchey, except this one multiple choice question taken out of context, I personally would weigh the evidence and give the guy a chance.

But again, you'd be the one dating him, not me! So it's your call whether this is all too much work/mental energy, and you'd rather just move on to someone else.
posted by rainbowbrite at 1:55 PM on November 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think you already answered your own question.

Maybe I should see how compatible we are and let his actions speak louder than his words?

I would meet with him and see.
posted by JenThePro at 2:01 PM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

There are enough people on OKCupid that my feeling is you shouldn't waste your time with the ones who throw up big red flags before you even send them a message. If you're already doubting whether you can date this person given the values that he espouses, don't. Move on to another profile.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:11 PM on November 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

In this case, tell, don't ask.

"Hey, it was interesting and fun to chat with you so far, but I have to stop it here. I am not ok with your answer to this particular question. I just don't see myself with someone who thinks that way. Good luck out there!"

If you ask tentatively, and he spins a plausible answer that wins you over, then you are deeper into a web of manipulation and control. If it really was a wrong click, you'll be able to tell from his utter mortification and unconditional disavowal.

Whatever you do, don't let it turn into a negotiation.
posted by metaseeker at 2:25 PM on November 4, 2016 [14 favorites]

Unless he literally clicked the wrong buttons, I'm not sure how much misinterpretation is really possible with that question. This is especially true since he went to the trouble to say that disagreeing with the premise of the question is not acceptable to him.

I am also concerned that you're already feeling self-conscious. That does not seem like a great dynamic to start a dating relationship. He has the power; you want his approval, and not in the harmless and general "will this new person like me?" way.

If you do date this guy, please be extra vigilant for red flags or weird approval dynamics. He might be fine and this was just a stupid mistake or an outdated worldview that he no longer holds, but if not, please know that you deserve to be with someone who makes you feel comfortable and happy.
posted by delight at 2:26 PM on November 4, 2016 [8 favorites]

I don't think there is anything intrinsically wrong with being disgusted by obese people (or super thin people, or people who chew with their mouths open, or body hair, or anything else really).

Publicizing that fact outside of a therapeutic or intimate relationship is hella weird and not so cool.

In that framing its not his "fault" that he finds the extremely obese disgusting, disgust is a reaction that is pretty hard to control. But if he thinks that that type of honesty is a good way to go about finding a partner . . . he may have issues with social cues/acceptability that could be cause for concern.

I agree with other people that you should engage with him about this - his reaction/explanation is likely to be more telling than the initial answer.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:42 PM on November 4, 2016

Another possibility: there are a significant number of guys who'll look to fuck a fat girl, but won't actually date her. The general line of thought is that fat girls are more desperate and so more likely to put out.

Source: Am a fat lady who dates online, have sadly encountered the type.
posted by Sublimity at 3:46 PM on November 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

I haven't been on OKC for a long time, but it's not like you HAVE to give an answer to a question, right? So not only did he click yes on disgusted, he did it after deciding to answer that question. I skipped plenty of questions back in the day (not for the casual browser, thanks!). So that might also be something to think about.
posted by clone boulevard at 3:47 PM on November 4, 2016 [9 favorites]

Much as others above have said this is a deal-breaker, I'd venture that basing a moral picture of a person on an undiscussed tick-box response on a questionnaire is... a personal deal breaker? I'd consider bringing it up in conversation with this person before you get deeply invested in one another. Explore it. What does it mean? Is this a deeply held belief, or is this a dashed-off response to a single prompt in an otherwise long survey? Does this person remember making that decision?

Quick comparison: when I met my partner, he made a one-off comment about vegetarians and vegans (the old "PETA stands for People Eating Tasty Animals" chestnut). He didn't know I was vegan at the time. I didn't say anything at the moment, because, I dunno, people think things that aren't what I think? But we had dinner together a day later and he pulled back. He noticed I ordered only vegan things. And he said, uh oh, I put my foot in my mouth, didn't I. Turns out, he considered himself 90% vegetarian at the time. The crack was one of those silly things that people say. That sparked a deep, awesome conversation about vegetarianism and veganism. That conversation was almost exactly ten years ago (and we have a vegan household and vegan kids).
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 4:07 PM on November 4, 2016 [6 favorites]

I would just ask. "Now that I've noticed I have to ask... we're incompatible on the 'Are you disgusted by the extremely obese?' question! Does that really matter to you?"

