I don’t care if men lie about their age on dating apps anymore. Seriously, guys, go for it! You just turned 50? You could pretend to be 35 online. I couldn’t care less.
Why? Because it’ll only make it that much easier for me to dismiss you.
There are plenty of ways to ‘kittenfish’, or present yourself unrealistically online. You can fudge the facts about your height, your marital status, your lifestyle. You can Photoshop out a few wrinkles, or post 10-year-old photos and pretend you’re still rocking that full head of hair.
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But of all the kitten-fishing transgressions, when did it become an unwritten rule of online dating, that it’s perfectly acceptable to bend the truth about your birth date? I’ve never understood why so many people do it.
If you’re prepared to lie about something as simple and straightforward as your age, it’ll only make me wonder what else you’re hiding. And if you think you can stretch the truth a little online and then fess up after a few fun dates, it’ll just make me question if we could possibly have any chance of an authentic relationship when it was based on a lie from the very beginning.
My friend Ellen dated a guy for a couple of months who told her he was 52. She had her suspicions, so eventually she snuck a look at his drivers licence when he was in the shower, and she was shocked to discover he was actually 65.
My 35-year-old friend Kate recently matched with a 40-year-old guy on Bumble, but in their very first message exchange, he ‘fessed up to being 50. No apologies, no explanation, just: “By the way… I’m 50… haha.” Kate unmatched him immediately and reported him. She described it as predatory behaviour.
The most ridiculous profile I’ve ever seen is ’50-year-old’ Dave, who’s clearly 75 in the shade on a good day. Does he seriously think he’s fooling anyone? It’s kinda insulting that he would think any woman is that stupid. I didn’t swipe right on Dave, but I did save a screenshot of his profile in my phone and I whip it out to amuse my married friends whenever they ask me why I’m still single.
Maybe these guys validate it by thinking it’s more appropriate to share their biological age, rather than their chronological age. How old they feel is more important than how many years they’ve actually been alive.
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Look, I’m totally on board with the whole “40 is the new 30” and “50 is the new 40” movement, but feeling like I’m 35 won’t magically alter the numbers on my birth certificate.
One of the weirdest wonders of the modern dating world is that these kitten-fishers seem to think ’44’ is the magic number. I made this freaky discovery as a girlfriend and I were scrolling through the various dating apps one Friday night.
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My friend Pip is in her mid-30s. She sets her age range for matches at 35-45. I’m looking for slightly older fellas, so my age range is 45-55. As we were swiping away, side by side, we realised pretty quickly that my options were incredibly limited. I got the dreaded “you’re out of options” message within about two minutes. Meanwhile, Pip was immersed in a Friday night swipe-fest.
So, I decided to drop my age range for matches down from 45 to a cheeky 42. Bingo! Suddenly, a plethora of men appeared and I couldn’t help noticing that the majority of them were aged ’44’.
It made me wonder why there are so many 44-year-old single men. Is that the most common age for blokes to get divorced these days? But as I took a closer look at their profiles, I also noticed that many of the fellas had written in the small print, “I’m actually 49” or “I’m not 44 – I’m 52”, or “By the way, I’m really 47”. They were blatantly fessing up to lying about their age.
So what the Dickens is that about? Why do guys think 44 is the sweet spot? OK, I have a theory.
Men older than 45 have realised that if they list their real age, they’ll be excluded from the 35-45 age range for matches, and their profiles won’t be seen by the younger gals. They’ll be more likely to attract older ladies, who set their age range at 45+.
However, by listing their age as 44, their profiles will still scrape into the ‘under 45’ age bracket, thereby increasing the odds of being noticed by the younger chicky babes.
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In a nutshell, it’s a tactic used by men to lure in younger women.
But here’s the flaw in your plan, fellas. If a woman sets her age range for matches at 30-45, it means she’s looking for someone under the age of 45. If she wants to date a 50- or a 60-year-old, she’ll set her age range for matches appropriately. Wasting her time by lying about your age and tricking her into matching with you is going to piss her off a lot more than just being honest from the start.
If you’re guilty of the sneaky ’44’ switcheroo and you reckon I’ve got it all wrong, please let me know. Tell me why you do it.
I’m not sure if women are guilty of the ’44’ hoax as well. I only date men, so I don’t have the intel on that. But when I shared my theory with a gay friend, he looked at me like I’d only just discovered the earth was round and said, “Oh honey, that’s why all the gays online are 29. No one admits to being 30. NO ONE!”
Look, fellas, I really don’t care if you pretend to be 29 or 44 or 50. Kittenfish away! Because when it comes down to it, I’ll choose the lion over the kitten any day.
You can follow Sami on Instagram at @samilukis