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But online dating isn’t especially vulnerable to our collective weakness for self-flattering fibs. In 2010, Boston’s “Craigslist killer” was charged with murdering a woman he had met online (he later committed suicide in jail).

In 2013, Mary Kay Beckman sued for million after a man she met on the site came to her Las Vegas home with a knife and an intent to kill.

“Online services enable a downright Seinfeld-ian level of superficial nitpickiness,” one Fortune article lamented.

They’ve “given rise to a pick-and-choose shopping behavior that prioritizes looks more than ever before.” In reality, how someone looks in a couple of pictures is no indicator of whether you’ll be attracted to them.

Gwendolyn Seidman, writing in Psychology Today, explains it well: “Online daters realize that while, on the one hand, they want to make the best possible impression in their profile, on the other hand, if they do want to pursue an offline relationship, they can’t begin it with outright falsehoods that will quickly be revealed for what they are.” That’s not to say every profile is the gospel truth, of course. Ok Cupid has found, for example, that men and women more or less uniformly add two inches to their height.

In any human interaction, there will always be some amount of posturing.

Once upon a time, online daters were mocked as lonely losers, or worse. Today, at least 40 million Americans are looking for love on the Web. Like sex, love and attraction, online dating is an object of fascination and confusion.Time magazine editors found the notion of men dating women in their 30s so baffling that they invited 15 experts to explain the phenomenon.But as I learned at Ok Cupid, men don’t necessarily end up dating young women, even if they think they’re gorgeous.I remember only a handful in my 12 years at the company.Although there are no comprehensive numbers, executives with other sites report similarly low levels of abuse.

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