Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Catfishing & Non-assertive Women

I felt I had to share one blog I read recently. Make that two blogs. We all know what Catfishing is. It’s when someone pretends to be someone else via social media. He or she could use different photos claim a different occupation, etc.  The profile or the alleged person isn’t anywhere close to who you think they are.

One in ten dating profiles is bogus. Nothing is real about it.  With that in mind, the too good to be true diamond buyer with multiple houses who’s contacted you doesn’t exist. If he did exist, he wouldn’t be on Match, OkCupid, or Tinder. Most ordinary people post a younger, thinner photo or list an exciting hobby that they might like to try.

The blog I read detailed how the man started reading a blog written by a woman who wrote about cheating on her husband and divorcing him. In truth, she was married and the blog may have been a form of acting out a possibility or speculative fiction. The author thought the red flag was that the woman would write about cheating on her husband. He left comments in the comment section and the woman contacted him thus started the catfish relationship.

This wasn’t the real red flag. The real red flag is that the woman contacted him. Despite women being all they can be in the workforce, this doesn’t extend to the world of dating. OkCupid did a research study on their female clients and found women seldom contacted the men waiting for the initial male contact. Been there, done that. This is a shame because when women contact men it’s flattering. Unless, they’re asking for large sums of money and even then some men still think it’s flattering.
It’s no wonder that the man from the catfish blog responded to the woman’s initial contact via the blog comments. She searched for his blog and began leaving cutesy comments on it. As a writer, and sometimes blogger, this has never ever happened to me. No. Nada. None. If people do leave cute comments, it is because it is someone I already know. If someone else did, I would not start emailing that person.

First, it’s weird. Second, I happen to know who’s on the other side of that email. My former students from a lockdown facility created several profiles using photos of beautiful women. They amused themselves by writing to these men. They usually made the bombshell beauty profiles into either a recent immigrant or someone still in Mother Russia, Ukraine, etc. Even though, I warned the staff the boys were too busy on the Internet. They didn’t end their time online because it kept them out of trouble. I wonder if any of the lovelorn men who were writing Natasha would say the same.

Are you being catfished? It depends on your definition of catfish. Studies suggest at any one time at least 25% of dating profiles feature people currently in relationships. They may be checking the waters or searching for something missing in their marriage. I‘ve been catfished more than once.
One man, he may have been a woman, or a group of middle school students, went by the name of Forever Sunsets. He wrote cheery, caring emails. He didn’t even a photo on his profile. His explanation for this is he wanted to get to know a person before sharing his photo.

Every single day, I received a letter for a year. He gave me information about himself, including he was an accountant. When I pressed to meet, he agreed, but never showed. A few months later, he popped back up, apologizing for the no show. By this time, I’d written him off. My take on this, or better yet, my friend’s take was that he was married, but enjoyed an illicit thrill in our correspondence.

Social media is notorious for people bragging and making up things that never happened. It’s a fantasyland. Most dating sites emphasize to meet early as opposed to corresponding for weeks. When you meet, you discover immediately, you don’t suit and are free to search for someone more appropriate.

This brings me back to the hesitant female. A woman will usually allow the contact to continue without pushing for a personal meeting. Often, it seems easier than meeting in person and being rejected. It isn’t easier. It’s more of a long goodbye. Time wasted when you could have been with someone who counted.

Women feel free to take the initiative. I winked at my sweetie on eHarmony and left it at that. He wasn’t a current member and I didn’t know that. About a month later, he contacted me. The rest is happy history. I did ask if he would have contacted me if I hadn’t winked at him. He wasn’t sure if he would have because he felt that the town I listed was too far away. Ironically, it wasn’t even my town. I used it for safety reasons.

The lesson of the two blogs is this: be assertive if you’re a woman involved in online dating. By this I mean, make the first move. If a man doesn’t respond, don’t follow it up with a rant. Try not to take it personally. He could be an inactive member. Keep in mind; social media allows us to be ruder than we would in person.

If someone contacts you due to a blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. be suspicious. If you think someone is too good to be true, then he or she isn’t real. People make up stuff all the time to sound interesting. Sometimes, it is a mean-spirited game to see who will respond.

You have to decide what your warning flags are. Mine included men I felt were out of my league. Go back to the jet setting diamond buyer. I knew someone like that would not be seriously interested in me. Unfortunately, when it comes to romance, logic often goes out the window.


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