eHarmony: lawyers, fat hating and phone numbers

This experience is wearing thin, fast

What a difference a week makes. Or a day, even. Not 24 hours after my last, exasperated post, I had some communication back, and found myself no longer staring at a page full of “waiting for responses” and “closed.” I don’t know if I just had to wait, or if tweaking my profile did it — I ditched some of my genuine but cliched answers and tried to give my profile some more pizazz. Maybe it worked?

But I’m really annoyed: Not five days after I signed up, eHarmony launched an unprecedented ONE FULL MONTH of free communication. Why the HELL did I shell out $60 for this! Man. But on the bright side, there should be more responses from people who set up profiles but aren’t paying, so I will hopefully see the benefit.

It seems I am a magnet for lawyers. Which is awesome, because I really like the law, have considered law school myself, and dating a lawyer is sure to mean plenty of lively conservations and debates. On Friday, two lawyers, whom we’ll call Lawyer #1 and Lawyer #2 started Guided Communication with me, one responding to my first questions and another initiating questions with me.

Red flag: Lawyer #2 lists in his “Can’t Stands” Excessive Overweight.

Ruh-roh.

Let’s talk about eHarmony’s “Excessive Overweight” category, and body size on eHarmony in general. eHarmony, it seems, wants to tip-toe about body size. Maybe it’s because THE 29 DIMENSIONS OF COMPATIBILITY RULE ALL, or because eHarmony does give a shit about physical attraction and favors the “let’s throw spaghetti at the wall and see  what sticks” approach, but for a fat kid, it’s rather disconcerting. The problem is, everyone’s idea of “fat,” “overweight,” “excessive overweight” and “obese” differs. And let’s be honest, “excessive overweight” sounds like a euphemism for “obese,” right? But then the description of this “Can’t Stand” reads: I can’t stand someone who is overweight.

Silly fat chicks, love is for thins!

Hold on. Just “overweight”? What the HELL does that mean? I’m overweight. But I’m not obese, and wouldn’t class myself as “excessive” anything. But a fatty hater might think being above a size ten IS excessive, and obese (CRAZYTOWN). So when Lawyer #2 listed that as a can’t stand, I became concerned. Is he a fatty hater who will think I’m slob and dismiss me out of hand? Or does he not want to date someone who is obese, and 100, 150, 200 pounds overweight? That is certainly understandable. Thinking I’M obese is not.

I put my Googling skills to good use, and using the email he gave me and his first name tracked down his Twitter and LJ. I won’t post the exact quote here because it’s Googleable and would compromise his identity, but let’s just say I found a recent post on his LJ about how he hates how “obese” women “pretend to be thin” by posting “manipulated” and cropped photos of themselves so men won’t see they are fat. They should “lose wait” (sic) before they go on these sites. He also called fat people slobs.

THOSE WACKY FAT CHICKS, TRYING TO DATE LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE! DON’T THEY KNOW THEY ARE FAT AND UNLOVEABLE? </sarcasm>

Funnily enough, I am, in a way, taking his advice. I kick-started my diet and lost a few pounds before I joined eHarmony and started using it in earnest, because I wanted to make sure my health and weight-loss journey were underway. Am I hoping before I meet someone in person that I can shave off a few more pounds? Yes. But I’m not manipulatively cropping photos, and in fact posted a full body shot, though I do have to admit it is a generous one. I weigh a few pounds more now (no more than 15) and I was wearing a flattering and slimming dress (Calvin Klein, shockingly, makes a size 14 dress that FITS me and looks AWESOME), but I posted it purely so any interested matches could see that I’m not a skinny chick.

Still, it grates. Could I ever date a person who hates fat people? Would I ever feel comfortable introducing him to my friends (some of whom are heavier than I am), knowing he thinks they are obese, lazy slobs? Well, no. I’m honestly concerned my generous full body shot has him thinking I’m thinner than I am, and he’s going to think I’M a fat slob. People who hate fat people often have a different concept of “obese,” and lower tolerance level for it, as actual fat people. (and to boot, he’s a rabid Tea Partyier. Eek). Thankfully, it looks like Lawyer #2 isn’t going to open communication with me, so that’s a bullet dodged.

Back to Lawyer #1, who seemed not to hate fat people, and in fact told me he had lost 50 lbs since August and loved watching The Biggest Loser. We bounced long emails back in quick succession over the weekend. It was great! We discovered with each mail that we had lots in common — we were both RAs, had similar academic interests, liked the same food. After two days and three messages, he closed his last, long message with wanting to talk on the phone and giving me his number.

If I’m honest, that was moving too fast to me. But, generally, I AM NOT A PHONE PERSON. I don’t talk on the phone with friends, don’t like making phone calls at work, and have even made an effort to get my mom into chatting online and texting (that said, she is the only person I do actually talk 0n the phone with). I prefer my communication either electronic (heck, video chatting is fine!) or in person. I wrote an essay back, bright and upbeat, answering all of this questions from the last email. I closed with pretty much exactly what I just wrote here — said I wasn’t really a phone person, but I’d love to email more and maybe text.

