Dating 101

How the internet makes liars of us all

Putting yourself ‘out there’ on an online dating site is a little like climbing into a shop window and begging people to peruse you. Most love-seeking sites have an engine which matches you and any potential suitors – I call them suitors as it’s about as romantic or fairy-tale as this experience gets – based on the 1,001 questions you have answered on signing up. Don’t like smokers, railway enthusiasts or people who read a lot? No problem! The website’s magic matchmaking elves will ensure you never see them in your search results, their profiles hidden from view like the ugly stepchild in the cellar.

What this does mean is that regular users of the site will get wise to this, and may start to manipulate the data to make sure they get more eyes on their profile. I know, it sounds dreadfully dishonest doesn’t it?

You didn’t think that lying on the internet was restricted to hairy truck drivers pretending to be 11-year-old girls, did you? We all do it. It’s a truth, universally acknowledged that as well as using Jane Austen quotes to make feeble points, people on the internet will lie to you.

Strangely, daters tend to be truthful about things they could quite easily lie about. Jobs, for example, no matter how mundane, are never made up. Most men I’ve been on dates with love talking about their work (unfortunately), so to fib about it would defeat the purpose. Plus, if this pilot episode of a first date gets picked up for a full series, job liars are going to have great difficulty explaining why they’re leaving for their job at MI5 in an Asda uniform.

The main lie, the big bad that few men I’ve met on the internet have ever been able to resist, is height. Yes, height. A very large percentage of male online singletons add an extra inch or two to their altitude, even though this lie will be immediately found out should they go on a date with you.

I even did it myself for a while, after a doctor assured me I was 5’10”. I knew I shouldn’t have trusted him; he didn’t even ask me to take my Converse off and smelled of rum. I have since readjusted to 5’9” – there’s another half an inch to go on there but I think once you start worrying about half an inch it’s probably time to give up – and thus will appear in fewer site searches. I can live with that. At least I don’t have to wear a built-up shoe on a date to keep up the pretence.

So, gentlemen, try to tell the truth about your stature. I won’t think any less of you if you’re a short arse, but I don’t want to have to start bringing my tape measure out on a date with me to check.

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  1. There’s no real point in lying about any aspect of yourself. For one, you’ll be found out and, for another, people may actually prefer the real you to your fantasy you. There’s a market for every type of human being, however unlikely it may seem.

  2. I’m definitely 5’10” but patologically lie to everyone that I’m 5’11”, but in a vague sense of ‘Oh I’m not sure, I think I’m about five foot 11’. I don’t really know why though.

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