Love and the “Catfish”

As usual, I am pretty late with what is “hot” and “happening on TV. Certain sitcoms that are the most popular and has everyone talking and tuned in, I usually don’t get into until the last season. “Catfish” happens to be one of them.
I have heard about it and have seen previews while skipping through channels; however I never actually sat down and spent an hour of my life trying to figure out if the person someone said they were was actually them (confused?). At the time, it did not appeal to me at all, but like always, things change. Everything changed when cleaning up my room one Saturday afternoon. For some odd reason there was nothing good on television. THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN ON A WEEKEND BESIDES BEING CALLED IN TO WORK. So, as I am skimming through my favorite channels, I stumble upon  a “Catfish” marathon. My first thought was, ugh, but what other choice did I have? None, that’s what!
The first episode I watched dealt with a young man named Jaylin. Apparently, this young man was prepared to put aside a friendship with someone he has known for years and very promising career in videogaming for someone her has never even met. Wait….WHAT?  Jaylin was in a three year relationship with Ja’la (okay?), a track star on the rise. So for three years, Jaylin has never seen or even heard the voice of this mysterious female to whom he is madly in love with and willing to risk everything for.  Initially, Max and Nev believe that Ja’la is really a guy , and I’m not going to lie…I think so, too. Who doesn’t talk on the phone for three years? In my mind I pictured Ja’La as some thirty-something guy with a dingy white beater with food stains, spending hours on end on the Internet looking for men to trick. Like really? Three years without talking on the phone?  This guy must have some  awesome zen-like patience because if it was me that person will be dropped like a bad habit after the first week.(SMH, kids these days).
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In great Catfish fashion, Nev and Max get to snooping where they find the real Ja’la’s instagram and that she is in fact an actual track star!  They fly Jaylin to Wyoming where they find out where she is. She is who she says she is! Whew! She gives many excuses for why she never talked to him and blah blah blah.. The next day, they meet in a park and they talk it out — Honesty, trust, caring, and love– but eventually they decide to work it out. It is disgustingly cute, but it doesn’t work out for some odd insignificant and ridiculous reason(insert sad face).
This was actually was a good episode, but the episodes that followed were depressing. A woman pretending to be a guy and making a mom fall in love with her, people living their lives through these false profiles because of their low self-esteem. You will hear time and time again about how people “front” on Instagram or hype up their lives on Facebook for likes all the time. Could the reason for that be a result from a mental disorder brought on by the constant usage of social media?
To be honest, I do not understand how someone can spend years pretending to be someone off; to take on this whole other personality. By clinical terms, this type of person would be diagnosed with having a dissociative identity disorder or a multiple personality disorder. Now, I’m no psychologist to diagnose these people. Surely they do not have the inability to recall personal information or have unexplained forgetfulness. In order to keep up with a charade for so long, they have to have the memory of an elephant in order to keep up with the lies. I mean, I understand– especially when it comes to females. Many of them were told they were not pretty enough; they were not skinny enough; they just weren’t good enough.
As a result, they give themselves these made-up lives off the faces and pictures of actual people. A logical person would probably do this for fun for a month or two, but no. Years go by as they talk to individuals, sharing false details from their fairytale lives. Then you have these poor unknowing individuals who actually fall in love with these false identities only to be blindsided when the beautiful, sexy Erica ends up being that girl, Rebecca you friend-zoned in high school because you weren’t that in to her. All very sad really because in the end–if the person catfishing really cares– both parties get mutually hurt.
This post is not to steer anyone away from meeting people online (I met my boyfriend on POF), but the “Catfish-ing” game is something serious. The best advice I can give you to test if you are being deceived or not is ask the person to take a random picture; a picture a person would not normally take. When I used to talk to guys online and after exchanging numbers, I would ask them to take a picture with them holding up their shoe. Who randomly takes a picture with their shoe?  Not many. Not any. There are methods to my madness.
I’m just saying, the World Wide Web is a scary and strange place filled with scary and strange people. It is better to approach whatever you do online with caution.




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