by Kelly McInnis
Box Office Manager
Box Office Manager
"All the world's a lie, and all the men and women merely liars."
- Dorante in David Ives' The Liar
Who knew that 38-year-old, 6’0”, athletic and toned man could be code for a 43-year-old man with a perfectly average body and stands at 5’9”? Anyone who has ventured into the world of online dating, that’s who.
With millions searching for love daily on websites such as Match, OkCupid, and eHarmony – or in more recent years through mobile apps like Tinder, Hinge, or Coffee Meets Bagel – chances are you know someone who has (or even you yourself have) tried to find their mate online. Propelled by tales of success stories, singles trudge through profile after profile and – if they are lucky – date after date trying to find their soulmate. It’s not easy – especially when approximately 81% lie about their height, weight, or age in their profiles, according to the study conducted by Catalina L. Toma from the University of Wisconsin-Madison to learn about self-presentation and the judging of misrepresentation online.
Women tend to lie more about their weight, while men tend to lie more about their height. These lies, however, are relatively small as there is the potential to meet in real life where such truths will be immediately evident.
Paul Oyer, a labor economist at Stanford University and author of Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned From Online Dating, reviewed a public radio producer’s OKCupid profile with him during a Freakonomics podcast. He had the following insight:
“What you want to remember in your profile is that you want to be very upfront and forthcoming in anything that is what an economist would call a coordination game. It’s where our interests are aligned and as long as we have the right information we’re going to make the right decision. So in my case I was very upfront and forthcoming in my profile about the fact that I had a large and badly behaved golden retriever, and the fact that I have two teenaged children. Because if somebody was against those things, then those were deal breakers. And in your case, you want to be honest about the fact that you’re a public radio producer because on the one hand that’s very attractive to some people, but it also indicates that you’re not going to be rich, at least in the short term. You don’t want anybody who wants you just for your money, either because you don’t like those types of people or because even if you do you’re not going to get them once they have the information anyway.”
A local single who has tried a variety of online dating sites says, “there are some profiles in which it is obvious the person has lied, yet not so apparent in others. It’s frustrating because I know I’m being honest and I don’t want to be with someone who would lie to me from the beginning!”