Tag Archives: catfish

Guest Post Wednesday: A Date With Chloe Cline by The Private Investigator

Private-InvestigatorOnline dating can often feel like you’re forced to waddle through a swampy cesspool full of leaches, crocodiles, and the occasional crazy, gun-toting “Duck Dynasty” wannabe. If you’ve been doing it long enough, you know to be cautious, and you know that feeling when a few red flags turns into too many.

Yes, there are dangerous catfish lurking in these waters.

This is technically my third go-around with online dating in approximately seven years. I’ve been on plenty of awful dates, a few good ones, and mostly have simply occupied my time and given myself the best excuse whenever I was the only groomsman at the wedding without a girlfriend/wife/life partner.[1]

My vast experience (not something I’m proud of) with online dating does mean I know when I might be getting catfished.

As readers of this blog know, Ms. Cline has quaintly outsourced her dating life to her friends. On the surface, I have to admire the brilliance of it. It is effortless dating, provided you trust your friends.[2]

Ms. Cline detailed it last week; about a week and a half ago, she met me for a date interview.[3]

But before Chloe Cline ever walked into that bar, I knew she wasn’t who her friends had made her out to be.

The red flags began appearing almost immediately. I messaged “Chloe” first after she “liked” me. Throughout our online conversations, her messages were abrupt and chock full of high-school texting language. Although this wasn’t, on its own, terribly off-putting, it was the first red flag. Either this 30-year-old woman has a teenage-like grasp of the English language, or she isn’t quite who she says she is.

Further, “Chloe’s” profile was sparsely filled out. It smirked of laziness, as if someone else was just filling out the questions in a way they thought would be enough to get people to write back. Red flag no. 2.

Yet, what really set off the klaxons in my head was how quickly “Chloe” propositioned me to get a drink. In less than a day and only a few messages, I was being asked out. This is strange for two reasons: First, it’s exceedingly rare for the girl to ask the guy to meet. Second, it’s nearly unforeseen that she would do so after only sending a few short messages.

Now I knew there was something suspicious here; there were many questions. I had no idea how spectacular the answers would be.

Prior to my current career, I was a newspaper reporter and a private investigator. I was often tasked with hunting down people who didn’t want to be found. Thankfully, Chloe wasn’t that challenging.

I didn’t time myself, but I’d estimate it took fewer than 5 minutes from the time I began my hunt to the time I stumbled upon this blog (and with it, her twitter feed). After a half an hour of reading this, I realized I was being catfished – sort of.

This was still on Sunday, the first day we had exchanged messages.

I read more of the blog – the Steve Harvey appearance, the failed dates, Lexi and Daisy – and I quickly realized I HAD to go on a date with this woman. There was no way I could resist.

The best trap is the one you know you’re walking into.

But now I had an important decision to make. I could approach this date one of three ways:

Option 1: Immediately upon meeting her, confront her with what I knew and see what happened.

Option 2: Assume a character and go overboard in such a way that I was assured to be terrifying/revolting but not quite over the top. This would have been challenging, but possible.[4] Then, at the end, perhaps drop the act, confess I was faking just to make the blog, and see what happened.

Option 3: Be myself and don’t tip my hand. At a certain point during the evening, maybe drop a backhanded comment about the blog and see what chaos ensued.

I went with Option 3.

Chloe, to her benefit, came clean almost immediately (as she detailed last week).

I was crushed. She confessed within minutes of our meeting.[5]

When I told her I knew everything and began to walk her through her own dating history (we had shaken hands only moment ago, mind you), I admit that had the biggest shit-eating grin on my face. But could you blame me? I had just turned my catfish’s face as red as her lovely nail polish.[6] For the next little while, Ms. Cline, online dating extraordinaire, laughed, giggled, blushed and occasionally stood aghast. I had successfully turned the trap on her.

Yet after all that, Chloe and I had one of the best date interviews I’ve ever had in those years of hopeless and agonizingly awkward online dating. We had a real date last week, and I intend to take her out again, now that we can honestly get to know each other.

So all’s well that ends well, or some bullshit like that.

But seriously, folks, don’t trust your friends with your online dating profile.

[1] This has happened now 9 times. Always the groomsman, never the groom.

[2] I do not trust any of my friends to do this. I tried it once; I quickly learned my friends know next-to-nothing about me.

[3] I dub the “meet-and-greet” portion of online dating – you know, the part where you first meet the person and realize all their photos were taken 4 years and 50 pounds ago – as a “date interview.” You get to see if you get a real first date or not.

[4] I actually had figured out how to begin the conversation. It involved me showing up late, a recent morgue visit, and graphic descriptions of various bodily injuries and how much they excited me. Also, this is what all my friends wanted me to do. Chloe is lucky I did not do this.

