Menu Close

Thinking pop culture

The Fat Ugly Truth About Dating

So it ticked all the boxes for the kind of story I’d post on Facebook.

A British woman, Michelle Thomas – gorgeous, though that probably shouldn’t matter - goes on a Tinder date. The evening goes swimmingly – kissin’, cuddlin’, my imagination has added a gondola to the tale – and the morning after she gets a Dear John email.

The bloke divulges that while he thinks she’s amazing and perfect and that the sun shines brightly out of her rear, that her rear alas, is too large. That she isn’t skinny enough for his tastes. Her lack of skinniness in fact, has him fearing… performance difficulties… so he’s going to take his slippery leave now.

And in, apparently, the only recourse available to us in the Internet age, Michelle penned an in-your-face-you-soulless-jerk open letter. Take that you, you heinous bastard!

Michelle Thomas. Instagram

The story, of course, jabbed at all my tender spots. Here was a woman of pretty ordinary weight and, by most standards, extraordinary beauty, being rejected based on her appearance. Here was a woman who actually lived out the horror-show that Hollywood routinely hurls at us - and which, privately, those of us too sensitive for Tinder dread with our every surplus kilo - that the guy turns up and is horrified.

Michelle’s story was awful, the sisterhood’s collective heart went out to her, and yet something about the caper didn’t sit quite right with me.

I’m going to push aside my cynicism about cyber-fame being yearned for at any dubious cost. I’ve no real grounds to suspect that here. Instead, I’m going to focus on the bits of the story that have continued to prod at me over the last couple of days.

Attraction is one of those quirky things whereby lashings of political correctness and the diligent social engineering by feminists to broaden beauty standards has scant impact. Therefore, while I think it makes this story even more vomitus that a woman as magnificent as Michelle is deemed too fat to date – what hope in hell exists for the rest of us? - the reality is that desire is subjective. Not every man will find her attractive and that’s just the griminess of life.

Sure, we can quietly suspect that the bloke here is a drongo, that he’s made one whopping mistake - that he’ll rue this egregious decision when he’s shacked up with his Stepford Wife – but men make these shonky bloody choices all the time. My oh my do they ever.

And what would have been the alternative? For him to have pretended he felt differently? Would Michelle have preferred gritted-teeth sex instead of hurt feelings? Because for me, I want that struggling-for-interest penis to be kept well away from me as possible, thanks.

His email seems to be the true abomination here. And its existence is what I’m most conflicted over. No, of course, nobody wants to think that they could be perceived as undesirable by anyone. Even when we know the chaos that would ensue if everyone’s genitals were engorged by everyone else’s in some kind of grand-scale Caligula-esque romp. But we still want to be wanted. And sure, reading that email would have hurt her like hell; it damn well slayed me by proxy.

But. After having played agony aunt to a deluge of why didn’t he – or, in recent days, why didn’t she – pleas from friends, the question is: do you really want the answer? Because this bloke damn well gave Michelle his answer. He didn’t abruptly stop calling, he didn’t play games, he didn’t string her along milking her wit until some “slip” of a girl came along. He didn’t lie, he didn’t cheat, he just told her the truth.

And the truth is often one fat ugly nightmare.

I’m not siding with the Bad Man here, afterall this wretched story serves as a brutal reminder that I should probably alter my attitude towards cats. I do however, think that we ought to be very careful about our ceaseless claims that we want to know where we stand with men, that we want them to be honest with us, that we want to know what they’re thinking. Because sometimes the truth is much more harrowing than just settling for an arrest/alien abduction/witness protection explanation for why the devil didn’t call.

Want to write?

Write an article and join a growing community of more than 183,800 academics and researchers from 4,961 institutions.

Register now