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!

Florida Sunshine Cleanse

After my date with LinkedIn boy last month – I was hesitant as to whether or not I should see him again. I was afraid that the more intimate we got… the more attached I’d get. After giving it some deep thought over the next few days and taking into account all of your insightful feedback, my final decision was to go with the flow, and if he were to ask me out – I would see him again. I’d go with what I felt comfortable with, even if it slightly tampered with my heart.

A few more casual, flirtatious text messages were sent back and forth the week following our date, but after that I never heard from him again. Unless you count the dozens of email notifications I received whenever he went live on his gaming website. Needless to say – I’ve now unsubscribed from those email alerts, at the same time unsubscribing from the fantasy of any future between the two of us.

Since then I’ve spoken to a few more guys on OKC and Tinder – but majority of them, similarly to LinkedIn boy, were just looking for a ‘Friends with Benefits’ type relationship. Feeling discouraged, I logged off all online accounts and focused more on going out with my friends.

On a positive note, this Canadian suburban girl just got back from a road trip which was a 24+ hour drive each way! I spent over a week right by the ocean and beautiful palm trees. Lying by the pool and beach with the scorching sun washing over me, feeling the mist of the ocean tickling the tip of my toes, sipping a yummy Pina Colada in hand… I felt free. Free from all my boy troubles, stress of finding a full-time job, amongst a list of other things.

DB7AD4E6-7284-436E-B598-2EF3BC6E241F

I was very tempted to stay in Florida permanently and continue to soak in the beautifully tanned men. However, reality sunk in the day we departed and before I knew it, I was back in Toronto.

Still, I am happy to be back. I’d highly recommend you take a road trip or spontaneous vacation, even if it’s just for a week – to de-stress and reflect. Being away reminded me how it’s important to go out on adventures and live life to the fullest. I promised myself to do less online scouting for love and more going out with friends and exploring my beautiful city.

Should I be ‘Game’?

Over a month later, and I finally have an update on Zach, the guy I met through LinkedIn! If you haven’t read about him, take a quick read over ‘Business Meets Pleasure‘ and ‘Post Valentines‘. I followed your advice, and stopped wasting my time pursuing him. About a week later, he reached out to me again – which I found very interesting. Since then, we had been writing back and forth every few days.

Friday night, I casually asked Zach what he was up to this weekend. He told me he was free Saturday night, and asked if I wanted to go out. I was pretty excited that he asked, although I knew my expectations shouldn’t be very high. I suggested going to Dave & Busters, which was very appropriate as we were both gamers – and knew it would be a place for us both to relax and have fun.

Zach picked me up at 8pm last night and I felt sparks flying as soon as I got in the car. When we got to D&B’s, we went to the restaurant/bar area to grab some food. Conversation flowed pretty smoothly. Zach told me how he mentioned to some of his friends how he met a girl off of LinkedIn, and they responded, “how can you get a date off LinkedIn, when I can’t even get one girl off of Tinder?!” I couldn’t stop laughing.

After dinner, we proceeded over to the games/arcade room.

As soon as we walked in, both of us turned into giddy school kids. I ran over to the first game I saw, where you had to hit a button 3 times and if you landed on ‘7’ each time, you won the ticket jackpot. Sure enough, on my very first game, I WON THE JACKPOT!! I couldn’t believe it. He seemed pretty impressed, which was one of my goals for the evening.

We played a good hour and a half of games. He creamed me at Guitar Hero, but I creamed him at Mario Kart. Once we ran out of points, it was time to go over to claim our prize. For 860 tickets, Zach picked out a blue pucker fish for me, which we named ‘Lorenzo’.

We headed back to his car around 11:30pm. Zach warmed up the seats so it was nice and toasty – and to top it off he started playing Spanish tunes from his iPod which was incredibly sexy. I suggested we go to a Tim Hortons in my area. When we got there, the parking lot was pretty vacant. He parked, and blasted the music a bit louder, and started singing along to it. I was more than a bit mesmerized, and just lay there staring at him / stupidly grinning / trying to remain somewhat sexy and flirtatious myself. He then looked over at me and asked what I was thinking about. I told him way too many things were running through my head and asked what he was thinking.

Zach: “I’m thinking… that you should kiss me and then we’ll go and grab some Hot Chocolate.”

At that point I just went for it, and I’ll tell you… it was definitely worth the wait. ;)

A good half hour later, the conversation started getting a bit deeper (past relationships, sexual experiences, etc.) which started making me feel a bit uncomfortable. I could tell from what Zach was sharing with me that he had quite a bit more ‘experience’. We were pretty honest with one another in the car, and he made it clear that at this point in his life he wasn’t ready to jump into another relationship. When he first said it, I was a bit disappointed. However, I appreciated the honesty. He told me he was really enjoying spending time with me, but it was my decision whether to go any further (knowing for right now it would just be harmless fun or friends with benefits).

He dropped me off back at my house around 12:30am and kissed me goodnight. All of last night my brain was floating in a million directions as to what I should do. On one hand I think it’s important to gain sexual experience and go with the flow. He’d definitely be a great teacher. On the other, there’s always the fear of getting too attached / risking your heart getting broken. Your two cents?

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?

Business Meets Pleasure

Since my last blog post – I have been busy working on the vector character for the guy I met on LinkedIn – Zach. It was a project completely out of my element, as I have never before designed a Dragon Ball Z type character. However, I was excited to take on the challenge.. especially for him! As soon as Zach e-transferred me half of what I quoted him – I got straight to work.

The first few days were frustrating. However, by Day 4 I got to a stage that I was pretty satisfied with. So I sent the initial design to Zach to review. He wrote back saying it was coming along nicely, although it didn’t quite look like him.

