Sex & Vice » The Sexorcist

Why do women lie online?

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I've been on a dating site now for more than a year, and find that women tend to put pictures of themselves from the neck up and then put "average" or "athletic" on their profile. After spending a lot of time e-mailing back and forth, I ask for full-body pictures just to see why I'm driving way across town. Many of them say they don't have any other pictures. I take them at their word, so I assume I'll meet an athletic or average-sized woman.

When we meet, I find that not only did they lie about "athletic" or "average," but they are wayyyy huge and out of shape. I have no problem with big women, but my preference is slim women. I would like to know why they think it's OK to lie about their size. Do they think that once I meet them, I'll change my preference? I don't think so. I'll continue with the date because I wouldn't want to hurt their feelings. However, I feel that I'm there under false pretences and am tired of wasting time and money looking for women that I'm starting to think don't exist. It not only makes me lose hope, I'm also beginning to think that all women are liars.

Am I asking too much to find a slim woman who isn't a liar? Wouldn't it be better to start off being honest about your size?

— Frustrated

Dear Frustrated,

So my Jewish grandmother, may she rest in peace, once told me that the world was made up of two kinds of people: schlemiels and schlimazels. A schlemiel is the kind of person who goes around spilling soup on other people. A schlimazel is the kind of person he spills it on.

My point, schlimazel, is that you could put an end to the soup-spilling if you simply refused to meet women who won't send you full-length photos. Seriously, look at me. No, with your good eye. Great, now tell me why you suppose women don't send body pictures to guys with a stated preference for slenderness? Oh, wait, I've got it! It's because they're not slender!

Well, now that we've gotten past that difficult algebraic equation, let's move on. Studies show that 80 percent of online daters lie about themselves. Usually, it's what researchers call "undetectable lies," meaning you wouldn't necessarily notice the disparity when you meet them. Few people can detect that the other person is five pounds heavier or an inch or two shorter than their profiles.

But then there are what researchers call "extreme lies." That's when her profile says she eats healthy, but her blood type is ragu, if you know what I'm saying. Or when his profile describes him as muscular, but he's so skinny he faxed himself over to the coffee date.

Fortunately, extreme lies are rare, probably because the people who tell whoppers get tired of doors slamming in their face. The eventuality of meeting limits the lying to acceptable and undetectable levels.

When it comes to photos on dating sites, I have the same rule for both men and women: DO NOT LEAVE ROOM FOR DOUBT ABOUT WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE.

You can do that by using my Rule of Nines: Post three face pics, three full-length pics (preferably one or two in a bathing suit), and three action shots of you doing something you like (other than having sex!).

Listen, schlimazel, I don't think you're being unreasonable by requesting full-length pics. Online daters — male or female — owe anybody who's interested in them an accurate representation of what they look like. In your case, her job is to provide those pics. Your job is to dump her if she doesn't. And on that score, I'd fire you.

Got a burning or a why-is-it-burning question for the Sexorcist? E-mail him at sexorcist@creativeloafing.com. Mike Alvear is the author of The Flirty Text Message Helper: Witty Texts For Clever People and teaches monthly blogging workshops with Hollis Gillespie.

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