Having been active on Tinder for a few years, I’ve been forced to read some true atrocities from some absolutely vile creatures posing as charming single men. However, nothing has bothered me more than the bizarre time one of these creatures accused me of catfishing him. How rude can you get?
He wanted to skip the “small talk.” Right off the bat, he wanted to get down to business. To him, that meant finding out my “type.” I’m on Tinder because I don’t really know my type and it’s a good way to meet a variety of personalities, so I told him O Negative because I apparently needed to establish that I’d be telling all the bad jokes in this possible relationship.
He needed “proof,” whatever that means. After asking me for my height and my Snapchat username, I started to get a little annoyed. I share a lot of pictures of my family on Snapchat so I told him I wasn’t comfortable sharing it with him, which I thought was reasonable. He was, after all, a complete stranger. He responded, “Well, I’m going to need more pictures soon. Catfishing is a thing, after all.”
I had a dangerous amount of proof but he wasn’t convinced. My Tinder profile was linked to my public (at the time) Instagram account, which is littered with selfies and photos of me and my life and my dog over the last three years… He said he’d looked through it and still wasn’t convinced. My profile pics showed me at a wedding, at the 2017 DC Women’s March, and dressed as Daenerys Targaryen on Halloween, among others. I’m pretty sure there were enough photos public at the time for him to find me at home if he wanted to see for himself that I was real.
He didn’t seem to realize the hypocrisy. What did I know about this dude based on his profile? He had three pictures, all sort of in the same position, just in different places. From this I deduced that he liked books, he went to the gym at least once, and he owns a hat. Yet he was the one complaining. What world was he living in?
I thought he was kidding about the catfishing thing. (Spoiler alert: he wasn’t.) Having established myself as a nerdy woman full of bad jokes with enough photo evidence to drown a horse with images of my face, I figured he was messing with me. I asked him if my profile made it seem like I was catfishing and he said yes, it does. I said something along the lines of “lol oh no!” thinking he had to be yanking my chain. He was not. Instead, he responded, “Hmm.”
I took it too personally right away. I thought I’d seen it all on Tinder—harassment, low-key threats, altogether disgusting behavior—but never before had I had to convince someone that I was me. I’ve never had someone question my authenticity, and it was startlingly insulting. I immediately ran around to all my friends, showing them my profile and asking them if it seemed like I was catfishing. What about my online presence made it seem like I wasn’t a real person? This guy wouldn’t tell me and I just didn’t see it.
His worries were superficial and unfounded. After I decided that the problem clearly wasn’t me, I was further insulted that he’d think that the worst thing that can happen is that someone is catfishing him. Is that really his worst fear on Tinder? That someone is going to be lying about how pretty they are? That they’re going to try to get his credit card info or be younger than they say they are? I’m 28—why would a woman lie about being almost 30? What 16-year-old can pull off 28?
He didn’t offer me any of the “proof” he demanded from me. I need to flesh someone’s personality out as much as I can before I’m comfortable being alone with them in public. Tinder isn’t safe, especially for women, and he seemed to not even realize that, to almost all the women he’s swiping on, he’s the threat. He came in assuming I was catfishing him while I came in hoping that he wasn’t a rapist. Get over yourself, bro.
I learned a lesson about my online presence. I took this as an opportunity to assess how I present myself on the internet. Although his problem seemed to be that I didn’t have enough pictures of myself, I made my profiles private and changed my Facebook privacy settings. It wasn’t because it could ruin my job prospects, which should have been the reason. It was because the idea of a creep like him looking through my pictures makes me squirm. I’d rather go back to the guy who asked me if I preferred kitchen or shower sex or the guy who asked my opinion on creampies. I’m a real woman with real opinions, loser. Thanks for unlatching me—it saved me the trouble in the future.
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