Should I lie about my age on my dating profile?
August 12, 2012 8:41 PM   Subscribe

Should I lie about my age on my dating profile?

I'm a single 34-year-old female in NYC. I've been online dating ( and OKCupid) for a long time, with not much in the way of results the past few years. I almost never get a message from someone who interests me, partially because the men who message me are almost always much older than I am. I'm not interested in dating someone much older. So, I send many initial messages to men who interest me. Prior to turning 34, I got about a 10% response rate to these initial messages. Since my 34th birthday six months ago, I've gotten literally no replies (and I've sent many, many messages). I don't know for sure that age is involved but it does seem likely. I only message guys whose "looking for" age range includes 34, though 34 is often at the top of their range (I don't find many men who state that they're willing to date a woman older than that.)

I'm not messaging 25-year-olds; I'd ideally like to date someone roughly my own age (say, late 20s to late 30s). These men seem to want women much younger than themselves. I can't blame them; we're an age-obsessed culture and I'm sure I'd prefer a younger woman if I were in their shoes, especially in NYC, which is particularly youth-obsessed. Even my 34-year-old single guy friends admit that they would not date a woman their own age.

I've considered lying about my age before but always rejected it because (a) it seems wrong, and (b) I'd worry that the guy wouldn't want to see me anymore once I told him my true age. I'm considering it again now because I can't get any dates at all. I wouldn't claim to be significantly younger; maybe 32?

Have you done this, and what was the result? Please don't chastise me for thinking about this; I'm fully aware that lying is wrong and it's bad to start a relationship off on a deceitful foot - but the way things are going now, I have no relationships at all and I don't see that changing. Sadly, lying seems like a slightly better alternative.

posted by anonymous to Human Relations (63 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Once you start with a lie, you have to keep it up. And why do you think 32 is going to yield you something so significantly different than 34?
posted by frizz at 8:46 PM on August 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

You don't want a guy who only wants a younger gal. You want someone who is attracted to who you really are. Maybe next week you can do an Ask with a link to your profile so people can give you feedback.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:47 PM on August 12, 2012 [18 favorites]

The people who won't message you if they see your real age will very likely break it of when they find out about your real age. Unless you're looking for something short-term and casual, I'd stick to the truth.
posted by Garm at 8:48 PM on August 12, 2012

I think if you're going to go down this path, perhaps the thing to do is mislead someone with your picture, using primarily those that are out of date or crafted to make you appear younger.

My assumption would be that a lot of people do that, and the likelihood of it being a standard practice counts as fair warning. But an outright lie would be the wrong start to any meaningful relationship.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 8:49 PM on August 12, 2012

Sure, you can do this but it depends on what you want out of online dating. Something short-term and someone to sleep with? Definitely go for it.

If you're hoping to find someone to share the rest of your life with, then you're starting off with a blatant lie that will be very hard to hide or explain once things get serious. Think about it.
posted by special-k at 8:49 PM on August 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I know people who have put down a different number in the "age" field on their profile and then clarified with their true age in the "about me" section -- the point being to not just get filtered out by the search function but also having the real information there in their profile.

As a guy who's gone on a lot of online dates I take the info in peoples' profiles with a giant grain of salt, but even I'd be a little weirded out if I didn't find out for a few dates what you actual age is.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 8:49 PM on August 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Have you done this, and what was the result?

I have dated men who I later found out lied about their age, sometimes by a few years or sometimes a decade or two (not exaggerating here...).Sometimes the man had a very unique googlelable name;other times the guy made references to things that he did, which were decades before I was born so I can do the math.

This was early in the dating process (first date or two). I dropped them like hot cakes when I found out becauseif they lied about something as simple as age, how could I trust them for things like: having children? already being married? The rest of his life.Maybe it would have been different if I found out many dates later. Anywho, that was my experience and why I wouldn't do it, but YMMV.
posted by Wolfster at 8:51 PM on August 12, 2012 [5 favorites]

If they don't want to date someone who's 34, they don't want to date someone who's 34. You would have lied about something right off the bat, and a lot of people are going to treat that like a deal-breaker in a relationship, even if they are themselves shallow and dumb for not wanting to date a 34-year-old. I don't think it's awful of you to want to; I just don't think it can possibly end well for anything except short-term flings.

