Kinda Catfish

If you are reading this and thinking that “catfish” refers to an actual fish, then I’m assuming you haven’t been in the online dating game very long (or at all) and/or have been living under a rock. But never fear, I’ll bring you up to speed with the 21st century…

A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not online to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances. If you have been deceived by a catfish, then you’ve been catfished. The term really caught on with (or maybe even originated from) the movie Catfish, which was then spun off into MTV’s Catfish: The TV Show. Then when Manti Te’o was catfished, I think people started to realize, “oh shit, if this could happen to a star football player at a good college…then maybe it could happen to me too.”  Want to read up more on the background of the word catfish? Here‘s a good article. Still confused? This synopsis of a Catfish: The TV Show episode should help: watch here.

catfish1

Watch the summary of this episode here.

Clearly, catfishing is a huge dating problem. The thing is, it tends to happen to those who are okay with talking to someone for weeks without ever meeting other person… and I barely have the patience to chat for a few days.  Needless to say, I’ve never been completely catfished (meaning: the person I’d been talking to was a totally different guy than who he claimed to be).  That said, I – along with tons of other online daters I know – have been kinda catfished (meaning: the person I’d been talking to was real but his profile terribly misrepresented what he was actually like).

There are plenty of ways that this happens, but here are the most common ones I see..

Height

Probably the most common occurrence of the “kinda catfish” problem is exaggeration of height.  Look, it’s one thing to tell someone it’s 3:30 when it’s actually 3:28, but it is a completely different thing to say you are 5’10” when you are really 5’8″.  That’s the difference between wearing heels and wearing flats to the first date.  Bottom line: just list your true height, daters.

6 feet

Looks

I totally get that people deliberately choose their best photos for dating profiles – or any online profile, for that matter.  I do it, you do it, everyone does it.  But c’mon, people, at least choose pictures that resemble the way you look today.  If you are balding, then don’t post photos from when you had a full head of hair.  If you have gained weight, then don’t be choosing pictures from when you were 30 pounds lighter.  And as a general rule, you probably shouldn’t be including any photos taken over five years ago (that’s being conservative).  Bottom line: go ahead and make yourself look good, but make sure it looks like the way you look today.

muscly

Personality

As someone who doesn’t exactly enjoy the whole messaging and texting part of online dating prior to the first date, it’s the best when someone has some wit or humor to make it all more bearable.  Heck, it’s great when they can simply just carry on a basic conversation so it doesn’t feel like I am pulling teeth the entire time.  So you can imagine the disappointment when this person is dull and blah in person.  Bottom line: don’t suck in person.

bored1

So, daters, take this opportunity to review your online profiles.  Give it to a friend to review if you need to.  Just don’t be catfishing anyone… even if it’s just kinda.

 

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First Date Check

If you have been a close follower of this blog from the start, then there’s a chance you’ve seen about two or three versions of this post before – only to see it disappear within a week or two. The reason for that is because I’m super indecisive my feelings about the First Date Check problem keep changing.

The Early Stage of The Picky Dater

For a while (basically from the time I graduated college and entered the real dating world until a little less than a year ago), my expectations for a first date were old-fashioned: the guy should pay.  I would offer up the payment, but it was always done in the fake-attempt-to-grab-my-wallet fashion. There were instances when I would go out to dinner with someone and the bill would be a lot higher than just drinks would be, and in those situations I was okay with justifying the split.  However, if all we were getting was drinks and we ended up splitting it… then I seriously judged him.

clarissa date meter

Clarissa explains what makes a date a disaster

The Late 2014 – Early 2015 Stage of The Picky Dater

I can’t put my finger on an exact day or particular date I went on, but I eventually came to realize that I was being a bit unfair and old-fashioned sexist to expect the guy to ALWAYS foot the bill.  Going on unsuccessful date after unsuccessful date started to feel like more like a chore than something I wanted to do, and I must have come to the realization that guys probably go on shitty dates too and still have to pay for everything on top of that. So I started to feel bad and lowered my expectations.

lower your expectations

But not THAT much. I still had certain expectations for the guy to pay on date #1. Basically, my rule of thumb was that if the guy would go to a location that was convenient for me, then I would definitely be cool with splitting. However, if I agree to haul my ass to the opposite side of the city (because Lord knows I’m not venturing farther than that for a first date) while you walk down the street, there was zero chance I’d be pleased with splitting. Exhibit A: this guy.

