Catfishing

Oxford dictionary definition of Catfishing – the process of luring someone into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona.

I chose WordPress as a gentle and safe forum to write on the Internet.  For the most part, I have been really happy with WordPress and my host service.  Like most of you, the Spam filter catches the most ridiculously fake ‘Bloggers’.  Last week, I had a short comment on my post and I responded, “thank you’.  Then there was a message asking if we could be friends…  I went back to his website which I quickly realized was full of other people’s posts.  Then I looked at his profile and that’s when the alarm bells rang.  He was a 9 (out of 10); graying hair, big brown eyes in his mid-50s, I would guess.  Jeffery hailed from North Carolina, a single Dad of two sons and a marine engineer.

I don’t believe in false modesty – I am reasonably attractive lady for my age.  Especially at twilight with a glass of wine…  Over the years on WordPress, I have had some suitors, for want of a better word.  Usually, it’s just harmless flirting and I am happy to indulge.  My favorite was an older gentleman from a remote Pacific Island whose wife had died and he had 10 children.  I gently let him down but noted that he was handsome and I don’t have any children!  Jeffery provoked my curiosity and I searched for him on LinkedIn with no success.  Then I checked out his URL.  What a surprise – it was from Africa.

On that note, I have to share my dirty little secret – I am addicted to terrible reality shows where you marry someone inappropriate from overseas.  Inevitably, it very rarely works out with some surprising exceptions.  I think my obsession started in Africa when we lived in Cairo.  Every so often we had to go to a terrifying, massive government building called the Mugamma.  The staff reminded me of the Department of Motor Vehicles, in the US.  Teddy’s company paid for someone, fluent in Arabic, to accompany us and navigate the stressful world of visas.  Despite this, I always needed to see my psychologist after the dreaded trip.

There were lines of refugees from every part of Africa, often wearing national dress, and my heart went out to them.  I always felt that Cairo was very generous to refugees and guests, since it is not a rich country.  Then there was the line for anyone getting married.  My friend from Ukraine married her  beau from New Zealand while we were there.  I was 42 when we moved there and I was fascinated by women in their late 50’s desperately pleading with the soulless staff to be allowed to marry a much younger Egyptian man.  Did they really think they were in love with them?

I knew quite a few European women who married Egyptian men and some were genuine love matches.  Very few survived the challenge of a completely different culture.  There was one older Scottish lady who married a younger man who then took all her money out of her control.  She was left with very few options; putting up with the situation or returning to Scotland penniless, living on welfare.  I am not even sure that there was any malice involved – it was normal for a husband to have full control of the family finances.

Back to my Catfisher – was it male or female?  It was a pretty complicated scam and fraudulent.  After their request to be friends, I responded, “Of course!  I would be happy for you to join my group of WordPress friends.”  The lack of response spoke volumes and I blocked him. Life is really hard right now, especially in third world countries, so it didn’t surprise me that someone would want to strip me of my American dollars.  Be careful of the sharks out there.  Do you think Jeffery would still be interested in me if he saw this photo of me catfishing or more correctly rescuing catfish? Yes, I am thigh deep in a murky lake with water moccasins and alligators.

PS.  I was going through a mental health crisis which explains the bald head.  Read the original blog here – Kerry and the Catfish.

The Spark

firework

We have all had that moment of instant sexual attraction. I looked across at my husband when I first saw him at a party and had that spark. Mostly it was, ‘Look at that ass!’ This post is about how deceptive it can be. When I started college I had to take two buses to get to my campus. After a few days, I noticed that a handsome young man was taking the same two buses and going to another college close to mine. There was plenty of time to look at each other because the journey took over an hour. I was 17 and very shy – today I would just sit next to him and start chatting. So, for a whole year we just gave each other meaningful glances but nothing happened.

The following year we had moved to two different campuses but still had to take the same bus route. Given that we caught the same bus (and there were plenty of them) and I think we were deliberately planning our encounters. He wasn’t really my usual type; dark, Black Irish probably and serious looking. Another year went past and as we went into our third year of college, I noticed he was now at the same college as me. Still no smile, no talking – just looking. I had split up (again) with my fiancé and I was ‘on the sniff’, as they so delicately put it in Scotland. I still remember what I was wearing that night – a gypsy peasant dress, red with little flowers all over it. My girlfriend and I had gone to the university disco and suddenly THAT guy asked me to dance. My stomach turned over with excitement and anticipation. It didn’t take long for us to figure out that we both had been lusting over each other and when he kissed me – wow!

We started dating and discovered that only did we live in parallel streets but our mothers’ were friends. They were both excited that their children were courting. A strange thing happened on our first date, the day after we met at the disco. His dark stubble was abrasive on my skin and my face broke out in boils. Yes, not zits but horrible large boils – it was an omen… As time progressed we started getting more intimate and even though he was only about 20 years old he had performance issues. He was humiliated and I was perplexed. I knew he had recently had other girlfriends and he insisted that performance was not an issue with them. He told me that he was overwhelmed by my looks, intellect and for lack of a better word, classiness. Although I was mystified, it was obvious that he was telling me the truth.

I was equally overwhelmed that he had no body odor – after a night out in a hot disco he smelled of fresh washing. You would think that would be a good thing but as you know I am an earthy girl see this post Resolution No. 1 – Wash More. I felt intimidated by my own pheromones and natural scent. Since we were now at the same college we were invited to a party, as a couple, hosted by my rowdy male classmates. At some stage in the debauchery, my friends lifted me up and put me on top of the kitchen table to dance – normal behavior for us. This brought out a glowering, possessive and unpleasant new boyfriend who started behaving aggressively towards my friends. I had to stop a potential fight and the next day, at college, my friends urged me to break up with him.

I was considering this anyway because that initial spark of sexual attraction (and very long lasting crush) hadn’t evolved into anything and now that I knew his personality better, he started becoming unattractive to me. We ended our relationship acrimoniously but still had to spend our last year at the same college and take the same bus route. We just pretended that neither existed and I went back ‘on the sniff’. More spark stories to come – no pun intended… 🙂