I would say it would be better to look at what else you bring to the table, whether your own standards need to be relaxed a bit, or whether it's a good time to start looking for people some other way. None of these things means there's really anything wrong with you, but if you have a dearth of people showing interest, the usual thing is that you need to either be more interesting, look for people who are less picky, or find somewhere to meet people where they'll get to know you more before looking at you as a potential partner.
posted by gracedissolved at 8:52 PM on August 12, 2012 [9 favorites]

Personally, I wouldn't be comfortable starting with someone who won't tell me their age... it comes across as insecure... which isn't the vibe you want to give off!

I'm wondering whether your photos show you at your best?

Alternately, why not post a ridiculous age like 99? Guys do it all the time in their profiles.
"99... great like Gretsky", or something cheezy like that might work to deflect it.
posted by NorthernAutumn at 8:52 PM on August 12, 2012

I'm sorry you're having a struggle with this - I don't think this is a solution, however, fiddling with your age. Skeevy older dudes are sort of an inevitability of online dating, they will message everyone, regardless of interest in men their age. It's gross and unfortunate. If you wind up liking a dude you date under an assumed age, you've guaranteed yourself an awkward talk in both of your futures.

All of your single guy friends seriously wouldn't date someone their own age? That seems really odd to me but maybe things really are different in NYC, I don't know. That said, I'd warrant that somewhere in that massive city is at least one good dude who is looking for a lady in your age bracket. Keep looking for him - if you pretend to be younger than you are, he might not find you!
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:56 PM on August 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Lying about fundamental details is not a great start to a relationship.
posted by heyjude at 8:58 PM on August 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

I have never done this, but I'm a 34 year guy and back when I was actively dating, I've met a lot of women who did this. It got so annoying and tedious that I eventually changed my profile so that the upper and lower bounds of the age range I was looking for were two years lower than my intended age range, simply to compensate for this nonsense.

There are two things you should know.

1) Most mid-30s women on a dating site think they can pass as younger than they are.
2) Usually they really can't, but the men will be too polite to tell them.

If you lie about your age, you will get a lot more first dates, but almost no second dates. Furthermore, you will be actively building a repository of ill-will towards yourself among the dating community, since you're wasting their time and emotional investment. One date you may meet a guy whom you're really into at a party, only to find that one of his best friends at the party is somebody you went on a date with - and you'll find yourself sabotaged from the start.

So sure - if all you want is the false hope and ultimate disappointment of first dates that never lead anywhere, by all means go for it and lie all you want. Personally, I prefer quality over quantity, but your mileage may vary.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:02 PM on August 12, 2012 [9 favorites]

34 is really not the time to be insecure about your age. When you are 44 or 64, it will seem downright ridiculous. Not to mention the ethics of lying about a basic fact about yourself.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 9:05 PM on August 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

Perhaps my morals are skewed, but I don't think an age difference of two years is a "fundamental detail." Seriously, what is the difference between 32 & 34 y/o woman that a man in his thirties wouldn't even dream of crossing that number?

I also think the stay hopeful, wish upon a star way of viewing things leaves too much to chance in a dating world that skews heavily against women as they age.

What no regrets, coyote mentioned is a good compromise. Change the age in the filtering section, but leave a quick blurb somewhere in your profile explaining the truth.
posted by elleyebeebeewhy at 9:10 PM on August 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've been lied to about age twice. I didn't like it.
posted by mochapickle at 9:15 PM on August 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was totally against this until I read this article that made clear how much of a difference age makes, and how irrelevant it can be to the actual physical attractiveness of the woman in question. On average dudes are apparently shallow and shitty about age.

On the one hand, you don't want any guy who is shallow and shitty about age. On the other hand, there are a lot of guys who pick their age ranges based on these arbitrary standards influenced by society without considering whether it's reasonable, and it's possible once actually on a few dates they would not care. Personally, I don't think a couple of years is that big a deal--it's not like you're taking off a decade. I think the only guy who would give a huge crap about a couple years is either someone really over-invested in fertility, or is way too serious about the reliability of information in an online dating profile and believes the information provided should be the equivalent of sworn testimony in court. You probably don't want either of these people.
posted by schroedinger at 9:17 PM on August 12, 2012 [8 favorites]

I would maybe try to meet men outside of online dating, honestly. I think that it has a whole weird meat-market aspect to it that makes people aim for the "best" they can do, especially men.

Even my 34-year-old single guy friends admit that they would not date a woman their own age.

