Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire: Dealing with Online Dating

Here are a few precautions you can take in attempts to avoid liars when online dating.

By Evan Marc Katz
Updated: July 07, 2015
Lying while Online Dating

I did a book signing at Barnes and Noble and was greeted by this standard opening from a fiftiesh redheaded woman. "What is up with all the men who lie online?" There was some laughter, and some clapping as well. I wasn’t at all surprised by the question, because if I were to talk in a room of twenty five men, they’d undoubtedly ask the same question about women.

My pat answer in these situations is to attempt to empathize with the liars without condoning their behavior. Let’s think: Why do people lie? 1) Because they’re insecure and 2) Because they know that if they tell the truth, they won’t even get the date. Pretty straightforward, right? Not for the women in the audience. In fact, not only did they bristle at comparing male lies (bad) to female lies (not so bad), but it’s uncivilized for a man to ask for a woman’s true age.

Huh?

Listen. I can’t stop the lies, but I hope to stop the hypocrisy. Liars condemning liars – especially when they bitch to me at cocktail parties – is particularly exhausting.

So let’s throw out a few common issues and attempt to understand why the liar lies.

If you’re a 5’5" guy and 80% of short women won’t even go out with you, you say you’re 5’8" and hope your charm overcomes the lie. It doesn’t, but you hope it does.

If you’re a 175 lb woman, you may call yourself "firm and toned". Yes, "a few extra pounds" or even "large" would be a bit more accurate, but you stick with your description because most guys won’t respond to the truth. When you meet, you try to ignore that disappointed look he gives you, because you’re at least getting your fair shot, right?

And who can blame a young-at-heart 60 year old man or a youthful 40 year old woman for tweaking the truth a tad? They know that due to circumstances beyond their control, they’re off a lot of people’s radars. So they fib a little – or a lot - to remain visible to other online daters out there. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m just saying that it happens.

By the very nature of this medium – single people corresponding by computer prior to meeting – a decent percentage will not be fully forthcoming about the truth. It makes sense. What percentage of us are insecure? What percentage of us fail to meet the criteria on others’ mental checklists? What percentage of us are smart enough to know that an honest 63 year old overweight woman does not meet many men’s checklists, which is exactly why she posts that picture from six years and thirty pounds ago.

My point is not that we should embrace the liars in some sort of group hug, or thank them for keeping us on our toes. Rather, we should attempt to understand and accept the fact that this behavior is going to happen – as sure as Ozzy’s gonna curse, or J.Lo’s gonna get divorced. Getting angry solves nothing – all it does is make you sound bitter and irrational, two traits that have never gotten anyone anywhere.

But since we can’t stop liars, here are a few precautions you can take in attempts to avoid them:

  • Ask for more pictures. I don’t know how many times I have to see headshots that look like Natalie Portman, only to discover that she’s Natalie Portly in real life,. but I’ve learned my lesson. If I have extra photos of me taken within the last year or two, then there’s no excuse for someone else not to have them. I don’t know how many times I have to see headshots that look like Natalie Portman, only to discover that she’s Natalie Portly in real life,. but I’ve learned my lesson. If I have extra photos of me taken within the last year or two, then there’s no excuse for someone else not to have them.

  • Consider the quality of the photos. Film and clothing looks different than it did ten years ago. Different hairstyles, different fashions, different color palette. If a picture looks dated, the person may very well be hiding something. Film and clothing looks different than it did ten years ago. Different hairstyles, different fashions, different color palette. If a picture looks dated, the person may very well be hiding something.

  • Consider the composition of the photos. Really close up picture and no other supporting photos? Someone’s not happy with his/her body. Only see someone from the chest up? Same thing. Wearing all black, hidden behind friends, or obstructed by a plastic gorilla? That person is hiding, with good reason.. Really close up picture and no other supporting photos? Someone’s not happy with his/her body. Only see someone from the chest up? Same thing. Wearing all black, hidden behind friends, or obstructed by a plastic gorilla? That person is hiding, with good reason.

  • Think logically. You never want to stress the physical, either on your profile or on the phone, but if something doesn’t add up, make a note of it. A guy who calls himself "ripped" but doesn’t do anything athletic is not telling you the truth. Same with the woman who claims she’s 39 but has two grandkids.You never want to stress the physical, either on your profile or on the phone, but if something doesn’t add up, make a note of it. A guy who calls himself "ripped" but doesn’t do anything athletic is not telling you the truth. Same with the woman who claims she’s 39 but has two grandkids.

I will go on record and say that it’s okay for someone to lie about his/her age ONLY if the person acknowledges the truth later in the profile. Lying to make yourself appear in people’s arbitrarily narrow search criteria is a far cry from lying with intent to deceive.

Getting mad at liars is also déclassé. I’ve talked with a couple of guys who were so angry at being lied to that they acted embarrassingly. One told off the woman who took three years off her age. The other turned around and LEFT the woman who didn’t live up to her picture. To me, this is two wrongs failing to make a right. The liar screwed up, and will pay because she won’t get a second date, but that’s no reason to scar her for life.

If someone deceives you with a photo, be a class act by not only being gracious, but by not lying yourself. Congratulations, you’ve done all that anybody can possibly do to clean up the whole online dating scene.

E-Cyrano Poll:
What’s the most common lie?
Height: You really shouldn’t be allowed on this ride
Weight: I meant now, not ten years ago.
Age: I meant now, not ten years ago.
Income: Not that money matters or anything.
Profile: But you said you LIKED long walks on the beach! 

Evan Marc Katz is the author of "I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book," A Commonsense Guide to Successful Internet Dating, and the C.E.O. of online dating consulting service E-Cyrano.com. He can be reached through his website at www.evanmarckatz.com.

Back To Top

April 28, 2006

Add A Comment

Comment

Allowed HTML: <b>, <i>, <u>, <a>

Comments

Reason for your Divorce

Why did your relationship end? If there's more than one reason, choose the strongest factor.

Money Problems/Arguments
Physical/Emotional Infidelity
Physical/Mental Illness
Physical/Emotional Abuse
Alcoholism/Addiction Issues
Basic Incompatibility


Copyright © 2017 Divorce Magazine, Divorce Marketing Group & Segue Esprit Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without prior written permission is prohibited.