Catfish Detective

Having been part of the online dating world for several years now – it still never ceases to amaze me how I can get fooled by men claiming in their profiles to be someone that they clearly aren’t.


Just over a week ago I stumbled across Aaron’s profile on PlentyofFish. He had about 6 pictures (all seemingly normal of a 24 year old guy) and claimed he was an investment banker living in Toronto. His profile stated he also had a Yacht called “the Anna Maria” which he liked to take out and sail over Lake Ontario. Okay — so that should have been an immediate red flag.. but I was still curious to learn more about who this guy was. Maybe he just came from a wealthy family and was fortunate to have luxuries in his life like that.

I messaged him asking whereabouts he worked in Toronto. Never got a response…

Fast forward to today and I receive a message back from him.

Hey. Yeah I work as an investment banker in the financial district. Whereabouts do you work? Would you be interested in meeting up over your lunch break tomorrow?

I was caught off guard with his mention of meeting up so soon. We had no back and forth communication whatsoever. I thought it was a bit odd – although at the same time refreshing to hear he wanted to meet in person to learn more about me versus having a long winded dialogue over PoF or text.

When I got home – I decided to put on my Nev and Max cap (for those of you who don’t know who they are, learn about their TV show Catfish here). I thought to pull some of Aaron’s profile pictures onto my desktop and drag them into Google Images. The first image I dropped in to my surprise WAS A HIT! It was the exact same picture as a guy on LinkedIn (with a different name) who had 500+ connections, went to a University in Kingston but currently lived in California – and worked as an engineer. Had no trace of banking anywhere on his professional page.

I gave myself a pat on the back for taking some time tonight to investigate – especially before I gave away any more information about myself. I immediately reported Aaron’s profile on PoF and provided the LinkedIn page for the moderators to see. Surely within minutes, his profile was deleted!

For those of you who are also currently online searching for love – don’t rush into meeting up with the guy/girl you’re talking to. Make sure to do enough basic research beforehand. Enough that you can be almost 100% sure that the person you are meeting up with is being true to who they say they are. I always try and speak on the phone before meeting up in person – I would strongly encourage you to do the same. Another tip that’s worked for me is to find out what school they went to / what program they were in. That way you can do a basic Facebook search to try and uncover a bit more about them and make sure what they’re telling you is the truth.

P.S. If you’re wondering – Advertising Boy and I are still talking almost every day. I’m still exploring the online scene as I’m not sure if it will turn into anything with AB just yet. We’re making plans to go out again shortly.. so definitely staying optimistic!

Post Valentines

I still had a great Valentines Day despite being single. My whole day was filled with lots of love from my family and friends. Sure – it stung a little bit on the subway ride home from work to see guys holding a single rose stem for their girlfriend; and hearing the musician in the station playing the traditional song you walk down the aisle to. However, I came home to a beautiful Italian themed dinner my dad cooked for my family. Followed by chocolate fondue with strawberries and bananas!

I woke up this morning feeling a bit down. I had hoped to see the guy from LinkedIn – Zach at some point this weekend but it’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride with him since my last blog post…

About a week after we met for coffee, I sent him another version of his character. He sent back changes – so then a few days following, I sent him an updated version. Then came more changes. By this point I had spent over 15 hours designing the character for him – and I had only charged about 1/4 of the time spent.

Zach was such a charmer and I totally fell under his spell. Whenever I agreed to make another small change – he would send me heart signs back. Those hearts gave me hope he was still interested in seeing me again.

By the end of January, I was close to finishing his character and he sent me his final list of small edits.

Me: You owe me a week away after this.

Zach: Haha I know. (heart sign)

Me: You better hold up to your end of the deal.

Zach: I’m a man of my word. ;)

February 9, I sent Zach the final versions to post to his page. I was so excited that the character was done, and we could finally make plans to meet again to go for celebratory drinks. Unfortunately for me, ever since I’ve sent him the final designs – the hearts have stopped and his messages have been less frequent.

He ended up paying me more than what he was supposed to which was nice of him. However, still no mention on his part of going out again. That brings us to February 12.

Me: So when are we going to celebrate?

Zach: I dunno well have to see. :0

Me: Okay.

… Disappointment washed over my face and my heart sunk. ‘We’ll have to see..’ What the hell does that mean? Is that code word for, sorry but I’m not interested anymore? Is he just too obsessed with his gaming that he can’t commit to a time to see me? Maybe he started seeing someone else?

I don’t even know what to think. I feel pretty used and taken advantage of. He totally led me on. I wish I had a happier ending here, although it’s not to say this is for sure the ending. What do you think. Time to move on?

Talking on the Phone vs Texting

About a week and a half ago, I started communicating with Cory on POF. He looked gorgeous in his pictures (none of them made me question whether he was a ‘catfish‘). Cory recently graduated from University / moved to Toronto. His profile stated that as a recent graduate, he was doing lots of soul searching and introspection to figure out where to go in his life and his response has been to a) drink lots of tea and b) BLOG.

I thought to myself… wouldn’t it would be funny if we were both blogging about our dating stories? It would be interesting to read both of our first date perspectives about one another. Little did he know that I was a blogger myself.

We started talking about what our favourite teas were, as he mentioned working at a tea store. I was telling him about my adventures attending high tea. From there we talked briefly about where we lived (turns out we are only 10-15 away from each other), what we studied, and what our plans for the future were career wise.

After about 5 messages back and forth I made the next move and gave Cory my cell number. I suggested he call or text me sometime as it would be an easier way to have a conversation.

This past Tuesday he texted me. The first two days we were texting very quickly back and forth. On day 2 I asked if he wanted to call me but he said:

“I’m actually watching [fill in movie name] with my housemate. We haven’t seen much of each other lately so we’re catching up. Rain check!”

