Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lies and Secrets

I lie about my age on Frumster. There, I said it.

You can be angry with me, you can tell me I'm deceitful. I didn't get any "heterim" to lie from my Rav (who would have just laughed at the shayla and told me to get real); I just did it.

However, I lie about nothing else. My headshot is three or so years old and my full length shot was taken last year. I clearly have weight to lose and it shows in my pictures.

Whenever a Frumster contact graduates to a phone contact, I reveal the lie about my age within the first three phone calls, usually the first. Not once has anyone ever declined to go out with me because of my real age, and lest you think they are merely being polite, I almost always get asked on a second date.

So why do I lie in my profile? Because it is much easier to reel them in at my fake age than at my real age. I am ashamed, embarrassed and saddened that I need to lie, but there it is. If I posted my real age on Frumster, I'd be dating guys a decade older.

In real life? I am an open book. Ask me about my family, my divorce, my life experience. I can't think of anything of which I am truly ashamed, save one relationship in my past that I wish I never had. But even that is not really so much of a big deal. I have always lived on the straight and narrow. My deviations were really not the worst things in the world. They are along the lines of: when I was 23, I once ate french fries in vegetarian restaurant that didn't have a hechsher. I know; you are fainting dead away. So while my life has not really been uneventful or boring, it has been pretty clean. I could probably run for public office.

But apparently, this is not the case with many people. I have already posted on this blog about someone I met on Frumster who lied about EVERYTHING, including his name, occupation, religious status, education, etc. A friend of mine embroiled in a bitter divorce recently hired a P.I. to investigate her ex, to whom she was married for ten years. You would think that you have complete knowledge of someone after living with them for ten years, right? Nuh uh. She found out about an earlier job dismissal because of thievery, a non-Jewish live in ex-girlfriend, and a drug conviction. This man is the father of her children.

I was once working for a private company in another state. I reported to a very high-level executive. Once when he was out on vacation, he asked me to retrieve a spreadsheet from his computer. I logged in to his computer and he had a browser window open with his private gmail account logged in. The subject line of the first eight emails was "F___ Slut Nigger." I read a bunch of extraordinarily racist exchanges with another high level exec about a black employee of the company. I am talking RACIST, misogynistic and hateful. And yet, his public face was as PC as it gets, and he was a deacon in his church. He even had a "Promote Tolerance" sticker on the bumper of his Mercedes.

When I was working in a Wall St. firm in the nineties, I had a frum friend who worked in another department. We went out to dinner after work once. After we polished off a bottle of wine, she revealed to me that she was born with a sixth digit on her left hand and had it removed when she five (the scar was undetectable). She told me that she never told her husband that. She said that she lived in terrible fear all through her three pregnancies, but all of her children were born with normal hands. She said she was convinced that her husband would have never married her if he had known and would probably divorce her if he found out.

I have a frum friend from college who revealed to me that once after a drunken frat party, he had a brief homosexual incident with another frum friend of mine; they are both happily married (one is a Conservative Rabbi) and I know for a fact that neither has told his wife about the incident. An ex-bf of mine told me that he had checked out his first wife extensively before he got engaged to her. He asked numerous Rabbonim and community leaders that knew her, and though some had full knowledge of the array of medication that this woman was taking, no one revealed to him that she was bi-polar, something that became crystal clear once they were married. Another ex-bf married a manic depressive first time around. He vaguely suspected it while they were dating and questioned her and her family about it; they vehemently denied it to his face. She revealed the truth to him the morning after her wedding, but said it was under control (and so it was okay to lie about it). It wasn't.

And the lies and secrets go on and on and on....


YM said...

I don't believe that someone of your caliber and character thinks that a small lie is justified because other people tell bigger lies (or fail to tell their spouses details about their past). If I were dating someone on the marriage track and were to find out that the woman had lied to me about her age, I would be very disappointed. It probably wouldn't be a deal killer in and of itself, but I would be disappointed.

