Dear Diary: Was My Face Red...
As much as it pains me to admit this.. when I was new to online dating, I was "had" by a pretty face. Or better put, a handsome hunk who sounded too good to be true...and was!
There I was, minding my own business in my living room on the West Coast doing a little profile perusing on OKCupid, when a chat window zoomed up on my screen. Quickly checking out his profile, I did that cartoon character head-spinning-around-on shoulders thing. ZOWIE!
This guy was everything that single women everywhere dream of: a 6 foot 4 Adonis living in Manhattan, originally from England, son of British/Spanish parents, volunteered with literacy programs, ran marathons, loved music and spoke 4 languages. He had the pictures to prove it. Shots of Adonis posing with his students, running a marathon, laying on the beach at the coast of Ibiza. You get the drill. Then i noticed his age. He was a good 10 years younger than me. His first words after his greeting were...
"Do You Mind Younger Men?"
Do I mind younger men? Well, no. I have frequently dated younger men. But this one also lived in Manhattan, and I lived clear across the country. And when I addressed this with him, he told me he had read on my profile that I was originally from New York, and surely I still had ties there, etc and that he also traveled to my current city through his job. Sounded reasonable to at least continue chatting. After about an hour, I decided that I needed to get on with my day, and told him I was heading to the gym. He didn't want me to leave, said he felt such a connection, and was excited to chat again the next day. As I ran on the treadmill, I allowed myself to fantasize about the possibility of meeting someone who had many of the qualities I was hoping for, all packaged in a gorgeous man.
The First "Date"
At the appointed time the next day, I logged on, the chat screen opened up and there he was. Another great conversation. And the day after that, again. He suggested that we chat on Yahoo Messenger to take it offline. I did so. And the next day as well. Suddenly, the other people I had begun to communicate with on the dating site didn't seem as appealing. He asked me for a few more pictures so he could see me in different environments, and I sent some via email. He didn't have any more pictures online, as he had a new laptop.
The next day, he asked if I would use a video chat program , so we could actually talk and see each other. I didn't love this idea..but he was very convincing, and I agreed.
My video cam was working just fine... his was not. He could see me, hear me, but I could not see him, only hear him. Yes, he had a somewhat British accent. Technical difficulties on my end, he said. His was working fine. So after about 3 attempts to re-boot, i gave up and continued our one-sided conversation. He flooded me with compliments, told me how incredibly lovely I was, how young I looked, better than my pictures, etc. We talked about our dreams, our jobs, our families.
Here's where it started to get weirder.
Smelling a Rat
And then he asked if he could see more of me. He wanted to see my body, since he "had had a bad experience with someone who was heavier than she represented". I told him he didn't have to worry about that with me. I worked out daily, and had dropped a bunch of weight after a bad divorce. Still, he worked on me, being slightly suggestive, but just a tiny bit. So I pointed the camera onto my body as I flushed and rolled my eyes. The response was enthusiastic. He asked for a tiny bit more. I balked. He let it go, said he understood, apologized.
Ten minutes later he asked me about sensual preferences. I told him I wasn't going there at this point, and that I would feel more comfortable if the next time we talked, if it could be by telephone. Silence. More silence. He apologized again, telling me he wasn't comfortable talking on the phone because the last girl he dated became a stalker after he gave her his phone number and it became ugly.
The Gig Is Up
Stunned, I reminded him that all of the contact with me had been initiated by him. I told him that he could block his number, and call me. I had no intentions of stalking anyone. He told me he just wasn't comfortable with this--yet--and asked if we could resume our chat tomorrow. I flatly told him I smelled a rat in Manhattan, told him about my suspicions, and ended the chat when he told me I was being unreasonable, that he just needed more time to trust me.
After I disconnected, I searched for his profile again, to see if there were any clues for weirdness only to find in its place a "This member no longer appears to be active" tag on the spot where just that morning he had appeared in all of his gorgeousity. I had saved some of the pics to show my girlfriend, so I had those, but no other information. I looked at the yahoo IM name and searched for him. Nada. I stewed and stewed and beat myself up for being an idiot.
Then I wondered how many other women he had actually done this with, and figured that he had been successful with at least some of them. Next day, nothing with that profile. I wrote to OKCupid, and let them know about my experience with this cad.I was really embarrassed, and beat myself up for allowing my guard to drop. I felt like an idiot for letting this guy into my head, into my living room via video, and had shared information about myself and my family which could potentially compromise my safety and professional reputation. While I felt pretty certain that his motivation was strictly to get his rocks off, and get me to cyber with him, and hadn't revealed anything too personal, anyone with motivation and savvy could likely use this information to their benefit.