At one end of the spectrum is the person that thinks makeup is a lie because it makes you look better than you really look. Thank god, I have never met anyone that rigidly honest. I doubt I would like them. On the other end of the spectrum is a guy (or gal) that claims to be single because their spouse is not physically in the same room. I have met people like this and I know I don't like them.
In between you have people that think it is OK to leave out information that you did not ask. It starts at "You never asked if I had actually owned the car, or rented it for the weekend." and ends at "You never asked if I had a sexually transmitted disease." Other people lie about their weight, height, age, job, etc. There are white lies about liking your significant other's new clothing or hair style. There are the gray-er lies about liking the same food, music, movies, sports, past times, etc as a new date does. We've all seen the movie/TV joke where someone says they have skill in a sport/hobby/game and then ends up having to prove it.
To make matters worse, people often lie to themselves about the things they lie to others. If you ask a woman how much she weighs, unless she weighed herself that morning, most likely she will think back to the last 5 times she weighed herself and pick the lowest number, not the most recent. Similarly, guys tend to remember their maximum height - with shoes on, in the morning, at age 20 (shoes can easily add a centimeter, you lose some height during the day -and regain it at night, and in worst case scenarios you can lose a centimeter of height in a decade).
There is a whole spectrum of honesty to deception.
I am pretty honest. If anything, I tell a bit too much about myself too early in the relationship. But I am not perfect, I lie. I don't correct my father when he says the Battle of the Bulge happened in WWI (it was WWII). I pretend to believe in Santa Claus when little kids are around. I do my best to look taller, richer, and in general more attractive to women. If I were a woman, I would use make-up. In my opinion all of these things are perfectly acceptable, normal behavior.
Then there is the "my lie is not as bad as yours" crowd. Men think that lying about height is not as bad as lying about your age. We talk about rare cases when men go to jail because a 17 year old girl claimed she was 18, and the guy was 22. Women think that lying about their age is not as bad, because they look young. Then they talk about how if they give their real age they get hit on by men much older than them.
Here are a list of unacceptable (to me) lies. People should never lie or even imply a falsehood about:
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Being in a relationship/marriage
- Age if you are under 18.
In general, you should also not lie about:
- Past relationships
- Legal issues
- Weight (5-10 lbs wiggle room)
- Age (1-2 years wiggle room) - as long as you don't claim to be 18+ when you are younger
- Height (1-3 centimeters = 1 inch wiggle room)
Another issue is that people usually over-estimate how good they are at detecting lies. No one thinks they can be fooled, but somehow liars always seem to prosper. It is very hard to tell how honest someone is. Liars lie about how honest they are - to themselves as well as to others. Worse, sex is one of those things that inspire most lies.
My big problem is that honest daters are competing with liars The liars are pretty convincing - they have lots of experience. So the 'lie hearers' tend to discount things a bit. He says 6', they expect 5'11. She says 35, they expect 37.
Lets say you tell the truth and admit that the doctor measured you yesterday at 4 PM, in your bare feet and you are 5'5 and a 1/2". There will be women that reject you but who will still date a 5'5" that said he was 5'7". No, she can't tell because guess what, he used lifts or wore cowboy boots (both of which can add 2 inches to a guy's height). He gets to keep the girl. Similarly, the women that says her weight is 140, when she is really 160, can show up in a full corset and pull it off. She gets to keep the guy. Yes, eventually they have to show the truth, but by then they have emotional hooks into their 'victim'.
This effectively punishes those of us that are actually honest. When people (both women and men) say they hate liars, they usually mean they hate BAD liars. They generally dislike truth tellers more than effective liars. When a women complains about men lying about their height, she almost always rejects short men before she rejects a liar. It's why men lie about their height online. Most woman that will reject us for lying about our height would have never given us a chance if we told the truth.
More importantly, unattractive people hope that attractive people would date us if they got to know us. At heart it is an inherent belief in romance - that beauty will fall for the beast. Only the truly cynical never hoped for the fairy-tale ending.
My favourite are the women that say "I need someone tall enough to wear high heels with?" Did someone pass a law that says you can't wear high heels if you date a short man? No. Would she refuse to walk down the street next to a short male friend? No. She is admitting she is so shallow that she won't even date someone that LOOKS like they are shorter than her, even if they are actually taller than her. These same women give lie to the claim that "there are plenty of women willing to date short men." No, there are not.
Similarly, there are not plenty of men willing to date overweight women, nor are there plenty of men willing to date older women. Strangely, we do seem to be better at hiding our shallowness than women. In my age group, there are guys that say "I want a woman under 35 in order to have children." It's a much better excuse than the high heels crap. If they really want children (I want children and used to use this excuse), at least it presents them as an honourable family man, rather than someone bending to peer-pressure. But science can now get a 68 year old woman pregnant. If a woman wants children, age is not an insurmountable obstacle. In truth, the 40+ men that require a wife 35- are being just as shallow as the women requiring a tall man. Note, preferring is not shallow, but requiring is. Also, as a reminder, it's OK to be shallow - as long as you admit that is what you are doing.
Here is a simple test. Think of something that people tend to lie about. Now assume that they lied the REVERSE way, in order to deceive you. That is, the tall guy claimed to be short, the 30 year old woman claimed to 35, or the faithful spouse claimed they cheated on you. How would you react? Now you can really tell if you care more about the lie or the thing being lied about. If you would not care, about the reverse lie, then you don't really care about being lied to.
In general, for the things I don't want a date to lie to me about, I don't care which way they lies. If she claims to be broke when she is rich, I would be just as upset as the other way around. If she claimed to have cheated on me as a 'test' to see if I loved her, I would dump her (fidelity is very important to me - but honesty beats fidelity). If she claimed to be average weight when she was anorexic, I would not date her.
I don't think that is the case for most people - I value honesty more than most. As such, I expect more honesty from myself and demand it from others.
That said, age has tempered my honesty. For years I proudly listed my height (at least the height I thought I was - which was measured shoes on, at 20, in the morning). Now, I prefer to leave my height blank on dating websites. I even own a pair of cowboy boots. They add about two inches to my height and I usually wear the boots on the first date.
Am I a liar? Perhaps I am, just a little bit - but not more than a woman wearing a corset.
P.S. If you are dating me, please wear high heels even if you are taller than me. Particularly if I take you dancing. I guarantee you will have more fun dancing tango with me than with most tall men.