People who lie on dating apps — what’s the point?
Earlier this week, dating app Tinder announced they were introducing height verification as an attempt to put an end to all those 5'8" dudes claiming they are really 5'11". The company declared that gentlemen should upload a picture of themselves near a commercial building. Their new technology would then use this image to calculate the real measure of the man, and a Height Verification Badge (HVB) would be awarded.
Hey presto! No more tall tales.
Yep. Happy April Fools'.
But underlying this gag was the very real issue of people telling fibs on their dating profiles. Jenny Campbell, CMO of Tinder, said in an emailed statement reported to have been sent to Fox News, "To celebrate April Fool's Day, we wanted to raise awareness that really only 14.5 per cent of the US male population is over 6' despite the many Tinder bios claiming otherwise." She went on to encourage users to, "stand proudly in their truth when filling out their bios."
I've never quite understood why people would lie in their online bios. Surely, since the truth will reveal itself eventually anyway, you may as well just start with it?
As someone who has dabbled in online dating, I was instantly turned off when I met "Mr 50-Years-Old" who was actually aged 58. "But I don't look my age so I figured it doesn't matter and besides - " He tried to explain. "I've told you the truth now we've met." (He did look every day of his 58 years - with interest, I thought to myself. But that didn't bother me half as much as the initial deception did).
Or the old chestnut, "I know I said I am divorced, but that's not actually finalised yet and we still haven't told the kids. But we do have separate bedrooms."
Oh, the webs we weave.
My male mates assure me that women are just as likely to tell porky pies. Images may be so filtered that the woman is barely recognisable when they first meet them for coffee. Some women also apparently upload images of themselves using snapchat filters that turn their face into a cute little bunny or deer.
Surely, the "man-seeking-woodland-creature" dating demographic would be rather small?
But I also understand why people do this. It's always a juggling act trying to find images and reveal enough about oneself to attract attention, without falsely advertising.
And what if we actually can't handle the truth - even when it is served up on a silver platter?
I once met a man via a dating app who was extremely charming and witty via text. He opened by saying, after he noted on my bio that I am 5'10", "I am a little shorter than you, but this won't worry me at all if it doesn't worry you. And besides, I carry myself more like a six-footer." Nicely played.
But then when we met, his truth bombs became less charming, more alarming.
He explained his life as a newly separated man was somewhat messy as he had been having an affair for the past 12 months, and his mistress (not unreasonably I thought) assumed that now he was single, he'd want to be with her. "But I don't", he explained, "I want to meet other people, like you."
While he seemed to have recently embraced honesty, he was also way too complicated for me.
Philosopher Alain de Botton believes that we are all challenging in different ways. He argues that the most decent thing we can do when dating is to be upfront about our flaws and find someone who is happy to embrace every aspect of us, warts (both the literal and the figurative type) and all.
So what kind of quirks should I be confessing to?
I'm afraid to go down escalators. And I tear up with emotion very easily (this week alone I've cried at how adorable a kitten I patted was, and at how proud my friend's daughter looked to be wearing the hot pink watch on her wrist she received for her fourth birthday).
But I'm sure I have other traits that could prove even more challenging. At times, I find compromise difficult. I can be independent to the point of making my partners feel like they're not needed.
Would I lead with these facts? Honestly, no.
But if I met a man who seemed to be the right fit for me, I hope I'd be big enough to begin to share not only my shiny self, but the less polished sides: my more vulnerable and tricky ones too.
Dannielle Miller is an educator, and CEO of Enlighten Education.