What's Worse, COVID or Online Dating?

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Vaccination status on dating sites has become an issue as more people have been immunized. Some online daters are concerned about the disease while others worry about privacy issues if the dating app is linked to government databases. Should people simply be counted on to tell the truth about their vaccination status? Having dwelled for far too long in that gruesome world that's an easy one: hell, no. Too many lies and too many liars.

At the risk of offending, well, just about everyone, I simply cannot let this go by.

It is not surprising that vaccination status is appearing in dating apps on sites like Match, OK Cupid, and Plenty of Fish. (Some of the issues that daters now face because of this trend were discussed by Jon Porter writing for The Verge last month.)

The ongoing conversation is just about what you'd expect: privacy, big government overreach, public health, and the ability to have lots of meaningless sex know whether or not the person you'll be meeting is protected from COVID. That's all well and good, but, as long-time prisoner veteran of the hellish world of online dating, myself included, will tell you, beware of the liars. They are everywhere.

And, lie they do. Both men and women, albeit in different ways (1). 

1. How Men Lie

This may be a generalization, but one of the qualities important for many women who are looking for a mate online is how much money they have integrity. Whether the men they are considering lying in their profiles (Yes, they are, roughly 100% of the time). But some lies are worse than others. One of the commonplace, but still malevolent lies employed by sleazy men is "I'm divorced," when, in fact, they may be juggling one (or more) wives and/or girlfriends. It's not just any man who can pull this off. To be successful they need to lack even a shred of humanity and also have a really good memory for names. If so, they can get away with it, often quite successfully. During my incarceration time dating online, I heard plenty of stories, sometimes from very intelligent women who were fooled by these lowlifes.

But (believe it or not) the most common lie used by men is...height (?). Yes, height. And not just a little. Short guys will include something in their profile like "5'10," 170 pounds. Athletic. And toned. I hit the gym regularly."

And then someone like this will show up...

The incomparable Peter Dinklage is 4'4" of pure talent. Photo: Flickr

really don't get this. Are women not going to notice that the 5'5" guy in front of them isn't 5'10" as claimed? And it's not like the guy has a plausible excuse: "Don't worry, I'm just having a short day today. Tomorrow I'll be taller."

2. How Women Lie

Based on far too many data points (and too many dates), I've noticed that both men and women lie copiously on these sites, but they do so in different ways.

Almost every dating site has a section where prospective suitors have to select their body type. Typically, the choices are 1) Slender, 2) Athletic and toned, 3) Average, and 4) A few extra pounds. 

Although neither men nor women are especially accurate here, I would argue that, since men are superficial pigs who care only about looks, this particular deception affects them more. Especially since it is an indisputable fact that women will often take the time to actually read the man's profile to see what he's like, while men, with few exceptions, just look at the photos. 


Since men just look at the photos, a woman could intentionally slip this into her profile and it would not be noticed: "Meth-addled leper, originally from Venus. I enjoy chewing on asbestos, howling at mailboxes, and deep-frying poodles. Looking for a man with similar values and interests."

Yet, if she's attractive, this will go unread and she will be bombarded with hundreds of emails like this:

"Hey! I think we're a good match! Your [sic] really hot! Wanna get together?" 

But women are far from blameless in this accursed world. I cannot tell you how horrible it is to show up at a Starbucks and not be able to spot your date. When this happens (disturbingly often) it's usually for one reason: not only does the woman who shows up look nothing like the woman in the photo, she looks like she ate the woman in the photo. 

Bottom Line

As a bona fide PTSD victim of online dating, I am unconcerned about vaccine status on these miserable sites. Whether someone claims that they are either vaccinated, not vaccinated, or that they invented the vaccine makes little difference. Just more s### for people to lie about.

Try it for a while and you'll see why it's not clear which is worse - getting COVID or going online to try to find someone who you can stand (and can stand you). COVID? Pffft.


(1) Hyperbole aside, the most common lie is actually age. It is rare to find someone of either gender who doesn't knock off 5-10 years off the real number. But it can be as much as 25 years. I fell for this twice, but at least people at the bar must have been thinking "What a nice young man! He's spending time with his grandmother."