3. You Remind Me

“U remind me of a girl that I once knew. See her face whenever I, I look at you. You won’t believe all of the things she put me through. This is why I just can’t get with you….” -Usher?

Have you ever been told you remind somebody of someone else? I have gotten that reaction a few times in my life. But, this interaction was easily the weirdest one.

Number 3 in our line-up is not nearly so wise, though. I introduce to you Mr. Memory Lane.

Had he stopped there, perhaps I could have chalked up this interaction to a guy reminiscing about a former life. No harm, no foul. Awkward, for sure, but nothing that would lead to a creepy story being recounted on the internet.

I was not really scared at this point, just confused. As I was typing out a response to him (and before I could hit send) he followed up his message with a disturbing request.

Wait, what?

This guy legitimately asked to let him talk to me as if I was someone who had DIED. Meanwhile, I am just sitting here typing out my condolences for a guy who clearly needs to seek some professional psychiatric help.

By the way, he did not care whether I actually was open to “just go[ing] with it for a moment.” Instead, he opens up a dialogue to the deceased.

Oh great. So not only do I remind him of someone he used to know who is “in a better place” but that lady was his lover?!

As far as opening lines go, you definitely do not want to hear that you remind a guy of someone else. And if you have to wear the face of someone they know, you pray that it is not their ex. Or at least if you do bear a striking resemblance to a former love interest, you hope that he doesn’t admit it to you. Mr. Memory Lane took it to an entirely new level.

I guess this was the catharsis Mr. Memory Lane needed. With how skin-crawling this interaction became, I could not help but re-think the entire conversation.

What exactly does he mean by saying "better place"? Did she just break up with him and he is having a hard time dealing with it? Is he the one that sent her to the "better place"? Why is he talking to me like I am Julia? Has he done this to others? Why doesn't he just go seek counseling?

For the record, I think counseling is an excellent tool for self-growth, reflection and healing. I seek counseling on different emotionally-charged issues and have found that to be a great resource.

I chose not to respond to Mr. Memory Lane, though. I did not think that engaging in the conversation, sassy or otherwise, would end up with anything productive. So I let the conversation lie.

Fifteen days later…

Why?? What aspect of our interaction made him think I was interested in communicating? Giving me 15 days was definitely not enough for me to forget that he spoke to me as if I was his dead girlfriend!

But wait. There’s more…

Yup. “Welcome to JackCity.”

It gets worse…

*shudders* I cannot imagine what was going through his mind when he thought sending this follow-up was a good idea. And honestly, I do not want to know.

7. Ryan FICO

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Coming in at seventh place is the story of Ryan FICO. I’ve told the tale of a Tinder profile often discovered year after year. But for those who have not read the original post, follow the link to see the story.

So… We Swipe Again

“When I first started online dating in 2015, I had some pretty hard and fast rules regarding the profiles I would say “yes” or swipe right on. When it comes to photos specifically, I use some loosely guided rules to govern my interactions.

  • Shirtless photo? Pass.
  • Photo with a bunch of women? Pass.
  • Photo with kids? Pass.
  • No photo at all? Hard pass.

 

This one particular person had a profile photo that seemed incredibly arrogant.”

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Revisiting this story reminds me of some details I had previously neglected. When discussing why our conversation fell by the wayside (I cited his self-given list of flaws), I had mentioned that I didn’t even know what he looked like! It was then that he sent me a picture. It was a photo of him with his sister at her wedding. He even gave me a link to his YouTube channel offering strangers of the internet financial advice. Then it hit me… I had seen this very photo before. It was a deja vu moment that I couldn’t even cop to. Had I dropped off the planet because I just wasn’t attracted to the man behind the FICO score? It’s entirely possible. He wasn’t my type at all socially and the lack of physical attraction could have very well sealed the deal. I hope Ryan ultimately found what he was looking for.

8. Matt Not In AZ

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Now we have entered the quarter final rounds. The top 8 will battle it out to be the saddest victor. Coming in at 8th place is Matt Not in AZ.

