2005-09-03

Why men lie

Me? Married? Absolutely not!
Perhaps Google can provide some light on this age-old question.

Number of hits for google search on term "what men want": 39,200

Number of hits on term "what women want": 639,000

Number of hits on term "why women lie": 2,490

Number of hits on term "why men lie": 8,110

Ratio of "what women want" to "why men lie": 79 to 1

Ratio of "what men want" to "why women lie": 16 to 1

Looking at the stats hints that the greater the wants, the higher the likelihood to lie. Looking at the ratios suggests something interesting about the propensity to lie. Are women 5 times more likely to lie than men for the same level of wants?

9 comments:

4th Dwarf said...

I don't get it.

Even-more-anonymous said...

Wow. That's one of the most apropos comments I've ever seen on this metablog. There are any number of members with twisted-up bowels, leading to distorted thinking.

By the way, what do you think she's hinting at, running her own poll using only the choices we didn't vote for? Is wondering about these choices what's driving her to drink at such an early hour of the day?

I know my wondering about it is putting my stomach in a knot...

4th Dwarf said...

Okay, Nate, since y're being so silent after putting these numbers out there, I'll guess and you tell me if you think I'm right.

Your theory is that "What men want" is found on the internet far less often than "What women want" because women want more than men want.

And that "why men lie" is found more than "why women lie" because men lie more.

And the higher incidence of male lying follows the higher magnitude of female wants.

Is that your theory?

I'd have thought that higher "what women want" incidence is one of the following:
a) men care more about what women want,
b) women care more about telling men what they want, or
c) nobody knows what (the hell)women want but we keep trying to figure it out.

And the higher incidence of "why men lie" can be attributed to:
a) women getting more worked up about men lying,
b) men being more likely to cheat, and that's the lying we all care about really,it's not about whether someone sneaked a smoke on their lunch hour, or
c) women asking about this sort of thing more than men do.

The higher incidence of the "what do they want" questions (121,000 google hits) to the "why do they lie" questions (593), I'd attribute to there being far more mystery about what people want than why they lie.

6th Apostle said...

That's pretty much my theory, Dwarfie. The higher the expectation one has (read: more wants), the more likely that someone will lie in order to meet those wants. I'm not condoning lying. But, if someone is always being challenged to explain everything they do, or don't do, they're more likely to lie.

4th Dwarf said...

Okay, so I get your theory now, but I don't see how you can make the link you make.

Lying is not going to get a man particularly far if a woman wants, let's say, gifts on special occasions, a tidy house, a well-groomed boyfriend, and punctuality.

And lying about why he didn't remember to send a Valentine isn't really the lie 5M and the rest of the women are concerned with. They're concerned about what other women are getting Valentines from the guy.

Meanwhile, what lies are women telling men? Over at askmen.com, there are two lists, with surprisingly little overlap. If you turn these around and think of men telling these lies to women, you'd have to agree that either the women wouldn't care about them much, or they'd just be laughable.

Top 10: Lies Women Tell Men

10. I wouldn't change a thing about you.

9. I love hanging out with your friends.

8. I don't mind picking up after you.

7. I love your family.

6. I love sports.

5. I won't get mad if you say I look fat.

4. You're right.

3. It doesn't bother me when you check out other women.

2. I don't care how much money you have.

1. Don't worry honey, it happens to everyone. (re: temporary erectile difficulties)

5 Lies All Women Tell

Big Lie #1: "I'm not mad at you."

Big Lie #2: "I don't mind if you go to strip clubs with the boys."

Big Lie #3: "I'm just not ready for a boyfriend right now."

Big Lie #4: "I don't mind picking up the tab tonight. You always pay anyway."

Big Lie #5: "You're the best in bed."

5th Muse said...

TOP LIES MEN TELL WOMEN

Dr. Guinness has compiled a list of the Top 10 Lies that men tell women:

10. You're the most beautiful woman in the world.
9. Leftovers again? Great!
8. I never fantasize about your sister/best friend.
7. You're not fat.
6. I will respect you in the morning.
5. We need to spend more time talking.
4. Your mother is the wisest woman I know.
3. Those flannel PJs are a real turn-on.
2. Your butt is adorable.
1. I'll come straight home after work, dear.

Anonymous said...

Boy, lots of anger filling the metablog these days.

So if all we do is lie to eachother, and apparently in quite detestable ways, why do we even bother trying?

coyote said...

An ethicist (that word again...) and philosopher by the name of Sissela Bok (not the chicken) makes a cogent argument for telling the truth:

"Liars share with those they deceive the desire not to be deceived."

In other words, virtually all of us, in the normal social contract, expect to be told the truth. Those of us who do not tell the truth try to keep this this a secret, and justify it in a bunch of tiresome ways that usually do not stand up to decent public scrutiny. And even if we're big fat fibbers, we rely upon others telling us the truth.

However, Bok also makes an ethical case for some types of lie. Briefly, usually when it is in the public interest. She has some fairly rigourous tests for deciding when it is.

She is also speaking of lying on a pretty grand scale. Some of the items on these half-serious lists are what some would label white lies -- designed to get one smoothly past that awkward social hiccup when, yes, you could say with truth that someone's butt is kinda large. But it may seem less confrontational or harmful to give the other answer. Or maybe you've already had that confrontation and see no profit in having it again.

What Ms. Bok also says, though, is that a lie, to be justified, must do less actual harm than telling the truth. She also points out that the lies we tell merely to avoid inconvenience to ourselves are usually not justified. There's got to be a greater good.

I think this is a fair, if crude, summary. But obviously this is a topic that becomes ever more complicated the deeper one goes... and I am an unreliable narrator. Or am I lying when I say that?

Anonymous said...

AT 9:34 PM EST 5/14/05 ALLISON THE GREAT POSTED

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