Will the real 'Jon Drake' please stand up?
As someone who has lurked around a multitude of dating websites (POF, Tinder, Match, OKCupid, Bumble - God loves a trier right?) for near on half a decade, I consider myself pretty proficient at weeding out the porn bots, foot fetishists and fuck boys. If there is a category of dire human beings on the interweb, the likelihood is that I've probably dated them and learnt a tough lesson as a consequence. I have been ghosted so often in 2017 that I am beginning to think Casper 'the friendly ghost' is a biographical movie of my life. It is no a great surprise to anyone then that my friends often describe my approach to dating as 'guarded' or 'suspicious'. On a night out, I strap on my 'don't even fucking think about it' perfume and pair it with my 'touch me and I'll get the pepper spray' handbag and I’m normally home in bed alone by 2am with a bag of cheesy chips for company. Last week, after another wine clouded conversation with a married friend about my loveless love life, she suggested I retired my broomstick and cauldron and attempted to become a more approachable, less resting bitch face internet dater.
|Please direct this "Jon' to my DM's|
After four days of 1am texting and giggling like a frigid school girl, I began to think that my new attitude to dating was indeed working and it would not be long before I joined my married mates on coffee date, where we would talk about mortgages, throw cushions and the Next catalogue. And then during the day he sent me a photo. It was a random photo of some work he had been doing on this house he was apparently refurbishing (did I tell you he owned a building company?!).
"Hey!" I said, "Isn't your camera broke?"
"Well if your camera works, I definitely deserve a selfie"
|Please direct this 'Jon' to my blocked list|
Bizarely, he made me confront him about it. "You're not the same person" I noted. "Well he said, long story but..." He suggested he had broken his phone and was using a friend's Tinder to save his ex girlfriend's feelings, but he had enjoyed chatting to me and hoped I would continue talking to him even though he was a completely different person. It seemed irrelevant to him that he had been posing as a completely different person for 4 days, that his name, his job, his face had all been a lie. He seemed to that because we had gotten on whilst he was ‘Jon’ that I would somehow transfer those feelings to this ‘John Doe”. I called him a few names and then deleted and blocked him. Not without learning a whole new set of lessons about the dating world first.
1) Never Trust Your Married Friends
Bless them and their rose tinted view on all things relationship. If your married friends' last experience of dating was back when Craig David could still make love from Wednesday to Saturday without a Viagra and a nap, then don't trust a single word of advice they utter. Their intentions are good, they are happy, they want everyone to be as blissfully in love and as happy as them, but they have absolutely no concept of the Jumanji style jungle you are surviving in every time you open your dating app. I mean if a member of the Russian mafia hasn't tried to blackmail you over your nude selfies, have you even internet dated??
2) Verify, Verify, Verify
|Nice try mate...|
Additionally, there are lots of ways of getting live verification from someone without needing to become Columbo. Snapchat, Kik, FaceTime and Skype are all ways in which you can verify someone is who they say there are in less than a second. If they aren't keen to do this, there is probably a reason why.
Point to note: I did this with the Catfish and I found his Facebook page. 'Jon Drake' did exist, however the only photos he had on his FB profile were the same ones from his Tinder profile. He also only had one friend. One! It's almost laughable how desperate I was to ignore my gut feelings on this one. On that note...
3) Trust Your Gut
|Excuse the spelling mistakes, I was raging.|
However, Jon would send me photos of different things he owned, pictures he had painted and would try and keep me engaged in conversations long after I had told him I was going to bed. At the time, I thought it was weird that he was so keen but Positive Polly wasn’t having any of my naysayer attitude, in reality, Polly should have shut the fuck up. Long live Bitter Betty!
If It Seems Too Good To Be True – It Probably Is
Now that I’ve let Bitter Betty out of the closet, I want to ensure you that I do not say this as some old hag who wants you to doubt anything good can come into your life. However, this isn’t ’10 Things I Hate About You’ and Heath Ledger isn’t about to serenade you on the football pitch in front of the whole school. This is real life and people are flawed, faulty and sometimes idiotic beings. Of course we all pump up our statistics on the internet to make ourselves seems a little better (Hello Instagram!) and lying on a dating profile isn’t anything new. But if the guy you are talking to is a 6ft, Thor like creature, who is a top 100 CEO whilst also doing a bit of charity work on the weekends, yet is still swiping madly on a Tuesday afternoon, then he probably isn’t real mate.
So after five years of internet dating, I experienced my first Catfish. It makes a change from the ghosting, at least these ones text you back. Have you ever been lied to on the internet? Any hot tips on how to avoid the Catfishes on Tinder? Let me know in the comments below, Bitter Betty could do with your help before she buys a cattery and a chastity belt.