I thought to myself… that’s fair. At least he asked for a rain check. Mean while we kept texting back and forth a bit while he was watching the movie. As the next few days passed our text messages ranged from being an hour apart to days apart.

This past Wednesday, Cory told me he was having an interview the following day so I told him to let me know how it went. The following day I never heard from him. I texted him Friday night asking how it went. Still no response…

I was beginning to question whether this guy was being legit. I decided to be a ‘catfish‘ detective by dragging and dropping two of his online profile pictures into a google image search. I came across his LinkedIn (which seemed pretty up to date with everything he told me about himself) and it also provided me with his last name. From there I searched that name on Facebook and sure enough, I found him! 930 friends, 2 mutual ones and he even shared some of his WordPress blog posts on his wall which was set to public. I was too tempted and clicked the link and scrolled through. He did have some relationship posts but the majority of what I skimmed through talked about life in general. He is a great writer.

Anyway, I decided to text one last time this morning saying, “everything okay?” About an hour later he wrote back, apologizing for not responding sooner. He was out of town attending his old Universities homecoming weekend. He asked how my weekend was going.

I was getting tired of all the texting. I wrote back saying that he should just call me when he got back in town and we could talk more then. He wrote back saying:

“I’m not really a phone conversation person. I feel a lot is lost when you can’t see body language and hear tone. Although I’m hypocritical because I like to text… haha”.

Yeah, completely hypocritical I’d say. Sure, some people just aren’t comfortable with talking on the phone, I get that. Still – I felt something just wasn’t adding up. I wrote back:

“That’s fair! I like texting too but I find it’s really hard to have any sort of real conversation. Are you interested in meeting up at some point?”

Cory wrote back saying:

“This is true for any prolonged length. For sure. My schedule is a little sporadic this week but maybe we can find time for coffee, or tea! :P”

I haven’t responded yet. I would like to meet him, but part of me thinks I’d feel more comfortable at least hearing his voice once before. Perhaps even if it’s just to arrange where to meet. What would you suggest I do with him? Ever experienced something similar?

Identity Leaked

Apologies for being MIA for such a long period of time. I have been busy completing a summer internship. I would have thought that by now I would have had at least one adventure to report with one of the guys who also work there, but no such luck. However, I have been hired to work full time now at the same company so I’m sure that story will come along soon enough.

What’s consumed my thoughts over the last few days has to do with one of my closest friends. Let’s call him Matt. Matt sent me a lengthy email the other day, and as soon as I opened it my heart sunk. This dear friend of mine, one who has had strong feelings for me for quite some time (which I have been unable to reciprocate) told me he knew about both my blog AND that I was on online dating.

I had wondered why Matt seemed so distant over the last week, and the email pretty much summed up why.

I had mentioned to him several months ago to give online dating a shot, to see who else was out there. I guess he was bound to come across my profile eventually. If Matt had just come across that alone, it wouldn’t have been so upsetting. The fact that he also found out about my blog made me feel horrible… as I was to blame.

Several months ago, I had hinted I had a secret blog to him. I can’t even remember how it came up in conversation, although I said it; and of course, it got him curious. As I’m sure anyone would be, hearing the word ‘secret’ or ‘mysterious’. Matt told me that several times when we were screen-sharing through Skype either my email popped up or I had left a WordPress tab open accidentally. He apologized for invading my privacy (as it wasn’t any of his business) but he couldn’t help but search up the WordPress name that kept popping up and sure enough, he put two and two together.

I was so afraid of the inevitable that Matt would feel completely shattered reading all my stories if he came across this. Finding out I was meeting up with all these different guys to hopefully find my prince charming, when he had hoped that he could be that for me all along.

I told Matt I was proud of him for being so brave and honest. I told him that I care so deeply for him as a friend, but unless he worked through his anxieties and built up more confidence in himself, I could never be with him romantically.

Writing my blog posts have really opened my eyes to the type of guy I need in my life. Ultimately, I need to be true to myself, whether anonymous or real.

50 Questions: Tinder Edition

This morning I woke up and while lying in bed, I decided to check Tinder for fun. There I was, still half asleep, checkmarking and x’ing the guys pictures when I came across this guy Max who looked familiar (not to mention, very cute). I decided to checkmark him and sure enough he had already checkmarked me back. We were a match! I wrote hello and he immediately wrote back… “Hey. I feel like I know you from somewhere.” After thinking of a few possible places with no luck, he finally remembered that he helped his friend put his OKcupid account together and that he remembered seeing my picture from there. I proceeded to ask who his friend was and the name didn’t ring a bell. This is how the Tinder conversation proceeded (I’m in blue):

2013-07-20-12.25.23

Max told me he worked in the business world. I asked what got him interested in the app and he said it was very simple and popular so he was just checking it out. He also went on to tell me he had a girlfriend, and was just looking to do some research about the app. Max literally had 50 questions to ask me and wanted to do it in this forum so he could refer back to them. I considered going along with it, even though I was a bit disappointed that he was already taken. He said he had several friends, such as the one from OKcupid who he could introduce me to. So he told me to add him on Facebook to see what his single friends looked like. Then the conversation moved over to private Facebook chat:

Screen-Shot-2013-07-20-at-12.36.48-PMThis made me even more perplexed, since he had previously told me there were “legit” 50 questions he had in mind and he even wanted to refer back to them. I started digging a little more asking if he was perhaps designing a similar app and was doing research for it. He denied this emphatically and started backing off a little. But not before he asked me how old I was. Again, not wanting to reveal too much about myself, I said – 20 something.

“Give me a number.” He demanded. Woah….. I’d had enough. “Sorry, that’s all you’re going to get.” I said. “Good luck with your research”.

What are your Tinder highlights?