Tag Archives: okcupid

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: 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.”

Yup.

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. 


Bullet Point Tuesday: The Friend Zone…The Only Zone

82952823It was my understanding that OKCupid was the easy make-a-date for any single. The one platform where, you might not find true love, but you will find a true self-esteem boost because if you write in complete sentences and have all of your teeth, then you’re ahead of the curve.

Apparently this set of pearly whites is not enough for the gentlemen of OKC. Or maybe it’s the slew of creepy messages these poor dudes receive from me.

In the past week, here are the messages I’ve sent to guys on OKCupid that have–shockingly–gone ignored:

  • “You can make French toast, huh? That’s quite a talent! Especially coupled with bacon! How’s your week starting off?” [Note: Nothing says low standards like being impressed by French toast and bacon. WITH exclamation points.]
  • “Is the ‘bagpipes’ thing like the ‘porcupine trainer’ bit? Just seeing who will buy it?”
  • “Two questions: 1. What’s your Bloody Mary mix of choice? 2. How do you feel about the Oxford Comma?” [Note: Do not mix alcohol and grammar. Ever.]
  • “Sooooo I do ride a bike, but I’m still terrified every time I ride in the city. And I love honey mustard. If those aren’t dealbreakers, feel free to answer the following question: How was your weekend?” [Note: The fact that I would consider talking to a guy whose dealbreakers involve bike and/or condiments is a real low point. Even for me.]
  • “That’s quite an array of photos–from flashing gang signs to flashing hearts to just damn near flashing. Nice. Work. How’s your week going?”

Apparently guys don’t want to talk about their weeks. Or weekends. Or grammar technicalities. Go. Figure.

I was talking to my friend Ron about my tragic attempts to make conversation via a free internet dating platform: “I just keep sending really weird messages,” I said.

He laughed. “Why?”

“It’s not on purpose. I’m. Just. A. Moron.”

But Ron’s innocuous question got me thinking. Why am I sending these awkward messages? There’s no hint of flirtation or real interest in my words to these guys. So, um,  what’s that about?

It was funny this epiphany came when I was hanging with Ron, a recent friend I’d made to add to the list of platonic male companions I have. This past weekend, he and I went to dinner, saw a show, grabbed beers, and talked dating strategies. I’ve become this type of confidant for a few guys, and I love discussing the complicated and strategic matrix of dating with my male counterparts. It’s like crossing enemy lines to get top secret information. Except we’re all after the same goal. So less like enemy lines and more like crossing the 7th grade dance floor.

As someone who used to believe that men and women could never truly be solely platonic friends, I now have several close guy friends who’d rather see me do my 47-second keg stand than model anything from Victoria’s Secret.

“Is there anything there with [insert male friend’s name]?” one of my girlfriends will ask. And I’ll give back a look like I just ate prune and meatloaf baby food with a swig of moscato. Because, though I love and cherish my guy friends, the idea of hooking up with them is reminiscent of some sort of Geoffrey love child.

It worries me that after dating a slew of guys that think politics or animal sacrifices are acceptable first-date conversation topics, when I meet men who are kind, intelligent, compassionate, and also have all their teeth, all I can muster up is a, “Yeah buddy,” and a slug on the shoulder.

I was explaining to another girlfriend of mine how involved I am in furthering my career and how–given my experience in past relationships–I had no true desire to jump into another.

“Don’t close yourself off,” she said kindly.

Um. Oops.

Is that why I’m sending creepy messages to OKCupid guys? Is it a form self-sabotage? Or just not truly caring enough about finding someone to put in any effort, like constructing a message that illicits a response back? 

I have a feeling that it’s somewhere in between. Kinda like half-cooked pizza rolls. And no one wants those.

So, once again, I deleted my OKCupid account. Because I like my dating life like I like my pizza rolls. Fully cooked and full of cheesy goodness.  