But...maybe don't look for boyfriends around this friend group. That is a really shitty thing to say and those men have serious issues. Issues that are deemed acceptable by a sexist culture, but issues nonetheless. I really wonder if this particular set of friends is helpful for your self-esteem.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:18 PM on August 12, 2012 [36 favorites]

Also, sorry if that came across as condescending, but in the past I've been deeply mired in friend groups that were somewhat woman-hating--never would they say something like "I hate women" but it was there in lots of subtle and not-so-subtle ways. I consider this attitude, of never dating anyone their own age, to be a sign that you're possibly part of such a group or groups. If this is the case, then when you meet men who are different you will feel a whole hell of a lot better about yourself--and you will have a lot more hope about men in general.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:21 PM on August 12, 2012 [9 favorites]

Isn't this one of those little white lies that's not really hurting anyone? There are so many worse things that people can and do lie about in their profiles.

If you meet someone and get along with them, surely they won't be completely put off if you turn out to actually be 34 instead of 32?! If they are aghast at this, and couldn't possibly bear to be around someone who would dare try to start a relationship based on such an earth shattering lie, maybe they're not someone you would want to date anyway.

I say try it, change your age to 32 for a couple of weeks, and see if it does actually change the responses you get.
posted by peppermintfreddo at 9:27 PM on August 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

A guy lied to me about his age once (saying he was younger, of course) and I found out and never contacted him again. I agree that if someone would lie about something so basic, I would feel like I couldn't trust them about larger issues.

If you really want to you could try and see if you'd get more dates but I doubt that guys would be thaaat much likelier to date someone who's 32 as opposed to 34. And I know that it's pretty trite but I do think it's true that you wouldn't want to date someone who wouldn't like you if he knew your real age.
posted by mlle valentine at 9:29 PM on August 12, 2012

I am much older than 34. I do not have experience with on-line dating. Having said that, the first thing that came to my mind is that the age is the red herring for why you are not getting hits. I obviously have not seen your profile, but my guess is that people read 34 in couple with the rest of your profile and think "wants to get married and have kids. Soon." Now that is a damn boorish assumption, but it is my experience with my friends who married later than me or not at all that 34 in and of itself was not the issue, the biological clock was. If you don't want kids, add that to your profile.

If you think it will help to make it 32, do it and pass it off on the 3rd or 4th date as a typo. Come clean early, but after he likes you for you not your age. If you are asked something like what year you graduated from college tell the truth and if the math is noticed, then disclose the mistake.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:30 PM on August 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

You could always go the mysterious route and list yourself as 99 years old. No one will find you to message you, but they aren't doing that anyway. Have recent pics up, and there's nothing deceptive about it. The guy will then have to decide based on you, not on your age.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:33 PM on August 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

> I know people who have put down a different number in the "age" field on their profile and then clarified with their true age in the "about me" section -- the point being to not just get filtered out by the search function but also having the real information there in their profile.

I think this is the best compromise. If/when you get called on the discrepancy, you can simply (truthfully) say that you have no intention of lying about your age, but that you futzed with your profile for the purpose of search results.

Most of the guys I know believe to some extent in the "half your age plus 7" limit. If the older men who message you tend to be in their mid-fifties, this may be part of the reason why. (55/2+7=34.5)
posted by desuetude at 9:35 PM on August 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

I agree that if someone would lie about something so basic, I would feel like I couldn't trust them about larger issues.

A thousand times yes. (Well, actually, a thousand and two.)
posted by mochapickle at 9:37 PM on August 12, 2012

The only way a woman should lie about her age is to claim she's 5-10 years OLDER than she actually is, so everyone will be amazed at how great she looks for her age. Otherwise, never and no. Terrible idea to try to pass yourself off as younger.
posted by padraigin at 9:40 PM on August 12, 2012

women are allowed to lie about their ages or refuse to divulge it all together; you just have to be willing to a)keep it up consistently and b)accept that, if you've made a significant change, nobody actually believes you, they're just humoring you. Most people can make a pretty good guess about other peoples' ages. That said, I don't think shaving two years off is a crime. I also don't know if it will make a difference. I do think you'd be better off meeting guys in real life, rather than online. Those little things that can make enough of a difference to stop you from meeting a person you like don't usually stop you from liking a person you meet, if you see what I mean.
posted by windykites at 9:45 PM on August 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you are willing to lie about your age, then you are willing to lie about anything.
posted by at the crossroads at 9:51 PM on August 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think you should try it for a month or two, see if it gives you the results you want, and learn from that experience.