I thought… this is a perfect opportunity for me to ask to meet up with him. Why? So I can get a better ‘visual’ of him to translate his features into the character. So I went for it and sure enough – he was open to meeting up. We made plans for tonight, 8pm, at a local coffee shop.

The day had finally arrived, and I was a bundle of nerves. I could barely get through work today as my stomach wouldn’t stop turning and my heart kept racing at the thought of meeting him. I kept saying to myself.. calm down. Don’t get your hopes up. He may be seeing someone / this could just purely be a business meeting and nothing else. Still, I couldn’t help the way I was feeling.

I parked near the coffee shop at 8pm sharp and walked inside. He walked in a few minutes after me, as I was taking my jacket off. I think my nerves tripled, and my heart was literally about to burst out of my chest. He was just as handsome as in his pictures – tall, dark and handsome, with the most gorgeous greenish-blue eyes.

Zach extended his hand to shake mine and afterwards we put our jackets down. He suggested we grab a hot drink to warm up from the incredibly cold weather outside. We walked up to the counter to place our orders. Once I asked for my tea, the woman behind the counter asked if we were paying together – and he said yes.

Me: “No, you don’t have to. I don’t feel right about that.”

Zach: “Don’t worry – it’s all good. You will just have to take me out for a steak dinner next time”.

At that point, I felt like this was certainly more than just a business meeting.

My nerves started calming down once we sat back at our table. Conversation flowed so smoothly, as if we had known each other forever. From what started off as laughing about how this was both our first ‘LinkedIn’ meet up, turned into talking about what videos games we liked, our family backgrounds, places we’ve traveled to and our favourite food items. An hour in and I was pretty infatuated with this guy. I intuitively felt he was reciprocating those feelings towards me.

We started talking about different languages we spoke, and he told me he could also speak Spanish.

Me: “I’ve always wanted to learn Spanish. Maybe you could give me lessons?”

Zach: “Definitely. If you teach me how to use Photoshop.”

Me: “Deal!”

Around 9:30pm, I reminded him about the designs I had brought to show him in the first place.

Zach: “Oh, I almost forgot about that. *checks watch* Wow, it’s already 9:30. That hour and a half went by fast.”

I lit up and tried to hold in my excitement. For the next 20 minutes we went over the designs and we pretty much were on the same page with how it should be finalized.

10pm arrived and the lady who had served us behind the counter came over and said: “Sorry, but we are closing”.

I looked around and noticed that everyone else had left. I didn’t even notice, nor did he. So we packed up our things, and proceeded towards the front door of the coffee shop. He gave me a hug before we went out into the cold, and I held onto it for a solid five seconds. He was a great hugger.

Something tells me this story is not quite over yet…

LinkedIn to Love

Working in the design industry, my profession is all about networking and connecting with others. LinkedIn is a social networking website which has really helped push my career forward… but never did I think it may also be a place where I would find a potential love interest. Although – if you think about it… what girl wouldn’t go a bit gaga over a profile picture of a guy in a sexy business suit? Or browsing a profile of a guy who appears quite career driven?

Back in October I logged onto LinkedIn and was browsing through the ‘People You May Know’ section. I came across a handsome guy who looked around my age. I didn’t know him but I decided to peak at his profile anyway, and discovered he lived in the same city as me and worked in the financial industry. I went ahead and added him as a LinkedIn friend and he accepted my invitation a few hours later!

I figured I had nothing to lose by sending Zach a private message.

“Hey. Thanks for connecting! If you / your company ever needs any design or branding materials developed, let me know. On a side note, you look pretty familiar.. not sure where from though. I’m sure we’ve crossed paths at some point!”

The last line was a lie – although I didn’t think it hurt to add that in since we both lived in a city where a lot of people knew one another.

The next day I got a reply!

“Thanks for letting me know. I actually have a live streaming / gaming TV account that I started and was interested in getting a custom design created for it sometime in the near future. Would your rates be fairly reasonable for a small project like that? Also yeah, your last name seems familiar. Thanks for connecting!”

Even though the design project was completely unrelated to his professional career – that didn’t matter. The fact that he had a project for me meant we would get to talk more. I also found it incredibly attractive that he is a gamer. Growing up – I used to be a huge video game nerd. I’d pretty much crush all of you at any N64 game!

I responded the following day telling him I was somewhat familiar with what he was telling me about and that maybe we should meet up over coffee and discuss the project further. No response. Was a bit disappointed, but I moved on from it and focused on work and my other online prospects.

January 8th – I received a new message alert from Zach in my LinkedIn inbox.

“Hope you had a good holiday! I was wondering if you were familiar with vector imaging. I’m looking for someone that’s able to make a cartoon version of me for a website. (I know… sounds strange) Let me know whenever you get a chance, may have something for you. Thanks!”

I wrote back and told him I’d be up for the challenge. I gave him my email address and from there he sent me a more detailed outline of the intricate character he wanted. I had never designed anything like this before and knew it would be a bit of a learning curve for me – but I was willing to take on the challenge… especially for him!

Today we spoke on the phone for about half an hour and right off the bat I was pretty smitten due to his confident, sexy voice. Soon into the conversation he asked me if I had Facebook – as he said it would be easier to ‘send over links’ through Facebook chat. I wasn’t quite sure how to interpret that one – was he wanting to check me out more? I didn’t know what other reference links he could really send me other than what was sent via email. Not that I was complaining – as I was certainly interesting in learning more about him.

Every now and then we veered slightly off topic but we primarily kept the conversation on a professional level. As the conversation came to an end, he told me to check out his live streams during the week and I said I’d keep him updated with my progress on the design as well.

I can’t tell if he’s single as his Facebook page doesn’t mention his relationship status. Although from looking at his recent pictures – there doesn’t appear to be any other girl.

How do you think I can take this to the next level after the business part of this relationship is over?

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?