The Current Stage of The Picky Dater

In my reflections of 2014, one thing I noted was how my expectation for a guy to pay on the first date was equivalent to my obligation to respond to him after a first date regardless of how it went. I mean, it is only fair. For a short while, I stuck with that mentality, allowed the guys to pay on the first date, and then rather than ignoring them and hoping they’d get the hint when they asked me out again, I would tell them I felt something was missing and wish them well.

i dont want to see you again

Now, I still totally think that is a fair way to think about it, so that hasn’t changed. What’s changed now is my willingness to actually tell a guy I don’t want to go out with him again. That probably sounds a bit cruel to some of you, but honestly, most guys DO get the hint when a girl doesn’t respond after the first date. I’ve had it happen to me, and while it can suck because you thought the date went well, the reality is that that just happens. Sometimes the person you went out with just didn’t feel the same way about the date that you did. Plus, c’mon guys (and girls), rejection sucks. Personally, I’d rather take the “soft rejection” of the guy going silent than the “hard rejection” of being told I’m not worth a second date. In that same vein, though, there are absolutely those people who just don’t catch on (and I’m not innocent of this myself), and those are the times you might need to spell out the hard truth for them – albeit in the nicest, most sugar-coated way possible.

want you to leave

So nowadays, I’m insistent – VERY insistent – on splitting on the first date.  Why? Well, I could say it’s because I’m just trying to be fair, but that’s not why. I could say that it’s the feminist thing to do, but that’s also not why. Honestly, it’s because 9.9 first dates out of 10, I have no interest in going out for a second time.  That’s a lot of guys to let down (because, you know, obvvvviously they want to take me out again), and I really don’t want to be handing out these “hard rejections” anymore, especially after knowing the guys only 90 minutes or so.  At this point, I’m okay with trading my money for the right to ignore a guy after the first date if I want to.

shut up and take my money

So that’s why.  It’s half out of laziness, half out of just not giving a shit.

have no fucks to give

Soooo… what if I like the guy? Haha, well let’s get to that point first.

i have no feelings

So that’s my current take on the First Date Check problem. If it changes again, I’ll just update it here.

Ok people, I know you are reading this (the stats for this blog still baffle me considering I am so bad at updating it). What are your thoughts on The First Date Check problem?

Juan Pablo Syndrome

Named after the man himself.  Who, you ask?  Well, in case you didn’t devote two hours every single Monday during the first few months of 2014 watching ABC’s The Bachelor, then here’s a quick clip which sums up why Juan Pablo embodies one of the most common problem I see guys exhibiting on dates:

To be clear, I obvi don’t expect my date to be asking me serious questions about topics like my political views or how I want to raise my kids someday – dear Lord, that would be an entirely different problem of its own.  But Andi hits in on the head when she says “I just never honestly feel like you were trying to get to know me” and at another point she says “I’ve never been with someone who has asked me so little about myself and when I try and tell you stories it’s like you have another story; immediately you have another story.” Unfortunately, by the time Andi came to these realizations, she was already far into the relationship (and by far, I mean a few weeks… which in the anomalous world of the Bachelor is practically an eternity).  As an avid watcher of that season, though, I’ll tell you that it was clear very early on that Juan Pablo didn’t seem to ask any of the girls many questions at all.  If he wasn’t making out with a girl, then he was talking about himself or his daughter.

Fortunately, we can all learn from this showing of self-absorption and realize it in our own dating experiences.  To be honest, I am shocked that it is such a common problem because I thought it was simple Dating 101 knowledge that you want to get the other person talking – more specifically, the girl.  You don’t even have to take my word for it.  Take the word of every girl’s man crush Ryan Gosling; his character in Crazy Stupid Love preaches the importance of not talking all about yourself:

Now, I’m not trying to say that every guy that talks about himself all the time is completely self-absorbed.  Perhaps he is nervous.  Or wants to impress me.  Or something.  But let’s be real, it isn’t hard to take a breather after talking about yourself and ask the person you are on a date with, “And how about you?”  The other person might be boring as hell, but it’s just courteous to act like you care about getting to know them.  (Plus, I’m willing to bet that you aren’t actually as incredibly interesting as you think you are.)  This also does not only apply to first dates.  Like in Andi’s case, it might take some time to suddenly realize that you know a whole lot more about them than they know (or have ever cared to try to know) about you.

So daters…if you realize halfway through the date that you are out of breath and know very little about the person next to/across from you, then you have the Juan Pablo Syndrome.