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Editor’s note: The following is part three of a four-part series investigating some of the more popular online dating sites as they apply to plus-size women.

Dating on a budget. We’ve all been there.

From getting creative about no- to low-cost dates to mentally calculating how much you can spend when you order out, many women have faced the struggle of dating while keeping an eye on the checkbook.

But what if you’re so strapped for cash you can’t afford dating sites like Match or eHarmony?

Enter Plenty of Fish (PoF).

I’ve had some experience with this site off and on through the years, and I want to share some of its features with you. Hopefully it will arm you with the information you need about whether or not you should try it!

 

Basic features:

  • iPhone and Android app, as well ask a desktop site
  • Answer basic personality questions to get paired for “chemistry”
  • Get matched with people in your city
  • Up to eight images in your profile
  • Ability to see who has viewed your profile
  • Inbox email messages to converse with potential matches
  • For plus-sized women, the option of “A few extra pounds” and “BBW” exist

What I did: I created an account and spent about 10 minutes cruising through the questions about my looks and dating history. I then answered open-ended questions about my personality/about me, another for my interests, and a third for what an ideal first date is for me.

Pros:

  • This site is pretty intuitive to use. It’s easy to narrow your search criteria for a more accurate match to get closer to the person you are looking for.
  • It *is* free.
  • If you know how to read between the lines, play the game, and are actually patient enough, there are actually a few good guys on there. However, like most dating sites, they are fewer and further in between.
  • The personality and relationship needs tests are actually interesting to take and can enable you to learn a little bit more about yourself and your dating needs.

Cons:

  • The apps do not have nearly as good a user interface as the desktop site.
  • I do believe you get what you pay for. This site does have paid upgrades (seeing extended profiles, sending virtual “gifts” like roses, more pictures on your profile, seeing if your messages were read/deleted). Depending how many months you sign up for, the upgrades cost $10 to $20 a month. Is it worth it? If you’re serious about PoF, yes. But for 95% of you reading this…no.
  • It does not tell you when a match has last logged in, so who knows how active the account is?
  • PoF boasts 3,000,000 active daily users and 60,000 new singles joining a day. After seeing the same faces in my matches, I have serious doubts about that.
  • Only women can send pictures via private message. Too many icky guys were sending pictures of, well…you know…

 Overall impression: Honestly, I don’t think it’s worth your time. I believe your energy and your money would be better spent on Match.com because I truly feel paid sites screen out a lot of the weirdos (not all, of course).

I have encountered way too many superficial men on the site who will only talk to straight-sized women. I distinctly remember contacting one guy who I had a little chemistry with. When I finally got all my photos uploaded, he ghosted and updated his profile specially to say Gena Lee Nolin (one of the Baywatch stars from the 90s) was his physical ideal. At a size 20, I am definitely not in the same category as Gena Lee Nolin.

Don’t completely discount it, though. For all the ickiness on there, I have had one bit of really good luck with this site. Years ago when I was living in another city, I wanted nothing more than to find a nice guy. After weeks of weeding through jerks and weirdos, I messaged a man I’ll call “Brandon,” and we had incredible online chemistry. We actually got along very well in person, too. Brandon was (and still is) the only man who every bought me flowers. He was incredibly polite, funny, thoughtful—the whole package. However, we ended our relationship because I was moving to another state and I wasn’t willing to subject either of us to a long-distance relationship. Was he the one who got away? Maybe. But because he was such a good match for me, I can’t completely knock PoF.

While PoF is free, offers decent features, and the ability to narrow your search based on a lot of criteria, I don’t recommend it. I still think Match is the best site out there, and your dating dollars are better spent finding quality dates rather than the crap shoot that is the Internet’s largest free dating site.

What are your thoughts on PoF? Do you believe you get what you pay for when it comes to dating sites? Comment below!