Cogitron has a great script. If the guy really is "disgusted" or otherwise weird about weight issues, you'll find out quickly enough when he answers. Just be careful not to mentally "sugar-coat" what you hear, though.
posted by rpfields at 4:24 PM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

He sounds like one of those people who says insulting generalities about fat people in front of a fat friend or family member, then exclaims, "I didn't mean you! You're not fat!" when confronted by said fat friend/family member. It's clearly obtuse behavior, which some people find a deal breaker/offensive and others find simply eye-roll worthy. Which one are you?
posted by cecic at 4:31 PM on November 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

There is no way to work with this. If someone literally fills out a questionnaire, for purposes of meeting people (in which you are generally on your best behavior) this way? They're not worth your time. There are other (non-terrible) people out there.
posted by festivus at 4:52 PM on November 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

He has ticked 2 boxes on an internet dating site quiz, indicating that he's not into the very obese (and its fine to be upset by the word "disgusted" but you use OKC too and they put those words in their click, not him). That must have taken maybe one second of thought/action.

Meanwhile he has spent minutes, possibly hours? talking to you, a real live overweight person whose photos reflect the reality of your physical appearance accurately in the hopes of meeting up.

This warrants further investigation imo. Ask him about it. "Hey, I like you but your profile says you're not into the fat chicks, I mean, I'm not skinny myself, do we have a problem here?". He might have not read the form properly, or clicked indiscriminately, or misread the question. There's only one way to find out - ask.
posted by intergalacticvelvet at 4:55 PM on November 4, 2016 [10 favorites]

Someone who would answer that question with 'disgust' isn't someone I would be interested in talking to. It shows a lack of understanding and frankly a lack of intelligence. Intelligent people know that the 'extremely obese' have emotional eating problems, and they don't feel disgust at the sight of them, but rather sadness for them. Emotionally intelligent people experience empathy for those who struggle in life to be healthy and happy in general. Don't you want to be with an emotionally intelligent, compassionate person?
posted by Avosunspin at 5:12 PM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Intelligent people know that the 'extremely obese' have emotional eating problems, and they don't feel disgust at the sight of them, but rather sadness for them. Emotionally intelligent people experience empathy for those who struggle in life to be healthy and happy in general.

I think even more intelligent people don't automatically assume that such people have emotional eating problems / are not healthy / are not happy. And accordingly they feel neither disgust nor sadness.
posted by naju at 5:47 PM on November 4, 2016 [12 favorites]

I think it's important to keep in my that, on some level, this is just a silly dating ap. A knee jerk human reaction may be to say that extremely obese is not sexy to him. As a general concept and not a reflection on you or any other one human being. In most people's minds, extremely obese likely means a serious health issue and not like curvy.

But, if he says anything negative about your body or health choices, FLEE. Cause that's jerky.
posted by Kalmya at 6:22 PM on November 4, 2016

I'm with the Further Investigation party. 99% match, great rapport via email and phone, find each other sexy ... meet him and ask him about it, then go from there.
posted by soakimbo at 6:35 PM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

My hunch is that he's a critical person. If that type of behavior triggers you, then any critical person is probably not a great match. I had a guy call me "healthy" on a date recently. That's Midwestern Caucasian speak for chesty or chubby. I let it go but it was only the beginning of his nit-picking about everything - not just me. And yes, we met online. Great chemistry. Perfect backgrounds as a foundation to something more but that's not a pleasant person to sit with.
posted by Lil Bit of Pepper at 7:19 PM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

When I was fat, I used to kind of like when men would be mean about fat people in front of me. In my mind it meant that he didn't think I was fat. This was self-hatred and a lot of internalized misogyny and fat-phobia. So the answers saying "well, he obviously isn't disgusted by you" are reminding me of that feeling. He isn't disgusted by you now, but what if you gained 10 or 20 or 50 lbs? What about your friends and relatives? Or his?

