It’s not exactly breaking news that people lie like rugs in their online dating profiles. “Recent” photos are a couple years (at least) out of date; the weight someone lists is kind of like that pair of jeans they keep around, hoping they’ll fit again; and the height listed would probably be accurate if the person was standing on a box, like Tom Cruise in his wedding photos.
But OKCupid’s new research shows us exactly how we lie: When they mapped their users’ height against the known national statistics, they found that “The male heights on OkCupid very nearly follow the expected normal distribution — except the whole thing is shifted to the right of where it should be.” (The bell curve on their site, and shown above, makes this easier to grasp.) In other words, “Almost universally guys like to add a couple inches. You can also see a more subtle vanity at work: starting at roughly 5′ 8″, the top of the dotted curve tilts even further rightward. This means that guys as they get closer to six feet round up a bit more than usual, stretching for that coveted psychological benchmark.” For women, on the other hand, while exaggerating height was just as widespread, there was no particular benchmark height that they inclined toward.