Let me give you some context for this story. It was October 2017 and I had recently gone through a breakup. I was visiting my friend Clara in northern California. Before heading her way, she convinced me to download Tinder again. You know… just for giggles. I wasn’t genuinely looking, I’ll be honest. But the potential to break my mind away from the thought of my previous relationship was tempting. So, I downloaded Tinder and began swiping.

Now, Tinder in my opinion is a game in its own right. But, the game we played was far more dangerous. One night while out on the town, we swapped phones to swipe for the other person. Clara and I are really close friends. But, although we have similar interests in food, movies and books, our taste in men has never been an area our interests overlapped. So this was going to be fun.

It probably did not help that we were out bar hopping. As fun as it sounds, I rarely recommending Tindering under the influence. Clara got several matches for me with conversations flowing shortly after. She is also an opportunist, though. So if a previous match sent a message, Clara had no qualms diving into a conversation with them either. Matt was one such conversation.

Just a friendly reminder that when the conversation doesn’t sound like my typical cadence, you can bet that Clara is responding.

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Tinder, might I add, is a location based dating app used to connect people based on geographic positioning. I must have matched with Matt prior to leaving for California since his distance was much, much further than the “within 20 miles” metric in my settings–a distance difference he clearly did not notice.

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Clara and I agreed– he had no business knowing where I was. All he needed to know was that his request was physically impossible.

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Not entirely sure how he jumped from getting Mexican food to spending the night… Let’s even say that I wasn’t completely turned off by the idea of meeting a stranger at 2:30am. Let’s go a step further to assume I am not repulsed and terrified by the idea of spending the night with said stranger. His request still does not grasp the fact that I am still not in Arizona!

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We did have quite a bit to drink that night. While walking the streets of the lively downtown, we ran into some of Clara’s coworkers who dragged us into a nearby dive bar. My first gin and tonic–heavy on the gin, light on the tonic– was served in a pint glass! And the drinks kept coming. Note the alcohol intake and still Clara had excellent grammar! Bravo!

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Alas, Matt still did not comprehend the fact that I was not in Arizona.

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Nobody says it better than Katarina Stratford in 10 Things I Hate About You. Her eye roll says it all. But, alas, I was not the one responding.

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Instead, Clara gave him some pretty practical advice.

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Thunderbird School of Global Management was listed as Matt’s education on his profile.

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Ouch. His entire point was to defend his intelligence. Then, he uses the wrong homophones instead of “than” and “they’re” all in the same sentence.

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Oh good! Clara is just as sassy as I would have been! Excellent.

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What do you mean you “just noticed the distance”?? It was repeatedly pointed out to you in your quest to invite me over.

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Or perhaps both. I do not believe those two situations are mutually exclusive.

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Buddy… we had been asking ourselves the same. exact. thing.

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Clara is getting feisty at this point. She has had it with Matt and his perceived level of intelligence.

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Goodnight, Matt. And goodbye. Clearly.

10. Murdering Mormon

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Up next in the top 16 countdown is number 10… The Murdering Mormon. I realize that this nickname is just as odd as it is unnerving. But, allow me to explain. If you have read some of my other posts, you know that I tend to start conversations with the same telling question: If you had to describe yourself using only one word, what would it be? I get answers like “driven”, “motivated”, “funny”, “exciting”… Usually adjectives that would entice further conversation. Rarely do I get nouns and even more rarely are they scary. But, along came Jacob…

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Hm. Interesting first impression.

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And alarmed I was. Who opens up a conversation with someone online and immediately jokes (or at least I hope it was a joke) about being a murderer? His response turned into the world’s worst segues.

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At this point I am incredibly confused. I am not Mormon, but I am friends with many. It just comes with the territory of growing up in Mesa, AZ. Is being Mormon good for him? Is it bad? Do I meet some really creepy murder checklist if I say yes? Is it worse if I say no? Either way, the thread of conversation is splitting awfully thin.