If you think, "No, I don't want to do that in case in those two months I might meet a really great person and this could completely ruin it," then you have your answer: don't do it.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:52 PM on August 12, 2012

Lie about your age in your profile if you want to. Tell them the truth and why you did it after you've messaged back and forth with them a bit or talked to them on the phone, and then ask them if they're still interested.

This will effectively screen out not only the people too immature to date someone close to their own age, but also all the uptight people that few people would want to have a long term relationship with anyway.
posted by serena15221 at 10:02 PM on August 12, 2012

I wouldn't like, but I would rethink your approach. OKCupid seems to skew really young - I never had any luck on there when I was dating in my mid-30s. Match is good, though (I just got engaged, at the age of 40, to a man I met there so there is hope!). How about adding eHarmony to the mix too, as they will match you to men in your age range looking for a relationship with women in your age range? It's not just for Christians anymore.

I also think dating in NYC is really, really difficult no matter whether you're 32 or 34+. I have a lot of single women friends in similar big cities who've been looking for a relationship for years without finding anyone decent. I know others who have moved to a more relationship-friendly place and found someone nice right away (I was in this latter group). I know it's radical, but is moving an option?
posted by hazyjane at 10:31 PM on August 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

Can't you just put an age range or do you have to be specific? Of course if you really don't mind being dishonest, you could say you're 32 and later tell them you've been on and off the site for a few years and haven't updated your age since you joined. Personally I wouldn't bother because a guy whose freaked out over the difference between 32 and 34 would be too young and immature or me, so his emotional age would be the deal breaker - not mine.
posted by Jubey at 10:33 PM on August 12, 2012

Just as a useless point of reference, I'm a man your age and I prefer dating women our age to women who are younger, and I prefer dating people who use accurate information to those who don't.
posted by chrchr at 10:39 PM on August 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

For me the question is, how important is an accurate profile when you're browsing? If a guy had lied about his age 2 years would that be OK? If he was 10lbs heavier would that be OK? If his picture is 5 years old is that OK?

If you expect accurate profiles from your prospective partners then it's only fair that you have an accurate one yourself.

If you're OK with all this... well, give it a try for awhile and see how it works out for you.
posted by sbutler at 10:46 PM on August 12, 2012

I also think dating in NYC is really, really difficult no matter whether you're 32 or 34+. I have a lot of single women friends in similar big cities who've been looking for a relationship for years without finding anyone decent.

The statistics cited in this interesting article bear that out. Single women tend to outnumber single men in major urban areas worldwide. The northeastern US has many more single women, and greater NYC is particularly bleak: 200,000 more single women. Single men in NY can afford to have young upper age limit. Conversely, the west coast has a lot more single men.

So single women in NY are going to have a harder time finding dates, may need to be less choosy about who they date, and some women that choose to remain in NY will never find a partner.

To the OP, and other women in NY and similar areas struggling to find dates, it may pay off to relocate to a region with a surplus of single men.
posted by 6550 at 11:43 PM on August 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

I have had people lie about their age to me (I am an early 30's female) and I found it to be very disturbing. I also tended to find the "lie for search reasons" off-putting. I think it gives off an unintentional and possibly inaccurate vibe of self-esteem issues. I say honesty is the best policy. I would hate to experience someone who may be less than sensitive to you when they find out about the age adjustment. I agree with some of the other comments, try to update your profile first in other ways, experiment with your profile pictures and open yourself up to Match if you want to pay for the service. Otherwise, get out there and know that someone will come along eventually. I am sure you are a smart, confident woman and your profile should reflect that with all of the information being accurate.
posted by MyMind at 11:54 PM on August 12, 2012

Yes, you should lie about your age. But be honest with the picture.

Men are pathetically shallow, even the ones who don't admit it. If things are going well after a couple of conversations/dates, bring it up as a joke. Don't worry: that's not really his boat that he's standing next to, and he probably doesn't really like to cuddle. If its that big of a deal for him, then he's probably not worth the effort.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 12:05 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

> Men are pathetically shallow, even the ones who don't admit it.

I don't think that's a constructive argument. It's a harsh and sexist generalization, and side-steps the actual problem of whether lying about yourself is an issue. Being concerned about honesty, even for small things, isn't shallow, and deflecting it as "men are shallow anyway, so I have to play their game" isn't a mature way of handling it, IMO. Be honest with yourself and potential partners, and don't justify a lie with prejudice.
posted by floomp at 12:33 AM on August 13, 2012 [8 favorites]

Why are you even online dating, if you're going to negate the primary advantage it has: of filtering out things you don't want?

