Do You Have To Lie To Get Ahead?

“Stretching the Truth to Find Online Love”

Don’t ask me why I read the weddings. My mother used to, but I skipped that section until they started delivering the “New York Times” daily in SoCal back in the eighties.

Now I’m addicted.

Really, it’s the Style section entirely. I’m a soft news guy, at least I was until recently, when the Bernie and Trump stories fascinated me, the impossible becoming possible, and too much of the non-hard news stories became pure hype, maybe they always were, you grow older and you become more sophisticated, but you still maintain hope, that tingle inside that life is full of surprises and will work out.

Getting married is a ritual most experience, but not everyone. I wonder why not. Do they just not meet the person of their dreams or can they just not pull the trigger? I found my own wedding thrilling, yet scary, as if it was happening to someone else. Was my life taking a turn from which I could never recover, was this forever?

It was not.

And one thing you learn as you get older is no matter where the couple went to university, no matter who their parents are, that does not mean they’ll be happy, never mind wealthy or wise.

But the stories are still intriguing.

And the story of Scott Birnbaum was that he was a mid-thirties data nerd who just couldn’t find Ms. Right.

Because he was too short.

He didn’t know this at first, not that you’re unaware you’re 5’5″, but he realized through experimentation that almost all online daters say they’re undesirous of a man of this stature, they click the parameters for someone taller, so Mr. Birnbaum fell outside the net.


It’s not that he’s unattractive, it’s not that he’s underemployed, it’s just that he has no chance, he’s not in the running.

So what did he do?

Like that old “Seinfeld” scam, he heightened. He found out that most women were willing to date someone 5’8″. Under that, forget it.

He lifted himself up and his fortunes turned.

He ultimately hooked up with a woman 4’11”, who’d been dating a man 6’5″. You’d think munchkins would want people they could look into the eyes of, but everyone’s afraid of breeding short people, being the brunt of that Randy Newman song. But my five foot tall sister and her husband who ain’t that much taller have a six foot kid, so you never know.

But we do know that people have no idea what they want. Ask them and they’ll tell you, but present them with something completely outside their supposed wheelhouse and they fall for it. Happens all the time, hell, hip-hop haters are eating up “Hamilton.”

Proving that market research is frequently trash. Especially when it comes to the arts. We want what we always have until we discover a new flavor and switch allegiance.

But getting a chance is nigh near impossible.

So do you have to lie?

People lie to me all the time. Tell me they’re unavailable, when I’m honest and piss people off… No, I don’t want to go to lunch with you and waste three hours, just tell me your proposal in e-mail, so I can immediately dismiss it, or not.

But people want their chance.

How do you get your chance, especially when others don’t want to give it to you?

We’ve got a guarded populace and a plethora of people trying to climb the wall.

Like Birnbaum in his ads, it pays to be unique. Tell me you love sunset walks on the beach and I’ll roll my eyes. Tell me you played tambourine with Dan Hicks and I’m intrigued. Once again, it’s our rough edges that hook people.

Assuming you want to be hooked. Tracy Podell was on OK Cupid too. Many people don’t play, and are not open to you. Rather than employ a can opener go where there is opportunity, it’s so much easier and fulfilling.

And Ms. Podell eventually busted Mr. Birnbaum on his heightening. We don’t like to be lied to. But she ultimately bought Mr. Birnbaum’s explanation, so often we overlook duplicity when we approve of the result.

And you’re never gonna approve of everything about everyone. That’s not how life works… It’s less about compromise than acceptance. Instead of waiting for Mr. or Ms. Right, throw in with another and have an adventure. That’s what life’s about, right?

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