We’ve all heard of catfishing – when someone uses fake pictures on dating sites or social networks to fool you into thinking you’re talking to someone who is obviously way too hot to be talking to you. There’s been a film, a TV show, millions of broken hearts and even more really very badly executed attempts to get nudes.
And I’m betting that most of us would probably never catfish someone, right? We’d be honest about ourselves on Tinder. We wouldn’t upload completely unrepresentative photographs to make ourselves seem way more appealing. We wouldn’t stretch the truth about who we are or what we do.
In fact, it turns out, we are kind-of-catfishing people all over the place. In a phenomenon that’s been dubbed “kittenfishing” by dating app Hinge, and that will probably not surprise you in the slightest, we are massively misrepresenting ourselves in order to get laid.
“Kittenfishing: the phenomenon of well-intentioned dating app users presenting themselves in an unrealistically positive light. A kittenfisher’s profile is often comprised of photos that are outdated, heavily-filtered, or strategically angled, text that has been ghost-written by a particularly witty friend, and height that has been rounded by more than two inches,” Hinge explains. Nearly 40% of men and 24% of women say they’ve been kittenfished – but only 1% will admit they’ve done it themselves.
And it turns out – really weird this, lads – that it’s actually a bad idea?
“We have to wonder if people think this is harmless or if people do it intentionally. They may figure they'll shave a few (or more) years off their age to make themselves seem more attractive to grab a person's attention,” sex expert Nikki Leigh told Bustle. “Or they may post a picture when they were thinner, so they can get more attention in the beginning.
“It's sad they don't realise that they aren't doing themselves any favours and they are actually hurting other people.”
So yeah, that trend you’ve probably noticed if you’ve ever spent more than about five minutes of Tinder now has a name. Now open up the app, go to your bio and put your real height there instead OK? Better yet, just don’t put your height at all.