Archive for August, 2016

16
Aug
16

How to avoid being catfished

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Guys, I caught one! 

I had a pretty scary situation arise recently as a result of online dating, but was fortunately able to avoid the possibility of my head ending up in the freezer next to a quart of rocky road ice cream. I’m very vigilant when it comes to online suitors, and rightly so. You can’t take for granted that the person on the other end is who they claim to be. Hell… Some of them may not even qualify as people at all. I’ll give you a brief recap of my most recent scenario (there have been quite a few) and then give you some tips on how to avoid being Catfished on the Internet. At the very least, it may give you some peace of mind.

I began corresponding with a guy we’ll call Tom online (it’s irrelevant since he picked the name out of a hat). He was super witty and charming and said all the right things. I really looked forward to our chats and was agreeable to meeting him after about two weeks of delightful banter. I met him on Bumble, so I was a little curious as to why we had no mutual connections when we lived in the same city. That was my first red flag and I mentioned it in passing, with no real response from him. He just laughed it off. I decided it was worth my time to run a reverse phone # search to see what name the number was registered in. Guess what? It was a name I’d never heard of before. I plugged the name into Google and came back with a Facebook page. The page used the same pictures as “Tom’s” profile, so I knew it was probably the same person.
Here’s where the story takes a dark turn. I wondered what else he was hiding. In order to create a fake Bumble account, you first need to create a fake Facebook or Instagram account to connect with for verification purposes. Why would anyone do that? I found my answer soon enough. After a quick search on the Clerk of Courts website, I was alarmed to find the following terms beside his name: RAPE, Aggravated assault and kidnapping. Sprinkle in a little “state mandated HIV test” and we have someone who probably isn’t a desirable companion. I fully understand that there are instances where someone may be falsely accused, but it is NEVER acceptable to bait someone with a fake identity and attempt to get that person to meet you for drinks. NEVER. Got it?
Through my experiences, I’ve compiled a list of things you can look for or sources you can utilize if you feel that something isn’t right. I believe that a lot of us fail to see things sometimes because the fairytale is more enchanting than the thought of stumbling upon a mugshot. Your safety should be your primary concern.
1) The profile picture speaks volumes. If there isn’t a picture at all, immediately disregard the person on the other end. If he tells you that the site wouldn’t let him upload one, you know that’s a load of crap, right? If that person is really that dumb, do you want to meet him anyways? If he tells you he’ll gladly send you multiple pics using the KIK messenger app, DON’T DO IT! If you can’t risk the temptation, strap on a helmet because you’re about to be involved in what feels like a paint ball game, except using penises. Do you like penis paintball? If so, carry on. There’s also a 98% chance that this guy is married to someone else and doesn’t respect the universe enough to use Ashley Madison, instead of invading the “single people” dating sites.
2) Is the profile picture too good to be true? Well… That’s because it’s probably an Australian underwear model’s bio pic. Take that bad boy and drop it into Google images, using the reverse google images options. This will show you everywhere the photo has been used on the Internet. It’s also useful if someone is abusive and you’d like to know his real identity. I once had a prominent East Side dentist absolutely terrified that I’d post his disgusting sexual overtures to a stranger on his practice’s Facebook page, right next to the giant molar with a smiley face that was his mascot. There are also a variety of apps you can use on your cell phone, such as Reversee, but I find these less reliable.

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You model for Abercrombie?

3) I recommend using sites that use a verification tool through Facebook or Instagram or a paid site. This doesn’t eliminate fake profiles, by any means, but it’s less horrible. If you sign up for Plenty of Fish or OK Cupid, please don’t be surprised when 60% of the profiles are fake. I’m pretty sure this is how they pass the time in prison. Anyone can send you a message on these sites, and I prefer to hand pick who I communicate with. At least with Tinder and Bumble, you can see mutual connections. If he runs around with decent people, he’s probably less likely to be a cad. You can also get a full name by searching it under one of your mutual friend’s list of Facebook friends.
4) Reverse phone # lookup is something I swear by. It’s not foolproof, but it’s definitely helpful. There are a number of free search options, but they don’t typical return great results on cell phone numbers. I use stumpthemonkey.com almost exclusively. It may be the best relationship I have found online, now that I think about it. They will credit you back for any search that does not come back with a name. You may get a business phone number, which is swell because that means he has a job. Jackpot!
I’ve used “he” in this article, simply because that’s who I’m dealing with in my online dabblings. Let the record reflect that it could just as easily be a “she” being deplorable on dating sites. It may sound a little over the top, but I’d rather not be dismembered anytime soon, so I’m completely OK with being a bit nuts when it comes to my personal safety. Hopefully, some of you find this information useful, because God forbid we all have to get back out there and meet people face to face.
15
Aug
16

Is your online dating profile pic the worst? 

