It’s no surprise newcomers to photography get confused when so much of the received wisdom they hear is not quite right. Alongside “aperture controls flash, shutter speed controls ambient” this is one of the most ubiquitous myths that do the rounds. The converse is also untrue: wide angle lenses do not distort (at least not because of the focal length, they may of course have defects in their design and manufacture).
“But” I hear you say “if I take a picture of someone with a wide angle, their features look all distorted, they have a big nose and their entire head looks like a football! If I use a telephoto lens, they look much more natural.”