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.