I mean, unless you are actually want men who are only interested in women who are younger than you.

This... is such a spectacularly bad idea, bolstered by even worse suggestions (post outdated photos of yourself! Admit that you're lying but insist you're a special snowflake so it's ok!), I kind of want to use this thread as an explanation for why online dating sucks: everyone is lying to each other about everything.

Please just believe me when I tell you this isn't going to be the start of some cute story you get to tell all your friends about how you met your husband. It's going to be the start of how you waste the next 3 months of your life on first dates.

This is real life, not a romantic comedy. It's hard enough as it is; the least we can do is agree to be decent to each other and not lie.
posted by danny the boy at 12:45 AM on August 13, 2012 [11 favorites]

By the way, I met my current girlfriend online. I was the only guy who didn't lie about their height. She was the only girl whose photo didn't do her justice.
posted by danny the boy at 12:49 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I met a girl a couple of years ago online and she lied about her age, I think she was 32 but said she was 28 or something. Anyway, she told me during our first (and only) date that she was actually 32, and it was a total turnoff, and not because that was too old, I'd actually been on a date with a girl who was 32 or 33 just a couple of weeks prior, but because she was already admitting to lying about something right from the start. It was not a good way to start a potential relationship.
posted by tokaidanshi at 12:57 AM on August 13, 2012

Depends entirely on your ethical framework.

The "quelle horreur" reaction you're getting here is because most Mefites are deontological. They're telling you not to lie about your age because humans have an ethical duty not to lie.

Whereas I look at things as a consequentialist: will it create a better outcome, and lead to more happiness for all parties concerned, when all the consequences are considered? In this case, I think it's pretty clear that rounding down your age a little is going to increase your personal chances of long-term happiness, not diminish them. That's assuming you fess up to your potential partner about your real age after meeting them or in your early exchanges (so there's no risk of actually beginning a relationship on false premises). Yes, perhaps admitting to your lie will mean you lose someone who would otherwise have been the love of your life; but I think the risk of that is worth running, in return for being exposed to a much broader pool of eligible men who are (unfairly) ruling out women of your age.
posted by dontjumplarry at 1:03 AM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

Based on my experience, women lying about their age on dating sites is common, perhaps the norm. Based on conversations with women I met men seem to lie about their income, and both sexes seem to lie about their physical condition. Lets face it, if we were that much of a catch we'd already have plenty of options.

My two most successful outcomes were based on telephone calls because neither had provided a profile picture when they first got in touch. My least successful was the person who started quizzing me about my personal wealth within minutes, practically requesting banker's references, I played it for laughs and she hung up on me.

If you lie about your age then you have no cause to feel deceived when your 35-year-old gym-going stockbroker turns out to be a pot-bellied clerk of 42. Learn to phone screen, provide an interesting profile which makes you seem like a good 'catch', meet for coffee and establish as early as possible if this is a person who's company you could bear for an evening while on a date.
posted by epo at 1:31 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here's the way I found worked best to think about online dating: all those people who you are driving away with your honesty? Those are people who you would have wanted to drive away anyway. By giving your real age, you're not adding anyone to your potential pool of people you'd be willing to date; you're just saving yourself the cost of a drink and an afternoon discovering that this person is not what you want in an SO. Once I flipped that mental switch, I was much happier with my low return rate on dating sites.
posted by Mayor West at 5:03 AM on August 13, 2012 [5 favorites]

The "quelle horreur" reaction you're getting here is because most Mefites are deontological. They're telling you not to lie about your age because humans have an ethical duty not to lie.

Whereas I look at things as a consequentialist: will it create a better outcome, and lead to more happiness for all parties concerned, when all the consequences are considered? In this case, I think it's pretty clear that rounding down your age a little is going to increase your personal chances of long-term happiness, not diminish them.

I think you are vastly underestimating how many people will be EXTREMELY turned off by this. We are not being hand-wringing moralists here- the point is, she will be putting off the very people she hopes to fool because it's a petty, insecure lie meant to ensnare people.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:08 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm 34 (female) in NYC and I don't lie about my age on dating profiles. It would just feel weird to do so. I also don't think 32 is really going to seem all that different.

As an aside - the advice about moving out of the NYC area is a little tiresome and I wish people didn't do it. I'm imagining like me your life might be here - work, friends, friends having families, your family, etc and moving to pick up your dating choices is a big haul. If New York is where you want to live and date then stay here and do it, BUT don't drag yourself down by thinking all men in New York are youth obsessed or things like that.
posted by sweetkid at 5:16 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

The "quelle horreur" reaction you're getting here is because most Mefites are deontological. They're telling you not to lie about your age because humans have an ethical duty not to lie.

