I wasn’t going to write about this.
While I’m an open book on my blog (and even more so in life), there are certain aspects of my personal life that I tend to keep semi-private.
It’s done not so much to protect me –because I’ll post just about anything that has to do with me – but to protect *other* people I might be writing about.
As a Single Lady, the dating world gives me PLENTY of writing material, but my blog is easily accessible and I don’t need to be known as the girl who talks about every single experience and encounter with men.
The first time I gave a guy my full name, he Googled me WHILE WE WERE TALKING (#awkward) and immediately said:
“An article about dick pics just came up; is that you?”
Yes. Yes it is.
So with that in mind, I talk about dating (online and the real-life variety) in a very broad and general sense and without getting into specifics about people, conversations or scenarios.
But I’m gonna just come out and say it: that rule is going out the window today cause I was frickin’ Catfished.
I hope I don’t need to explain what Catfishing is, but in the event you don’t know what it means – here’s the definition, courtesy of Urban Dictionary:
You also may know there’s an entire MTV show based around this concept, and yes:
I watch it.
I actually happen to love it.
I watch every episode thinking, how can these people be so dumb and fall for this?
Watch the makers of Catfish discuss the movie that inspired the TV series. Post continues after video.
Here’s the deal: I’ve got the online dating apps. I’m not ashamed. A few months ago I bit the bullet and downloaded a few ‘just to check them out’ and figured it couldn’t hurt to see what was out there considering we’re all a bunch of antisocial trolls now who don’t speak to other humans when we’re out in public.
Plus after getting rave reviews of “You HAVE to try Bumble!” and “I really like Happn!” I decided…well, why the hell not.
My experiences with these things have been all over the map, from “wow, yeah this is cool” to me, literally hovering over the delete button on every single app and ready to enter a life of celibacy and join a convent or even worse, the Witness Protection Program.
This last experience proved that no matter how smart or savy you think you are, there are still creeps and weirdos and frauds out there and you need to go with your gut instincts when something seems…off.
I met “Dan” (no idea if that’s his real name) a couple weeks ago on Happn and we immediately started chatting. He seemed attractive in his pics (I also thought he looked super familiar) (ha) and our rapport was pretty good, but I was a little sketched out by the fact that he only had two photos (the app allows five or six) and in one, he had on sunglasses. So one night, I called him out on it. “How am I supposed to know this is really you?” I asked.
And I got the perfect response to that question:
“Well, I can FaceTime you right now.”
Oh! Well then! Normally I wouldn’t agree to FaceTiming with a total stranger but my curiosity got the best of me, despite the fact that I was uber-aware that everyone looks terrible and distorted on the iPhone screen and I was gonna have to be a participating party in this as well.
So, we FaceTimed. And while he was a real (and attractive, might I add) person, something still seemed weird to me. I told him he looked a little different from his pictures. Your hair’s darker, I said.
This…is what we like to call in literary terms: foreshadowing.
“Dan” and I texted frequently for a week or so after that, and he was totally complimentary, attentive and responsive.
He talked about wanting to meet, but never actually made a plan to. Truthfully I didn’t mind; I am not looking for my future husband here; I tend to not take this stuff so seriously.
Not to mention I had that gut feeling I mentioned: Dan was shady. Dan was elusive. Dan was secretive.
DAN WAS CATFISHING ME.
I went back on his Happn profile weeks after we first started talking, and he had all new photos up. Immediately, that feeling of recognizing him from somewhere grew even stronger – the new pics looked even more familiar and I got a weird, uneasy feeling when I saw them. That is definitely NOT the guy I FaceTimed with. So, I used everything I learned from watching Nev and Max from Catfish work their magic on MTV.
I took Dan’s photos and used Google image search; laughing out loud when I realized: this isn’t “Dan,” 36 year old “Marketing Manager” who lives in Astoria.
This is was actor from the WB, who was on the show Supernatural.
EVERY. SINGLE. PIC.
“Dan” was smart enough to use pictures that were seemingly taken from the actors phone and therefore looked like any ol’ Instagram selfie (and also looked similar to him), but NOT smart enough to realize how easy it is to find shit out on the internet. …Not that I’m bragging considering I fell for this for WEEKS before I took the time to Nancy Drew his ass.
I immediately told my coworkers. I G-chatted my friends. We were all in tears laughing at what I uncovered and everyone that knows the story has had a field day teasing me about it, even days later. And I deserve it all. I was also simultaneously horrified and amused going back to his profile, seeing the photos of Fake Dan/Mr. Ackles with this hilarious note in the bio:
“Yes, that’s really me in the photos.”
No, DAN, it’s actually really not.
I thought about calling him out in a hilarious, mortifying way. Friends and I came up with amazing scenarios to ‘catch’ him or just to make him feel dumb. And then I realized: this is actually really messed up. This is weird. This is kind of scary. THIS ISN’T OKAY.
I don’t know why this guy – a good-looking, seemingly intelligent person – is using a celebrity’s photos on his online dating profile. Maybe he’s cheating on someone and this is a way to meet women without being spotted on the dating apps. But honestly, after the excitement and intrigue wore off? I didn’t even care what the reason was anymore.
…Which is exactly what I told him when he texted me out of the blue today, a week after I uncovered his dirty little secret:
There you have it, folks. While I can ALWAYS find the humor in any situation, it’s a scary lesson about trust, the internet, and well… not being dumb enough to think you got matched up with a guy who looks like Jensen Ackles.
Be safe out there.
Ever been Catfished? Please tell me I’m not the only one.
This post originally appeared here on blogher.com and was republished here with full permission.
Allison blogs over at ‘AA,’ where she writes about life (and the weird shenanigans she often gets herself into), humour, dating/relationships, girl stuff, pop culture and everything in between. She has an unhealthy obsession with Beyoncé, Dateline and social media. You can also follow her musings on Facebook and Twitter.