[Previous] When People Fight | Home | [Next] Why Is Being A Kid Hard?

Thin Is Romantic


In online dating:
For men, the major areas of deception are educational level, income, height, age and marital status; at least 13 percent of online male suitors are thought to be married. For women, the major areas of deception are weight, physical appearance and age.
You can see what people care about, by what is lied about to get dates. Men are supposed to be:
  • College educated
  • Rich
  • Tall
  • Young
  • Unmarried
And women should be:
  • Thin
  • Pretty
  • Young
What's striking about this? Well, it's important for men to be unmarried. What? I guess a lot of the men on online dating services are married, or formerly married. For women, that's less of a problem. Why might that be? At a guess, maybe its because men have to pay child support, so it means less income.

Of course there is the obvious: personality goes unmentioned while appearance is critical.

What's perhaps even more striking is that, for girls, the entire list is physical characteristics. That's it. Period. Nothing else matters enough to bother lying about.

And you couldn't pick a much worse thing to lie about: the instant you meet someone, they will see the truth with pretty reasonable accuracy. It'd be much easier to lie about your personality and maintain the deception through a number of dates.

By the way, can you picture falling in love with someone if you haven't yet seen their picture? I didn't think so:
According to one recent survey, men's profiles without photos draw one fourth the response of those with photos, and women's profiles without photos draw only one sixth the response of those with photos.
Why do people lie so much online? Someone believes:
their ramblings are anonymous and hence not subject to social norms. There are also no physical cues or consequences--no visible communication gestures, raised eyebrows, grimaces, and so on--to keep people's behavior in check.
What interests me about this is that it says (admits) how large a role non-verbal cues play in suppressing unusual behavior. Those raised eyebrows and frowns are noticed, important, and capable of preventing a lot of "undesirable" behavior. And they are done by people who talk about how great diversity is.

Elliot Temple on February 1, 2007


Want to discuss this? Join my forum.

(Due to multi-year, sustained harassment from David Deutsch and his fans, commenting here requires an account. Accounts are not publicly available. Discussion info.)