No one would blame you for thinking that in the days of Skype no one would continue to date over the internet without so much as a video call as proof of their identification. The days of months spent communicating with husky middle-aged men ‘disguised’ as young leggy blondes should have ended by now surely? Well, not if ‘Catfish’ is anything to go by.
A ‘Catfish’ is someone who fakes their identity online, usually via a social networking site and usually in order to pursue a romantic interest as someone else. A docu-movie by the same was released in 2010 to rave reviews after Yaniv ‘Nev’ Schulman recorded his journey down the treacherous path of online romance only to find that he had been ‘catfished’ and the attractive woman he believed he was in a relationship with was a completely fictional character made up by the real (and arguably far less attractive) woman who he had really been talking to all that time. Having learnt his lesson, Nev sought to educate the misled masses on how not to conduct an online relationship and how to spot the ‘red flags’ that are usually a sure sign you’re being deceived. Catfish the TV show, launched in late 2012, follows the stories of hopeless romantics seeking to meet their long time loves in the flesh.
Nine times out of ten the individual on the other end of the screen is not at all the person they would have their pursuer believe they are. The show exposes the true identity of the reluctant lovebird, thus proving that anyone who insists on hiding themselves from someone they are ‘dating’ usually has a reason for this. In some cases the reason was to hide obesity, characteristics they deemed unattractive and even gender. The list goes on and on. This was obviously devastating for those who had been in these relationships for years, some as long as a decade. In one episode a two year webomance was found to be nothing more than a ploy devised by an ex’s new girlfriend. Nev provides educated advice for those who have fallen in love online, some without so much as a phone call.
In the end, it just doesn’t make sense – if someone feels that strongly for you they should be gagging to see you, not refusing to video call or meet up, especially after ten years. Sometimes being old fashioned is not such a bad thing…