Sure, it's just a question he didn't write, without context. Why would he bother to answer it? If he responded to a dumb question in a way that indicated sexism, racism, homophobia, would that be okay? Just a meaningless dating questionnaire?

I mean, meet him if you want, but if you are wondering if this is a good enough reason to not date him, I'd say so. Personally, I wouldn't want to ask him about it because I wouldn't trust what someone who says that privately would say on the spot.
posted by kapers at 7:40 PM on November 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

You can't know what he thinks without asking him, but to my thinking there are two main reasons that I can imagine somebody answering the way he did.
  1. He thought the question was about whether he was attracted to very obese people (as others mentioned disgusting wasn't his choice of words). He said no and mistakenly thought that the acceptable answer box was about whether he was open to people who describe themselves as extremely obese.
  2. He thinks that people who are extremely obese are partially or fully responsible for getting into that state. Maybe he thinks they're lazy or weak willed. He thinks that's disgusting and wants to be with other people who share that view.
You may decide that either of those are unacceptable explanations to you, or maybe one or both would seem OK to you. It's also possible the reason he answered that way is something else entirely because we can't read his mind.

You're interested in this guy enough that you came here looking for some way to get past something you see as a red flag, so I'd be inclined to at least discuss it with him, but that's something you have to decide for yourself.
posted by willnot at 8:22 PM on November 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

There is a modest possibility that he misinterpreted the question as a poorly-phrased way for OKC to ask whether he wanted to be matched with the "extremely obese" (whatever the hell that means). If he seems otherwise appealing, I would clear this issue up with him directly and immediately.

A person who is comfortable declaring disgust at a marginalized social group is not someone you want to be around, period. Even if you were in no danger of falling into that group. A person doesn't have to have achieved perfect enlightenment about weight to know better than to be openly cruel about fat people. So if he isn't horrified that he misrepresented himself in such a fashion, you need to let him go.
posted by praemunire at 11:15 PM on November 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

How savvy does he seem to be about how OKC works?

This question says what it says. If he's savvy enough about online dating to know he didn't have to answer it, he could have chosen to not answer it. He could have waited for a question that was a better fit for how he really felt. I think it's dangerous to go into this assuming there's a fair chance he didn't really mean it, unless he seems to be totally new to online dating in general. The world has plenty of people in it who do find fat people disgusting. I actually rather like that OKC lets the awful people say they're awful. So much better to know up front.

Since you haven't met in person yet, I'd vote for just bringing it up and hashing it out. You don't need to just never speak to him again, but if this is a problem for you, you shouldn't let yourself get any more attached until you have some answers and see if those answers are okay with your personal standards.
posted by Sequence at 3:04 AM on November 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

If the question is phrased how you said it, I think it's a real stretch to assume he didn't understand it. Replace "extremely obese" with "homosexuals" or "brunettes" or whatever.

I find with online dating it's best not to get too attached before you meet. I still say meet him if that is what you want, but I see NO need to bend over backwards to pretend he didn't say what he said.
posted by kapers at 4:49 AM on November 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

I see NO need to bend over backwards to pretend he didn't say what he said.

Honestly, I think the odds are good that he did mean what he said, and I believe strongly that meaning that should be a dealbreaker for any decent person. But, after teaching, managing small groups, and seeing some work in UX, I think one has to acknowledge that there is almost no limit to the dumbness with which even apparently reasonably intelligent people will interpret written instructions/questions.
posted by praemunire at 5:16 AM on November 5, 2016 [5 favorites]

Just ask him. Sometimes people clicm the wrong thing--I've definitely asked ppl about their responses yo okc questions, and they've said, "oh, nononono, that's not what I meant." If he says he did mean it, then just drop him. I have a rule that I don't date people that fundamentally make me feel like shit. At the end of the day, relationship s are all about how one makes people feel (in general)
posted by dubhemerak3000 at 6:07 AM on November 5, 2016

