Crossposted at Jezebel.

Russ Ruggles, who blogs for onlinedatingmatchmaker.com, makes an argument for lying in your online dating profile (in a post by the same title). He notes, first, that lying is common. People lie in the direction that we would expect, given social desirability. Men, for example, tend to exaggerate their height; women tend to exaggerate their thinness:

Since people also tend to restrict their searches according to social desirability (looking for taller men and thinner women), these lies will result in your being included in a greater proportion of searches. So, if you lie, you are more likely to actually go on a date.

During which, Ruggles explains, things are unlikely to fall to pieces (provided your lie was small).

It turns out that people’s stated preferences have a weak relationship to who they actually like. Stated preferences, one study found, “seemed to vanish when it came time to choose a partner in physical space.”

“It turns out,” Ruggles writes, that “we have pretty much no clue what we actually want in a partner.”

So lie! A little! Lie away!

And, also, don’t be so picky. You never know.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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