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Male Lies Vs. Female Lies

This is the second piece to be published on the Get The Guy blog from my brother Stephen. Steve helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.

Today’s article is on the hot topic of lying when it comes to online dating. Enjoy!

Enter Stephen

Lying is like masturbating. Even if you need to do it now and then, you rarely feel proud of yourself afterwards.

But apparently, most of us are liars, especially in online dating.

Match.com’s chief scientist Helen Fisher did some research into the site’s users and found that both men and women frequently lie in their online profiles. Fisher also offers insight into the different lies told by both sexes.

The research found that men tend to lie about two things – their height and their salary. Sometimes even the job title gets a generous facelift – e.g. “janitor” becomes “Hotel Facilities Consultant”, while “laptop repairman” becomes “Apple Management Inc.” etc.

This makes sense. Since being taller and richer are perceived to be attractive traits, men are prone to inflate both figures (there is another male measurement susceptible to this kind of exaggeration, but mercifully, Match.com doesn’t ask users to provide it).

Women, on the other hand, will tend to lie about their weight and their age.

These results shed light on male and female insecurities. Men want to be thought of as masculine and being able to provide. Height and salary are respectively perceived to be indicators of these two qualities, at least in the average man’s mind.

It’s the kind of caveman math you’d expect from the average male: Big man + Big bank account leads to big…woman? Or something like that.

The female lies, on the other hand, are related to being youthful, feminine, and physically beautiful. Age and weight are perceived to be quick shorthand for indicating such qualities.

What is interesting is that we often lie about these things even though we might not really value them highly ourselves. We lie because we perceive that other people value them highly. For example, a guy might not be bothered about his small salary, but he adds another zero on the end because he is convinced that women will be bothered about it. We lie because of our assumptions that these are traits about which the opposite sex care deeply.

Does lying really matter?

I don’t judge anyone for telling these lies. Or, at least, I understand. Sometimes we lie, or selectively tell the truth, because we want people just to give us a chance. We know how ruthlessly people can judge in an instant (probably because the online world forces us to regularly confront our own ruthlessness – try Tindr and you’ll see what I mean), and no-one wants to be discarded for something as superficial as their age, height, or the size of their bank account.

We want that chance to say, “Wait! Let me explain how awesome I am first, then you’ll see it doesn’t matter!”, but the Internet is too fickle and fast to permit time for such protests.

Not all lies are malicious. Some lies we tell because we don’t want people to dismiss us based on their prejudices, or because we are insecure about how people will deal with the truth.

Frank Underwood put it well in House of Cards:

“I lied to him, but what choice did I have when the truth would have ended the conversation before it began?”

This happens all the time in relationships; people lie in the early stages or hide things about themselves because they are afraid of how their partner will react if they are just open and honest about who they are.

This theme of hiding in relationships is something I want to come back to in another post. For now, let’s stick to online dating.

Who do you want to turn on?

Although concealing certain truths is arguably necessary (who doesn’t hide their worst aspects in the first three dates – or three months – of a relationship?), there is a danger in hiding who you really are, and it’s this: There are lots of people who are totally, passionately, crazy into who you really are.

When we try to hide those parts of ourselves in order to attract everyone, we can end up attracting no-one.

Take a 32-year-old guy who is an aspiring painter, earning 20k a year doing the odd piece of freelance work. He might love his lifestyle, but he knows if he’s too honest about what he does in his online dating profile, many women will deem him a bad catch and brush him aside for guys with better prospects. Given that there are so many other guys who earn bigger paychecks, any woman interested in a guy’s salary could skip him without even looking at his profile.

But now the problem is obvious: This guy, who evidently doesn’t care about money, is now trying to compete for women who place enormous importance on a guy’s salary. Instead of selling what some women would see as his best asset (I once met a girl who said she found the “whole passionate-starving-artist-thing” irresistibly sexy), he’s trying to appeal to women with whom his lifestyle is completely incompatible.

Equally, why would a woman over 40 or 50 lie about her age to attract guys who are only set on looking for 30 year olds? What about those guys who really want a woman who’s older and just totally owns it and seems sexy and experienced?

I don’t want to seem naïve. I understand the online world can be deeply superficial and encourages snap judgments. And let’s be clear: being honest about your height, weight, age, or salary will turn certain people off immediately. But you can also lose a lot by hiding characteristics that others would see as a huge asset.

Online dating, for its ease and simplicity, encourages us to take a kind of catch-all approach. We go for the numbers game, trying to capture as much broad interest as possible – we invest energy in just trying not to turn anyone off. We focus on being everyone’s version of passable, instead of being one person’s ultimate fantasy.

We lie in order to conform, and partly just because we can, in an attempt to impress people who share none of our values anyway. Unfortunately, in the process, we can end up hiding those traits that might be someone’s version of perfect.

