Now that I am an expert on both the movie and the television show Catfish – meaning, I’ve watched the movie and all three of the episodes available to me on my cable’s On-Demand – I think we need to have a chat, people of the internet.
It seems that some of you are being very, very foolish about your hearts.
Now, I know. I KNOW. I’m not really the best one to talk. I’m a walking conundrum. I’m very guarded and very wary of people – all people, not just internet people – but once you win me over, I’m yours. And I’m rabidly loyal and I wear my heart on my sleeve with those few people that I allow myself to trust. Now, usually this works out just fine. Sometimes, as happens to everyone, these relationships implode. Then I am crushed, because, well, your sleeve is not the best place to wear your heart. It makes SUCH a mess on your best blouses, seriously. Blood just NEVER comes out.
I give everything my all. It’s both a curse and a blessing, sometimes. I know no other way.
That’s neither here nor there, though. From watching all the Catfish, I have learned the following about people, and it is horrifying.
THEY ARE FALLING IN LOVE WITH LONG-DISTANCE PEOPLE THEY MEET ONLINE WITHOUT TALKING TO THEM ON THE PHONE OR SKYPING WITH THEM.
OK, listen. I can totally, totally understand the power of words. It is very easy to get swoony feelings over someone who gives good email. It absolutely is. I’m not even making fun of you for that.
However, if you find yourself falling in mutual crush for someone you only know through email/Facebook/Twitter/some other text-based service, you owe it to yourself to do the following two things:
- ask to speak to them on the phone;
- ask to Skype with them.
If they refuse to do these things repeatedly, and give you excuses like “I don’t have a cell phone” or “I don’t own a computer that has Skype capabilities” THERE IS SOMETHING HINKY GOING ON.
You have to be wise about these things. I am completely emotional, and again, I am not the right person, probably, to be giving you this advice. I understand being all, “BUT I LOVE HIM HE DOES NOT HAVE TO PROVE HIMSELF FOR ME!” and I understand when your heart tells you things, it screams louder than your head, sometimes. I get that.
But you have to listen to your head. YOU HAVE TO.
If the person you’re internet-dating and telling all your secrets to and falling in love with and such says they don’t have a cell phone – well, think about this. They’re online a lot, I assume? If someone lives their life online, odds are very good they have a cell phone. And therefore, they are lying to you for some reason. Now, if they tell you they have a cell phone but limited minutes or something, maybe. I had that plan up until recently. But if that’s the case, they probably have a land line, and could talk to you on that. People in this day and age have phones. I’m sorry to break this to you. If they say they don’t, they are lying to you. And if they’re lying to you, they’re hiding something. (My mom, when I mentioned this to her, said, “NO! I don’t have a cell phone!” and I said, “Yes, Mom, but you aren’t exactly catfishing people online, now, are you?” and she said, “Most of the words in your sentence there were gibberish to me” so she’s not a good example of people who don’t have a cell phone. Dad has a cell phone but it isn’t a smart phone and sometimes people text him on it and he refuses to text them back because, per Dad, “I have old fat fingers and I don’t know how to use that tiny little keyboard.”)
And, piggybacking on this, if you ask them to Skype (and you should, because listen, pretty words are awesome, and yes, you can fall in love with someone’s words, you absolutely can, but you don’t know you’re in love until you see the person; you can say you’re not materialistic until the cows come home, my darling dearests, but it’s not materialistic, it’s common sense. We are attracted to some people and we are not attracted to others. It’s just the way of the world. It doesn’t mean you’re an asshole. It just means you are human) and they say they can’t because they don’t have a computer, or don’t know how, or various other reasons, blah blah – well, again, most likely, that person is a liar. Now, I didn’t have a webcam for the first year or so I was blogging. So I couldn’t have Skyped. I suppose there are SOME valid reasons for not being able to do so. But I GOT a webcam. (I still haven’t really Skyped. I tried once. It was disastrous and I think I broke Skype, seriously. It froze a LOT. Why does it always seem to work so seamlessly on television?)