Whereas I look at things as a consequentialist: will it create a better outcome, and lead to more happiness for all parties concerned, when all the consequences are considered?

While I don't want to start an argument, I would like to address this, since I am a consequentialist myself. Dontjumplarry is operating under the assumption that two years is a small enough gap that most people won't be able to tell the difference, especially if you look younger than you are.

Here's an important question to consider though. Do you look younger than you are? Statistically speaking, half the population will look a bit younger, and half the population will look a bit older. Unless you are ridiculously fit, it's a bad idea to assume you're one of the fortunate people blessed with more youthful looks. In fact, based on your return rates, I think the odds favor the idea that you may look one or two years older than you are.

In other words, if you're a 34 year old who looks 32 and you pretend to be 32, great - you achieved your goal. On the other hand, if you're a 34 year old who looks 36 and you pretend to be 32, men are going to instantly notice, and they will be pissed, even if they don't say so openly. Getting lots of people angry at you is not a path to success, particularly in a city as interconnected as New York.

One thing I have found worked well for me in the past is to be so considerate and interesting to my dates that even when a girl and I don't have romantic chemistry, she wants to stay in touch and be friends. Usually this results in me being invited to more parties and being introduced to her single female friends, since people like to see their friends get set up with genuinely nice people. I refer to this strategy as "building a repository of goodwill" and I recommend you try that approach first.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 5:22 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

While I sympathize with your dilemma (check my age & location in profile to see why;-) I also say no, you really shouldn't lie. It may be a very small lie, but here's the thing: big liars also tell very small lies, and for many people, in the early stages of getting to know/know about someone, those small lies are how they've learned to spot the big liars. I don't care about, say, how much a guy makes. But if one told me he made X + $10K instead of just admitting to making X, I would run away so fast. There's no way, after just a few dates, for a well-meaning guy to know that you're just telling that one little white lie to get past the searches. Because your behavior will be exactly the same as the woman who's lying about her age, her marital status, her education level, her criminal record, her...who even knows what else. It's simply not worth it.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 5:32 AM on August 13, 2012

If you lied about that to me, and then we went out and at some point you told me or I otherwise found out the truth, I would not go out with you again. It's a lie that would make you seem very insecure, which is a turn-off, and it's also a lie that's specifically designed to trick people into dating you, which would piss me off (even though I'd otherwise be fine with dating someone your age if I were single). I suspect I'd also have questions that would never go away about what else you were lying about, even if I stayed with you, and of course eventually that would kill the relationship.

I'm sorry you're on a cold streak and struggling to get dates right now, but a situation like this is uncomfortable and worse than no dates at all for all parties. If someone rules you out based on characteristics that you can't change, you guys are not going to be a good match.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:58 AM on August 13, 2012

Also, how would you feel about those "much older" men whom you're entirely uninterested in if they lied about their age to you? Not positive, right? And even if you were okay with that, the easiest answer would just be to give them a shot now when they're being honest about their age.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:02 AM on August 13, 2012

I kind of think you should just try it for a couple of weeks and see what happens. My guess is not much, unless 34 happens to be just above an arbitrary line a lot of men have set -- like how people will price a house at $199,000 because so many people set their price filters at an even number. I would have thought 35 was more likely to be that arbitrary line, but that's just an assumption.

As someone at the upper end of your age range, 32 is not any more attractive to me than 34, but I can see it making a big deal to someone who is 33. Friends who are using online dating joke about this happening all the time, along with wildly outdated photos. Purely based on their stories, I'd have guessed that women fudge their ages more often, while men seem to feel fine about using photos that are ten or more years old, but really things are probably more balanced. So you'll have lots of company if you do take this path.
posted by Forktine at 6:12 AM on August 13, 2012

Oh, I feel your pain - I'm 48. That, unfortunately, screens out a lot of men (even on the West Coast). BUT, quality is far better than quantity. I'd rather be single than date a man who is my age but thinks a 48-year-old woman is old and decrepit while he's in the prime of his life.

My situation is slightly different in that I don't have or want kids of my own, and anyone who sees my real age will know that ship has sailed anyway. (Which has its upside in that any man looking for a brood mare won't click on my profile, either. Hah.)

