My co-workers and I were talking about catfishing today (the internet kind). One of my colleagues who likes fishing explained the analogy to me. Apparently, when you catch a catfish, it flails around and fights a lot on the line and makes you think you have caught a really big, awesome fish. Then you reel it in and feel disappointed that you just caught a stupid catfish. And it is ugly.
So, I went on my first online date in a while last week. I got a message from this guy, he seemed smart, could type in complete, grammatically correct sentences (a rarity these days, it seems) and wanted to go out for coffee. Of course, he first wanted to have a long ass phone conversation with me. I have discovered that this is a favorite move of the catfish. Make them like you for your personality so they will feel shallow and bitchy if they walk out of your date when you don’t look at all like your picture! Anyway, we have a nice conversation, he asks me a bunch of questions about my recent travels, we talk about all kinds of stuff. Excellent, I think, this is going to be a great date. On his profile it said that he was 42, but I thought, oh, he looks like a young 42 in his pictures. I’m 30 so that’s not too old for me, right? I need to date guys who are a little bit older because they have higher odds of somewhat having their shit together when it comes to dating… so yeah, this seems like an ok plan.
Before this date, I had taken my car to the shop to get an oil change, only to discover that actually it needed all kinds of things replaced, as in my brakes, along with a whole bunch of stuff that goes on around the brakes to make them work…. So basically, my car is still in the shop by the time I need to go to have my date. I give homeboy a call, explain the car situation and ask if he wouldn’t mind going to a coffee shop closer to the bus line that goes directly by my house. He is all awkward, seems potentially confused, and basically says no, we must go to the coffee shop he suggested. It’s ok, I think, not necessarily an indicator of anything, maybe he has a good reason to go to this particular coffee shop. I get my lovely friend to give me a ride to the date.
I get to the coffee shop a bit early, get myself a chai latte, and sit down by the door. In walks an old man who looks nothing like the person I was expecting based on his pictures online. He recognizes me immediately, of course, because the picture I have on my dating profile is from LAST MONTH, you jackass! His hair was white, he weighed at least 50 pounds more than any of his online pictures (there were three of them, dammit! I already learned from the last time not to trust people who only have one picture, that is a sure sign of catfishing), and he vaguely looked like the same person in the eyes, if I thought really hard about how his eyes looked in his profile picture. Ugh. I kind of wanted to walk out at that moment, but I thought that would be too mean. Something you will start to learn about this nice girl in Menver… half of these dating adventures would never have happened if I wasn’t a little too nice sometimes. But what do you do in that situation? Say, “Sorry, you are old and fat now… When DID you look like those pictures you posted online? Do you have a younger brother?” Or, “This product is not as advertised, I would like a full refund.”
So we have our coffee date. Awkward, but again, I am too nice and I am a social worker so I have skills at what you call “active listening.” This is what often gets me into trouble. You can tell me crazy/boring/stupid/Republican/blatantly untrue things and I will look like I am intently listening, no matter what shenanigans is coming out of your mouth. So I listen, lean forward in my chair, nod my head, etc. He thinks it’s going great, apparently, so he asks me to go get a drink at this dive-y bar across the street from the coffee shop. Why did I not just say I had to go at that point? I have NO IDEA! Something is wrong with me.
So I follow this dude into a bar full of guys who are marginally attractive by Denver standards. So to add insult to injury, not only am I stuck with this old man who is starting to vaguely remind me of my middle school science teacher, but I am being cockblocked from potentially getting hit on by some bearded dude from Iowa. I mean, I could at least PICTURE myself having sex with one of the assorted Iowa/Wisconsin/Chicago beard/hipster/bro sorts of dudes that were bro-ing out in this bar.
I have found myself in these types of situations a few times. I generally do stupid things when I feel like a trapped animal. In this case, I decided it would be a good plan to essentially pound three beers in the remaining hour or hour and a half of my life that I am losing to this terrible date. We somehow end up talking about feminism… good, I am starting to intimidate him, I think… No, he is not deterred by the fact that I am a feminist. I go to the bathroom and text some friends to see if they can pick me up. Remember, I have no car. My friends are all out having fun lives and don’t get my texts in time, so no dice.
Eventually, I am drunk and cornered enough that I basically just start operating on instinct. I make up a whole story about my friend who I am supposed to meet up with (I am planning to meet a friend, but probably not for another hour) and how she wants me to meet her so I need to go get a cab or bus to get back to my car and meet her. He tells me he would give me a ride, his car is right nearby because he LIVES ACROSS THE STREET, but he sees a friend in this bar that he wants to talk to after I leave. So the reason he didn’t want to go to a different coffee shop is that he is too lazy to drive to our date. Awesome. But whatever, I don’t want him to give me a ride anyway, I just want to escape!
I tell him I am going to go out to check when the next bus is coming and then I will come in and say goodbye. I take off down the street, knowing I’m not going back in there for I am free at last! I go several blocks down to the next bus stop, and text him to say, oops, I got a cab right when I went to check the bus. Actually, I waited a while for the next bus. I am cheap, ya’ll, I said I’m a social worker!
He still manages to call me the next day and see if I want to go out again. Nope, Mr. Catfish, I am looking for a fish who doesn’t feel bad about his current appearance/think girls are dumb/generally lie and embellish the truth and posts up-to-date pictures on his dating profile! Good luck out there, maybe your tricks will pay off one of these times… or you will meet a nice lady catfish and you will both be vaguely disappointed at each other’s looks but you won’t be mad because the catfishing was mutual…