“I Think My Date Lied About Her Age”


"I Think My Date Lied About Her Age"

The authors of Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating and Sex tell you how to handle it.

By Josh Piven and Jennifer Worick

Q: I met someone online and was really excited to meet her in person but when I did, it seemed obvious she was much older than she said she was. I'm annoyed, but how do I handle it?

Josh’s solution:
I'm sure it's hard to believe, but we don't get a lot of people griping that "he's much younger, thinner, better-looking, and richer than he said he was in his profile!" If there's one thing we hear often in the topsy-turvy world of online dating, it's the complaint about truth in advertising.

But my feeling is, some lies are just not worth fighting about. She said "30s" and she's really 39 and 11 months. Disingenuous? Probably. Technically the truth? Certainly. He said "175 pounds" and he looks more like 200. Well, maybe he's recently gained weight. Jen may differ with me here, but I believe it's OK to fudge the numbers slightly (height, weight, SAT scores) as long as you're not so far off that you send dates into cardiac arrest when they finally meet you.

You say that your date is "much older" than she said. Did you see a picture before the date? If not, then maybe she's a heavy smoker/drinker/tanner and looks prematurely aged; it can be pretty hard to determine the precise age of some individuals, so it's best not to assume. If you want a covert way to find the truth, ask what year she graduated from high school and subtract 17 or 18 for her birth year. You can also try the direct route but phrase it in a gentle or joking way, like "You said you're Gen X but you seem more like post-Baby Boom" or, "If you remember the sixties, then you're not in your thirties. What gives?"

Jen’s solution:
In my experience with online dating, I have developed what I like to call the "2-20" Theory: I assume a guy adds two inches to his height and subtracts 20 pounds from his weight. And this is acceptable to me. I'll admit it: I fudge my weight (but never my SAT scores!) since I suspect many men don't know what women really weigh (and vice versa). They think a gal, regardless of whether she's 5'2" or 5'10", should weigh in at about 125 pounds. That's an unrealistic fighting weight for many of us.

Big fibs, however, are a total turnoff, largely because people feel like they've been lied to and become a victim of a cyber bait-and-switch. But there is a way you can weed out the major-league liars and avoid nasty surprises when you do finally meet. For starters, offer to share photos other than those in their profile over e-mail. Look for clues in your email exchanges—if she's been working for the same company for 30 years, chances are she's hovering near 50.

When I've been duped by a date, I've never come out and said, "You look more like John Gielgud than John Cusack," but I do recommend letting them know what's troubling you. Online dating is an ever-evolving process for each of us, and getting feedback that could help us connect with the next person might be hard to hear but ultimately helpful. Just be kind about it—refrain from detailing your distaste for older people and simply say, "I feel like you misrepresented your age in your profile, and I don't feel comfortable dating someone who's deceived me." After all, you never know when someone will call you out for posting a picture of yourself from that Caribbean vacation a decade ago or by featuring a picture with your cat creatively draped across your midsection.

Josh Piven and Jennifer Worick are co-authors of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating & Sex;

* This column is for entertainment purposes only. It does not contain professional advice. The authors are not liable for any use or misuse of the information it contains.

Do you have a question for Josh and Jen? Send it to us—including your name, email address and phone number in case we need more details. We reserve the right to edit your case and feature it in a future issue of Happen.
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