In 2015 blogger Michelle Thomas was single and looking for love. As a consequence, the 30-year-old decided to turn to Tinder in order to meet a man. But something happened with one of the potential suitors whom she met through the app – something that ended up throwing her into the international spotlight. The whole story started with just one date.
Thomas, who lives in London, met up with the unnamed man at a pub in the English capital. They had some drinks and dinner together, with the pair ending up strolling romantically along the banks of the Thames. The evening even ended with a kiss.
And it all seemed like a perfectly acceptable date. In fact, Thomas would later write in her blog that although she wasn’t completely overwhelmed by the guy, she had nevertheless had a “standard pleasant evening” with him. However, nothing could have prepared her for what happened the day after their meeting.
The next day, her date sent her a message – not unusual by itself after a good time together. But that missive most certainly wasn’t the classic “Thank you for a nice evening” or “Let’s do it again sometime.” Quite the opposite, in fact; what he said to her was truly unbelievable.
Thomas opened the message to read arguably some of the most unkind words anyone has ever received after a first date. Still, it started on a friendly note by saying, “I really enjoyed your company and actually adore you.” Much worse, though, was to come.
He went on to say, “I’m not going to bulls**t you… I f**king adore you, Michelle, and I think you’re the prettiest looking girl I’ve ever met.” And then came the biggest punch in the stomach. “But my mind gets turned on by someone slimmer,” he wrote.
Thomas couldn’t believe what she was reading. He didn’t stop there, though. In fact, the abuse continued. “So 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,” he wrote.
His callousness seemed to know no bounds. Amid backhanded compliments about how amazing her personality was, he also had the nerve to come out with the shocking phrase, “I would marry you like a shot if you were a slip of a girl.”
Thomas was on another date at the time of receiving the cruel message and, according to her blog, promptly burst into tears after reading it. In the middle of the understandable upset from his incredible shallowness and rudeness, though, Thomas realized one thing: she had to do something about it.
And what she did next caught the attention of the international media, flinging her into a whirlwind of radio interviews and TV appearances in the U.K. and abroad. So how did she respond to this loser? In possibly the best way imaginable.
She decided to write back to him. But she did so in the form of an open letter, which she posted on her blog. Moreover, her words would go on to strike a chord with many women who have ever felt self-conscious about their bodies.
She opened with, “You don’t have to fancy me.” Next, she outlined how chemistry between two people works and that no-one should feel obliged to be attracted to another person if they are not. She also told him that she didn’t have a problem with that part of his message.
But then it was time to address the rest of what he had said to her. “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,” she wrote.
Then she got really into her stride and started properly speaking her mind. “The forensic detail in which you express your disgust at my body is truly grotesque,” she wrote, before she confirmed that, in fact, she was happy with how she looked, even if he didn’t approve.
But perhaps the most powerful part of her response was its second half, in which she addressed the main motive for reaching out to him in the first place. She wrote, “What truly concerns me, the real reason I’m responding so publicly, is the fact that you have a 13-year-old daughter.”
Managing to keep her cool, Thomas went on to encourage the man to teach his daughter “to love, enjoy and care for her body. It belongs to her and only her.” She reminded him that one day his daughter may come across a man with the audacity to be cruel about her body.
To conclude the letter, she chose the perfect combination of words. They were, “Kiss. My. Exquisitely. Unmarriagable. *rse.” And just like that, the blog post went totally viral. Unsurprisingly, the public reaction was amazing.
“I’ve had hundreds of messages from women who have had similar things said to them,” Thomas told the Daily Mail in July 2015. She added that perhaps the most satisfying consequence the letter has had is that men had since got in touch with her to say that they had shown her blog post to their sons in order to teach them how not to treat women.
Thomas has also admitted that her date’s message did affect her more than her defiant blog post suggests. Nevertheless, she learned something crucial from the experience. As she told the Daily Mail, “It shows me we really need to talk about our bodies and why we have such warped values of physical mass.”
Thomas also suggested to the newspaper that “the impact of body-shaming is going to affect us for years to come.” But let’s hope that her brave move of sharing her experience helps lead to a change in attitude, particularly among men who might not have truly considered the impact of their words. You go, girl!