I’m just going to come out and say it: modern dating is creating a generation of liars.
I don’t mean this in the way you might think. Yes, people might airbrush themselves a little in their profiles, or just go all out and catfish unsuspecting victims. We know this. But the fact is, you won’t get very far with your fabrications once you’ve pencilled in an actual real life date with a prospective partner.
I’m not talking about the various fibs daters are telling each other, but the lies couples are telling everyone else.
Internet dating is everywhere. If you’re single, you’re swiping. Between the likes of Tinder, Bumble, RSVP and eHarmony, we’re spoilt for choice these days.
Yet few friends are telling me they met their new flames on these services, and those who do tell me they met on Tinder usually admit to hiding the truth from their families. I smell a fish.
Either these apps are failing hard to actually spark romances, or I’m being told porkies. And research tells me the former is unlikely.
According to a 2015 study by eHarmony seen by Mamamia, online dating was the second most common way survey respondents met their current partners, at 22 per cent, nipping at the heels of those who said they met through mutual friends, at 24 per cent.
I asked a mate to tell me to what extent she is going to hide the true ‘how we met’ story.
I was one of the lucky few who got the facts: she met her new boyfriend on Tinder.
Most family and friends are under the impression she met him at the beach — where they actually had their first date — or at a bar. He says the same.
Watch: Mamamia staff reveal some of their worst first dates. (Post continues after video.)
“For fear of judgment, and because it’s not a very exciting story… It’s nice to have a good story that goes along with how you met the person you fall in love with.”
My friend says she feels bad when she lies. And it doesn’t come without its complications: she has to keep a mind-map of to whom she has told what.
“When you don’t feel good about it, it’s like, ‘Oh, yep, I lied to them’, then it’s easy to remember who.”
She doesn’t know if she’ll ever confess, saying she feels it’s entirely possible to sustain the lie.
“I have a friend who met her husband internet dating years ago, and even at her hen’s party she was still lying about it to people,” she says. (Post continues after gallery.)
I know full well my friend isn’t the only one concocting untruths.
On Reddit I found a thread brimming with precisely this, after US comedian Aziz Ansari in 2014 asked daters to spill the beans on their ‘decoy’ story. The result was 170 responses of lies UPON LIES.
The most common tall tales include mentions of “mutual friends” and chance encounters at an elusive bar or party.
Others fancied themselves a Mills & Boon-esque fantasy, making up meetings at food stands, the elevator, at a church and fateful crossings of paths in town.
Love blossoming at a car crash seems to be a popular plot line, too. Apparently, exchanging insurance details with a stranger you just rear-ended is the epitome of romance.
One guy revealed he told people he met his girlfriend “because we got in a minor fender bender with each other. We exchanged insurance information, and then I worked up the nerve to call her back.”
Another said he knew a couple who’d say they struck up a conversation after an accident, “waiting for the cops to come on the side of the highway”. Y’know, where love is in the freaking air.
Some lie just to their relatives; others lie to just about everybody. Tinder users appear especially embarrassed by the so-described stigma around the hook-up app.
One guy said he brewed a new decoy story for how he met his girlfriend “every time” (which really doesn’t seem like a wise strategy). He explained he felt Tinder was just a “shallow” hook-up app.
“You basically go off of four pictures of the other person and go from there. Not exactly somewhere you expect to meet someone,” he added.
Another said he felt his friends typically viewed Tinder as seedy, so he had a "hard time admitting that we met on there."
In another Reddit thread, an embarrassed woman was seeking support after covering up the fact she met her new beau online.
“(I’m) afraid that people will think that I am really desperate or something. I just feel really bad, because I already told my family and best friend from high school that we met through class, and I feel like I would look like a big liar if I came out with the truth later on," she wrote.
"I think I just felt insecure about it…. Is it just me being shitty?”
The response was almost unanimous: Shitty, she was.
“Get over it. It is the computer dating age,” said one blunt commenter.
Watch: We explain 'benching', the latest phenomenon ruining your dating life. (Post continues after video.)
So here's a message to all you modern daters out there.
Whatever stigma you think exists, is an illusion. People will either be briefly interested or just say ‘oh’ and move on. Just like any other regular 'how we met' story.
I'd say it's better to realise that and be honest than to have to cart out a cleverly crafted lie with your partner for the rest of your life.
Because eventually you'll get caught out, and probably from a blooper of your own making.
I can't imagine you'll have fun digging yourself out of that, even if you do have the most forgiving friends and family.
If you treat it like it’s a weird thing by avoiding the truth, it’ll be a weird thing.
Dating online is like meeting at a bar, only it's cheaper, quieter and you can do it from the comfort of your couch. That's pretty f--king great.
And in the interest of honesty, I met my partner spewing on his kitchen floor at a uni house party. I can guarantee you ANYTHING beats that.
It's 2016. Please, cut the crap. Everyone loves the online dating success stories. Own it.
Did you meet your partner online? Do you tell people that?
Featured image: Netflix