Ask Dave-He Lied To Me About His Age

I’ve met with two different dates so far that have lied about their ages in their profiles. Why?

By Dave Singleton

ear Dave,
I’ve been single again for about a year and am busy dating guys I meet online. I’ve had a couple of experiences recently with guys who lied about their ages. On these two dates, both guys were older than their profiles indicated. One guy’s profile read 39,
I know it can be an ageist gay dating world sometimes.
but he’s really 41. He looked like his picture, though. The other guy was more extreme. He’s 52 and said he was 36, a whopping 16-year age difference. He looked nothing like his picture.

With the first guy, I wasn’t bothered by the age difference. I saw him a couple more times, but dating didn’t lead anywhere. With the second guy, I felt very uncomfortable, but didn’t know what to say. I stayed on the date because it was dinner and I didn’t want to be rude. Plus, we’d talked on the phone several times and exchanged emails, so there was some history there. He finally admitted the picture he sent was from almost 20 years ago. He acted like he did nothing wrong and then was taken aback when I wasn’t interested in seeing him again. He said I was ageist and I didn’t know what to say. How do you handle something like that?

I’m 36, and a few guys in their late twenties turned me down flat due to age. I know it can be an ageist gay dating world sometimes. Everyone has their tastes and that’s OK. I am pretty clear about my own. I’m comfortable dating guys 26 to 45, which seems like a pretty broad range. The idea of dating a 25-year-old seems as strange to me as dating a guy in his fifties. Our life experiences would be too different. I don’t see how anyone could call me ageist, though.
-Mike’s Midwest Age Dilemma

Dear MAD Mike,
I’d be mad, too. You’re excited about meeting the hot guy who sent you his picture via email, but neglected to tell you it’s his prom picture from 20 years ago. It doesn’t reflect him, which is what both a picture and an online profile are supposed to do. But what’s worse is the lie.

Dating online is fraught with many challenges, such as the crucial chemistry test (i.e., his profile sounded great, but will the spark be there when you meet?) and wondering if your date is lying about his age, looks, interests and other key factors.

Based on my research with single gay men and my own experiences, lying about age in your online profile seems as common as Cher’s farewell tour. On one of my dates, the man said he was “36, active, fit, both mentally and physically.” The fact that he wanted to meet in a darkly-lit restaurant should have been my first clue. I could barely read the menu. But I could see well enough to note that he’d lopped off at least a decade. After dinner, walking outside under a (thankfully) unforgiving street lamp, I called him on his fib. He admitted he was 51.

Why do people lie like this? They know that if you meet them, you’ll figure out the truth. But they lie to get the first date, hoping you’ll overlook
Obviously, the reason someone lies about age is fear of aging.
the obvious. Then you meet, and the date goes thud.

Obviously, the reason someone lies about age is fear of aging. People’s fears are compounded by dating, which is so intensely personal. But look at it this way. The good news when someone fools you in such an obvious way on your first date is this: At least you find out right away that he’s a jerk. Then don’t waste any more time.

If you find yourself in this situation again, here are my tips for avoiding and/or handling a blind date who turns a blind eye to his real age:

Ask and ye shall hear.
Before you meet him live, review the basics in your profiles, such as age and interests, just in case there are any discrepancies. Better to find out before you take the time and energy to meet.

Cut to the chase.
When you meet someone from a chat room or online profile, you don’t know him. As much as you think you might, based on all the information you shared, you don’t. So when someone online sparks your interest, meet him live as soon as possible. Forget long telephone or email romances. They allow both of you to live in fantasy land too long.

Allow for a little leeway, but just a little.
There’s a big difference between lopping off a decade in your online profile and being cagey about a year or two. It’s possible that someone could create an online profile and forget to update his age, letting a birthday slip by. In your case, it’s understandable that you weren’t overly bothered that the 39-year-old was two years older than his profile read. It didn’t seem like he was trying to deceive you. His picture reflected his current looks. But if you find out that your date purposely tried to deceive you, it’s a big red warning flag. How far can a dating relationship go that begins with deceit?

Don’t feel obligated to stay.
When someone shaves more than a few years off his age, and then pretends that you shouldn’t notice or care, call him on his lie. He’s hoping that you’ll be too polite to say anything. You don’t have to storm out. But you can simply and straightforwardly make clear that you don’t like being fooled. Tell him that you don’t feel obligated to continue a date that began under false pretenses. The ordinary rules of polite dating behavior don’t apply when someone has lied to you.

Dave Singleton, an award-winning writer and columnist for since 2003, is the author of two books on dating and relationships. Visit Dave’s website and send your dating questions and comments to him at
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