WebGirl said...

I appreciate the "someone of your caliber and character" part (even though you really don't know me, yes?) but if this is what you took away from this posting, I didn't express myself very well.

While I lie about my age on my Frumster profile, I always (ALWAYS) tell guys my true age once we make it to a phone call. I would never go out on a date with the guy thinking that I am younger than I really am. I have been burnt by lies and secrets and I know too many people that have been burnt by lies and secrets, in relationships, at work, in their marriages, in their lives at large.

The point that I wanted to get across in this posting is that people lie and lie like rugs. And while my Frumster profile contains the lie about my age, I dissolve the lie away with the first phone call.

I don't like lying. Truth be told, my Frumster profile is going to expire soon, and when/if I re-up, it might be with my true age. So what if I attract men old enough to be my grandpa?

frum single female said...

thats the problem with online dating or any kind of blind-date dating. there becomes the issue of "what age do i put?" when u meet someone in person the age issue isnt as in your face because you actually see if u like the person , and if they dolike you, age isnt as much of an issue.
i think for women lying about age is about equal to men lying about their height.it just gets your foot in the door, but not major.

abandoning eden said...

so how do people react when you tell them your age? I know I would be freaked out if some guy was like "oh before we meet up, just wanted to let you know I'm actually 5 years older/younger than i said I was, and I'm just lying about it on frumster cause I'm trying to date younger/older women." But maybe it's not as creepy if a girl does it? I just am very anti-lying in general....

How many years off is your frumster age?

WebGirl said...

Guys are actually fine with it, and usually compliment me on coming clean once contact was made. Most of them have said something like "don't sweat it, it's Frumster." Ironically, the only guy to ever criticize me for it was the last guy I went out with, who is also the oldest Frumster guy I've ever gone out with.

I shave off three years. And it's not like I do this to date 21 year old guys so that I can take physical advantage of them. (Whenever a guy in his twenties writes me on Frumster, I won't even respond; it's so obvious that they are not really interested in me for serious dating). Calling it "creepy" is pretty judgmental. I do it because many guys who are age-appropriate for me like women who are much younger. I find it fascinating when a 48 year old never-married guy doesn't want to date anyone older than 35 because he is worried about having children.

Also, I can't get into this now because I need to protect my anonymity somewhat, but if you knew the reasons behind my divorce, you would not judge me so harshly.

Of all the horrible examples of lying that I gave in that post, I've gotten comments only on my own lie, regardless of the fact that when the chips are down, I reveal and undo the lie.

Marni said...


I have a question. You seem to mention a lot of lies that happened within the Frum community, and the person still continued to marry/date the person. Do you think because observant Jews tend to have such brief courtships that this makes lying much more easy to get away with? And do you think the Frum community tends to overlook these lies, however grand they are, for the sake of the marriage, children, etc.?


WebGirl said...


Not sure about the "brief courtships" thing. How brief or long a courtship is is relative, especially within the frum world. These are not people who dwell in the chassidish community who date four times and get engaged. Sometimes people are just very, very good liars. In the case of the Frumster guy I met, he was a pro, and he lied with such confidence. I caught him because he slipped up, because he was too good to be true, and because I was able to do a little online investigating.

But in terms of the community covering up the lies? Oh yeah. Think about how easily we talk about each other. The lashon harah flows like water. And yet, when it comes to a shidduch, everyone becomes a tzaddik...suddenly we are asking shaylas about whether or not we are allowed to reveal certain things and "spoil the shidduch." People who wouldn't think twice about revealing someone's secrets over the kugel table at a shul kiddush suddenly become very pious when a potential marriage is as stake. It's astounding. I wonder how many divorces could have been avoided if people would have been more forthcoming about other people's issues. My rule of thumb is, if it's something that I would want to know before marrying someone, then I will reveal it to someone else. It's incredibly selfish to lie about someone's background in order to force a shidduch through.