I joined OkCupid and filled out what they call a “profile”. I answered the general normal natural questions that most humans ask when they first meet someone like, “What are six things you can’t live without?” I easily nailed the perfect degree of cleverness for those questions, which is somewhere in between the stupid ass answer, “I like living life to the fullest” and the ironic and totally insincere answer, “My breasts are named Cagney and Lacey.” This was no problem for me.
But after that, I had to fill out some personal multiple choice questions like: “Do you smoke?”, “What’s your religion?” and, “What’s your body type?”
My body type? No one had ever asked me this before. And if they had, I would have probably been really annoyed. I mean, I guess I was fine with being asked this by a robot. The computer can’t judge me. And I guess it makes sense because when a person can’t see you in the flesh, it’s good to give them a heads-up about that bawwd – and the opportunity to guess what you might look like naked. Ok fine, so I won’t select, “I’d rather not say”, which was the first choice. Besides, I have nothing to hide. I’ll just be honest with myself and the 27- to 43-year-old single straight male New York population of OkCupid. The other choices are:
A little extra
Wow. Ok, the first thing I wondered about was if this was a sliding scale sort of thing. Is “thin” the best and “used up” the worst? Then I saw that “overweight” is right below thin. Overweight people are great and all, but thin is WAY better than overweight in The Eyes of Society, so that theory is out the window. So I don’t have to essentially call myself a number, like “seven”, which I was expecting. Not that I would call myself a seven. Maybe I would. Or maybe a six, which I guess shows the right amount of humility without screaming, “I have low self-esteem!” But I mean, hey, maybe I’m a fucking eight! Just kidding, there’s no way in hell I’m an eight. Probably.
So then I decided I could rule out a few answers. I’m ruling out “skinny” first. I can probably proudly say with 100% confidence that I am pretty much fine with not being skinny. Who wants to be skinny? Not me! I mean, like, eat something, ladies! Right? Right? I just feel sorry for skinny people, even though they probably never ever have crotch sweat. Totally.
Then I ruled out “overweight”. If I was overweight, that would be fine, and I would be proud to be a beautiful ‘real’ woman, and I would totally be a plus-size underwear model (if, of course, I had the right face structure for modelling…) Larger women are wonderful because what matters is how beautiful you are on the inside, or something like that, but this category is pretty much for obese people. I think. I guess it could be the medical definition of overweight, which according to the BMI index chart, I am on the lower verge of. Which is awesome, because that makes me me! I’m Cristin and I’m medically almost overweight so deal with it, world! But there’s no way I’m putting “overweight” on my profile.
It was time to get into the tougher body types. I pondered “a little extra”. I assumed this was referring to a little extra body fat and not a little extra scars, moles, and hair, in which case the choice would be more clear-cut. I might have a little extra body fat, but it depends on how much is a little. Sometimes my skin jiggles when I move quickly, which is why my friends know that it’s a personal rule of mine that people not take slo-mo video of me. When I wear my Levi’s as opposed my Gap jeans, a bit of a muffin-top can occur. When I cheer for sports or wave at someone from far away, my tricep fat starts to fly. In dressing rooms or gyms, I can look down and see ripples in my thighs, which definitely doesn’t bother me because I know it’s the bad lighting. But when I look at women in the non-Williamsburg, non-Lower Manhattan parts of New York and compare them to myself, I find that most of them have cute little disgusting flaws too. It makes them special, and me feel better. I mean have you ever read a US weekly? According to them, Hollywood is basically Cellulite City.
“Average”. This was a really tough one because I have never ever gone onto Google and searched “average body type for 30-year-old women,” so I had no idea what’s average or what women are expected to look like in society at large. I don’t need someone to tell me what to look like, anyway, or even what most women look like. I don’t think that type of information is even on the internet in any form – as far as I’m aware, it’s pretty much just Buzzfeed. And who exactly cares about the real definition of “average”? I don’t. I just let A-list movie actresses and other filthy rich members of pop culture help me decide what’s average, which is cool. “Average” means “normal” and celebrities are just normal people – I knew this because during my daily Jezebel perusal, I had just seen a photo of Jessica Alba getting money out of the ATM. So since celebrities are average, I wasn’t going to put average on my profile, because I am not quite as good-looking as a celebrity, which would be so boring and non-unique. I’m more unique than Olivia Wilde because I have red hair and I don’t shape my eyebrows.
