Sunday, November 13, 2011

Love and Lies

Online dating services give social scientists a new angle on the study of attraction, according to an article called "Love, Lies and What They Learned" in the Sunday (Nov. 13),  New York Times.

The sheer amount of information available to researchers is unprecedented. So are the lies.

Here are highlights:

* 81 % of the people misrepresent their height, weight or age
* on average, women describe themselves as 8.3 pounds thinner
* on average, men describe themselves as 2 pounds lighter--and rounded their height up a half inch
* the average woman's photo is a year and a half old
* the average man's photo is six months old
* people have a tendency to present an idealized self. (For example, "I hike" might be an exaggeration of "I went on a walk in the woods.")
* women want men who are tall and wealthy
* men want women who are slightly underweight and shorter than they or the same height
*and people in long marriages are most likely to align politically.

My author friends and I lie all the time. We get paid to lie. The bigger the whoppers we tell, the more daring the wild stories we invent, the better.

But sometimes the truth is better than fiction. Take this ad, a real ad, that ran in the Atlanta Journal:

SINGLE BLACK FEMALE seeks male companionship, ethnicity unimportant. I'm a very good girl who LOVES to play. I love long walks in the woods, riding in your pickup truck, hunting, camping and fishing trips, cozy winter nights lying by the fire. Candlelight dinners will have me eating out of your hand. I'll be at the front door when you get home from work; wearing only what nature gave me...Call (404) 875-6420 and ask for Annie, I'll be waiting.....

More than 150 men responded.

They wound up talking to the Atlanta Humane Society!

Here's Annie!

Okay, what would YOU lie about in a personal ad? Hmm? I'd change my height, my weight AND my age. How about you? (Oh, and I'd say I love sports. That's a WHOPPER!)


Anonymous said...

This is a great ad. Hope Annie got adopted.

Placing an ad just isn't me. If I did place an ad, I would lie about football.

NL Gassert said...

Yeah, I’d make myself more athletic, but I wouldn’t change my height or age. How are you going to explain that when you meet the lucky guy who answered the ad??

Linda O. Johnston said...

Love it, Joanna! Best regards from your fellow liar... er, author.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Nadia, I read that one woman was inspired to lose weight so that she matched her ad!

LLK10Retired...I'm not sure about placing an ad, but you never know!

Linda, we liars have to stick together.

Ellen said...

I'd probably lie if I placed a personals ad. That's one reason I haven't and won't -- the person who answers would probably be a liar too.

H. L. Banks said...

I love this. Very, very clever. As for advertising, not my poison of choice, I get in enough trouble on my own. Funny post - thanks for the laugh!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Ellen, does it count if two people lie to each other? (Don't answer that.)

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

H. L., my friend Janet Laird sent the ad to me. Isn't it cute?

Betty Hechtman said...

Great post, Joanna.