So you know, catfishing.
But I didn’t think of it so much as catfishing and more of an extremely efficient way to date. After all, my friends were pretending to be me with my permission. The whole plan seemed genius.
Until your friends set you up with a former private investigator. Who, on our date, so aptly explained why the three of us are fucking morons.
Private Investigator and I met for happy hour at a bar downtown last Friday. He asked to meet at 4:30 because he had to make dinner plans. That was perfect. One of my hard and fast first date rules is to have fictional plans in order to give you an out for the date. I had just talked about this on Her Monthly radio show that week. And since homeboy already had somewhere to be, I was golden and didn’t have to produce “plans” of my own.
Before I walked into the bar, I realized I didn’t even know this guy’s name. Lexi had sent me a few screen shots of his profile, so I had that vague idea of a person you can only garner from an online dating profile. You know: favorite books, an occupation, and the six things he could never live without. But a name? Nope.
I shot Lexi a quick text while standing outside the bar, “Um, what’s his name?”
- Lexi: idk
- me: Shit.
But right as I was walking in, Lexi had a moment of clarity and texted me my date’s name. Which was good because he was now ten feet away from me. I was super pleased to see that PI was tall, handsome, and immediately came across as self assured. “Renee?” he asked.
Shit. Lexi had given him a fake name. This was going to be fun.
“Yup, that’s me,” I said, as I flagged down the bartender, who took an agonizing twenty minutes to take our beer order. I knew I had to come clean with this guy, but was certainly not going to do it sober.
Once our beers were in front of us, I began my awkward confession. “So, you know how you said you’re a bit apprehensive about online dating? Well….um, I suppose I am, too. And so, um, Rene isn’t really my name. It’s Chloe.”
He stared at me. “I know.”
My eyes widened.
He continued. “Yeah, and your friends Lexi and Daisy are doing a real shit job of running your online dating.”
I felt the color leave my face. And then return in a very bright, red manner.
PI then continued to tell me how it was clear from the beginning that he was being catfished. [Note: It was not until this moment that I realized I had catfished someone. I truly just thought it was just well orchestrated dating.] He also explained how before becoming an attorney, he worked as a private investigator and is “really good at finding people when they don’t want to be found.”
Well that’s comforting.
“But, there were so many red flags,” he said, smiling and clearly pleased with himself, “that I had to see how this played out.”
As my friend Marie put it when I relayed the story to her, “You were Chloe-ed.”
Where to go from here with PI was tricky. Because now he knew that he’d been lured under false pretenses, and I was aware that he knew everything about me. It was like two war generals meeting on common ground, sizing each other up, trying to decide how to proceed.
But proceed we did. Somehow into a truly wonderful first encounter. We had great conversation, laughed a lot, lost track of time. When I realized what time it was, I looked at him and said, “You don’t really have dinner plans do you?”
“Nope. Those were fictional. I hear you’re a big fan of them.”
You had to give the man credit for his research.
Four beers and four hours later, we bid our adieu, both agreeing we wanted to see each other again.
Though it was a little unnerving to realize that my date knew more about me than any advanced Google search I’ve ever seen, I was surprised at the relief I felt. I mean, going into the date, this guy knew I write a dating blog, that I don’t take dating too seriously, I have a real and deep affinity for pizza, I think it’s unacceptable to split the bill on the first date, and that I use the f-bomb like M&Ms. All that stuff that’s awkward for me to articulate–BAM. Already out there.
Furthermore, it was refreshing to meet someone who’s company I enjoy. Not just tolerate, but enjoy. Bad dates are annoying, but mediocre dates are soul crushing. You can’t even glean a good story from a guy who was kinda nice but kinda boring. And I truly felt I was at a breaking point if I had to go on one more routine date.
And there is nothing routine about having a guy recite your dating history back to you.
So PI and I are set to go out again this week. On our first real date. Allegedly.