A Catfish in the online world is a person who pretends to be someone else. The term was popularized by the MTV Documentary called Catfish, which you really should watch because it’s pretty good. Plus, you’ll never understand where the name comes from if you don’t. That’s right; I’m not going to tell you. You’re just going to have to get off your ass and sit down and watch this movie. Essentially though, a Catfish is someone who has created a fake online profile, usually for dating, in order to lead others on.
Recently, I matched with a woman on Tinder. Let’s call her Heather. Primarily because that was her name, but also because I’m sure it was a fake. Her pictures showed a very short but also very attractive woman. Upon contacting, I relayed my relationship desires to her and she fit perfectly. I realize now that she was just mirroring my sentiment in order to hook me. We sent texts for a couple of days, talked on the phone and agreed to meet for a wonderful physical encounter leading into a friendship.
She wasn’t perfect of course; her main flaw was that her responses were so short. In return I write fairly extensive and in depth messages. However, this is nothing new because even though women chastise guys for messaging them with “Hey” I’ve found that 75% of women suck at conversations too (don’t get cocky guys you’re probably closer to a 90% suck rate). I usually end any conversation with this dynamic, but I was in a particularly vulnerable state that caused me to overlook it.
Aside from conversational dynamics she seemed perfect in so many ways and I began to wonder if maybe way down the road this might not be the foundation for something more.
The day of our date came and I left work early to maximize our time together. She responded to a message of mine to say she was running late. Tardiness is a huge annoyance of mine because it makes me think that people don’t care enough about me to be on time. How bad did she really want to meet if she was late for a first date? I started to get a sinking feeling that I was going to get stood-up. Still, maybe she really was just running late.
Alas, that was the last I heard from her. I sent a text that went unanswered and when I called, her phone was off. My suspicion had become a reality, I was someone’s amusement and I was crushed. My desires, my emotions and my life are not a fucking game. Yet the results told a different story. I retreated to a corner of my apartment to cry profusely, for the first time ever my tears formed an appropriately sized puddle of sorrow on the bathroom floor. With blurred vision I opened the text messaging on my phone and began composing this:
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“Well congratulations. The joke is on me I guess. You really got me (and a few jollies I imagine).
Here’s what really happened though, it’s that thing you would have known had we actually met. I’m in a particularly low spot in my life right now. Truth be told, I’m at my lowest. My wife and I ended our relationship right before my birthday and Christmas. In a flash everything I had been working towards and loved had changed.
That loss devastated me and left me alone in a new state where I have few friends or social anchors. I’m emotionally freewheeling and sometimes it feels like free falling. I’ve accepted my situation best I can and am moving forward, but it has left a huge hole in my life.
Every morning I awake from and each night I return to an empty bed. Occasionally, I would love to lie down and wake up next to someone. I miss it so. I want some form of companionship and even though I know I’m not ready for a fully committed relationship I want someone who can share with me the benefits of an intimate friendship.
You, or the person you played, came to embody that for me. You seemed to be someone who could be more interested in the sensual and intimate aspects of a relationship over the pure physical. I needed someone to trust and to be vulnerable around, someone to hold me and be held.
All I really wanted tonight was the company of someone who wanted to be with me. I really didn’t even care about the sex. I was longing for the part that comes after; that moment when you totally relax in each others arms and truly live in the moment.
I needed everything this night was supposed to represent. It was my emotional lifeline at my lowest hour. Instead of being my buoy of hope you were the hand pushing me down beneath the water’s surface. You made my heart and emotions a game. You took my trust and my vulnerability and you used it against me in the cruelest of ways.
All I want now is to stop crying.
I’m sure the irony in this is that you’re probably unhappier than me. It stands to reason. Why else would one person intentionally put another through this if they weren’t miserable and angry about their life? I hope you find happiness at some point. Realize though that visiting trauma upon others isn’t going to get you there. You can’t make yourself feel better by hurting others.
You see here’s the kicker and it’s something else you would have noticed about me: I love who I am. That self-love has made me stronger than I have ever been. I know I’ll pick myself up and start again. It’s what I do. I’ll reach out to someone again and I’ll put my trust in them and my heart in their hands. Really, what other viable option is there? I know I’ll get knocked down a couple more times, but I’ll keep being kind, caring, open and vulnerable until someone trusts and cares enough for me to do the same in return.
I hope one day you can have this too. I hope you realize the power that can come from being vulnerable. I hope you learn that hurting other people isn’t an exhibition of strength, but of weakness. I hope you truly learn to love yourself. I hope you get to be loved.
Goodnight whoever you are, and good luck.”
Of course, I never received a response. You might be happy to know that by the time I finished this text I had stopped crying and then went out and bought ice cream.