Maybe that geeky love of comic books and video games you have will make you some guys’ vision of absolute perfection.

Maybe the fact that you’re older will be just what a guy wants now he’s bored with dating one too many immature twenty-something girls who have no clue what they want in life.

Maybe the fact you have ten cats in your profile picture will make one man wild with a desire to drop everything and move in with you immediately…maybe…no…maybe just say you “like cats” to begin with.

*Photo Credit: Ashley Bishop

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29 Replies to “Male Lies Vs. Female Lies”

  • Hi Stephen,

    So glad to see the blog so active with you and Matt lately. This is great!

    I’m here to respond to this:

    Question: Equally, why would a woman over 40 or 50 lie about her age to attract guys who are only set on looking for 30 year olds? What about those guys who really want a woman who’s older and just totally owns it and seems sexy and experienced

    Answer: Because the majority of guys (not all men, no, but a lot of men online) who want that sexy, experienced older woman are in their 60s or 70s which is her parents’ age. Most men in their 40s are set on that 30-year-old woman, it’s not just one or two men. And not just to have children with, either. They just do. And those 40 – 50 year-old-women don’t want to date women their parents age. So what to do Stephen?

    Personally, I don’t lie about my age because I’m proud of every age I’m ever at. But the above is true so that’s how it is.


    1. I can second that! Just having the same conversation with my girlfriends. They say all the women they know over 40 married someone 9-15 years older who had children and didn’t want to have anymore. 9 or 10 years isn’t bad, but over that seems too old for me. I look and feel 10 years younger than I am and find I have very little in common with divorced men in their late 40s and 50s. I’m afraid women like me just get left out in the cold.

      1. This is a good reason not to just restrict yourself to online dating. I think it’s hugely important to increase the number of men you meet in all areas of your life – especially in the demographic you want to meet. Honestly, there are guys who want to date and be with older women. There are also great older men who want to get married to 40+ year old women. Matt always uses this phrase: Statistics don’t matter to the individual. Which basically means, you only have to meet one great guy who fulfills your criteria. And this is an area where you can never, ever have met enough people. The only way your chances do get bad is if you are stuck with only one source of men, as in the case of online dating, in which men can be looking for very different things. Hope this helps clarify, and all the best to you both! Steve x

        1. Thanks, Steve, for your response. I hope I answered your question! I was talking about online dating, so the answer was about that.

          In real life? I think men in their 40s – 50s still want younger women. But they just don’t know the age of the women they meet in person right at the outset and probably get that visual chemistry/attraction before they know. But hey, whatever works. :-)

          I did ask a question somewhere around here about challenges of meeting men “in the wild”. I’ll keep looking around to see if it gets answered. It’s not as easy as I thought it would be, even after going through Matt’s programs!

  • Hey Matt…
    I have a quick question. How do you know when you’re making too much effort with a guy and you need to back off and let him take the reins? There is this guy (early 20s), we have been friends for a year now, and he is a bit shy. He has asked to hang out recently when we were saying goodbye and told me to let him know when we’re free. I’m not sure if I should go ahead and do it or wait for him instead. He’s not an aggressive guy at all-quite the opposite. Is it best to let men take charge when it comes to dating?

    1. Waiting can take forever, I say go for it. If he’s asked about hanging out then he at least wants to see you more. Nothing wrong with you making the plans. Stephen x

  • Hi Sthephen!

    Liked what you wrote!!

    I will tell about my short experience of online dating.
    i’m 34, divorced and tried online dating.

    Here is what I saw.
    I received within 1 day about 350 requests from men , from 23-60 year old.
    What I found ”interesting”,that about 70% of the requests I received from men who were 45-60 and really a lot of them tried to impress me with photos with a expensive car, in general a very material approach.
    Then there were younger men who were in their 20’s!! or early 30’s and telling me right in the beginning that because they find me so beautiful they want to meet me BUT making clear from the beginning no marriage will ever come out of this bc I was divorced with child.

    So the bottom line , with all these requests I didn’t agree to date even 1, closed the profile after 3 days.
    Of course for obvious reasons, no man can attract me for material reasons and for sure I will not go with men just for fun.
    Men about my age most prefer single women for getting married and build a family.

    3 days is too few to give a chance onlinedating, but I just prefer , what today may seem oldfashioned :-)) real life.

    1. wow Angela, you must be really beautiful to receive 350 responses in a day!!! I received no responses on Match.com and 50 responses on OkCupid over a 6 month period. I did not lie about my weight (slightly plump) or my height 5’0 or my age-30 or my beliefs (no pre marital sex). I only went on one day because he was the only guy who asked me nicely for coffee. The rest were lame saying only “hi” or calling me beautiful/pretty and just generally being superficial. After 6 months, no emails whatsoever. I never initiated anything myself. End of story. No more online dating.

