What we’re enjoying more than anything with LifeBytes, Real Stories is hearing about everyone’s unique stories about online dating. It’s amazing how our outlooks and personal experiences color our perceptions. Our tales are as varied and interesting as we are ourselves. This week we’re happy to share a post written by Vanessa Jones about her, not so happy brush with the world of cyber-dating.
— Sharon & Mariann
We’ve heard the horror stories all too many times before: you’ve been chatting online with what appears to be a very cute guy or girl but when it comes time to meet them face-to-face—they don’t look anything like their profile picture. But posting a 10-year-old photo of yourself (or an enhanced photoshopped photo) appears innocent when you encounter those who use completely fake profile photos to lure you in. But what if you happen to be the person some weirdo is pretending to look like? And better yet, what if that weirdo happens to be your best friend? Continue reading below to find out why online dating to this day continues to get a bad rep in my book.
In my college years, I had a hard time getting a date. It wasn’t that guys didn’t find me attractive—many told me on a regular basis that I was—it was that I guess you could say I didn’t seem very approachable. ‘Intimidating ‘was the word guys preferred to use. My roommate and best friend Liz, on the other hand, was fun and adventurous and made friends very easily. But those friendships never blossomed into anything romantic—she blamed her plumpness and stout nature for that. As Liz grew tired of being home on most Friday nights, she told me that she wanted to register for an online dating site. She asked if I wanted to join as well but I told her no. Online dating just wasn’t something I’ve ever been interested in exploring.
A few weeks later Liz told me that she met some great guy online. They really hit it off she said. What made it even more special was that this mystery man lived very close to our apartment and frequented the local salsa club that Liz and I both loved to go to. One day Liz and I decided to go to this salsa club. After a few songs, I needed to take a restroom break. But as I approached the ladies room, someone kept calling for Liz in my direction. I paid him no attention because clearly he wasn’t talking to me. But then he managed to catch up to me and grabbed me by my arm saying “Liz, I can’t believe you’re here. It’s so nice to finally run into you. You look lovelier than your profile picture.” Immediately I understood what was going on. Initially I felt betrayed, but then I felt sadness for my dear friend. I didn’t realize that Liz’s self-esteem was so low that she felt she needed to pretend to be someone else, or rather that she felt she felt she needed to pretend to be me. But that didn’t make it right.
It caused a lot of embarrassment not only for me and my friend (she had a lot of explaining to do), but for her mystery guy as well. He left that night vowing never to trust the online dating system again, and who can blame him. There is a lot of potential if you do decide to pursue online dating, but when people continue to misrepresent themselves using fake profile pictures, it corrupts that potential and makes people suspicious of the whole idea of it. So spare everyone and use your own photos.
And as I learned firsthand, it’s also important to protect your images so that you can prevent someone from using your photos. This means changing all the settings on your social networking sites to “private” and “friend’s only.” This also means changing your private settings so that no one has the ability to right click on your photo and save your images to their personal computers. Ever seen the indie flick “Catfish“? It’ll make you never want to post a photo album ever again.
With that said, it’s also equally important that you have the ability spot a fake profile picture. Pay attention to details and don’t be afraid to ask person to video chat with you if you are suspicious. If they say they don’t have a webcam then just pay close attention to small details. If they tell you they’re eyes are brown but they have blue eyes in their profile picture, you know something is not right.
This guest post is contributed by Vanessa Jones, who writes on the topics of dating sites. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: email@example.com.