Bullet Point Tuesday: Online Dating (Again)…Because I’m Not a Quitter

-BridesmaidsSo this Sunday I decided to fire up the old OkCupid profile. You know, to do something nice for myself.

And enough time had passed in my online dating stints that I forgot. I forgot how depressing online dating is. Especially on Sunday.

Because…even though it’s online, it’s pretty transparent. I mean, you can see who’s viewed your profile, who’s seen a message you sent and never responded, and if you look really closely, you can see your standards–and dignity–fading fast.

I’m not sure about other sites–I’m too cheap to try them and OkCupid is free–but it just serves as a reminder of what’s really out there for you.

Exhibit A: Nicely Bearded Man, 31

After clicking on his profile, here’s what I found:

  • Works at Ace Hardware
  • Fired from Ace Hardware (so the above should be in past tense)
  • Tried nursing school, but it was “too boring”
  • Lives with his parents
  • Currently looking for roommates (maybe he got this site confused with Craigslist)
  • Looking for a trendy, good-looking woman with a “career”

But you know what–I have to give this homeboy credit for putting it out there. How many times, ladies, have we been out with a guy and it’s just this snowball of horrible information: I don’t have a job–BOOM–I’m completely unambitious with my life’s goals–BOOM–I’m going to pretend I forgot my wallet and make you pay for my negronis–BOOM–

Exhibit B: Blondie, 32

For those of you who haven’t been on OkCupid (or hit rock bottom), the service provides a space for you to fill out a self-summary. It’s super awkward because no one really knows how to talk about him/herself without sounding incredibly lame. But we all fill it out in the name of finding true, OkCupid love. Here’s how this homeboy’s went:

  • My Self-Summary: blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah blah, blah

I know. WHERE is that second-to-last comma?? Is he so lazy he can’t even correctly punctuate his “ironic” self-description? I. Can’t. Even.

Exhibit C: Too-Good-To-Be-True, 36

This guy was just a little too good-looking–like did you airbrush your photos or just step off a Ralph Lauren photo shoot?

I thought about messaging him anyway until I saw this:

  • Optimal dating age bracket: 20-31

Hold up, dude. You’re ok with dating someone who still has to bring a fake ID to the bar and you’re 36? Yeah….I’m out.

Exhibit D: the Creative Message Guy

I received the following message from this homeboy:

  • “Do you think sneakers, sandals, or flip flops look better on a guy with shorts and a T-shirt?”

First of all, unless she’s a store clerk, do not ask a woman you don’t know for fashion advice. Second of all, none of that footwear is appropriate for a grown ass man. Neither are shorts, which I imagine are of the cargo-nature. Don’t even get me started on guys who think it’s acceptable to wear concert shirts to any place other than the gym.

Just imagine if the situation was reverse. If I sent that message to a guy: “So, do you think I should wear my TOMs or clogs or Crocs with my oversized sweatpants from high school?”

Dude was from Indiana, though, so I guess I have to cut him some slack.

 

*This is just an obligatory * after the plethora of my ***** were called out last week. See, dear reader, I listen.**

**Kinda. I just had no real after-thoughts on this one.***

***See what I did there? Ok, I’ll stop.  

 


Guest Post Wednesday: Is This Real Life? Alex Ripley

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This is long overdue. So long that I’ve gotten used to the weekly emails from Chloe begging for a love life update, but I’m finally coming through on my promise to deliver. Admittedly, I’ve been nearly 100% AWOL from tweeting … Continue reading

Guest Post Wednesday: Remembering What Love Feels Like by Alex Ripley

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I used to be married. My ex-wife is a beautiful, loving human being – but it just didn’t work. We didn’t have kids. I didn’t want kids with her. We weren’t helping each other grow as people, and it ended. … Continue reading

Bullet Point Tuesday: okStupid

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There comes a time in a single gal’s life when she is willing to try anything in the dating realm. And thus began my adventures with okCupid. I’ll admit, the first week on this site was completely my fault. I … Continue reading