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Women in the News

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Eric Frazier
January 17, 2006

Women say it so often it has become a cornerstone of female dating wisdom, passed on from sorority house to sewing circle:

Men are liars. Or, if the speaker is in a kindly mood, she might add: Most are, anyway. Hard-nosed 21st-century journalist that I am, I went to google.com in search of the truth.

I typed in "lying men" and found angry, disgusted, disillusioned women who are sick of being deceived. High on the list of sites was WomanSavers.com, which bills itself as the world's largest Internet database that ranks individual men. It promises to help women avoid wasting time with "cheating men, lying men, abusive men or just plain..." well, you get the picture.

"We don't hate all men," says site founder Stephany Alexander, "just the jerks."

It offers women the Holy Grail of man-examination: a chance to hear from his exes. Women send in their ratings of ex-husbands and boyfriends on guys finish first, the site says. But considering the site's blood-red background and picture of a she-devil with pitchfork and bullwhip, I'm not sure nice guys want to finish first here.

On dating sites, women repeatedly declare in their profiles that for-tongued "players" shouldn't even bother. The ones who are really steamed start typing in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS when they touch this third rail of a topic. You'd think there was an epidemic or something.

Amy Sohn, a writer for New York magazine, said as much last year, blaming Internet dating and the ready availability of casual sex for the fib-fest she sees unfolding in the Big Apple. Men, she suggested, see women as disposable dates and feel no compunction about lying to one as they trot on to the next.

Heidi Muller, a relationship correspondent at AskMen.com, calls lying the favorite pastime of men. The only men who don't, she added, are either gay, sincerely religious, "or have had their tongue removed."

There were some differences, though. When women lied to other women, it was usually what she called kind-hearted lies, like "You look great in that dress" or "Your casserole was fantastic." When men lied to other men, it was usually a more self-serving lie, say, fibbing about their golf handicap. But she didn't see any clear gender-based distinction when she studied lies men told women and lies women told men...So why do so many women believe so strongly that men simply can't tell the truth?

"Maybe the lies the men tell to them are the ones they notice, "DePaulo said. "They're the ones that matter."

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