Who hasn’t heard of MTV’s documentary series “Catfish?” Based on the documentary film Catfish that was released in 2010, Nev Schulman and the Robin to his Batman, Max Joseph (sorry Max!), travel across the country to help people uncover the truth about their online relationships. Can you trust the person behind the image on the screen? We’ll leave that to the professionals to reveal.
Now, with all this relatively recent common knowledge of Catfish trickery, you’d think the world of dating app users would become the wiser. Not necessarily so.
I always thought I was above being duped by a Catfish. We know all the signs to look for. Do their pictures seem legitimate? Do we have common friends on Facebook? Can I stalk you easily on social media? Different strokes for different investigative folks. But what if you don’t have friends on social media in common? I prefer to be outright with my worries. On my profile I include a side note “don’t be a Catfish, I’ll leave the date!;)” I find humor is best when initiating awkward interactions on dating apps. You might as well leave it all out there. What do you have to lose? Besides your lunch, if your date does, in fact, turn out to be a Catfish.
Well, apparently there’s another side to Catfishing I didn’t really heavily consider – the use of outdated photos. When I re-downloaded Tinder after my most recent cognitive dating hiatus, I was excited to get back in on the action! I had never really used the apps in the suburbs, and I was curious to see who was around. I matched with this cute guy – baseball cap, dimples, totally my type. He was upfront about his passion for MMA fighting, so I put that peculiarity aside.
After chatting briefly, he quickly asked me out for drinks or dinner. As a member of the late 20’s age range, I prefer dinner because it gives you the opportunity to get to know your date without the focus of getting drunk. Bonus: less chance of a random hookup. Unless that’s what you’re looking for. Either way, I was pretty excited.
We picked a semi-local spot that was halfway between us. I arrived at the restaurant first and headed inside. I wanted to get a glimpse of my date before he saw me. I’m all about that mental preparation.
Ten minutes later, it was like a scene from a movie. Sweat dripping down my forehead. GLISTENING, glistening on my forehead. A group of people in front of me. A cute guy walks through the door – that doesn’t look like his pictures, though. The handsome stranger moves towards the group of friends. And then from behind the group, approached my… Er um… CATFISHED. Kind of…
Apparently, my date had used the ingenious idea of posting pictures from high school. Fast forward to present day, ten years later, he had packed on about 20-25 lbs. I was crushed. Before you go thinking, how shallow! I do currently have a crush on an dad-bod hottie, and my first boyfriend had bigger boobs than I do (he was slim in the face!). But this guy, he was just unattractive to me, both inside and out for the dishonesty. Especially when I noticed he was gauging my reaction. He had clearly done this to other women before.
I pushed the lump in my throat aside, inwardly acknowledging what had happened, but we did get along on the app, so I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt.
As it turns out, the best part about the date was the food. I ordered a classic Italian Bolognese. And had a better time flirting with the sommelier than my date himself. Did I feel bad flirting in front of him? No fucking way! Aside from the fact that I have a naturally flirtatious demeanor (I’d flirt with a tree if it would flirt back), he was the idiot who posted false representations of himself.
I mean, I still humored conversation. But as it turned out he was a little too into MMA fighting, dropping way too many Jackie Chan references comfortable for dating banter.
A few short weeks ago I prided myself on being able to quote Will Ferrell movies at the drop of a dime. Guys like that right? Well, I can say I still don’t know about guys, but for girls… WRONG. I immediately promised myself that from that moment forward I would save the movie quotes for someone who really got me. What a turnoff! I can honestly say I still don’t know what Will Ferrell movie he was quoting, but I didn’t find it appealing that my date literally recited a skit that made him sound like he had a bad case of Tourette’s. (I’ve already accepted the fact that I’m going to hell).
To sum this dating story up, don’t be that guy. Just don’t do it! Or that girl either… No one wants to be duped especially when they were excited about the prospect of an exciting first date. And if you’re doing the duping… You’ll be lucky if your date sticks around.
1. Pre-date — ask yourself these questions:
- Do their profile pictures seem legitimate?
- Do we have friends in common on social media?
- Can I stalk them easily on social media?
2. Use interactions wisely:
- Address the issue on your profile in a funny way. EX) “Don’t be a catfish I’ll leave the date ;)!”
- Use humor to initiate awkward interactions I.E.) FaceTime requests, asking if their pictures are up to date, or if the child in the picture is his nephew… or HIS.
- Plan ahead of time
- Dinner instead of drinks = less chance of a random hookup
- Don’t use movie quotes on the first date
- If the guy (or girl) is a douche, feel free to flirt with any restaurant staff member… Fair game and you deserve the pick me up!
Bold. Boss. Beautiful.