I have decided I will tell the truth and take my lumps. If I value a relationship (or a friendship) based upon trust and honesty, how can I ask for that if I tell a lie first thing out of the gate? How can I complain about men who lie about their income, height, marital status (!) or, indeed, age, when I myself am not honest? I'd rather give and receive honesty than start my relationship (or fun date) out with a lie.

Chances are that someone who clicks on your profile based on a fake age will not want to continue the relationship when he finds out the truth. And someone who won't even look at a woman his own age because he's entitled, dammit, to someone younger, is not a man you want.

Yes, it sucks big hairy donkey balls to be screened out automatically because of your age. But it sucks bigger, hairier elephant balls to lie in order to attract dates, because honesty and trust are vital to good relationships.

Finally: skeevy older men just come with the territory of online dating. I got messages from them when I was in my early 30's. They are basically the spammers of the dating world; chances are they just send the same icky message to every woman in a certain age category. It's no reflection on you.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:57 AM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

The best case scenario is that you go on a date with someone who might not otherwise date you because of your age and they don't mind when you tell them that you lied.

The worst case scenario is that you go on a date with someone who couldn't care less about your age but decides to not date you because you lied.

Not worth it.

(Back when I was doing the online dating thing, I had two women lie to me about their age. I wasn't that enamored with one of them so it was just a funny end to a terrible evening but I would've gone on a second date with the other one if it wasn't for that).
posted by Diskeater at 7:20 AM on August 13, 2012

If you're just looking for someone to fuck, by all means lie about unimportant details. It will get you younger meat.

If you're looking for a lasting relationship, starting it off with lies seems... counterproductive.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:04 AM on August 13, 2012

Data point: I was on at age 34 and met my husband there. I did not lie about my age.

I did have a couple of guys lie about things on their profile, and they only got one date. Because I don't want to waste my time with someone who will lie about objectively verifiable things.

I almost never get a message from someone who interests me, partially because the men who message me are almost always much older than I am.

Rather than lying about your age, I would suggest re-tooling your profile, so that it attracts men in the age range you are looking for. If they approach you, the age question is not an issue.
posted by ambrosia at 9:24 AM on August 13, 2012

No matter how you retool your profile, 50+ guys will always approach you on OKCupid. I'm in my mid-20s and when I'm on there I get multiple messages from them, pretty much no matter what my profile says. It is kinda their thing and probably has nothing to do with you.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:31 AM on August 13, 2012

My boyfriend took five years off his age on his profile, but told me on our first date that he had done so, and why. He looks and acts at least ten years younger than his actual age, and he knew the age bias would keep women from considering someone of his "advanced age" and he wanted to make sure he was given a chance. I didn't like it but I understood it and did indeed give him a chance, as he was right, I would've passed him over based on the number alone (or not seen him at all given that age wasn't in the range I was searching for).

My first suggestion would be not lying. My next suggestion would be, if you're going to do this, put the lesser number in the age field that the site searches by BUT in the text of your profile explain that you've done so and why.
posted by thrasher at 9:40 AM on August 13, 2012

No matter how you retool your profile, 50+ guys will always approach you on OKCupid.

Agreed. But that's pretty much universal. Internet dating pretty much automatically implies having to do a certain amount of culling. The problem isn't that she's being approached by the wrong guys (inevitable), it's that she's not being approached by the right guys.
posted by ambrosia at 10:00 AM on August 13, 2012

I would not want to seriously date someone so rigid that they would care if I took two lousy years off my profile age for a very good reason, or for what I believed to be a very good reason at the time. How could you ever relax around someone like that, let alone spend your whole life with them?
posted by serena15221 at 10:01 AM on August 13, 2012

I think this is almost certainly partly due to men worrying about whether you are looking for a baby daddy or not. 34 is starting to hit the edge of fertility and there are women who are getting desperate to find someone to have kids with in that range (I know a few of them). The problem is that even putting down that you don't want kids might not solve the problem as the men might want kids, but not for a few years, and not want to discuss it at the beginning of a relationship.

It's hard to know without seeing your profile if you touch on this (maybe you have kids), but take it into account.

Also get some new male friends. Those types of comments have a solid leg mired in misogyny, you deserve better then that.
posted by Dynex at 10:36 AM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I understand the temptation - when I was looking for a partner online, I was tempted to lie about my age myself because I don't feel my age is a very useful data point about me. I do look younger than my age (but then everyone thinks that, don't they?) but primarily because my course through life has simply not been like that of most of my age cohort. I haven't had the same life experiences someone of my age would be expected to have, and am not at the same "stage of life" if you will. It was very frustrating to know that I was getting lumped in with other people of my age while I had very little in common with most of them.