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He had a totally reasonable chance to explain his question. In fact, the connection with a mutual friend actually made sense. But he had to go and ruin it with the line “Good cause I don’t murder Mormons.” And that answered my earlier questions. Being Mormon would have kept me out of the line of danger. No was apparently the wrong answer if I wanted to keep my life. So, I guess that puts me back on the hit-list. And once again, in an attempt to change the topic, we are hit with a totally unnatural transition in conversation. I ignored the inquiry into my weekend and doubled-back to his murdering comments.

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I don’t have any doubts in my mind why this man was single.

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The mere fact that I am uncertain if he’s actually joking or just really disturbed should be telling. Perhaps if I had better survival instincts, I wouldn’t goad a potentially psychotic (let’s be fair, he self-described as a murderer before saying anything else) individual. But I cannot help it. My thoughts will be told, consequences be damned.

Once again, an excellent conversationalist. Knows when to transition in an out of topics seamlessly…

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Perhaps I am beating a dead horse. Perhaps I should let it go. But I just cannot wrap my mind around the fact that this guy described himself as a murderer.

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Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it could save the life of an unsuspecting internet dater.

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Ohhh okay. He is joking. Totally just messing around. Making a mockery of the fact that women are always needing to be vigilant. Alright. I can sort of get behind that. Maybe he is just not very socially aware.

Wait.

“Serial killers fascinate me” is definitely not how that explanation should have ended. At least he thinks they are evil?

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Texting typos aside, it’s true. If a girl thinks that someone is a murderer or serial killer, she certainly will not swipe right just to tempt fate. I went out with, and ended up in a good relationship with, a guy whose profile listed 10 things about him. Number 1 was “won’t murder you.” Alright, playful insight. Addressing the situation in a joking way. I totally get it. Beyond that though, the topic of whether he would murder me just never came up. Just the fact that someone has matched with you indicates they show at least a little bit of interest. Don’t start a conversation with something that will instantly create a barrier between you and the other person. Especially if you already know that this is a common concern of the weary online dater.

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Weird may have been boring, but I think I would have preferred that to the persistent thought of his murdering past. I never did risk my life to meet him in person. We would have never worked, anyway. There are too many differences between our schools of thought and brands of humor.

The search continues

11. Tony Stark

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It has been a while since my last post, so I decided to get the ball rolling on the Top 16 worst experiences (as of the summer when the bracket was compiled). Coming in at number 11 is Mr. Tony Stark.

 

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All things considered, not bad. He clearly put some time and thought into his response. He carefully looked at my own profile and inserted some of my interests into his message. The rocket scientist/ businessman/ soccer star combo felt a bit like he was trying too hard. But, all in all, he seems nice.

Anyone who has done the online dating scene might tell you how easy it is to get lost in the sea of messages and profiles. I do, certainly, every time I foray into the world of online dating. For one reason or another, I chose not to respond to Lkng4MySoulmate. Maybe someone else at the time had caught my eye or perhaps I was already tired of the dating scene. I did not think much beyond reading the message and moving forward. Until…

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Note the time stamp. July 22 to July 30. He copy and pasted his message verbatim. Same cheesy self-deprecating joke. Same attempt to make an activity connection. Same awkward double-spacing between commas. It is not the first time a non-response on my end has resulted in a double text. They are, typically, a lot shorter though. Limited to “hey,” “hello,” and “will you marry me?” I chuckled a bit, but moved forward.

It wasn’t long before…

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Less patience this time around…

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And again…

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Fittingly published in a 1981 Narcotics Anonymous guide, the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Five identical messages spaced out over a short couple weeks definitely fits this definition.

It was at this point in my dating ventures where I was just tired of the game. Tired of the antics; tired of trying to make conversation; tired of finding little of interest to me. So, I decided to mix things up. I have reads many Buzzfeed articles of women who started responding to guys using only quotes from a movie or TV show or character. I jumped head first into my 24 hours using only quotes from 10 Things I Hate About You, a 1999 teen rom-com. (The resulting conversations will be featured in a later post). My sassy side just came out.

