Catfishing: The phenomenon of internet predators that fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into emotional/romantic relationships (over a long period of time).
Okay, so I’ve been dipping my toe into the online dating scene….and not very successfully. Sure, I’ve had a few emails & a couple of coffee dates, but it seems so forced and un-natural for me. I know quite a few couples who have met online, so I’m not dissing online dating by any means. I know it works and is awesome for many, but I’m just not sure it fits my personality. I may eat those words someday, but right now it’s new and just a little weird. I equate it to playing dodge ball in 3rd grade and I’m a captain. There are guys out there that are also captains…and you’re all saying “pick me, pick me!!” Sometimes you’re bummed that you didn’t get picked by one of the captains and sometimes you’re bummed you did get picked by one of the captains….and sometimes you pick someone and they say “no, not interested in being on your team!”
So, a few days ago I got an email from a guy early in the morning. I checked out his profile…nice picture, lives locally, some things in common, same age….so I emailed him back. We email a few more times and by the end of the day he asks if he can have my phone number to text me. Sure, what the hell! We text back & forth, then I have to go for dinner with a friend. When I’m done, I check my phone and had received another text. We text back & forth…and this is still the first day! The next morning I wake up to “Good morning, how are you doing?”, which is a nice way to wake up, right? We go back & forth for a couple of hours, asking questions, basic getting- to-know-you type questions (he works for the NSA!) ….then he asks what my favorite flower is, which is a little weird, but, again, what the hell. So, I tell him peonies & hydrangea. Okay, then he asks for my home address because he wants to send me flowers…he says he’s so “appreciative of my time and it’s his way of saying thank you”…REALLY?!! I say, no, and we banter a bit more. Now remember, it has barely been 24 hours since he emailed me the first time (first flag gets me a little suspicious.) So, we text back & forth and, honestly, it’s pretty fun & innocent. He starts calling me “babe”…”hey babe, how’s your day doing?” It’s a little odd, but he doesn’t have any real info on me and then he asks if he can call me tomorrow, ‘cause by now it’s a bit late. I say yes. When he calls it’s a really weird ring! Have you ever had a phone call on your cell that’s not your normal ring? (second red flag) When I answer it sounds like an almost synthesized voice and crackly connection. I hang up quickly and immediately get a text “what happened?” I say “weird connection” and he tells me to call him. I call right back and it rings at least 10 times, so he’s obviously not waiting for my call…3rd red flag…I’m now thinking Catfishing. I hang up & text him that maybe it’s time we meet for coffee, to which he replies “sure! I have no problem with that. There is something going on in your mind…can you tell me what that is?” I just said “nothing, let’s plan to meet this weekend, goodnight.” The next morning he texts me at 11am…it’s very stilted and not the “good morning babe” of the last two days. I didn’t answer him and didn’t hear from him again.
Well, the whole thing lasted 3 days and was, honestly, kind of fun. The banter was cool & non-threatening…until it wasn’t. I’m a very secure person, with a lot of social interaction, but it was just a different kind of interaction. I’m also a little cynical and suspicious so it was easy to see the conversation take a turn….starting with him asking for my address. I averted any true threat, though, cyber or otherwise, by asking him to meet in person. I can totally see, though, how someone…. a lonely, or bored, person, looking for that connection….could get swept away by someone you never actually meet….think Manti Te’o. I remember going in to see the movie “HER” thinking it was kind of a stupid premise, but it was up for some Academy Awards, so I thought I’d go. Well, it was very weird how I, and others I know whom I’ve discussed the movie with, got sucked in to believing the operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansen, was human. Go see it!
It was a fascinating social experiment for me personally that, thankfully, only lasted three days.
….And I learned that I kind of like being called “babe!” It seems kind of sexy!
You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!