The jerk CLOSED ME.

That’s right! We have so much in common, he flirts with me (I love talls girls, he says), everything is clicking… but, what? I don’t want to call a COMPLETE STRANGER I MET ON THE INTERNET, and you’re done with me? What. The. Hell. A part of me wants to take that number he provided and text it saying “lame. I’m totally blogging about this, you know.” Don’t worry, I won’t XD

So I’m frustrated. First a fat hater, then someone who gets all pissy because I don’t want to call him? This isn’t a freaking BAR. It’s online dating. Maybe it’s a generation gap, but I’ve experienced more than my fair share of meeting people from the Interwebs, and one thing I know: you don’t move that fast with someone you’ve just met online. The  last time I gave my phone number to a guy this readily and started communicating, he started sending me freaky codependent texts.  I was glad when I moved out of the country and left my mobile number behind! Same story, but from a bar: freaky phone calls, followed by stalker texts. And, frankly, as a woman in this situation, and when women online are generally like meat on a stick dangled in front of a bunch of starving lions, I think I should be the one to dictate the speed.

Jerk.

So it’s back to the drawing board again with eHarmony. Thus far, I’m not liking it. In fact, I’d say the seething hatred I tend to develop for online dating is creeping up faster than ever before on eHarmony. But one thing is for sure. My experience will continue to bring the LULZ in blogging. What will happen next…?

UPDATE: between posting this  and now (two hours), Lawyer #1 mysteriously messaged me, and no longer shows as closed. I didn’t want to edit the post, as it was accurate as of this morning! So: eHarmony glitch or did he change it mind and “unclose” me? Is that even possible?

Stay tuned, kids. Same bat channel, same bat time – next week I’m sure I’ll have more tales to tell.

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Comments
2 Responses to “eHarmony: lawyers, fat hating and phone numbers”
  1. Sorry to hear that you’ve been uncomfortable with the “Can’t Stand” of “Excessively Overweight.” I do want to encourage you that different people have different definitions of what this and other Must Haves and Can’t Stands actually mean to them personally. Also, different men prefer different body types. For every unique shape out there, there’s a guy who will admire it, and prefer it. If you feel comfortable and you’re interested enough in the match or anyone who may have “Excessively Overweight” as a Can’t Stand, you may want to actually keep communicating and find out. Also, it sounds like your photos are honest, so you really can’t go wrong when you’re accurately depicting yourself.

    Regarding the match that was closed and then found open – it is possible for people to close matches and then re-open the match if the match hasn’t closed them back. All too often people make rash decisions and then realize they made a mistake. It could be that this match realized that he really does want to get to know you in a way that makes you comfortable. I hope you keep getting to know him and find out more what potential may be there.

    I also wanted to let you know that you can follow me on Twitter if you have any eHarmony questions or need assistance: http://www.twitter.com/eharmony_Jack.

    Good luck with everything,

    -Jack

    • clarely says:

      Hi Jack!

      Thanks for commenting! I’m a bit floored by an official eHarmony rep stumbling upon my little blog.

      As I said in my post, the problem lies in the fact the people do have different ideas of overweight vs. obese, and the eHarmony language is imprecise, and confusing. If the “Can’t Have” is “Excessive Overweight,” the descriptor shouldn’t read simply “I can’t stand anyone who is overweight.” I would heartily recommend whomever does the editorial tone for the site change this language. Also, and this is just my opinion, I don’t think not liking obese people should be a Can’t Stand. That’s like saying you can’t stand people who are a different race (and I don’t see any blatantly racist “Can’t Stands”). It may be TRUE, but you shouldn’t share that information with people. Users should tell eHarmony privately that they cannot stand obese people – and then not be matched with obese people. It’s just such an ugly “Can’t Stand,” and I’m not just saying that because I’m not a skinny minnie!

      Different men (and women) DO prefer different body types, which is why eHarmony’s available options for defining these preferences are lacking. I shouldn’t get to Stage 3 of guided communication only to learn that the person who was ostensibly interested in me isn’t because he hates fat people. Or, even worse, I’m not SURE he hates fat people or wouldn’t find me attractive — he may not consider me fat at all. Again: imprecise language is an issue. eHarmony isn’t match.com or OKCupid and in many ways is better than those sites, but something both of them acknowledge and provide is a concrete way for users to not only say what body type they ARE, but for users to define what body types they will/won’t accept. I wish that functionality were available on eHarmony. I don’t like being matched with fitness nuts who think all overweight people are lazy slobs. And regarding pictures: I figured out the real problem with this particular match — he wasn’t a paying member, so he couldn’t even *see* my photos. Having a body type preference option in the matching criteria would help with this issue. I feel as though my matches and I are wasting a lot of time combing through people who don’t match us at all. I’m not intolerant of different body types, but a lot of people are.

      I’m sure I’m not the only member with this feedback, and again thank you for reading! I try to take things worth a grain of salt and keep my tone humorous, but body type and attractiveness is key in dating, so this particular drawback of eHarmony has been frustrating for me.

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