[5] I chalk this up to repressed Catholic guilt.

[6] Which can probably best be described here as “crack whore red.”

[Editor’s Note: In regards to footnote 5, there’s nothing repressed about it. It’s very out in the open. And with footnote 6, I’m not sure another date will be happening.]

Bullet Point Tuesday: The Private Investigator, Tinder, and Kramer

kramer-seinfeldSo last week, amidst the holiday craziness, I went out again with PI. If you don’t recall, or don’t read my blog regularly, or just don’t feel like scrolling back to figure out who the hell PI is, he’s the guy who I allegedly tried to catfish, only for him to use his former private investigator skills on me to, well, kinda catfish me back. I dunno. It was the oddest turn on of my life, that’s for sure. I guess I just like someone being as much of an asshole as me. And you don’t meet many of those.

So PI went on our first real date. You know, one where we weren’t pretending to be other people–I think–and relayed as much information as you’re willing to give someone on a first date without completely freaking them out. Until you hypothetically have one too many glasses of wine, say fuck it, and talk about brain tumors anyway.

So that’s going well. Which isn’t interesting. Which is why it’s a relief that Lily had one of the most tragic dates of her life so I have something to report back on.

Lily is the perfect example of what is wrong with men today. She’s the nicest person I’ve ever met (right, I don’t know why she hangs out with me, either), yet is still hilarious. I feel like nice and funny is such a unique and special combination. So many people are nice and boring. Or funny and kinda act like dicks. And then you just let them be kinda, sorta a dick because, well they make you laugh, and that’s pretty sweet. I bet that’s how Hitler rose to power. Just some solid stand up. Think about it.

Back to Lily. So she’s super sweet and really funny and has a solid, stable career and her Master’s degree. Oh, and she’s drop dead gorgeous. It’s annoying standing next to her in a pictures. We’re not allowed to have her in group photos on our Tinder or OkCupid profiles because the guys will be all like, “Um, who’s your friend?”

And this goes back to my point of what’s wrong with men today. The fact that some guy hasn’t had the cojones to snag her up is completely beyond me. How do you meet her and not want to immediately put a ring on it, dudes? [Note to Lily’s parents, who are most likely reading this and I made some questionable comments to over the summer: I realize this isn’t helping my cause about my heterosexuality. I do love your daughter. But I don’t love your daughter.]

It’s not that Lily doesn’t try, either. The effort she puts into meeting an equally nice, caring, intelligent, and funny person is quite admirable. And makes my catfishing stunt all the more shameful.

In such efforts, Lily has turned to Tinder, a warm and fuzzy friend for singles who’ve hit rock bottom everywhere. 

Upon arriving, Lily was happy to see that her date appeared like his pics: handsome, tall, and a little lanky. His dark hair set off his bright blue eyes, which shone when she walked into the Lincoln Park bar. But that was the only thing she was happy to see.

Because, when homeboy turned around, he had the ever-so-charismatic Kramer quality of jolting up to meet Lily, then turning abruptly around when he apparently heard some noise, only to turn whip back around to face Lily and greet her with a look that said, “Yo diggity dog.”

As you can imagine, dear reader, Lily’s date with Kramer went something like this:

  • In response to “So what do you do for a living?”, Kramer said: “Well, I took a nap one day. And in the dream I made urinal cakes. I woke up, and then it came true.” [long pause] “So I make urinal cakes.”
  • Seven times. Seven times Kramer went to the bathroom in 60 minutes.
  • In response to “Do you want another drink?” (which was, by the way, his own question), Kramer said, “I have a really fast metabolism, so I can drink a lot.” [Lily took a shot.]
  • “Let’s go one more bar–it’s right around the corner and everyone knows me so we won’t have to pay for anything.” I can’t decide if it was sheer boredom or curiosity, but Lily went. Into a bar that she described as the size of a closet and the median age was 76.
  • But he was right. Everyone knew him. Including the guy who came over and said this, “Hey, dude, remember the time we were in the back alley and then walked into that sex shop?”
  • Of course, this story couldn’t go untold and Kramer did a Kramer turn to Lily and continued, “Yeah, it’s seriously the best sex shop in the world. We got something there so amazing and tried it in that alley. It’s like when you’re in a shower and there’s hot water on your back. It’s like an orgasm on your face.”
  • In response to his question if he could walk Lily home: “No.”

So I’ll be going out with PI again and Lily will be back in the Tinder pool. Tune in next week to see who bombs.

Bullet Point Tuesday: How Not to Catfish

a99103_092514-cc-fat-suit-1If you’ve read my latest blog posts, then you know that I have recently outsourced my dating life to Lexi and Daisy. They created my online profile, messaged potential guys for me, and set up dates.

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.