On one of my first online dates, way back in the day when Nerve.com was a little lighter on the plaid, I arrived and immediately noticed something was off. Nine inches off, to be precise. My date had tacked on almost a whole foot to his purported height, and instead of being 5-foot-10 as he claimed, there he was, eye-level to all 5-foot-1 of me. When I called him out on it, he shrugged and mumbled a non-excuse but, to my surprise, didn't seem to think it was a big deal.
I was appalled, naïvely: Was this the norm? Are people dishonest when it comes to online dating?
It is and they are, it turns out! And now OkCupid has confirmed my years of field research
with cold, hard facts and stats, using a data pool of 1.51 million of their active users to shed some light on what we're lying about and to what extent. What they found: Online daters are shorter, poorer, older and uglier than they claim to be. And not nearly as bisexual! Let's dig deeper:
We're Not Nearly As Rich As We Claim
Hey, hey, big spender. Sure, we can go dutch on this latte even though you claimed to make $100K a year. My half is $2.73, you say? No problem at all. Thanks for hovering above me so patiently while I dig through my purse for three pennies. Oops, sorry, where was I? Oh, right, we're lying about money! Rampantly and with little regard for reality. OkCupid's Christian Rudder writes that "There are consistently four times the number of people making $100,000 a year than there should be."
But with good reason, because we're all after each other's money. In particular, men, especially as they get older, don't have the ladies flocking if they're not making big bucks. The lesson? "If you're a young guy and don't make much money, cool. If you're 23 or older and don't make much money, go die in a fire," writes Rudder.We Can't Reach the Top Shelf
Oddly enough, the height online daters claim to be averages at about two inches taller than the U.S. population as a whole. It's no nine inches, but there's clearly some number-fudging going on. Both men and women lie about height, but men really stretch the truth the closer they are to that coveted 6 feet.
Our Best Pictures Are Giant Lies
You know that picture of you that you've held onto since you were on MySpace and had cheekbones that could kill a man? Well, you're not the only one. Apparently we've all got that hot photo we've decided is The Best Picture Ever Taken of Me That's So Good It Only Vaguely Resembles Me, and we've been using it for the past decade. Of course, as we rapidly march toward menopause, we start looking a little worse for the wear (or get better with age -- whatever!) in person, something that photo from our raver days doesn't accurately depict. And the hotter that photo is, the better the chance that it's not recent: OkCupid found that the most attractive photos on the site (the top third) were at least a year old. And the older we get, the more likely we are to use an outdated photo, so expect that silver fox to be a little more ... silver.
We're Not As Bi As We Say
So, when we're sitting around with our friends bitching about men and swearing to start dating women, apparently some of us are actually doing it. Or trying to, with little success. OkCupid found that 80 percent of self-reported bisexuals message only men or only women, not both.
Of course, that could mean nothing at all, as the way people behave online isn't always an indication of real-life preferences. Our guess: For bisexual or bi-curious daters who have real-world experience with only men or only women, the online dating pool is an attractive option to have available "just in case" they want to date a different gender than they usually do. But sometimes it stays just that: a hypothetical option.
Alas, online daters, it seems that if you're looking for a young, hot, bisexual lov-ah on the Internet, you'll have to stick to pornin'.
Hey, readers -- have you ever lied in your online dating profile, or been unpleasantly surprised by someone who has? Tell us all the dirty details in the comments!