 

Online dating has always been pretty fascinating to me, mostly because you have the opportunity to people watch from the comfort of your own couch with a bottle of wine. Let me say this… There is a LOT to see. I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert here. The fact that I’m single with two cats will back that up. However, I’ve certainly learned a lot during my time served.

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve stumbled across a profile and wondered what the guy could have possibly been thinking while setting it up. There are times I’ve practically dislocated my wrist while swiping left to avoid some of these profiles. After much thoughtful discussion with some of my girlfriends, I have come to the conclusion that perhaps they simply don’t know what women consider bizarre or abhorrent online behavior. Well, friends… I’m here to help.
I prefer sites such as Tinder and Bumble, where mutual acceptance drives the experience. You have to get past the initial impression before any messages are exchanged. This is where I essentially become an online gardener, heavily armed with my weed-be-gone. In no particular order, I’ll list some of my tips on your profile picture selection to ensure that nobody ever swipes right on you. EVER. Continue with the following, and you might as well change your name to Spam, because you’re headed for the junk bin. I’ve even included some helpful, real life examples taken from a five minute swiping session.

Shadow Man Pic: This is always a good one. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve received messages on OK Cupid from these internet lurkers, which is one of the main reasons I detest that particular site. They always spin some ridiculous tale about how they are super successful in their career and can’t risk people at the office seeing their profile. Oh, sure! I totally get it! By “career”, you mean marriage and by “people at the office”, you mean your wife and kids. They always try to convince you to use KIK messenger, which allows them to anonymously assault you with dick pics without exchanging phone numbers. If you can’t put your face out there like everyone else, we all know it’s because you have no business on a dating site in the first place.

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Anthony is so handsome! 

Car, motorcycle or boat profile pic: Are you a car, motorcycle or a boat? Probably not. Don’t get me wrong, if I had the chance to date some super cool transformer boat/man combo, I’d most likely be on board (literally, because he’d be a boat) However, when you use inanimate objects as your main profile pic, you devalue your self worth along with mine. Do you really want a woman who’s only in it for your material possessions? In my opinion, it screams insecurity. If I want to find a great deal on a car, I’ll visit autotrader.com, not Tinder.

Child or animal profile pic: Are you a Doberman or a seven year old boy? Why is it so hard to have a picture of yourself as your main photo? I totally get it if you love your dog, cat, kid or iguana. You’re supposed to love them. It honestly just creeps me out when I’m swiping through endless pics of shirtless douchebags and happen upon Johnny Jr’s tee-ball pic or a dog in a Halloween costume.

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Matthew looks a little young 

Where’s Waldo pics: I love guessing games, but if I have to try to photo-hunt you in a group picture from your matching shirt, Smith family reunion, that’s no longer a fun game for me. A picture of your golf foursome, your wedding party (that really happens) or anything else requiring a CSI team to determine who you are, is discouraged. It’s really a simple equation. There should be exactly one human in your profile picture. One HUMAN. Got it?
Ridiculous Filters: Are you IDGAF guy on Tinder? I don’t know how anyone would think this is a well executed plan. I don’t need a guy to give all the Fs, but I find it hard to believe that none of the Fs are available to be given. Seriously… Maybe a handful of Fs? It’s not a smart move. It’s also Ill advised to use filters regarding your political affiliation, especially this election year. I don’t care who you’re voting for, but if you feel the need to announce it before we’ve even said hello, then I know you’re probably a lunatic.
Sunglasses: We all look infinitely cooler in sunglasses. In fact, I’m wearing mine right now. It’s acceptable to have one sunglasses pic, but if you’re wearing them in every one, it’s impossible to tell what you really look like. I’d be almost certain you were hiding something… Like a third eye. Once I see your face, feel free to rock the motorcycle cop look as you see fit.
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Oh Bill, you silly SOB

Goofy pics: Someone at some point in time probably told you that women love funny men. I would 100% agree with that statement. Any idea where the perfect place to showcase that would be? I’ll tell you this much, it’s NOT by putting a lampshade on your head or pretending a fountain is your urine stream. That makes you look like an idiot. Instead, try crafting a witty written portion of your profile.

Hopefully, some of you will find this information helpful. I was planning to include shirtless guy, gym rat selfie guy, and “look at all my bitches” guy who has an ex girlfriend in every picture, but I think we can all agree that we’re best served knowing that information up front. If they stopped doing that, we risk accidentally going out with one of them.

Happy Swiping XOXO

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About the Broad

A humorous look at dating in your mid-thirties and the other hilarious things that happen around us on a daily basis.

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