What Does It Mean To Put ‘Fit’ On A Dating-App Profile?

I’m not the only one who’s noticed, and been put off by, the “fit” trend on dating apps. Monica Baum, 25, says the word “fit” in a profile is often a signifier for her to steer clear. “As a plus-size woman, this is kind of a non-starter for me when I see it in someone’s profile regarding what they are seeking,” she says. “I love to bike, hike, et cetera., but I know that an ‘active lifestyle’—which can be kind of a problematic phrase in its own regard—isn’t necessarily what they mean. ‘Fit’ is coded language meaning ‘thin’—they just don’t want to say that they wouldn’t date a fat person.”

Rachel Krause, 27, has also learned to see “fit” as a kind of warning sign when she encounters it in the wild. “My greatest pleasures in life are eating and drinking and generally being indulgent and bacchanalian, and I try to engage in fitness activities on a fairly regular basis just because I know it’s good for my mental health,” she says. “For some reason, identifying as ‘fit’ is hilarious to me. It’s just so shallow; like, I know humans are superficial creatures, but we get it, you want someone with a six-pack. Thanks, though, because it’s a dead giveaway that we are not compatible.”

Of course, the word “fit” doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing to everyone. Ray Blum Levy, 34, occasionally uses the word to describe herself, though she has mixed feelings about it. “I’m really conscious of how and when I use ‘fit’ to describe myself, and I go back and forth between using it because of the fatphobic connotations,” she says. “Being a fat athlete is something that feels important to me and the way I view myself, [but] I wish there were less loaded ways to describe my relationship to health and fitness that didn’t have connotations about weight. I’m also always looking for ways to flag other people who prioritize physical activity and health without alluding to a specific—thin—body type or shaming people whose lifestyle or disability doesn’t enable fitness to be a priority,” Levy adds.

I’m not remotely advocating for banning the use of the word “fit.” It’s a free country, and while some might take issue with my use of the word “fat” to describe myself, I’d be furious if anyone tried to get me to stop deploying it on dating apps or anywhere else. What I do hope for, though, is a world in which fat people like myself can freely date, flirt, fall in love, or have random sex without feeling as though our bodies are a barrier to the kind of connection we’re looking for. Maybe that starts with a greater awareness, on all of our parts, of how we choose to describe ourselves and our ideal partners.

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