The other day, I was having a conversation with a guy about online profiles, and I realized we had very different opinions about what the term “curvy” meant. He felt that the word was just a euphemism for being overweight. I had a much more elaborate description. It occurs to me that it’s important that we’re all on the same page, because “curvy” is a term women use to describe themselves.
Here’s a little bit about what they might be thinking…
First, it’s important to remember that body type is totally subjective. Wii Fit might tell a girl that her weight is normal, but Howard Stern might say she’s overweight, because his standards are very narrow. E describes this problem in one of her National Examiner posts.
E mentions in her post that women from the UK proudly call themselves curvy when they’re quite small. (Curvy there is more of a reference to breast size than weight.) I had a similar experience; where I grew up, there were many girls from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, and the word “curvy” was thrown around a lot, referring to shape, not weight. Even today, culture plays a role in definition.
Historically, as in, say, the last 100 years, the term “curvy” typically meant one who was noticeably hourglass-shaped, or maybe just a girl who was genetically blessed in the, ah, bust area. You could weigh 100 lbs and be five-foot-two, and be curvy. You could also be five-foot-ten and curvy – it was the proportions that counted, not the weight. If you were simply overweight, you might use a word like “plump” or “round.”
In the past few years, curvy has seemed to become synonymous with overweight. Personally, I think it just goes right along with the glorification of stick-thin women like Nicole Richie – it’s not enough to be healthy and thin, but any curves are now associated with fat, and must be eradicated. I recently read that Scarlett Johansson was attempting to lose all extra weight, and work with Gwenyth Paltrow’s trainer. I think most guys would agree that Scarlett is fine the way she is, curves and all.
Many women, overweight or not, think “curvy” is the best description of themselves. When you’re narrowing your search parameters, it’s important to remember that body type deals not only with your subjectivity, but hers. If they have slightly low self-esteem or are self-conscious, a girl might think she has “a few extra pounds,” when anyone looking at her might say she’s average, or even slender (maybe she used to weigh 100, put on some weight, and is now 120).
It’s great do a custom search, but it’s also important to really branch out and see what’s out there. It would be a shame to miss out on an awesome match simply because the two of you weren’t on the same page in descriptive terms.
Besides, is body type really the most important qualifier when you’re looking for love?