CATFISH - ONLINE DATING
After my recent pondering over our iphone generation coupled with my ongoing obsession with Catfish, it only feels natural that I write an ode to this form of online dating. For those of you who aren’t familiar, I suggest you get yourself over to MTV and watch Catfish: the TV show where you’ll find lots of unfortunate souls who have fell for someone online that they have never met but pledge to die trying. They recruit the help of presenter Nev and his film making crew to make this a reality, and not to be a wet rag but lets face it - 99% of the people on the other end of the keyboard are absolutely not who they claim to be. Girls pretending to be hot models, guys pretending to be hot models, girls pretending to be guys and guys pretending to be girls…you get the gist. So if by some freak turn of events I ever got in to some form of relationship with someone online, there are a few key things that I hope I would have the brain function to think about. (Here’s hoping this smooth talker hasn’t killed all of my brain cells just yet with his seductive font.)
First things first. We are living in a world where long term relationships exist, which means that Skype and Facetime are literally a few meters away at all times. You know that strange fact that no one wants to think about that we are only ever a few feet away from a rat in city centre’s such as London? Well, the same goes for Skype and Facetime. I don’t buy the ‘I don’t have a camera-phone/webcam’ excuse that some people are throwing around like a bad dance move. Every laptop or smart phone that was made in the last few years has a camera unless its an absolute relic and therefore the user you’re speaking to is actually a viking or hipster, in which case you’ve dodged a bullet and should run a mile anyway. If I had never met this online casanova and decided I liked the way he typed (?) enough to change my relationship status, I would demand to have a Skype call however awkward this would be. I feel certain that finding out you’re talking to an old pervert would feel worse, so lets bite the bullet and come the closest thing to face to face with you’re new boyfriend.There is absolutely no excuse for not having a camera or making the effort to go to your friends sisters brothers house in order to find someone who does live in the twenty first century, especially because I imagine at this point you would be madly in love with one another. So if your online potential suitor does not have the passion or commitment to prove his identity, I wouldn’t hold out much hope for that marriage proposal on the beach he’s been wooing you with just yet.
Secondly. Someone who tells you they love you without having seen you either in person or via several, several Skype conversations is not in love with you. At least, not in the Breakfast At Tiffanys, When Harry Met Sally sense. Tragic, isn’t it? But the last time I checked, loving someone is loving everything about them and not because they have a super cool font on MSN and S3ND G00D T3XTZ THR33 TIM3Z A DAY. It absolutely defies the laws of love. Perhaps this is a terrifying premonition of things to come, a place where people live their life online and relationships are kept strictly for the interweb and therefore I will be damned to the pit of the undateables. Could you imagine, what romantic potential there would be. Come on line BBZ so I can ping U all night + perhaps use that emoticon U luv. Oh. I’m weak at the knees.
Moving on. Someone who only has say ten friends is absolutely not a real person unless they’re over fifty. Sorry mum. I have over two hundred people on my friends list and I find it hard to believe that I actually know or have known all of them, and thats not even a high number of friends. (Not to brag but I’m totes popular.) Within seconds, any average facebook user should be able to tell what an authentic profile looks like and one that has only two photos with ‘2001’ marked in the bottom corner and a few friends that look like they’ve crawled out from under a rock hardly screams ‘I’m this hot Abercrombie model that I claim to be.’Ladies and gentlemen, please let us be realistic. I do not think that Megan Fox is passing her days on Facebook talking to a sixteen year old boy with braces from a farm in Texas twenty four seven. Of course she’s not. Megan, if thats really you, then I’m sorry. I love you.
Perhaps I’m being overly harsh because I haven’t touched on the side of Catfish where it has the potential to work out nicely. People who hide behind false profiles are obviously going through a seriously tough identity crisis, and reaching out to someone online without the pressure of revealing themselves may be easier or comforting to them. After a lot of explaining to their surprised partner that alas, they are an entirely different person, there is still potential to be a happily ever after. For instance in a recent episode, a girl was looking to meet a boy she had been speaking to for ten years. Ten years. Ten years without Skype. Ten years without meeting up. DING DING DING. As it turned out, to everyone’s surprise, the boy was exactly who he said he was, and just a few hundred pounds heavier trying to lose weight before meeting her. Excuse me while I blow my nose from all the tears I’ve cried.
Honestly, there’s something fabulously optimistic about Catfish. Each episode (vaguely..) reminds me of a story of a brave knight trying to find his princess, so long as we ignore the fact that she turns out to be more like his prince. The presenter Nev is himself charismatic, safe and generally friendly - and the show has a very home-baked feel which instantly puts you at ease, as though you’re merely following a bunch of your friends on a road trip instead of taking it down the sinister road similar to other online shows such as To Catch a Predator. Regardless of the circumstances, I think there is a level of common sense and responsibility to protect yourself online that is easy to overlook and is easily manipulated by charismatic words and beautiful display pictures. Dating websites are there for a reason so if you’re a lonely soul and find it easier to connect online, do it in a safe environment away from the seedy chat rooms and pretend to be the Mona Lisa before you pretend to be Britney Spears. Or better, keep it real. Literally. Or we’ll be living in that online world sooner than we think.