In today's installment of "Woman goes on Tinder date with man, regrets it immediately," we meet Michelle Thomas, a London-based blogger who agreed to meet up with a man named "Simon" for a couple of drinks in a pub (because that's what adorable British people do).
Michelle recounted the experience on her blog, which started out kind of okay, before going terribly, terribly wrong.
"We strolled arm in arm on the South Bank. He walked me to the train station, where we kissed. It wasn't earth-shattering, but all in all it was a fairly standard Pleasant Evening."
The next day, however, Michelle received a message from her suitor essentially breaking it off. Why? Because, according to him, she's too fat and he simply can't be attracted to an allegedly overweight woman.
"Hey Michelle, sorry been super busy at work today hun," Simon began in his Dear John letter (#vomit). Next, he threw in a couple of compliments ("you're funny and cheeky"), talked about how much he enjoyed the date—and then, regretfully, said he can't see her anymore because his "mind and body" aren't on the same page.
"I'm not going to bull***t you… I f***ing adore you Michelle and I think you're the prettiest looking girl I've ever met. But my mind gets turned on by someone slimmer."
Excuse me, what? I mean, sure, people have a right to be attracted to certain aesthetic qualities, but it's not like civilized humans go around breaking up with people by saying "your hairy feet are disgusting, I never want to see you again" or "You know, they do sell acne cream at CVS." That would just be mean.
But our chum Simon didn't stop there. He kept going—seemingly to justify his A-hole ways and make sure his foot was shoved so far up his mouth it could never come out.
"Shallow? It's not meant to be … whilst I am hugely turned on by your mind, your face, your personality (and God…I really, really am), I can't say the same about your figure. So I can sit there and flirt and have the most incredibly fun evening, but I have this awful feeling that when we got undressed my body would let me down. I don't want that to happen baby. I don't want to be lying there next to you, and you asking me why I'm not hard."
Yes, he's so grossed out by Michelle's figure that even basic human biology doesn't stand a chance. He simply can't imagine a world in which the sight of her naked body would turn him on. Despite, even, her beautiful face and fab personality. (Frankly, it seems like Simon has had issues in the past, if he's worried about his body "letting him down" so early on, but that's another story.)
Suffice it to say, this nasty breakup note (which, again, was sent after just one date) was completely unnecessary. What gives this man the right to tear a woman down just because she agreed to have drinks with him? (Hint: Nothing. Nothing gives him that right.)
A date is not an open invitation for a man to critique and criticize a woman's body. (Nor is it an invitation for a woman to critique a man's body, nor for a man to critique another man's body, etcetera.) If you don't like what you see, move on—you don't need to announce all the reasons you've given someone a failing grade in Hotness 101.
Perhaps the most grating thing about Simon's "confession" is the implication that it might somehow benefit his date. That she might take the criticism as constructive (oh thank you, kind sir). That she might use it to improve herself so as to be worthy of such a fine specimen of a man. No, no, and no.
In case you're still wondering when it's okay to tell a love interest that he or she is too fat to date, this cheat sheet should clear things up:
Michelle, meanwhile, rather than crying alone in her room and binge-watching Downton Abbey, decided to write Simon back—publicly.
"We all have a good friend who we look at ruefully and think 'you're lovely, but you just don't tickle my pickle'. We wish we were attracted to them, but our bodies and our brains don't work like that. And that's fine.
What isn't fine is the fact that, after a few hours in my company, you took the time to write this utterly uncalled-for message. It's nothing short of sadistic. Your tone is saccharine and condescending, but the forensic detail in which you express your disgust at my body is truly grotesque. The only possible objective for writing it is to wound me."
Yes, it appears the only reason Simon wrote her was to be a dick—to feel superior for reasons that are unclear (other than, you know, him being a dick). Michelle went on to eloquently explain why this kind of behavior is so wrong in the first place.
"You stirred a dormant fear that every woman who was ever a teenage girl has—that it doesn't matter how funny you are, how clever, how kind, how passionate, how loyal, how determined or adventurous or vibrant—if you're a stone overweight, no one will ever find you desirable."
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time such an incident has been exposed. Last month, fashion blogger Christina Topacio shared a similar experience on Twitter. Essentially, a man she had never met in real life informed Christina that he would "seriously consider" dating her, if only she wasn't so hefty (oh, to be so lucky!).
"It fucking kills me to say this… And it’s nothing you don’t already know," the guy wrote in a message to Topacio. "And I’m positive you’ve thought about it. And I’m only telling you this because I want it to effect a change. You need to fucking lose weight. It kills me.”
Really? In the words of John Oliver: How is THIS still a thing?
For a cautionary tale on the perils of commenting on a love interest's weight even within a committed relationship, I highly recommend checking out journalist Chloe Angyal's gut-wrenching essay over at Buzzfeed. Just. Don't. Do it.
Taryn Hillin is Fusion's love and sex writer, with a large focus on the science of relationships. She also loves dogs, Bourbon barrel-aged beers and popcorn — not necessarily in that order.