The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

9 June 2007

Sponsored by eHardly

I am shocked ... shocked! ... to find that there is deception in the online-dating market:

According to Women’s Health, online date seekers lie about their height, weight and age; the men outranking the women as liars.

After a little more poking around, I came up with this survey:

This study will be published in an upcoming Proceedings of Computer/Human Interaction (April 2007), an annual peer-reviewed journal, to be released this spring during a Computer/Human Interaction conference in San Jose, Calif.

Using a new method that measured the actual difference between profile information and reality, the study revealed that men systematically overestimated their height, while women more commonly underestimated their weight, said Jeffrey Hancock, an assistant professor of communication and the lead author on this study. "Surprisingly, age-related deception was minimal and did not differ by gender," he said.

About 52.6 percent of the men in the study lied about their height, as did 39 percent of the women. Slightly more women lied about their weight (64.1 percent) than did men (60.5 percent). When it came to age, 24.3 percent of the men were untruthful, compared with 13.1 percent of the women.

Things I wonder about:

  • It seems unlikely that a man would understate his height. But why would a woman fudge this statistic? Would a woman of six feet think she'd stand a better chance at five-ten? Does four-eleven get rounded up to five-one?

  • Apparently the likelihood of finding an accurate weight on a dating site is rather low. (I avoid the question myself by not owning a scale.)

  • Do the people who misrepresent their ages invariably do so by shaving off a few years, or are there some who might actually put on a year or two? (I'm imagining a 21-year-old who, fearful of being dismissed as immature, might choose to appear as 23 or 24. And it's probably a guy, since if he's anything like me, he'll be immature until he's 50.)

Still, these are comparatively white lies:

Any girl can overlook the fact that he lied about being a McDreamy and is instead a bald, tubby, midget man as long as he isn't kickinit with another.

I wish to state for the record that I am not a midget.

Posted at 10:37 AM to Table for One


Do the people who misrepresent their ages invariably do so by shaving off a few years, or are there some who might actually put on a year or two?

"I swear she said she was over the age of consent..."

Posted by: triticale at 8:30 PM on 10 June 2007