I’m a beautiful woman, so online dating has never been a problem for me. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder: what happens when someone’s Tinder photos don’t match the real-life version? What if I, an effortless babe, deceived my dates by putting on a fat suit in all of my Tinder photos? Right then, my “gotcha” social experiment was born: I would go deep undercover as a total fatty slob to prove just how shallow guys could be.
To keep things as scientific as possible, I changed nothing else about my profile. I then hired three of Hollywood’s top makeup artists to do me up as realistically as possible. Padding, additional chin makeup, the whole nine yards.
I updated my photos. Then, it was time.
I climbed onto my bed, iPhone in hand, fired up Tinder and started swiping. I was shocked that almost immediately I had a match. John, 22, was conventionally attractive from what I could see. The kind of guy I definitely would have met as a beautiful woman. We had no mutual friends, but had a few things in common: we loved traveling, food, and Maroon 5. Now was my chance to see if he’d stick around for the girl in the pictures, or the chubby version, anonymously typing to him just five miles away.
“hey nice pic”
The lack of punctuation made me suspicious. What did he mean by that? Was he being sarcastic? Was he already comparing me to “that girl?” I steeled myself and decided to ask for clarity.
“What does that mean?!”
“i like your boob”
This turn of events was the most confusing. Did he mean the padded boobs I was sweating under, or could he tell my boobs were beautiful on the inside? Was he trying to avoid complimenting my face by focusing on my other features? Also, just one boob? I pushed on, knowing that things were going to get really sexist any second.
“Thanks.” I tacked on a smiling emoji just so he could tell I was a good person. A sweet person. So much more than the obese outer shell he couldn’t see. I braced myself.
Hm. Not what I expected. But I blocked him, anyway.
The night pretty much continued that way. Dozens of men contacted me during my three-hour Tinder session. Nobody mentioned the fat suit. All of them mentioned wildly inappropriate other things. All of them were blocked. The night certainly seemed sexist, if not for the reason I had originally thought.
Tinder may be an awful place for women, but Tinder is especially terrible for women journalists trying to prove a point about women of size in America. Especially if you’re a babe like me.