I continued to sift my way through this list. “Athletic?” “Fit?” I mean, yes I’m a little athletic, and a little fit. I’m a fairly healthy lady. I exercise 5 or 4 or 3 or, y’know, 2 times a week, and I only drink 2 to 4 nights a week. Yes, I eat kale and do zumba. But so what? The doctor said that I should eat more Omega-3 and use a vaporizer, but I’m in otherwise perfect health. And isn’t that all that matters? I’m no hard body, but my friend once told me that she wouldn’t dare mess with me on the street, which I definitely did not take as an insult. In fact, when I asked her what she meant many, many times, she finally said, “You look like you work out”, and when I asked her if she meant that I had huge thighs, or that I could pass for a man, she said, “No, you are just the right amount of feminine,” and then the conversation ended in real life, and continued in my head. I can play sports but I don’t think that when someone first meets me they think, “She must have played softball in college.” Which I did, but for three years only, and I was on and off the bench. That settles that! Because of my medium athleticism and my slight softness, I wasn’t going to put “athletic” or “fit”.
Then I took a gander at the answer “full-figured”. Ok, maybe I was getting closer. But the question is, what does full-figured mean exactly? I have a figure, and it’s not empty, that’s for sure. Is it full? Perhaps calling it “half-full” was a more optimistic way of looking at it. I thought about this over a full glass of beer. The term “full-figured” reminded me of Marilyn Monroe, who was particularly gorgeous for her time, but has unfortunately been dead for many years. No one can be sure how she would have aged, but she might have gotten really fat. Fact: If Marilyn Monroe were born in 1981 like I was, she would have been a nobody. People would have been like, “Marilyn Mon-who?” and then one guy would be all, “Oh, she’s that lady that lives upstairs alone. She has a lot of cats. Her name’s not actually Marilyn Monroe; it’s Norma; she just calls herself that because she’s crazy. She’s full-figured. It’s disgusting.” I also think that “full-figured” might infer lumpiness, and I’m not lumpy. But if was, that would be ok, and I would totally own it. I would wear short shorts and buy a t-shirt on Amazon that says “Lumpy and proud” (I just Amazoned that t-shirt, and it does not exist, so please do not steal my t-shirt idea, because I’m saving it for in case I become full-figured.)
Next I started to realize that I might actually be “curvy”. I’d thought this about myself before. My waist is smaller than my hips, I have an average to large breast size, and dat butt fills out dem pants. I also wear out the crotch of my jeans fairly quickly because my thighs are touching each other for around 85% of the time I am walking. I didn’t need overthink this too much. I decided to select “curvy”.
After 5 and a half days, I had received 7 very romantic messages (offers), five of them from single men. (Not bad!) Nevertheless, I started to feel weird about my “curvy” selection.
After all, I’m still just a white girl. Think about all the women, white or no, who have curves. That’s curves in italics so as to emphasise that word in a sexy way. “Curvy” means sexy, doesn’t it? So I guess the real question is whether I am as curvy as all the other women on OkCupid. It’s true that when I have some drinks I start to dance with emphasis in the hips area of my body, and there are several men that notice, especially when I wink with both of my eyes at them. The hard truth is that “curvy” might be just something that overweight women say to avoid the difficult fact that they are overweight. It could be the equivalent to saying that you are big-boned, which I might be. I’m tall, but height is often just an excuse people use when their mom passive-aggressively informs them that they are gaining weight.
So then I was in a pickle. The only two answers that my smart alt-comedy-esque sense of humour didn’t allow me to eliminate were “jacked” and “used up”. I’m neither of these things. I mean, I have an arthritic knee and neck wrinkles, but I think I am at least 5 years away from being used up. It is the most hilarious answer of all the answers, but the problem was that someone might have thought I was sincere. He would see that my profile says “used up” and he would laugh and say, “Women are so funny!” but then he would check out the photos and see that I am holding a beer, slightly tilted, and “bro-ing out” with some dudes in every single one of them. There’s also photo-taking issue I have where my left eye doesn’t open as much as the other. And I also don’t want to risk people thinking “used up” means that I have had way too much sex and my vagina was a mess because of it, if you know what I mean.
Then I decided to change it to “jacked” because that’s so ironic. Because there’s no way anyone would ever believe I’m jacked. I don’t think.
-Cristin Burton, @cristinbur