There was a time where something about okc's mobile interface made it so that sometimes when answering questions, when I'd scroll down the page, I'd also accidentally toggle to a different radio-button answer. This is kinda unlikely in this situation because of the way he specified what the other person should answer, but that's the sort of mistake I meant, not misreading or misinterpreting the question.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:49 AM on November 5, 2016

You've had one phone conversation - I wouldn't overthink this. There's a good chance you may not be compatible anyway. Maybe he was thinking about those people who need the door broken down so they can be wheeled out which is obviously very different than you. A question in a vacuum or in theory doesn't always quite match what someone might say in a real-life scenario. If you are worried that you may not be fit enough for him, then you can just drop it. No sense in pursuing something with someone who makes you feel that way, for whatever reason.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:20 PM on November 5, 2016

My first though is that he got them confused and backwards. I find it bizzare that okc would even ask that using the word 'disgust', and who would think that would be a favorable way to answer, even if they agreed with the sentiment? If his other values do t line up with this, I would assume error. But asking is the only way to find out. I think it is worth it.
posted by Vaike at 7:50 PM on November 5, 2016

He didn't write the questions, which are uniformly terrible on OKC. Some of them are based on terrible gender/social assumptions with equally terrible answers. A large percentage make no sense, have answers that do not make sense, or it is not clear what choosing 'yes/no' means and NOBODY is reading them nearly as closely as the average AskMeFi responder since this is like a rapid-fire game thing on the app. I'm pretty sure they were at one point crowd sourced, because that is the only reason they could be so bad.

If you're going to read the questions at all (and I don't think you really should) just read the ones where the person typed their own thoughts/comments on.

Should this one question in particular be a deal breaker for you? I don't know but I think you are wayyyyyy overthinking this in the context of online dating. If you're a 99% match that means he answered literally every other question the same as you. Sounds like you have a lot in common to me.

Go on the date and forget about OKCupid's algorithm.

...and in the future, don't get this attached before meeting up. Form your opinion in person.
posted by bradbane at 8:53 PM on November 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

Here is what the question format looks like for people who are unfamiliar. The parts are:

1. The question itself, with multiple choices
2. How you would like your matches to respond to the question. There is always something like "any of the above".
3. How important your match's response is - you can choose a little, somewhat, or very. Note, if you choose "any of the above" for part 2, then this part becomes greyed out. The thinking is that if you'll accept any answer from a match, then the question is not important to you and it's marked irrelevant.
4. A chance to explain your answer, in situations where your answer might seem provocative and you want to clarify what you mean.

So with this in mind, I think it's not quite as simple as an accidental click. It would be an accidental click, another accidental click on how his match should respond, then another accidental click saying that the question is at least a little important to him. It's also not as simple as there being a good explanation for his seemingly off-putting answer that we just don't know about because we can't ask him. He thought his answer didn't need an explanation so he didn't fill out that portion.
posted by naju at 11:14 PM on November 5, 2016 [6 favorites]

People click through those okcupid questions so fast...I'd take it with a grain of salt if things are working out.
posted by Amalie-Suzette at 7:26 AM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

He didn't write the question. "Disgusted by" wasn't his word choice. He could reasonably interpret it to mean "not attracted to." And everyone seems to be leaving out the word "extremely." Someone who's 250 pounds is not extremely obese if we're using the plain-English definition of "extremely," no matter what the medical charts say (and most people don't consult outside sources while answering OKCupid questions). For many people, the phrase "extremely obese" would prompt them to think of news stories about some bedridden person who weighs 700 pounds.

But if you're worrying about it this much, just ask him if he really meant he's viscerally disgusted by anyone who's technically obese, or what. I know it would be awkward, but having a blunt conversation about this could prevent more awkwardness in the future.
posted by John Cohen at 9:41 AM on November 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

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