I finally responded to Mr. Tony Stark quoting the ever-ridiculous Ms. Perky, the guidance counselor.

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He seemed nice enough. But… at some point… you’ve got to cut your losses, bud. In my (sometimes very painful) own experience, no reply is indeed a response. Call it quits and keep fishing. We were, after all, using Plenty of Fish.

I don’t quite see the same charm in Lkng4MySoulmate as is portrayed in the big screen Tony Stark. I am sure it took a lot of persistence and gumption to become a “billionaire, playboy philanthropist” who moonlights as a metal-laden super hero. And trust me, Lking4MySoulmate definitely shared the persistent character trait. All in all, I hope he did find his soulmate–even if it took a few too many tries.

Next up is 10. Murdering Mormon.

 

 

12. Neville Lyingbottom

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Number 12 is the standard catfish tale. His opening message was kind of cute. My profile often showcases my vast interest in Disney. Specifically, many photos display my love of going to Disneyland.

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So his proposition of going to one of my favorite places was well-played. But what he didn’t realize is that I am also an avid Harry Potter fan. Something about his photo just stood out to me… Like, for instance, that it portrayed one of the famous characters. Neville Longbottom.

It didn’t take long to find the original photo. Just moments and one Google search later, I came across the stolen image.

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All things considered, it was one of my easier detective moments. So, of course, I asked him about it.

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Excuse me?? He has the audacity to use a photo that is not an accurate depiction of himself AND he has no idea of whom the photo is? If you’re going to catfish, I would at least expect someone to choose a photo with little chance of being recognized. This isn’t the first time I have encountered a catfish profile. Many of the others choose to dig deep into the web to find a photo that is both attractive and difficult to uncover. One guy, who is the star of a separate and upcoming top 16 post, used a photo it took some major digging to uncover the true identity. It’s almost like Neville wasn’t even trying. Plus, I’m a little disappointed with his lack of Harry Potter knowledge in general.

He explained himself though.

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I do understand the military claim. But, it never stopped the guys I have met before. “Been down this road before” is putting it gently. It was a “pass” from me and the military-grade catfish. No thanks, Neville. On to the next…

14. Bad Teacher

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In fourteenth place… we have the Bad Teacher story brought to you by Andrew. It started as a normal conversation. Certainly nothing to write home about.

 

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Nothing out of the ordinary. Just regular small talk to wade into conversation intended to get to know someone.

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“Thanks.” I acknowledged the compliment. In general, this is something with which I tend to struggle. I don’t know how to take a compliment and in that regard I’ve always felt socially awkward. Perhaps it’s social programming or widely held societal standards or just my inherent awkwardness at times. But it’s there. So, I acknowledged the compliment and tried to move on.

 

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I wasn’t buying his story, but I wasn’t intending to call him out on it. I had barely started talking to the guy. Back then, when I first started the online dating venture, I wasn’t nearly as bold. Before I could even ask him clarifying details about that particularly ambitious line of work, Andrew once again redirected the conversation.

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It was at this point my sassy side started to shine through. In general, I think this type of conversation is frustrating. There are so many implications with the “hot teacher” archetype. Regardless of my students’ assessment of my appearance (by the way, gross and I don’t want to know), they learn. I am just as vivacious with speech in my classroom as I am online. I really don’t accept any nonsense in my class. But the implication that is perpetuated by the “hot teacher” role, especially when used to flirt here, is that a student may have a chance to be with that teacher. Absolutely unacceptable, unprofessional and uncalled-for. And so icky. My profession is my passion and my livelihood. It is not some sick, twisted fantasy.

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And once again here, accept the compliment and move on. My frustration is building, though. I clearly am not engaging in this line of conversation. So, once again I try to pivot to a more appropriate topic.

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Yes! Okay! Now we have something in common. I love Game of Thrones– a show on which I could spend hours discussing. This will be perfect to expand our conversation.

