Casey and Melanie debate the mystical and mystifying world of Internet dating, and viewpoints of men vs. women.
NEWS ITEM: A research report from the academic journal “Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin” confirms that people often lie in their online profiles (surprise?) and that men are often far more likely than women to lie about their age, height, and other key details.
Casey: Okay, this comes as big news to me. The conventional wisdom, proven wrong by the research, is that women are more obsessed with their basics – especially age and weight and lie more often.
Melanie: No shock here. In my few forays online, I met many men whose numbers of hairs, pounds, and years, and inches (width and height), were shockingly different than those indicated by words and photos. And, in terms of larger lies, men seemed to maintain a species imperative over personal integrity — continue the lineage at all costs! Many lied about their availability.
C: As for lying about marital status, when I first went online, both friends and strangers said I should state that I was divorced, even though I was separated and playing catch-up with the paperwork. Apparently separated men are toxic.
M: Well, then, Casey, you’re true to your gender:
“ … Men considered it more acceptable than women to lie about their social status … [and] found it more acceptable than women to lie about their occupation, education and marginally about their relationship status.”
I apoplectically disagree with your sources about that sort of “fib”—were they guys?
C: I asked all genders—they all said I’d be long divorced by the time I met someone I liked.
M: A woman ready for a serious relationship might prefer not to endure a man’s divorce dramas. A man might not be emotionally available if his marriage is in its last throes of failure, although he may think he is. Some men see dating as a drug: “When I meet the right woman I’ll get happy, lose weight, be ready, etc.” A healing man who wants a serious relationship, rather than a fling, will tell the truth from the start.
C: And what about women? Do they all want a serious relationship?
M: No, silly, but there are specific categories of availability and interest one can check and, one would hope, demonstrate.
C: So why not tell the truth, from the start, No double standards, right?
M: About stating availability? Right!
C: The article and its flashy graphs stated that men and women commit and accept different kinds of deceptions.
“…almost all women understate their weight and most men overstate their height.”
But, age is women’s big fib, in my experience. I’ve seen a number of online profiles where women confess in their essays that they are older than their posted age.
M: Well, at least they were instantly honest about having lied. I’m guilty of obfuscating. I’m an actress, so, to preserve castability, I listed my age as twelve, though my photos were current. There are lots of male producers and writers on the Los Angeles sites.
C: I guess we both forgive fibs we ourselves would tell, hmm? It’s the bald-faced lie of pictures that look nothing like the current model that bug me!
M: Or mystery men who hide in hats and sunglasses.
C: I agree. Please, no sunglasses! It’s all in the eyes for me.
M: Or I get frightened if they show way too much — like men in Speedo’s … eek!
C: Beef cake and cheesecake make me nauseous online. Many women post a full-body photo that signals, shall we politely say, a sense of “proportion,” and appear far differently in person.
What also annoys me is when I see three photos in a profile and none look like the others: hard to believe that these could be photos of sisters or cousins, let alone three different photos of the same person.
M: Judging how we appear is so subjective. I suppose we all choose photos that favor us, not realizing how unrecognizable we appear on a bad day. Are we confident or delusional? My mirror always sees an eternal girl.
C: Yep, I’m still a young lad in my mirror.
M: See? And now civilians have professional photo sessions and exaggerate their brand just like us pros do. Well, not to forgive deliberate deceit, but in L.A., where we set the trends, women’s hair colors, styles and body images change with the colorist and the trainer — faster than they can be photographed …
C: … Or “photo shopped.” But, there comes a moment of reckoning — those jarring first meetings — when the truth is revealed, the dream image dispelled!
M: The challenge for online daters is getting from fantasy to the basic compatibility of idiosyncrasies.
C: Pity we’re all wrapped up in image and marketing ourselves. And we men, Ms. Melanie, are asking the question Freud posed over a century ago: what do women want — and how do I convey it on an online profile?
M: Speaking brashly on behalf of my gender, Casey, we value authenticity and heart. We’re suspicious of “spin” — “meet me and you’ll see.” Profiles resounding with deep thought, warmth and wit signal potential for me. And the photo can be intriguing, but bad spelling or punctuation? Yuck! What do you look for, Casey, as men most often do the pursuing?
C: Hmmm — someone who will accept me as I am, eccentricities and all, the whole shebang. I’m looking for spark, personality, and self-confidence. Tell me what makes you tick — what makes you different than everyone else who wants romantic dinners and walks on the beach.
M: You read it here, Singular ladies! Casey likes originality, not some marketing template. And, never fear! Despite the odds, online meetings work out. I attended a wedding last Sunday spawned from online communiqués. Now I’d like to see the blog that talks about online relationships that have lasted, despite the odds, at least since the history of online dating began.
C: Me, too. I’ll start looking.