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Why People Lie In Their Dating Profiles

Just joined Hinge a few weeks ago. This is the first guy who actually seems to want to take me on an actual date and not just a booty call. On the app he says he’s 46 (and I’m 44). Other than that the only thing I know is his first name and the GENRE of work he does. Don’t even have his phone number yet so I can’t do a reverse search. But anyone who actually knows me knows I’m a digger. 🕵🏼‍♀️ I will scour the internet and I will find out your shit. Sure enough I find this man on Wikipedia 😂 and HE IS 59! I’m equally crying and laughing. Of course I considered cancelling but I thought well he’ll at least be interesting to talk to and I’ll get to enjoy some tacos. Plus, I don’t flake out on people - even though he’s already being shady. Sigh. Yay for my introduction to OLD. Lol.

Let's unpack this.

I've said many times that I don't care if someone lies about their age in their dating profile (to a point.) People do it for a variety of reasons and I don't believe it's indicative of their character. Bias is very real. (I'm actually hosting a free Zoom discussion about it next week.) Age, height, race, body type, etc. We need to stop normalizing the act of rejecting someone based on physical or racial criteria.

In the scenario depicted above, the man appears to have shaved almost 15 years off his age. Now, either he looks like he could pass for 46 OR the pictures he posted were significantly older than the standard 1-3 years of most photos on dating profiles. So my question is: how did she not at least suspect he was lying about his age? She's mocking this guy and thinks she's somehow one-upped him, but by agreeing to go out with him for a free meal, she's displaying her own integrity issues.

My next question is how did this man think he wouldn't get caught in such an easily prove-able lie? To me, there's a few possibilities:

  1. He's unfamiliar with online dating and doesn't realize people will do internet deep dives looking for evidence of possible sketchiness.

  2. He knows it's there and doesn't care if a woman finds it and believes the right woman won't care. Which is, uh, an ambitious approach.

  3. He knows it's out there and doesn't care because he has no intention of dating this woman - or any woman - seriously.

In this day and age, certain lies are too easy to uncover, so you have to wonder why people do it. The irony is that the true predators are masters at covering their tracks. That's why their ruses last so long. That's why they get away with it. They know how to toggle between identities. They know not to leave a trail. Someone so obvious about lying is less likely to be a con artist than someone with a benign internet presence.

We've all see those disclaimers that say, "My real age is X but I don't know how to fix it." People laugh that off as lame, but in many cases, they're telling the truth. Depending on how old their profile is or whether or not they signed in through Facebook, their listed age might be a result of them being careless when they created their Facebook account. Since instructions on how to change their age aren't readily accessible, most people just write a quick note in their bio.

Again, the woman from the post thinks she's outsmarted this guy, but really she's proving that someone can lie and it won't matter. So what exactly is she bragging about? She can't be that offended by dishonesty if she agreed to meet him. NOBODY COULD WANT TACOS THAT BADLY. If he was offering to buy her prime rib, maybe I could see her point, but tacos? I, cheese, tomato, tortilla shell.

I've always been in the camp of "it's not the lie but the motive behind it that matters." If someone said to you that they deducted ten years off their age because they know a lot of people have issues with aging and they found it difficult to get responses, can you honestly say they're wrong? I'm way more skeptical of the people who list their actual age then go on about how nobody can guess their age, they feel ten years younger, etc. The first is a case of wanting to increase their visibility. The second is, well, blatant insecurity. Which is worse? Which is more likely to lead to problems down the road? (And, once and for all, let's be clear: if they state their correct age in their bio, it's not lying.)

Why do you think certain dating apps, like Tinder, allow users to hide their age and don't require that people include their height, race or body type in their profile? Even the dating apps know people discriminate based on superficial criteria.

Despite his little fib, she's going out with him anyway. And it's not for the tacos.

I squarely reside in "if they find you attractive the lie won't matter" land, because that's the truth. All the outrage about lies in dating profiles is mostly virtue signaling by people who - I guarantee you - will disregard a lie if it suits them.

Feel free to share your thoughts below or send me an email.

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