Also, the Catfish-guy taught me a very smart thing (BAM, Mom, who SAYS the television won’t teach me things?): if you are friends with someone on Facebook and they only have a few friends, that’s a red flag. Also, if you take their photos and put them into Google image search, you can see if they ganked them from someone else’s profile and used them as their own photo. (I might be naive, but had no idea people were doing this shit until I saw the movie Catfish. It just seems like the shadiest thing alive. But it seems a LOT of people are doing this. THIS IS YET ANOTHER REASON TO LOCK YOUR SHIT DOWN, YO. If you put your Facebook profile to public, PEOPLE WILL STEAL YOUR PHOTOS AND USE THEM TO NEFARIOUSLY WOO LADIES AND/OR MENFOLKS!!!)
Listen, I’m going to tell you a secret. Probably it’s something you’ve heard before, but you need to pay more attention this time.
If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
If you meet a super-hot person on the internet who says all the right things and seems super-into you, well, that’s awesome, sometimes things like this happen, I’m not telling you they never ever happen. But if they refuse to talk to you on the phone…and aren’t always where they say they’ll be…and won’t Skype with you because they have plenty of photos online, isn’t that enough for you?…well, listen.
There’s going to be a little voice inside your head telling you “something is wrong here, sunshine.”
And your stupid, stupid heart, which is probably a little lonely and broken like many of our hearts are, is going to shout back, “Shut up, head! He/she is perfect and wonderful! He/she loves me! He/she is perfect for me and the exact person I’ve been waiting for my entire life! Head, you are NOT going to screw this up for me, he/she has a perfectly good reason for not being able to do these perfectly normal things SHUT UP HEAD!!!”
I know. I KNOW. It’s not what you WANT to do? But you need to listen to your head.
Now, listen. If you’re just friends with the person, it doesn’t matter as much, really. I have internet friends I haven’t spoken to on the phone or Skyped with. I trust that they are who they say they are and not lying to me. But I’m also not in love with them. I *love* them, sure, but I’m not making plans to spend the rest of my life with them in a sexual way, you know? If I’m going to invite someone all up in my business I want to know they’re who they say they are. I’m kooky like that. I also have fairly good radar. Or, if not “good” radar, I’m very mistrusting. So since it takes me a super-long time to trust someone, and if they do even the SLIGHTEST thing that makes me think, “NO THIS SEEMS WEIRD” (even if really it probably isn’t) I don’t bother continuing on with the relationship, I’m usually not overly fooled by crazies and/or loonies. Hopefully. Maybe. Who knows, though, I could be getting catfished left and right and probably wouldn’t know it because according to this show THESE PEOPLE ARE VERY GOOD AT THIS. And there are SO MANY OF THEM ZOMG.
(Also, I object to the fact that the Catfish show makes it look like all of us who live on the internet are crazies who lie for a living. I’m only PARTIALLY crazy and I don’t get paid for lying, thank you, TV show, I do it for FREE. Dad said, “Of COURSE you’re all crazy. I love you, but I think you might be crazy.” But this post is already mondo-long so that’s a story for another day, now, isn’t it?)
I know. It all seems very exciting and very romantic to have a long-distance internet boyfriend or girlfriend. (I’m specifying long-distance here, because if they’re local? MEET UP WITH THEM, YO. It’s like Skype but BETTER. There can be HUGGING. And other things. That I will not go into. Ahem.) And I know quite a few people who have met their significant others through the interwebs and guess what? They weren’t even stabbed to death. I KNOW! SHOCKING REVELATIONS!
Just use your head. That’s what it’s there for. It’s amazing to me that you’re not doing this. Don’t sell yourself short just because you think it’s finally your turn to have a super-romantic time. That’s ridiculous and how you get either murdered or your identity stolen, or in the smaller-scale of things, you just feel like a total asshat when the person you fell in love with turns out to be a mentally-unstable teenage boy or a lonely gramma or something.
Also, people who are catfishing others, just stop it. I think you’re probably insane, so you don’t understand what you’re doing is wrong, but IT IS NOT FUNNY IT IS HORRIBLE. You don’t earn someone’s trust and piss all over it. You just don’t do this. Ever. If you do, you know what they say about karma, right? YOU ARE GOING TO BE EATEN BY KARMA’S SHARP SHARP TEETH YOU ASSHOLE.
Just be careful, ok, internettians? It’s wonderful to fall in love. It’s the best thing in the whole entire world, followed closely by really, really good chocolate. And also maybe delicious pudding. Shit, now I want some pudding. But if it seems weird…IT PROBABLY IS.
This is common sense. You all have it. Please use it. Thank you. I worry, you see.