July 18th, 2012
Every now and then a survey story throws up something ill-judged and ill-fitting to the product being promoted, such as this recent gem from The Sun:
One in ten women lie about their past sexual partners
ONE in ten women lies about the number of people they’ve slept with to a new partner, new research shows.
And the study found younger women are twice as likely to be economical with the truth when they meet a new bloke.
So, in essence, women lie (albeit a minority of them, given that 9 in 10 are seemingly entirely truthful in their recounting bedpost notches). Anything else?
But the biggest fib told by women covers the amount of money they spend on clothes, with 26 per cent glossing over the cost of their shopping sprees.
And 20 per cent of lasses said they had lied about their weight, while six per cent claim to be younger than they really are.
So far, so reliably trotting out gender stereotypes.
But blokes can be even worse than the girls when it comes to telling porkies.
The research found men lie 650 times a year, compared to just 537 fibs for women.
Interesting, then, that The Sun chose to bias the lead to their article entirely around the lies of women.
The most common lies for the fellas are excuses for being late, or pretending they’ll be home earlier than they will be.
And 20 per cent of men admitted to lying about the amount of alcohol the had drunk.
And so it goes on, although surprisingly not to then cover the inherent issues with having people report on how often they lie: issues like the fallibility of memory, the definition of what constitutes a lie, the unreliability of people self-reporting their lies and in particular their year-old lies, and so on. In short, it’s crap. But who owns this crap?
The study into why we lie was carried out to mark the DVD release of spy thriller Safe House, which stars Denzel Washington.
I’ve not seen the film – I presume it contains a lot of people lying. Or at the very least making up unlikely, unhelpful and uninteresting stereotype-laden stories in order to sell itself to a bored audience.