Lots and lots of single dads on a dating site lie about having children in their online profile, reports WhatsYourPrice.com, the cyber auction house that calls itself "the only online dating website where first dates are bought and sold."
Let's just pause for a moment to silently question/be baffled/work up a little anger/send mental darts/consider thoughtfully why this three-year-old site where women are paid by bidding suitors to go out on a first date is around/in any way a good thing for humanity and single folk/conducting "research." Not to worry, your silence and mine won't do too much -- WhatsYourPrice boasts that more than 650,000 members worldwide are making noise on the site.
Back to the numbers. WhatsYourPrice surveyed 2,500 men, half of whom are/say they are over the age of 30, the other half, under 30. One in three of those men admitted to lying about having children.
The biggest culprits were men under 30. More than half of those guys lied about having kids. About 12 percent of the men over 30 had told the same lies.
Nearly all of the men claimed they did not have children (96 percent) while a few (3 percent) seemed to try to appear sensitive/understanding/fully advocating for fair child support law enforcement by saying they were fathers when they were not. A tiny, little, less-than 1 percent of those surveyed said they had fewer or more children than they actually fathered. What's that about? I mean, other than whatever's pending a visit to Maury Povich or finally following through on your tween's desire to Jaden-Smith it.
This story about the dishonest dating dad set is full of fail, even outside of the lies to potential match-ups. First, the sample is from a site where people who skip subscription fees to bid real money -- as in "I'll totally pay $40 to take that attractive lady to dinner and pretend I don't have four children" annnnnnd ADD TO CART. This is clearly a certain kind of person. One who is not up for the conventional "I'll drink a little too much wine/whiskey/Diet Mountain Dew at 1:00 a.m. and cut and paste a generic heavily misspelled message to every lady in the 'slender' to 'a few extra pounds' categories until I get a bite."
Second, the story is spun by the publicists as a Father's Day piece. A warm, heartfelt moment to reflect upon those untruthy dudes who fear they won't find a match if they fess up about being father. Finally, the site's founder and CEO Brandon Wade kind of, sort of justifies that "[f]athers are initially reluctant to talk about their kids in fear of losing potential partners. Dating a single parent requires more commitment, so fathers often lie on their profiles in order to attract more singles."
Mostly, though, this survey is full of funny. Maybe not all funny ha-ha, maybe it's just funny-strange that there are still men on dating sites who believe the bait-and-switch will get them somewhere. Also funny is that one of the real suggestions on the site is that you hold up cash to take a lady to Chuck E. Cheese and see who can win prizes. Which is clearly only something non-parents would volunteer for when the kids are away. Non-parents. Wink-wink.
My theory is that these are the same guys who have a list of 75 requirements of their date (not themselves), from teeth to ta-tas to piggy toes, and get ticked if a lady shows up more in the "few extra pounds" category than the one she checked. Just a guess. This might not describe every dude who lied about fatherhood, but I am guessing it's a statistically significant portion of that 32 percent.
The other funny part of this is that I, as a single mama, don't think I could have ever completely hidden my motherhood from my profile. For the years I was active on different non-bidding dating sites, I never posted a picture of my child. And I also am not the kind of lady to dress in mom jeans, as our forebears did in the '90s. But the signs are all there, from the snacks and Lego guys always stashed in my purse to the ladybug sticker on the chest of my jacket to my drop-you-under-the-table knowledge of Star Wars. Should a gentleman have been unconvinced or somehow blind to my mama-ness, I think he would have picked it up when I told him I'd only be available Wednesdays and every other weekend. OH! And by the carseat in the back of my car. And the Carly Rae blaring from my speakers. There'd be no hiding or pretending or reducing the number offspring. There couldn't be.
I mean, not that I'd want to.
So, from one parent to (ahem!) another (YOU TOTALLY ARE! STOP THAT!), think carefully while you are furiously clicking on the Quick Bid button. It's completely fine to brush yourself up and highlight your best points on your profile, but be honest. You might get fewer dates, but you are far more likely to find a great lady who loves kids/loves that you have kids/absolutely would have also paid $60 to go to laser tag, too.
Oh, right. And your kids. THOSE GUYS. They will love you so much more when you stop giving them a fiver to hide in the basement while your ladyfriend's over for pizza.
Jessica Ashley is author of the single-mom-in-the-city blog, Sassafrass.