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My Catfish love affair
By Gloria Diaz
Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!
Fort Wayne Reader
I saw the movie Catfish several months ago, but I was thinking about it again, and picked it up at the library. People have bashed it because it was fake (and they point out the telling clues) but fake or not, I don’t care. I loved it like I loved The Blair Witch Project mainly because I like a good story, and I like a mystery. Especially when it’s happening to other people. However, when it happens to me, it’s not funny. Because I experienced a mini version of Catfish, except no one was videotaping it. I have my own painful memories, and some journals.
In Catfish —whoops, this might be a spoiler. Hmm….how shall I phrase this? Let’s just say I was a little bit like one of the women in Catfish. I was going through a difficult time in my life, and playing video games, plus e-mailing a guy in Hamilton, Ontario, was taking my mind a little bit off the fact my mom was dying and I couldn’t do anything about it. He supposedly found out about me through my ‘zine, which was funny, because I had all but ceased publishing it. Anyway, we e-mailed back and forth, and his notes made me think that something good could still happen in my life. Like an idiot, I sent him pictures of my family (not the originals, thank God) and nattered on about my life.
After my mom died, I had to get away, so what better way to regroup than go to Toronto, just a half hour away from Hamilton, where this guy lived? I actually booked a hotel less than three miles away from his house, and even bought a gift in anticipation of meeting him.
Something wasn’t right, though. He kept promising to call, but never did. He never gave out his number, either. His excuse was that his alcoholic father lived with him, making conversation difficult. Apparently, it never occurred to him to buy a cell phone and drive somewhere so we could talk. I told him I was coming to visit, and he seemed excited, but something was off. I told him when I was coming, and he wrote to me that he was on vacation. Then, 10 days into his “vacation” he told me his cousin had sent him a ticket to England and he was going—sorry, but he wouldn’t be there when I came to Hamilton. Except that didn’t make sense either — he would be back in plenty of time to meet me if he wanted.
So when I actually got there, I went to an Internet café, and sent him an e-mail saying I was here. I included my cell phone number and told him to CALL ME. He sent me back an e-mail saying he was frantically running around town, trying to find where I was. At that point, I thought, it’s hopeless. I’d gave him both my home and cell numbers, told him when I was coming (but not where I was staying) but he never, ever called me. I did actually park in front of his house (or the house where he claimed he lived) but didn’t have the guts to knock on the door. The trip turned out to be the best vacation I ever had in my life, but I remembered crying like a baby the night before I came home. It was mainly because I didn’t want to leave, but a distant second was not meeting this guy I thought might be “Mr. Right.”
I came back home and incredibly enough, resumed contact with this guy, except we’d progressed to online “chatting.” He managed to con my home address out of me (because he wanted to send me flowers) only to get into an argument with me at the last minute (conveniently the day before Valentine’s Day) so I never got any flowers. His argument? He was upset because I couldn’t give him unconditional love because he was a hermaphrodite. Yeah, right.
He played me like a violin, which is why when certain well-meaning friends suggest that I look on Match.com or “not give up on love,” I roll my eyes. Yeah, sure. I read about couples who meet on blind dates and they end up being married for 50 years, or people who met while playing Worlds of Warcraft and it’s all groovy. If I meet someone on line, I’ll end up dead in a dumpster in Hoboken, New Jersey. Internet romance may work for some people, but I’ll never think of Hamilton, Ontario, or Catfish without thinking about my fake on-line love affair with a guy who thought he had both male and female sex parts, and wanted me to be okay with that.
Incidentally, I HAVE looked this guy up on Facebook, but his Facebook settings are private—you have to become friends with him to see anything about him. Why am I not surprised?