So last week I had the flu. I thought it was man flu but then was informed by a man that man flu cannot happen to a ) women and b) single people so I accepted that mine too was just normal flu. The flu is the body’s way of telling you to slow down and do something mindless. I couldn’t read or write properly so I had no other option but to watch mindless television. My television of choice? Catfish. Catfish is an MTV cheaters meets the internet, semi investigative show about those in long distance relationships and the people behind the online personas.
Here’s how it works
Nev (he himself a victim of virtual violation at the hands of an average woman called Angela claiming to be a way out of his league model called Megan) and Max (the cynical film maker) choose the most obvious email for that day. The email always starts with some incredulous information like they’ve been chatting for 3 months – 10 years, have never met and can’t video chat for various reasons. One girl claimed that she didn’t even have a phone!
This leads me to something I find rather disturbing about Catfish. Some of these people can’t afford a $40 web cam. How does the Catfishee think they are going to travel across the country and make their love a reality? It’s lower working class fodder and if I hadn’t been so entertained I may have had my liberal senses shaken. There is also something sad about some of the victims or Catfishees. Some aren’t bright and bordering on vulnerable. That however is the reality TV way. It’s Jerry Springer for those who have problems.
But, back to the show. So they skype with the emailer who explains about their relationship and then they investigate the potential Catfish. The investigation is not that new to any woman who dates online. You do the following 5 steps:
1) Google his name
2) Google his email address and telephone number
3) Google his images
4) Stalk his Facebook account
5) Google his work
So it amazes me that those in long distance relationships haven’t done any of this. I mean, these are standard obsessional signs of love, right?
Anyway, something usually pops up like they aren’t who they say they are or that the number is registered to a big black married guy of 50 when you think you’re dating a small white guy of 26. We the audience are left shocked and intrigued. So it’s not who they thought it was, so who the hell is it? We go to commercial break left wondering who could be the Catfish. No TV moment has been so tense since the Rachel Ross will they won’t they. I lie. This is much, much more tense.
Anyhoo Nev convinces the Catfish to meet with the betrayed love (who is somewhat still hopeful that their true love will answer the door) and explain themselves which is when the real fun begins. We’ve had girls pretending to be boys, boys pretending to be girls, one girl who did it to keep another girl away from her boyfriend, overweight people who were bullied in high school and seek revenge on the world, friends who secretly like their friend, those that are just addicted to being different people…..it was exhausting to watch. People online can be a mess. There are tears, almost fights, silence shock and anger. Like internet trolls the psychology of the Catfish isn’t easy to workout. WHY!!
1) If you start an online relationship you need to video chat immediately before you declare yourself in love with their personality.
2) If you start a relationship online then check your own motives. Some of them are as messed up as the Catfish.
3) If you start a relationship online and they can’t afford a webcam then chances are they’re not in the right place for a long distance pop on a plane relationship. Gift them a webcam and go back to lesson 1.
4) If you see the same 3 or 4 photos on Facebook, instagram or twitter then chances are they no longer look like those photos or never did.
5) Apparently those who have manipulated and tricked someone for 2-3 years are damaged too. We need to feel sorry for them and forgive. I can’t sign up to this one as they are just timewasters.
6) Catfish is not the place to work out your sexuality issues. If you want to have sex with a TS then don’t chat to one for years first then get upset when you find out she’s a real woman.
7) A show like catfish is almost certainly the end of the relationship. I think I only saw one survivor couple.
8) The larger the lies for not meeting you the more likely it is that the person is not the gorgeous hunk or model in their photos.
9) The gay episodes are usually the most dramatic closely followed by the black female stories. The country ones are less so and the overweight ones are really slow moving.
10) Reality TV when you are ill is the best medicine.
I’m going to take a Catfish break and see you on the other side with my favourite episode. But remember that online dating is a mess and you have to do your due diligence before falling in love. Who knows who is currently catfishing you. Be careful.
© Chelsea Black