Why do Men lie?

menlie2.pngI’m a man and I’m a liar. A pretty good
one, actually. All those tells and tics you’re supposed to have when
you let fly a porkie? I don’t get them. Which helps when I’m trying to
pick up women, because I can say pretty much anything and sound like I
mean it.

That’s not to say I go
into every encounter with some elaborate fake backstory. I’ve never
pretended I’m a millionaire, or told fibs about some sad background to
find sympathy with a similarly-afflicted girl. I have, however,
pretended I was an Oscar-nominated screenwriter, told someone I was
manager of the Arctic Monkeys and, for one bizarre evening, been an
Australian adventurer.

And I’m not alone.
Most men are compulsive liars if you believe the results of a new
survey by Virgin, which found that one in ten British blokes between 18
and 40 added five thousand imaginary pounds to their salary, while 25%
have lied about the size of their manhood.

Researchers
concluded that men lie more impulsively than women, but added that one
of the reasons for this is because the modern male is under more
pressure than ever before in both his personal and professional life.

Does lying work?

But
is this true? Are women really impressed by faux tales of superlative
salary, girth and length, especially when it’s so easy to be caught out?

"There’s
two phases of male lying," says Neil Strauss, author of The Game, the
bestselling memoir of his year as a professional pick-up artist.
"Courtship lying to get someone to like them and relationship lying to
keep their girlfriend from leaving them."

"Men
are horrible liars," he continues. "They usually get caught and if they
don’t, it leads to a suspicion that lasts for the whole of the
relationship. But I don’t think men lie because they are horrible
people, they lie because they’re weak."

"I
think there’s more pressure on men," adds Susan Quilliam, a
relationship psychologist and author of Body Language Secrets. "There’s
a much higher rate of male depression and suicide than there was.
Because they are insecure, they will try and compensate by lying."

Honesty vs lying

The
irony is that while we men think we have to impress with tales of
luxury yachts and magnums of Cristal, in actual fact it’s honesty and
trustworthiness that are higher on a woman’s agenda when it comes to
looking for a mate.

"I think a man’s belief
that he has to lie about himself is based on a primitive understanding
of what girls are attracted to," argues Neil Strauss. "[Men] think that
women want a rich person, but they don’t, they want to feel safe. What
also makes them safe is a guy they can trust. So honesty and trust are
for some women more important than wealth."

In
fact, he believes most lying men are doing it for each other’s benefit
rather than women’s. "Guys are still competing with each other to be
the alpha male of the pack," he says. "There’s a primal, evolutionary
need to be the ‘tribal’ leader."

What’s
more, lying during courtship "is not going to work. If you have to say
how big your pay packet is, it’s not that big, because you’re bragging
about it. Girls aren’t looking for a fact or a number, they operate
more intuitively".

It’s true. Despite my
fabrications, I have actually had more luck being straightforward and
witty, rather than extravagant and cocky. Girls can sense honesty and
the desire to make a real connection, as opposed to a man who covers up
deep-seated insecurity with an expensive suit and wandering hands.

"If
you think about it, because so many guys lie, it’s better to say the
opposite," Strauss suggests. "Never brag – as soon as you brag about
something, it’s lost its value."

Are women just as bad?

The
lengths some men go to put my tales of the Australian outback to shame.
Strauss recalls "guys who got fake bank receipts that showed huge
balances and when they gave someone their phone number, they’d
‘accidentally’ write it on the back of them".

And
actually, it’s all women’s fault anyway; with their rising pay packets
and demand for equality. Us men still want to feel like we are cock of
the walk and impress the ladies with our status and power, but the
problem is, we are facing potential partners who are richer and more
successful than us.

It probably won’t shock
you to hear that I am currently single. What I do know is that my
break-ups were about us as people, not about the size of my credentials.

So,
sure, we men can be a manipulative bunch, but ladies – don’t think
you’re completely innocent in all this. For starters the Virgin survey
acknowledged that women can be mendacious, pointing out that 16% of
females have played down the number of sexual partners they’ve had.

What’s
more, Susan Quilliam believes women can be complicit in their suitor’s
lies too. "They want a boyfriend they’re proud of," she says. "A woman
will often say ‘oh, he’s doing really well’ when he’s not, to present
her man as someone who is achieving and has control over his life."

So
what of this survey? After all, isn’t the relationship between men and
women all one big, complicated dance? To me, the process of meeting
someone new has always felt like the trailer before the main feature:
all the best laughs, action and romance cleverly cobbled together
without all the boring bits.

The trailer
never shows the daily grind, the mountains of washing up, the overdraft
statements. Isn’t this one big variation on a lie we are all partaking
in?

I’m sure people in love would beg to differ with me. But then they’re probably lying…