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Annnnnnnd… there it is. Again. I grew up playing baseball (no, not softball–perhaps a rant for a different post). Three strikes and you’re out, buddy. It’s time to shut this down. Clearly he isn’t picking up the fact that this raunchy teacher-talk isn’t going to happen.

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Thanks, Andrew, for the conversation. Hopefully he learned at least one thing from this teacher: pick up better on social cues. On to the next…

 

15. No Chill Logan

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In 15th place… No Chill Logan.

Logan has this name because he literally has no chill.

Logan, like many others, initiated contact by utilizing my love of mathematics. Typically, my profile always has a math quote from some professor. This accomplishes two tasks: 1) communicates my passion for mathematics and 2) scares away (some of) those who aren’t the brightest bulbs. Logan, however, was not dissuade by my passive assertion of my intellect.

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All things considered, he probably would have been better off to just go for the pick-up line. Clearly there is one from Google buried in his opener. And pointing out that he “isn’t smart enough for it” wasn’t going to be doing him any favors. But, this is not why Logan made the cut in the tournament…

No, Logan made it to the Battle Royale of the top 16 because he has no chill. Note the time stamp on the Tinder message? 10:36pm.

I do not know what made Logan believe that responses to Tinder messages needed to be favorable and immediate. Somewhere in his mind, though, he believed that I should have responded to his message right away. Not even 12 hours later, he sent a follow up message… on a completely different dating app!

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Seriously…? No wonder this lad is single. He has no chill and some control issues to say the least. I don’t appreciate guilt or negative communication being used against me to try to manipulate a conversation. I cannot imagine it works in his favor very often, either.

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He apologized, in case you were wondering. And while I appreciate someone taking some ownership over their actions, I have no interest in associating with someone who instinctively jumps to hateful speech or manipulative tactics.

In fourteenth place is… Bad Teacher.

16. Self-Deprecating Danny

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In 16th place… Self-Deprecating Danny.

When the internet is your venue for meeting people, you get to be anyone you want to be. You set the stage for who you are and what you want to attract neatly wrapped up in a nice little bow. The online profile through which you market yourself is the place to put your best foot forward.

But… unfortunately, not all users understand what is the best way to portray their personalities. Some things for me can be major turn-offs. For example, describing everything you don’t want in a partner publicly on your profile says, “I’m a negative person and I will find ways to be critical of you.” Or posting mostly photos of you cuddled up to various women says, “I want to have my cake and eat it too.”

On Tinder you can tell if someone has “super liked” your profile before making any decisions. It’s a tool Tinder created as a means to pull someone back into the terrifying void of swiping, mostly. But, this feature can be incredibly helpful. Many “super likers” are blatantly weird. Easy to say no. Sometimes, though, I give people the benefit of the doubt when looking at their profiles. Maybe marketing and branding just aren’t their fortes. So occasionally I will overlook the red flags and swipe right just to see what happens. Ignoring small details on a profile happens most often when the party in question has already expressed interest and I don’t have a huge reason to reject.

[Enter Danny].

Danny extended the “super like” gesture. I perused the profile and only saw the above mentioned profile qualms. His profile gave off a negative vibe by describing what his partner should not be. And he had multiple pictures with female friends. All in all, not the biggest reasons to reject someone before giving them a chance. So I said yes.

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Oh Danny… Not your best opening line at all.

You get to be anything you want to be! You can display the utmost confidence upon meeting someone because you don’t have to conduct the interaction face-to-face! And yet, his first point of contact was to inform me that nobody likes him. The lack of confidence is underwhelming to say the least.

The rest of the interaction was him asking me questions on how he should modify his online dating interactions. I also gave him some tips for his profile to potentially draw in a larger audience. (He vehemently defended his profile and rejected all forms of constructive criticism I offered, by the way).

When he asked me out, I made it very clear that I was not interested–though I thought the feedback and dating coaching should have been clear already.

Up next… 15th place.