It may have happened to you before: You show up for a date with someone you met online, and that person looks markedly different than he or she did in photos. Usually, the difference can be traced to some artful use of the Mayfair filter. But, what would your reaction be if the difference were more extreme — if, for example, that thin person you saw in photos turned out to be obese in real life?
It's unclear if pickup-coaching website Simple Pickup had a prank or a social experiment in mind when they orchestrated just this situation, reported today on Mic. The site, which is supposedly "designed to prove that any guy can attract women," arranged five Tinder dates for slender "Sarah" before dressing her in a fat suit to meet with her male suitors. The website also outfitted a male subject, "Willy," in a fat suit before sending him on five Tinder dates with women; Simple Pickup hid cameras around the couples in both scenarios to capture the unwitting Tinder dates' reactions to their very-different-IRL matches. You may already be able to guess what ensued.
The five male suitors who were greeted with a larger-than-expected date were not only surprised; many were visibly dismayed and even hostile. "It's very upsetting!" one exclaimed, after pointing out that Sarah is not what he expected. "I wasted gas and my time to come over here, and I can't do this." "I feel really bad about this," another told Sarah, just minutes into their date, "but I'm actually married. Thank you, though." At least he had the courtesy to let her know he was about to leave: One date stepped away to "use the restroom" and never returned. Only one of the five men stayed long enough for Sarah to tell him that he'd just been part of an experiment, not a date. Willy, meanwhile, fared far better; none of his dates walked out on him, though he played a far more repugnant character: "I personally am very picky with the girls I hang out with," he informed one. "If a woman has large hands, and a strong Adam's apple, you know what that means," he told another. Ugh.
The woman paired with Willy seem willing to interpret his offensive remarks as humor or confidence, while the men paired with Sarah generally didn't stick around long enough to listen to her say much at all. The video says as much about these men's poor manners as it does our society's attitude toward larger women. Tinder is, for better or worse, a dating platform based on looks; yes, it offers users the option to enter a few words about themselves, but the right-or-left-swipe call is based on pictures, not personality. The men who show up ostensibly to get to know Sarah are not obligated to be attracted to her, but they should be obligated to show their date courtesy and respect — which the women involved in this experiment were significantly better at doing.
Consider this a lesson in how not to be a douchebag on a date — if not out of human decency, then because you never know when a hidden camera might be filming your every move for the entire Internet.