I was definitely not cool in high school. However, things changed a little during my junior year when I befriended a pretty, popular sophomore who probably only hung out with me because I had a driver’s license and car. I didn’t care because she was pretty and popular, and I figured that based on laws of proximity, I wouldn’t be as much of a non-factor if we were friends. I also didn’t care because her family had a condo at New Smyrna Beach that we could use on the weekends. It was a truly symbiotic relationship.
For a couple of months, we drove to the beach every weekend and spent our days trying to get picked up by college guys. We’d park my red Maxima on the sand, spread out our towels, blast some Master P from a boombox and do our best to appear hot and available. I listened to too much Bikini Kill and Liz Phair in high school to know how to effectively flirt with men, but my cute friend was a pro. She regaled them with detailed stories that always centered around us being 19-year-old college students — sometimes we went to Rollins or UCF, sometimes we were from out-of-state — and were usually capped off with her handing over the number to her cutting-edge turquoise beeper.
We were able to keep up our facade for a while — even making plans to meet up with a couple of 20-something guys at a party in Daytona. However, when one of them decided to call her parents’ house rather than page her as instructed, her mother answered the phone and was very quick to let him know that her 15-year-old high school student daughter who lived at home would not be attending his party at the beach that weekend. Our cover was blown.
Despite my humiliation — and the fact we were officially banned from spending time at her parents’ condo unattended — I learned a very important dating lesson from the experience: lying never ends well. Unfortunately for the greater dating population, many people haven’t seemed to figure this out. And it makes dating an even bigger pain-in-the-neck than it already is.
Fleetwood Mac might have thought it was ok to lie, but that band was a picture of relationship dysfunction. Unless you want to be kicked to the curb before the real fun even begins, avoid lying about the following things at all costs:
Physical appearance. Online dating has made it trickier than ever to navigate the dating waters — and nothing’s worse than meeting up with someone you actually like and discovering that he or she is nothing like the person whose profile sparked your interest. A male friend of mine went out with a girl who looked beautiful in her profile pictures — but on the first date, he discovered that they had to be approximately five years old, based on her weight differential alone. If you lie about how you look — whether it be labeling your body type as “athletic” when your love handles could give Jabba the Hutt a run for his money, exaggerating your height by a few inches or posting pictures from college when you’re pushing 30 — expect to be rejected on date one. And you deserve it, liar.
Lifestyle. When I was 15, I spent about nine months of my life listening to Phish and wearing nothing but hemp necklaces, Birkenstocks, and knee-length khaki shorts because a guy I crushed on was a hacky sack-playing tree-hugger. Granted, I do like Phish, but my mom rightfully mocked my beaded hemp necklaces by calling them “dog collars.” The persona I created wasn’t me at all, but, luckily, I was 15, unlike one of my adult friends who has been on a year-long interview with a guy for whom she’s head over heels. She’s adapted her entire personality to what she thinks her boyfriend wants her to be, from the types of foods she’ll eat to a pretend love for football (she famously despises football). Not only does she look totally foolish, but she can’t be having fun — and either he’s going to figure out she’s not who she pretends to be or she’s forever going to be as personality repressed as a Victorian housewife.
Age. According to the New York Post, everyone is lying about their ages these days. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. I recently received a phone call from a friend in her late-30’s who was upset because a guy she’d been seeing for about six weeks ended things. From what she told me, it seemed like it might have been a situation that moved too fast and ran its course — or he’s a tempermental idiot who I don’t want my friend dating, anyway — but there was one sticking point: he was under the impression that she was about 10 years younger than her actual age and was upset when he learned the truth. When I asked her how old she said she was on her dating profile, she sheepishly told me that she’d said she was 30. More than likely, this guy’s an ageist jerk, but I can’t blame him for being upset that she lied.
A divorced status. Lots of people these days are divorced — and as we get older, the numbers only go up. My last two serious relationships were with men who were divorced (one of them had actually been married twice and recently entered his third marriage, because that’s a rational decision for a 37-year-old man) and it didn’t phase me. However, if they hadn’t been up-front about their situations, it probably would have been different. You’re not under any obligation to share details of what happened — it’s painful and really not anyone’s business — but if you don’t at least address the fact that you’ve been married, you will probably look like a shady liar.
Criminal history. I don’t really care if you forget to mention that you once got a DUI after one-too-many drinks at your company Christmas party a few years ago (assuming you didn’t kill anyone). But if my sister’s going to find you on the sex offender registry when she decides to scope out her new neighborhood, I want to know. It would be really embarrassing to show up at a family dinner and have her recognize you from your mugshot.
Financial situation. I once dated a man who took me on expensive weekend getaways to Tahoe and regularly threw down his card to cover $300 bar tabs for our friends. I didn’t have an inkling anything was off until he lost both his car and his house within the same month, and I discovered he owed $15,000 in back taxes. I would have been ok with having picnics in San Francisco instead of expensive dinners out, but the fact that he wasn’t forthcoming about what was going on and wasn’t taking responsibility for it was a huge problem for me. I don’t expect a man to hand me a financial statement on a first date — in fact, that would probably send me on a trip to the bathroom, from which I’d never return — but don’t live a lifestyle you can’t afford. I’m not a millionaire and I don’t expect you to be, either.
This list could go on and on, but you get the point: don’t be a liar. Your nose might not grow a foot like Pinocchio, but don’t delude yourself into thinking that you’ll make someone like you enough that it won’t matter down the road. It will and you’ll just end up looking crazy (and possibly getting banned from someone’s beach house).