Until Larry found me. Larry, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, although why I feel like I owe anything to Larry is beyond me, must have decided to do a search on every single girl, woman and octogenarian who ever decided to date online. Why throw out such a wide net? Larry wasn't that unattractive. A better haircut would have helped. But he certainly didn't have to be looking at women from age 17 to 97.
"Something's not right here," wrote Larry. "Either your age is wrong or your picture is fake."
Once we got it all sorted out, we exchanged a few e-mails, but after a while I decided it was time to cut him loose.
Larry didn't like that.
It was kind of like Fatal Attraction, but instead of a dead rabbit, Larry inflicted something much, much worse on me.
A few days later, when I went to the site and tried to send a response to one of my suitors, I found that my message wouldn't go through. Something was terribly wrong. After a lot of frantic clicking, I figured it out. My account had been frozen, and I knew Larry was to blame.
I remembered his last ominous e-mail to me: "You're not supposed to lie on your profile." Watch Out! Online Dating Red Flags
OMG, I thought. So that was it. Because of that one lie, because of one rebuffed suitor, my hopes of ever finding a man were dashed. I would never love again.
I decided to do something drastic. I picked up the phone and dialed customer service.
"I'm sorry, but I seemed to have made a mistake," I began. I told the young man that it was just an innocent typo, sure he'd believe me because people who lie about their age don't say they're 85. I babbled on about how careless I was, laughing nervously as I compounded my lie, anxious that this boy at a call center in Indianapolis held my future in his hands.
"No problem," he said. "I'll get this fixed in no time."
My relief was palpable. I had been given a reprieve, a second chance. And at that moment I knew the lying would have to stop. I could no longer treat this as something secret and shameful.