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.

5. Telling Voice

While this story is not accompanied by many screenshots, the nature of the conversation was a bit chilling. That is how “Telling Voice” made it to fifth place in the Battle Royale of weirdest dating experiences.

It started relatively normal. He typed first and off we went.

“Guyfishn” had an interesting tactic, I’ll give him that. His photos were decent to look at as well. So, I temporarily took the bait. He was quite proud of himself.

I am about to launch into my patented sassiness. Tell him that opening with a fun question or silly quote is usually more interesting. While he did illicit a response, it is not as if the conversation was going to great places yet.

Now, here’s where it gets weird… after a certain point of back and forth communication, the app allows for an extended set of means by which to communicate. You can call through the app, send photos to one another, and apparently even send voice messages. With these new features unlocked, Guyfishn decided on one of those options instead of a regular text. Any guesses?

If your mind immediately went to “dick pic,” as I surely would have with that set-up, you are (luckily for me) incorrect. Nope. Guyfishn sent a voice message.

I’ll be completely honest. At this point, I don’t remember exactly what he sent in that first message. He said something along the lines of being upfront and honest; telling the truth in all situations. He was being a bit pompous, I recall.

But while I do not remember exactly what he said, I can tell you exactly how it felt listening to that voice message on my phone. Have you ever had an immediate, heart-wrenching, gut feeling? As soon as I clicked play, my alarm bells in my entire body went off. Who was this guy? Is he honestly who he claims to be? Why be so obnoxious about honesty and sincerity if he isn’t?

This is ridiculous, right? How can I be so skeptical with just one eighteen second glimpse into his vocal pattern? Still, that feeling wouldn’t leave. So, I dove into what I do best–research. Some reverse image searches and several articles later, I arrived at a reasonable conclusion. This guy is sketch AF.

The results of my research were as follows. I could not initially find any of his photos online in other locations besides this dating site. After a few minor tweaks my search query, I found his main image. It was linked to a comment thread on a random blog about Canadian actors.

Once I could tell that the profile in general felt manufactured, I delved into a search about why I had such an off-putting feeling in the first place. This guy didn’t sound like a 27 year old at all. If I had to guess his age just by listening to his voice, I would put him around 57. Apparently, a person’s voice actually says a lot about them. You can tell things from height to age to weight, just by talking to someone on the phone, with relative accuracy according to an article in The Guardian.

Then he sent another voice message. This time it was much more negative and manipulative. He was, in a sense, egging me on. Partial underhanded comments and partial challenge to give him the time of day. He pointed out that I better be who I say I am. Dude, we haven’t even held a legitimate conversation. Chill out. At this point, I had heard all I needed. The goosebumps were standing on end and the nausea was bubbling in my stomach.

He blocked me moments later. I am not surprised. I was honestly about to do the same. Hopefully he learned his lesson to not hide behind an imposter profile while chastising others who may be doing the same. Let’s be real, though. He probably did not learn that lesson. If anything, he may have learned not to mess with someone who knows how to do her research.

Up next in fourth place…

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.

9. Paypig

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So… for number nine I had to do a bit of research. The conversation with Tommy did not last long. It was not full with witty quips and silly jabs. The research, and the proposition in general, is why Paypig made the cut for the top 16 bracket.

I don’t quite remember the conversation leading up to this point. It happened almost two years ago. And honestly, I had gratefully forgotten about these screenshots in general until siphoning through my old photos for the bracket. Here’s the conversation that followed:

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I have never heard of this kind of arrangement where there are “no [strings] attached whatsoever.” I cannot believe that it actually exists.

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Which is true. I am not particularly offended. I am just incredibly confused at the proposition.

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And with that suggestion, I Googled the term “paypigs.” The results were all about financial domination, indeed. A form of submission, the paypig will hand over financial control to their partner as a form of financial domination, or findom. Findom is internet slang defined by Wiktionary as “a form of erotic humiliation in which one person gives money and control of their finances to another.”

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I’ll admit, at the time of this conversation, I think I had the wrong idea about what a paypig actually is. I wouldn’t have been the submissive. Instead, he was asking me to be the one in control.

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The conversation ended with so many red flags. Why do you want to do this for someone? Who pays for a stranger’s life? And how on earth is that doing you a favor? From this guy’s perspective, he sees it as being useful to the girl. From my perspective, it feels like an exhausting second job. I have enough on my plate dealing with my own finances. I do not want to take control of someone else’s, too. Furthermore, I do not want to feel like I owe anyone for the financial investment they have now taken in my life. No thank you.

To read about someone’s actual account of her experience with a paypig, jump to Bolde. This internet subculture is beyond my own personal experience.

With that, we conclude the first round of elimination. Next up, is number eight.

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…

13. Boring Ryan

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Number thirteen…

Let me introduce you to Boring Ryan. There isn’t much to say about him, honestly. We didn’t get much into the “getting to know you phase.”

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Now let me clarify. From a very early age, I was told that “only boring people get bored.” The lady who said that was one of the most inspiring and influential teachers I know. Boredom can be incredibly productive, mind you. Boredom has a purpose. It puts our minds in a state of desire for new stimuli. Initial boredom can propel people to bring out their creativity and imagination. My only qualm is when people perpetually complain about being bored. Where is their drive for adventure? Why must they always look to someone else to fix their boredom? Why is your boredom only fixed through others entertaining you?

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I’m not above playful banter. But I know nothing about Ryan. I’ve never met him and we haven’t had any conversation of substance. He was not a fan of my observation.

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I grabbed the screen shot moments before he “unmatched” with my profile. Had I not been actively on my phone, I would have never seen his response at all. Honestly, his response doesn’t even deserve to be picked apart piece-by-piece. He does not know me well enough to assert I was “looking for something serious.” He never asked. I never said.

This is a subset of current dating culture, though. The kind where any small amount of possible rejection insights an explosive reaction that puts blame on the other party. I’m not sure whether he would have reacted similarly had this interaction been in person. But the fear that it might happen sits in the back of girls minds every time they get hit on in public, or catcalled, or even just approached by a stranger.

I stand by my original statement. He’s boring.