Online Dating Saga Part 3 "...Catfishing"
And, this is how it started. He was one of the guys that had a very well written profile, so I wrote him and told him so. This was his reply to me:
"Berit, I just wanted to say, that it's been a real pleasure to meet you too and I wish you all the best in finding that which you seek. As an aside, you might want to consider installing a turnstile at your front door as I'm of the view that you're going to find suitors lined up and down your sidewalk and 'round the corner. If I lived a little closer, rest assured I'd be one of 'em..."
And, because I love good writing, I was hooked from the git-go!
However, I had Alex looking out for me. One night when I was sound asleep, I felt a presence reaching out to me. It was a left hand. Alex was left handed. Then his “voice” said, “Everything will be OK.”
It was as if he was reassuring me and warning me at the same time! I think it’s fair to say I am now buying into the “La La” stuff my dear friend Tamara has been talking about for the past 30+ years (that’s how long we’ve been friends).
The question became, what was Alex warning me about? Why did he want to reassure me that “everything would be OK?"
I soon found out! Some of you may have heard of the term, “catfishing.” For those of you that haven’t, here’s the definition:
A “catfish” is someone who uses the anonymity of the internet to create a fake online identity. Usually, the aim is to lure somebody into a romantic relationship; either to fleece them out of money, for personal gratification or simply to mess with their heads.
It starts out relatively innocuous… lots of harmless flirting on the dating website. Then you switch to “normal” emails which go back and forth, and before you can blink your eye, they are salacious! Fast forward to phone calls, with LOTS of salacious talk and then graduates to eroticism! He had a “bedroom” voice and it was very sexy! The only thing I can say to that (when it happened) was, “Oh My Heaven!”
Somewhat seamlessly, we graduated to making plans about meeting each other. He was in Toronto, Ontario and I am on the west coast of Canada. One of us would have to make a journey. Then he mentioned visiting Niagara Falls when I came to visit him. He explained that he couldn’t fly anywhere anymore because he had a very bad experience on a plane once. The story sounded horrific!
I asked if he had talked to a therapist about that. To me, that was a logical question. :-) His reply was short and sweet, “NO!” That should have been a warning bell for me. However, I let it go.
It seemed my brain had left town. I thought, “Oh wouldn’t that be lovely. I’d like to see Niagara Falls again!”
The next thing I knew, I had agreed to visit him. I can’t believe I actually did that! However, in my defense, I felt that it was time I started to live again and I’m always up for a trip somewhere. This time it was to be Niagara Falls, which sounded cool.
At some point one would think that I would have remembered all the information I had learned being around Alex… but as I think I’ve mentioned, I had temporarily taken leave of my senses… and it felt good. I was actually starting to feel somewhat “alive” again. Until I heard the shift in his tone and subject matter… it was the mention of having to get a new cell phone and they’re sooo expensive. When I didn’t bite the first half dozen times he mentioned that, he switched tactics. He mentioned that he’d have to take time off work (he works part time to keep his brain active, so he said) which means no paycheck.
If I had known about “catfishing” I would probably have been on high alert by then! If you’re not familiar with the term, please look it up online www.socialcatfish.com -- it has a lot of very useful information!
To make a very long story short, I came to my senses when Tamara mentioned “catfishing” on one of our phone calls. I went online and just about every characteristic mentioned, fitted the man I had been speaking with. Then I felt like a real fool! However, I am grateful for Tamara mentioning “catfishing” and that I listened to my inner voice and came to my senses, in plenty of time.
Is there a “learning” in what I experienced? As Sarah Palin was fond of saying, “You betcha!”
The learning for me was:
· Remember to tune into my inner voice, and listen to what she’s saying!
· Do not negate what she’s saying.
· No matter how exciting and wonderful something sounds, speak to someone about what you’re thinking of doing.
In this case I told Tamara about my plans. The first thing she said was, “Is he paying for your airfare? That stopped me cold!
What I love about Tamara is, she never once said, “Have you lost your mind?” Instead she casually mentioned “catfishing.” Which, of course, I finally remembered, and checked it out online.
Hopefully the next guy will be real, and live locally. That way the only thing I will have to pay for is the gas I use to drive me to our rendezvous. What the heck, if he’s a really nice guy, I might spring for the cost of the coffee. :-)
One last thought… I have lively memories of his emails and his great voice! It feels wonderful to feel again!