Should older single women lie about their age? Some say it is ok; others say a lie, is a lie is a lie.
By Tom P Blake - Finding Love after 50
This is a two part article. Part 2, at the end, are 5 responses to this article.
Part 1 - Two weeks ago, this column featured a story about Clyde and Bonnie, an Orange County, California, couple who met online after Bonnie lowered her age by seven years in her online profile. With her age listed as 62--her true age--she was only attracting "old guys," men she had no interest in dating.
Encouraged by friends who told her she looked far younger than her true age, Bonnie went from being 62 to 55 with a few keystrokes on her computer.
Last autumn, within an hour of her new age appearing on Match.com, Bonnie received an email from Clyde. Her strategy worked, she and Clyde are getting married in July.
Had Bonnie not changed her age, she likely would not have met Clyde, and likely would not be getting married this summer.
Rhonda, 59, responded to the column: "The article about internet dating was a lovely story. The only thing that bothers me about it is that Bonnie had to lie about her age to get the ball rolling. That's sad since I'm a widow who will be turning 60 my next birthday. I look young for my age too but I hate to think that no one will know unless I initially lie about my age."
Is it unethical for older singles to lie about their age, to improve their chances of meeting someone?
I'm sure that Michael Josephson, the Character Counts ethics professional, wouldn't approve of stretching one's age. In the past, when I've raised the question, some singles have scolded me for even broaching the subject. They've said, "A lie, is a lie, is a lie."
And they often add, "If people lie about their age, they will lie about other things as well. Relationships that start off on a dishonest foot are doomed."
In Bonnie's case, when she told Clyde she had fibbed about her age, his reaction surprised her. He said he was thrilled that her age was within three years of his because they've have more in common.
I responded in an email to Rhonda. "I applaud your ethics and don't condone that people lie about their age. However, when the purpose is only to improve one's chances of meeting someone, and not to deceive the person for the long term, I don't find that offensive or unethical, particularly for older single women, who constantly face age discrimination from older single men.
"I must add, in the same breath, that it's imperative to clear the air soon and reveal one's true age. And, it goes without saying that the age fib should be the only lie ever in the relationship."
When I met my partner, I thought she was probably eight years younger than I--not because she fibbed, she didn't--but because she looked that much younger. I didn't know her true age was within a year of mine until after the hook was set.
Would it have mattered if she had shaved seven years off her age to get my attention? Nope, I'm the luckiest man alive.
One of our members who did not use her true age wrote, "I live in a VERY small town! I have been with my man now for four years, and he is exactly seven years younger. At our very FIRST meeting--I was bowled over--and the first thing I did was to tell the truth about my age and real name. I asked if he would have looked at my bio had I been truthful about my age. He said, ‘Maybe.’ Anyway, do what works best for you."
Should older single women lie about their age? That's an individual decision. Lying about age might improve the chances of finding love.
Part 2 - Men and women respond to the age lying issue
Last week's column, "Should women lie about their age." brought rare responses from men. Usually, responses come from women; men don't respond nearly as much. In the 14 years of writing about midlife and senior dating, I can't recall receiving more responses from men than women to a column-until last week.
Today, we share five responses, the majority from men.
Larry #1 said, "I am 61. I have met three ladies online who claimed to be 62-63. Many people seem to think that they look much younger than they really do. In each case, I could immediately see that they were closer to 70 than 60. I went ahead with our 'date,' but never had a further date with any of the three."
Donna emailed, "This article was upsetting to me and also thought provoking. I am 60 and thinking maybe I should fib to improve my chances."
Jon wrote, "I only date within a few years of my age (61). I was 'matched' with a psychologist who started by saying she was 61, but her profile later stated she was 71, and only lied to get men to read her profile because they (supposedly) wouldn't be interested if she didn't lie. I thought that was a bad way to start off a relationship. I deleted it pretty fast."
Shirley emailed, "As for lying about one's age, it is almost imperative (for women). You wrote about men who accept 'the news' about a woman's age, but I haven't found it so.
"What I find disturbing is that when a woman lies about her age, she has to do arithmetic about facts in her life during those first few dates, and lies are compounded.
"In my long and dreadful dating life, I have found very few men who can accept my age and my education, which I don't flaunt (I have a Ph.D.). In dating, honesty doesn't reap rewards."
Another man, Larry # 2, stirred the pot and undoubtedly will agitate our women members with his comments, "Please run this response because it reveals a real problem. Lying about your age (as well as your body type) creates the possibility of immediate rejection upon the first meeting. Why should women embarrass themselves as well as the man?"
And then this statement from Larry: "I have dated women 10-23 years younger for my entire life and would not want to meet a woman my age. Having perused the dating sites now for 3 or 4 years, virtually all women listed think they look much younger than their age. Let me assure you they don't.
"Fortunately, Larry explained, "I still have the physique of an athlete and younger women continue to find me attractive."
Oh my, a little full of himself?