      1. Hi Maya

        I was also shocked opening the next day and to see all these requests, it was also my first experience with a online dating site.
        And it was also the first approach in dating since divocing.

        I maybe attractiv, but believe me, as a divoced woman with child it doesn’t matter at all…..I have difficulties like every other woman.
        Otherwise I wasn’t here…so we all are in the same boat:-)

        FOR STEPHEN….. it would be really helpful to give advises for women like me….I mean divorced with child

  • Late to reading this one. I am not sure if it is serving me well, but….I totally agree.
    I’m “old” , and “curvy”! No sense in fighting it now! Lol

  • Geez, Steve, I’m not a prude but that first paragraph is certainly an attention-grabber! Another great, debatable article which reminds me of a Seinfeld episode on the “dating honeymoon phase” where he said, “Let’s just skip the first three months of dating and see who we really are now.”

    I do agree that if everyone showed their true self from the very onset, we would live in a society filled with stronger, happier and more secure relationships. Personally, I am interested in knowing my partner’s moral compass, his attributes, flaws and defects. Afterall, we are all human and fallible by nature; but, it should be my decision if I wish to pursue that relationship. Now, if you are a serial killer, well, gosh, please do reveal on Minute One so I can run for the hills where the trigger-happy police have their AK49s locked and loaded…and my Prince Charming is patiently waiting to sweep me off my feet…sorry, lost you there in a whirlwind of day dreaming… my apologies.

    Returning to the topic of “dating, lies and half-truths,” today women are faced with a dilemma when choosing to pursue a career prior to settling down. Is it inherently wrong for her to be interested in a man ten years her junior as opposed to dating “age appropriate men” who are either married, gay, dead or on Viagra? Sorry, but I could not help bringing up the sex argument – jib jab!! And, why is it acceptable that these “age appropriate men” can pursue women 10 or even 20 years their junior and society, in its predictable, double-standard approach to relationships does not even blink an eye? I have met 30-year-old, mature, emotionally-stable men and 50-year-old players; and, I can tell you that I would choose the former any day, any time – irrespective of how society feels or judges me.

    So, yes, even with all my personal beliefs, I do struggle with the age question and have adopted the “don’t ask, don’t tell” mentality. And, this unfortunate survival mechanism both perplexes and saddens me because I can’t help but feel hypocritical as absolute honesty is a deal-breaker trait for me.

  • Being the Hussey brothers “wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships”… I wonder how many women were broken hearted… or something like that.

    I was thinking how funny it would be, because me, being short, wouldn’t like to date someone really tall. I mean… Taller, yes, but that’s not really difficult to be taller than me!
    I know many people who has good and bad dates through online dating… But I’m still afraid of trying it. Seems too much… not real!! Easier to select, obviously. But still, too easy to be a lier!

  • Best opening line, ever! There’s a joke with my work colleagues because I’m not a compulsive liar but I once met up with my friends friends who all had ‘high class jobs’ whilst I work basically counting money for minimum wage, so I told them I was an accountant, which isn’t too far from the truth as in my job I have to ‘account for all the money’, little white lies. It’s great crack though I never saw them again and it’s a funny anecdote to tell people and I never knew people were so interested and had so many questions about accounting.

    Moral of the story: If you’re going to lie make sure you’ve got google on your phone :)

  • I love Get the Guy and have followed for a long time, and I love all the advice – blogs and book – for me its more a lifestyle choices than finding love. Anyway I kinda of agree with this blog as I have embellished the truth to impress a guy, but I met someone who turned that around…. I can be honest with them, and don’t feel the need to lie, they make me laugh, we disagree and I don’t care what they look like….I used to date a certain “type” and never understood this strange thing people called love or you will know now when you meet the right person, but I do now…only thing is timing isn’t perfect what do they say timing is a bi**h.

    Thanks for the blogs and all the great advice :-)

  • This post made me feel really angry, but of course for all the right reasons. It reformed my values and made me realize just why I’m so passionate about the things I feel strongly about.

    No, I would never alter a thing about my realty as I’d rather be hated for who I am than be loved for who I’m not!!

    I don’t take lightly to superficial b******t, I couldn’t tolerate it even if my life depended on it.

    Taken from my inner knowing, my everything is telling me that it’s so much better to love yourself for who you are, and strive to be the best version of yourself, and then by practicing living the life of an authentic individual, the right person shall gravitate that path, because the laws of the universe say more that I could sum up on this small space.

    People who are true to themselves ATTRACT into their live what they put out, by being who they are, and to those who are not brave enough to break free from the crowd will only receive back what they put into life.

    As for a mans money that tells me nothing about how imaginative and passionate he will be in bed, it tells me nothing about his personal skills, and if someone is so rich then I question why? Is he selfish? doesn’t spend money? gambled?…………….it could mean anything, but a persons actions, behavior and attitude tells me everything.

