How much does size really matter? It’s something many single people wonder, myself included. My weight has fluctuated dramatically throughout my life – I was a fat child, a thin teenager, a chubby sixth former, a skinny student and so on, up and down through my adult life. I’ve never bought into the lie, popular with some elements of the media, that everything will be better when you’re thin. But, as a single woman trying everything I can to increase my chances of finding The One, I was interested to see how much of an issue size is for single men. So, to find out if men like fat women, I created two identical online dating profiles of me size 18 and size 10 to find out. I should point out that I’m an 18 at this point and happy to use the word fat because I find ‘plus size’ patronising and I mentally think of it as phat instead. Anyway, the experiment. I set up these profiles on free online dating site OKCupid.
As you can see, both are identical except for the photos and the fact one has ‘overweight’ as body type and the other has ‘thin’. I also changed the wording slightly just in case OKCupid cottoned on and took them down.
The profile names had to be slightly different because the site won’t allow two the same. I have no idea why I came up with them btw – it’s not even like A Night To Remember was stuck in my head. The rest of the profile details were the same for both –
In the ‘photos’ sections, I put up a range of head shots and body shots. I won’t bore you with them all but here’s a classic ‘thin’ me –
And here’s a classic ‘fat’ –
Funnily enough, when that ‘thin’ me bikini shot was taken, I still thought I was fat. That’s why I’m wearing that white skirt – to cover up my ‘massive belly’ and ‘big thighs’. At size 10, when I looked in the mirror all I thought was ‘could do better’.
The results Over the course of five days, fat me received 18 messages, 74 likes and 81 visits. Thin me received more than double the attention – 36 messages, 211 likes and 210 visits. There was nothing dramatically different in the content of the messages – some men just sent a ‘hi’, some wrote essays, some tried one-liners and others just opted for old-fashioned compliments. And there was little difference in the physical attractiveness of the men messaging – they were a range of ages, shapes and sizes. But it can’t be denied that, if the guys of OKCupid are anything to go by, single men prefer thinner women twice as much. Or, at least thinner me. Alternatively, though, you could interpret these results slightly differently. A size 18 woman, posting some of her least flattering, double chin-featuring pics, received 18 messages in five days.
That’s 18 more than the bodyshaming community might have you expect. The most important element to me is that no matter my size, I’m now twice as confident in my body than I was as a size 10. When I was thinner I was more self-conscious, less confident around men and much more uptight. A date with me now would be way more fun than it would have been then. If I went back to a 10 I’d mourn the loss of my boobs more than celebrate my flatter stomach. The best philosophy is to please yourself. Hopefully then you will attract someone who likes the version of yourself you’ve chosen as much as you do.
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