“A lie is a lie is a lie,” insisted Leanne, as she tucked a lock of strawberry blonde hair behind her ear. “It’s as simple as that.”
“Okay, I get what you’re saying,” I said. “But this is the thing. As one of the readers commented – if you meet someone out and about, you’re not going to introduce yourself and be all, ‘Hi my name is Tracey and I’m 43.'” I took a sip of Corona and then continued. “No, you’re just going to get to know them and then age comes up later. But online, you’re required to put how old you are and that automatically categorizes you, before someone even gives you a chance. And in my case, dismisses you.”
“But why would you want to even date someone your age who’s cut-off is thirty-six?” she asked.
“Hmm, that’s a good point,” I said and looked around the table. “What do you guys think?”
There were six of us seated at a sunny table at The Frying Pan on a Saturday afternoon. The Frying Pan is an awesome bar and grill that is located on the deck of a moored boat on the Hudson River. I had never been there before and I kick myself now for always turning down Bree’s invitations to join her and her friends for afternoon drinks.
In my defense, it’s really hard to get to from my apartment.
Yeah, that’s lame.
Anyway. So this time I’d said yes. We were having a great afternoon, drinking cold beer and chilled sangria in the hot sun and people watching. Two days prior, I’d posted The Poll asking readers what they thought of lying about your age on dating sites. I was surprised at the results. So Bree suggested I ask the group for their opinion.
“I don’t think I’d like being lied to,” said Kathy to my left.
“Me neither,” said Gina as she dug into her chicken cesar salad.
“And also,” Kathy continued. She shielded her eyes against the sun with her hand so she could look at me. “You have to wonder why these guys are looking for someone so much younger. Is it because they want to be a sugar daddy or they’re just conceited or maybe it’s just that they want kids.”
“Hmm,” I said and lifted my hair up and fanned my neck. It was really hot out. It hurts me to think that I would be cut out of being a contender because of kids. Of course, I don’t know if I can still have children but I feel like there are so many options out there…and…you know what? I actually don’t want to get into my thoughts about this right now. 🙂
Bree swirled her straw around in her sangria. “Okay, how would you feel if a guy lied to you about his age?”
I put my elbow on the table and put my chin in my hand. “I don’t know…I guess…I wouldn’t be angry, I guess I would more feel he was insecure about himself and his age.”
“That makes sense,” she said.
I sat up. “But I wouldn’t be doing it because I’m insecure. I am not ashamed of my age,” I said, maybe too forcefully. “It’s more that I just want to be given a chance to come up in searches.”
“Yeah, but it just doesn’t feel right to start off a relationship on a lie,” said Tasha.
“Hmm,” I said again.
“Let’s go check out the rest of the boat,” Bree said. “You can actually go downstairs and see some old rooms and we can even see the Captain’s steering wheel.”
“WHAT,” I said. “Why didn’t you say so? Let’s go.”
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the boat, making our way down rickety staircases and walking carefully through narrow passageways. We found an empty dance floor that was a room flanked with rusty pipes and where shots of sunshine pierced through the cracks in the ravaged cement blocks. An out of place rope swing hung from the ceiling and dust flecks fluttered through the light. We then discovered a hidden bar where we chatted with the lonely bartenders who were sentenced there. After climbing back up the stairs, we found the Captain’s room and took pictures of each other manning the steering wheel.
As we did these things, I thought about my own profile. My cut-off age is 48, which seemed perfectly reasonable to me. I can’t imagine dating someone older. But as I went over this, I realized that if I’d stayed with The Wordsmith, he’d now be 51. Maybe I needed to think about my own ageism.
So all in all, it was a really great day.
By early evening, I knew I had to get going because I had an appointment with The Cat to clean my apartment. Tasha decided we should share a cab to Grand Central and then she’d go her way and I’d go mine.
I knew she had recently gotten married and as we made our way to a more populated street, I asked her how long she’d known her husband before she got engaged.
“Not that long actually,” she said with a laugh.
“I don’t mean to be too personal,” I said, as this was the first time I’d met Tasha. “But if you didn’t know him that long, how did you know you should get married?”
“It was just easy,” she said with a shrug. “I just knew, we both did. It was just so easy between us. I’d been through all the drama and craziness with other guys and with him, it just wasn’t there. None of it.” She gave me a smile and I smiled back. “The greatest thing was, I never, even in the beginning, had to pretend I was anyone other than myself. I could be myself. I could just be ME, you know?”
“Yeah,” I said with a sigh. “I do.”
So maybe that’s the bottom line. Maybe that’s what we’re all looking for. Someone we can just be ourselves with. For each of us to be our very own ‘ME’ with.
And I have to face the fact that who my ‘ME’ is, is 43. Like the other parts of me, it’s neither good nor bad – it’s just one more thing that makes up who I am. And who I am, will just have to do.
Q: Is it okay to lie about your age on a dating profile?