    As for myself, it’s only my personal opinion of myself that counts! Everything else is second hand knowledge……….

    My age is just a number and the only thing I plan to do is get better with age, and that’s why I can hold my head up high and feel proud.

  • Hi Steve,

    I tried it for a month. It’s a challenge. I wanted others to take me seriously so I tried to write as honest and much as I wanted to. I didn’t want to show all of me because I felt most of them weren’t honest anyway.

    I ended up having a few chats with guys and deleted my account afterwards because every conversation seemed insincere and felt fake. It was easier for me to open up online though.

    I don’t like beeing lied to so I don’t lie to others. I felt like to lie sometimes though because it’s easier and I wouldn’t have to be afraid to lose my face. I rather say nothing than lie. I better wait for a better time or/and place to say certain things especially when I am ready to open up to that person. That didn’t get me anywhere.

    I also figured out I tend to be more direkt and analytic. I would ask on every sentence they wrote too many questions. They didn’t like that and I didn’t either lol
    I missed looking someone in the eyes and watch them talk.
    It’s so much more everything.
    That was my one month quickie on an online-Dating Website.

    Keep on rocking!

  • *(★)♥(★)* Hi Stephen Hussey *(★)♥(★)*

    Matthew Hussey has a brother and it’s YOU :)
    Yay :)
    Brother Matthew and brother Stephen :) Wow :)
    Two brothers here :)

    I looooooooooooooooooooooooove both brothers writing together :) Very heart touching it is to read what both of you feel :)

    I thank you with all my heart for everything beautiful you wrote ;)

    Hussey brothers: Your words truly touch my heart :)

    To know that we can be human is one of the best things I have ever heard in my life :) I looooooooooooooooooooooove to be human and I thank youuuuuuuuuuuuu that you point it out in such a wonderful way :) You open hearts here Hussey brothers :)

    I agree :)Being human is always the best :)
    If you are human, best things happen :)

    I feel you really do do do do do do incredibly looooooooooooooooooooooove to help human beings :)

    The most beautiful THANK YOU to the Hussey brothers :)

    *(★)♥(★)* LOVE *(★)♥(★)*


  • Your parents deserve a medal for creating two wonderful human beings. Keep up the great work, you are helping so many people with your thoughtful and intelligent advice. We really appreciate all that you do.

  • HAHAHAH i love the last line!

    Open up, open up, open up, and cats? … ermm…. yeah, that one cover up! lol

    Hey Hussey brothers. Thank you for writing about this subject yet it’s not the first time I learned about this.
    In all honestly I don’t lie about such stuff, I put that I’m quite tall, and put that I only work part time – coz I want to study my creative stuff too, and whoever doesn’t like that, isn’t for me.
    Yes the little embarrassing things I don’t see the need to put online, coz everybody DO put their best foot forward. I thought that’s what you advocate as well, no?

    But in terms of the obvious subjects that you mentioned, unfortunately I am not one of those who lie about it. I don’t see a need to, I’m all an open book my friend!


  • I think its ok but how do you know if he’s lieing to you?
    When you arguing over weather he’s seeing someone or not? When he done it in the past?

  • Yep we try so hard to be passable that we end up hiding the parts that will make us perfect to the one person. Just got to build up that self-confidence then!Frankly, I don’t wanna be perfect or passable. I just want someone to love the unique me!

  • Although I don’t use online dating or talk in the Internet a lot I find it interesting topic cause ..I Belive that lieing can destroy relationships not build them at the end we don’t people lie to attract our attention so it’s not fair to do so !and I Belive earth is circle for a reason what you do for people it will turn to you !:) really I admire your hard working Stephen ..

  • How funny is it that this re-posted blog from last year is so on point for me at the moment, Steve?! I have been heavily debating the on-line dating approach, and although my friends have been very encouraging, I still find myself quite hesitant. The two big lies you described for women above are the the primary reason why! It doesn’t help that my family says despite my age and weight, I should be able to find someone, but ONLY after I have slimmed down! :(
    I realized I was focusing on the reasons why I would be rejected, rather than attracting people who may appreciate some of my qualities. Definitely is making me think more favourable towards it!
    It is also a confidence issue and can be applied to other areas in one’s life where you try to skim over the not so perfect parts, without seeing that those experiences, mis- steps, etc. can display uniqueness which are appreciated by some!!
    Thanks once again for a great article!
    Kindest Regards,
    Shev XX

  • Hello Stephen! Happy new year!

    This is a fantastic article. Personally, I will be very weary of men who might lie about their height, income, weight etc to go on a date with me. I feel we all have to be confident in our skin to attract the love we deserve. I understand we all have issues that we are not happy with – which might lead one to tell lies, however if you’re serious about finding true commitment, men and women should be willing to be vulnerable to let others appreciate and love them as they are -warts and all!! :)

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