Well, the day has finally come (the one we all knew would happen eventually) whereby I, the serial online dater, have been catfished. This is the story of how I found out that the 20/10 I was going to hook up with was a fraud. I still don’t know how I feel, but all I know is that I am uncomfortable and I’ve spent the last few days mumbling, “This is fucked up.”
Let’s start from the beginning: It was all too perfect. He was like something out of a book (and as an avid romance reader, I had a lot to compare him to). I think this guy spent way too many nights with his nose in a Christina Lauren novel because he fucking nailed the act of the dream guy.
To summarize his tale: He was your typical 40something (at least that’s what he told me) hot guy, he’s in the US Navy, dressed impeccably, and he had a smile that would make any woman either drop her panties or cry. Or so I thought.
You have to imagine, I’ve slept with many delicious guys, so his profile and lifestyle weren’t anything I haven’t heard or seen before. I would say I have a selective taste, and it just so happens that the men I’ve slept with in the past all possess the same ‘dream boy’ qualities (well, most of them, anyway). I mean, just last year I slept with a civil engineer on the same caliber who I still think is the most perfect man I’ve ever met. So when I swiped right on this next one, I knew he would be the next guy to send me into hysteria, and I was fucking ready for it.
Now I want to make this clear: Everything moved very quickly from the moment we matched, right away he loved me and wanted to have a future with me, the red flags and an odd feeling in my gut developed almost immediately. I sent my usual cute and casual introduction message to which he ignored (rude) and instead responded with a douche-y one-liner.
Our conversation progressed really fast “What are you up to?” Don’t get me wrong, he was a VERY understanding and well mannered guy.
Flag One: The to-good-to-be-true conversation
He messaged me on fb. I panicked and was nervous. We spoke for hours everyday, we got along quite well. He never sent me pics because he said there’s security reasons. We video chatted once on whatsup but the voice wasn’t his. He was fluent in his character and never once strayed. Had perfect grammar. However, I thought it was a little strange that whenever I asked questions, he hesitated.
Flag Two: His strained response to basic questions
He had asked to move our conversation to kik. From that point, we got to know each other VERY well. I asked him questions about his personal life and past relationships, he vaguely answered. Right there I knew was a red flag but I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
Flag Three: His mysterious disappearance
Over the next few days of talking, he immediately deleted his fb profile. That’s when it clicked that he had told me he was 40 when I looked him up in the white pages it had said 31. I don’t know why that sat wrong with me, but it did. Like, why lie about your age out of anything? Although I think that was the least of this guy’s issues.
Flag Four: The mismatch of ages
Everyday we would message each other, Like, c’mon man, everyone knows the unspoken rule of hookups and past relationships are never talked about other people to the person you’re trying to root. It’s not that hard. As far as every guy I sleep with knows, I’m as pure as the color white. We all pretend we have no past and we are, as Madonna would say, “A virgin touched for the very first time.” Just me?
As a precaution, I had then asked him for his Instagram. One thing I always do before I meet up with someone is observe their socials. This is to see how they interact with their friends and to gauge whether my gut thinks a person is the real deal. He then sent a name…Brandon. No other reply to what else I was saying, just a casual Instagram handle…@official_inked_watkins. I went straight to Facebook but was extremely confused at the face that was staring back at me. “Hm, that’s odd,” I thought. So I went to Instagram and tried again, this time pressing copy and paste, but it was still the same face. I was confused — very confused.
The next day was when everything took a turn. Our chat started off normal, and then the conversation circled back to when we were going to see each other. And he said he needed money to get home. And it was one thing after the next and the money sending never ended. Like an idiot, I sent money but he never came.
“That looks like…”
So I dug deeper, I compared old photos to new, looking at the dates thinking (hoping) that there was some miracle that he had a makeover which included facial bone restructuring and a buff up in two weeks. I paused when I found some pictures of him and videos on Instagram.
NO, NO, NO!
The inside of the house matched the one from his videos perfectly. He had a wife, a daughter and soon a son. The plants, furniture, and pictures were all the same.
Flag Five: His pictures were of the real person.
Flag Six: His pictures were someone else.
Flag Seven: HE STOLE SOMEONES IDENTITY.
“Have I just been catfished?” I mumbled, staring down at my phone in disbelief. FUCK.
When I told him I noticed his photos were stolen he said, “How? I laughed and said exactly what I said…STOLEN!!
I said, “I screenshotted ‘your’ pictures to send to my friends.”
He then made it out like it was my mistake. That I had somehow confused him with someone else. Everything then made complete sense! I had been played.
Next time he said I’m being a PI when it comes to finding out shit on the internet, and everything is make believe. I very well could have ended up at this guy’s house, and god knows what would have happened.
After that and a quick block later, it was pretty hard to get back to work and concentrate. My brain was in overdrive, and as if I wasn’t already feeling disgusted and humiliated enough, as I drove home from work that day the universe decided to have one last laugh. As I sped down the highway screaming “what the fuck” every five-seconds, I scrolled through Instagram. To my surprise, guess who’s fucking face was in those stolen pictures has his own business and is a retired vet.? (In case you’re not following, it was the hot guy whose pictures I thought I matched with.)
This is what happens when you don’t watch reality TV. You get fucking catfished with pics of a guy that’s on Love Island. Well, if I wasn’t being dramatic before, it was at this moment that I absolutely lost it. I take that same route every day and out of all days for that image to change, it had to be that one. I was so embarrassed.
It’s hard not to laugh, but this goes to show that when you are meeting someone online, you really don’t know the face behind the picture. Our families told us this from the moment we were old enough to log onto MSN, but did we listen? No.
I had fully intended to meet this guy, and imagine what would have happened if I we actually got together. The thought alone makes me queasy.
What would have happened if I went to the airport to get him without checking his socials and discovered someone different?
What was the point of all of this if he straight out told me his name, linked to his real pictures?
How many girls has he already fooled?
And why the fuck would someone do this?
So many questions, with answers I really think I’d rather not know.
If my story teaches you anything, just be careful when you meet people online. You need to be safe, make sure someone always knows where you are, take precautions, and trust your gut. And don’t be fooled by the tale, no matter what he looks like.