However, I concluded that it was simply dishonest to lie about it, and I didn't want to start a relationship on a foundation of lies. There is also a small subset of women who would sort of "half-lie" in their profiles. They would lie in the age box to get themselves into different sets of search results, then come clean in their profiles. e.g., "By the way, I should let you know that I'm not really 35 but am actually 47. But you believed me based on how I look, didn't you? And I'm really young at heart!" I realized I was really, really put off by that for some reason. It just came off as so insecure. And so I concluded the only thing to do was just be up front about my age and let the chips fall where they would. It's not like I was going to keep up the lie for years until my relationship fell apart because I accidentally remembered some kids show that I shouldn't have seen.

My girlfriend and I (yes, online dating worked eventually, thank you very much!) have spent a fair amount of time comparing our respective experiences. She notes that she also had a very bad response rate when she contacted men first, and takes this to mean that men want to do the chasing. Personally, I think that's nuts. I would have loved it if a woman approached me IF, (and this is the tough part, isn't it?) she was someone I would have wanted to approach myself. I would have loved to have some encouragement in that case because sending out that first contact is a scary thing. But it wouldn't induce me to respond to someone I wasn't attracted to. I think maybe the compromise is not to send full-blown "hello" messages to men you're interested in, but to just wink and see if they take the hint. That lets them do the hunting if that is what they want, while at least encouraging them that you probably won't shoot them down.
posted by Naberius at 12:04 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Anecdata: I met a guy through work a few years ago. I liked him. He mentioned he was on, and I looked up his profile. I'm not great at judging height, and I didn't know his salary or educational level then, but over time it became apparent he had added two inches of height, $10K of salary, and a master's degree to a bachelor's. All these things pointed to massive insecurity, and he showed that in other ways too. The lying gave me the impression that he thought all women were shallow gold-diggers, but that he was still OK with dating them. I'm not like that. I was kind of insulted, and thought a bit less of him. I would have liked him just fine at 5'6" and 50K, and without an advanced degree. Find the people who will like you as you are.
posted by xenophile at 1:51 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Three thoughts:
a) I would get off of OkC because in major cities, it tends to skew younger than you (in my experience, physically and emotionally).

b) Most men on dating sites did not care about my age or even my age range filters; they ignored them and messaged me or responded to my messages because they wanted to. I'm not saying your age is or isn't a turnoff, more that I doubt it's the SOLE reason you aren't getting messages.

c) I know a couple of women who did this, both on OkC. One was 35, claiming 33, and looked about early 30s, but still got no bites. One was 33, claiming to be 30, looked like late 20s. Got a few first dates (mostly from younger guys) but no second dates and the responses were all over the place, from "makes me feel manipulated" to "how can I trust you?" to "just kinda weirded by this." Your mileage may vary, and maybe none of those potential second dates would have been third dates anyway, but it's kind of a tossup as to whether you have anything to lose -- or gain, but I think the potential for you to feel worse about your singleness is high.
posted by sm1tten at 5:35 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wow, I have a hard time believing that a 34 year old woman feels too old! You may want to revamp your profile if you are getting such low responses. You can even post it here for some feedback, I've seen people do that. I am 46 with a young child and I get tons of men writing of all ages. The younger men are pretty up front about wanting a (mature) sex partner, but some are very sweet and just tell me I'm beautiful :) I am very average looking, rather short and 20 pounds overweight (IMO), but I am quite certain that most of these men do genuinely find me attractive.
I have gone out with 6 men in about 4 months, all around my age, one was 60. I cannot tell you how wonderful it's been. All dates were fun, and I am currently continuing to see 2 of them with a possible 3rd coming into the picture.
I tried online dating 6 years ago with little success, although it was before my daughter was born, I was 20 pounds lighter than I am now. I didn't meet a single man I would want to see again. The difference is that now I don't contact first, while before I made all the initial contacts. I think I'm just really shitty at picking out men. While most of the men who contact me are not men I am interested in, there is about one every two weeks that I return correspondence with and go out with. This has worked much better than me making first contact, let me tell you. I'm in no hurry, which also makes it a lot more fun. I figure the likelihood of my future soul mate being on the site at any given moment is low, so I'm taking it nice and slow and having fun in the meantime.
Seriously, revamp your profile and post it here for pointers, and then wait.
posted by waving at 10:23 AM on August 27, 2012

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