John Springer prefers “Rubenesque” women with playful personalities, and he isn’t alone. Just ask members of the More to Love dating club, where abundant body size is considered a plus.
Mature, larger women are in demand, says Barbara Hansen, a telephone payroll operator in San Jose. “They are like fine wine, well-aged and full-bodied.”
More to Love, billed as a unique dating service created especially for big men and big women, was founded by Rosanna Radding after she was rejected by another club that matches couples.
“I was single and overweight,” said Radding, 38. “I called a dating service and they said to call back when I lost 40 pounds.”
Radding, who is 5 feet tall and describes herself as “short and round, 75 to 80 pounds overweight,” was offended. “There are some big people who are absolute knockouts,” she said.
Four years later, she decided that there was a dating void she could help fill in the lives of people who are above average in size, so in March, 1988, she opened More to Love.
A year later, the dating club has more than 60 members and is “holding its own. It’s just paying for advertising and mailing expenses.”
It works for her, said Hansen, 41, who likes to dance at night clubs and has been dating through the club for two months.
“For a change, I’m on the winning side,” Hansen said. “Some men prefer larger women. They find them softer, more feminine. They often have no hang-ups about vanity and can pay more attention to their date.”
While ages and sizes vary, most club members are in their 30s or 40s, and their weight varies from average to upwards of 400 pounds, Radding said.
“I have one woman who is 425 pounds and she has had (dating) matches” since joining the club, Radding said. “One member who is a man is 5-foot-6 and weighs 260 pounds.”
“They just want the opportunity to go out and I try to help.”
Members pay from $75 for a three-month trial to $175 for a one-year membership. They fill out questionnaires, are interviewed on the telephone by Radding and then matched.
Each member receives from three to five new names each month, said Radding, who makes the matches based on “intuition” as well as from information in the questionnaire, which delves into everything from size and personality traits to favorite activities.
Doesn’t Like Bar Scene
“I really don’t like the singles bar scene,” said Springer, a 45-year-old San Francisco office manager who has been a member for about two months. “I prefer taller women with a ‘Rubenesque’ figure. Other things I am looking for include some sort of basic interests. I like a playful personality.”
The 6-foot, 2-inch, 260-pound Springer is divorced. “I was looking around to find what club might be of interest to me,” he said.
“She (Radding) uses a scaling factor,” and without benefit of a computer compares data that includes personalities and interests. “It’s a fairly good yardstick,” Springer said, noting that so far he has met four women, all of whom have been pleasant company.
“I expect one or two I definitely will continue to see,” he said.
Larry Riley (not his real name) is a man of average height and build--5-foot-9, 160 pounds--who also prefers big women.
‘Bodies of Definition’
“I like them to have bodies of definition,” said Riley, 60, a real estate agent from Los Gatos, Calif. “I’ve always been more attracted to large women. Large women are beautiful.”
The attraction goes back to his boyhood, Riley said, recalling how as a junior high school student he used to join tour groups visiting the California Palace of the Legion of Honor museum in San Francisco’s Lincoln Park.
“I just loved it when they’d show the Rubens (paintings),” he said. “I was just a little guy but I was attracted to heavy women. I think they’re beautiful.”
Riley spotted a newspaper ad for More to Love, purchased a three-month membership and, as luck would have it, found the current girl of his dreams.
She is Bonnie Aisles, 44, (not her real name) a Castro Valley, Calif., public relations agency owner who joined the dating club a year ago.
“I’m into dating and I’m not going to reject someone on the basis of weight,” said Aisles, who dated about 15 men in the club before she was matched with Riley in late January.
Put Names on ‘Hold’
They has been seeing each other on a regular basis ever since, and both have put their names on “hold,” indicating that, for the present at least, they are unavailable for other club members.
“I liked him on the telephone,” she said of Riley. The couple met the next day in San Jose, then motored to Santa Cruz, where they strolled on the wharf and visited a sanctuary for the monarch butterfly.
There, amid the swirling orange and black of millions of the giant butterflies, they grew close, they said.
“There is some kind of magic that Rosanna has” in matching dating hopefuls, Aisles said. “She is intuitive . . . .”
Radding said she has not had any marriages yet in her club, “but I do have some happy couples.” And that is worth the trouble, she said.