Please check out Part I of this story so you have a clue what I'm talking about!
It worked. She wrote me back and floored me in the process. She validated my feelings and more. And within a few short hours we began a robust and far reaching correspondence that spanned all our passions, our pursuits and quirks. Wow, you did a year abroad too? Wow, you also consider Michael J. Fox one of the Seven Wonders of the 80s? I can't get over the fact that you also weren't allowed to see Star Wars as a kid because your folks thought it was too violent.
I relayed this goldmine to my buddies. Those poor sacks that were still drifting the lonely seas of cyber dating looking for their match. But I was touched that the guys were happy for me. Genuinely. Perhaps a bit envious of my remarkable luck with Harlequin2 and yes, quick to jab that she was physically out my league, but supportive nonetheless.
And so a few days into our budding cyber relationship, I did what I urge everyone on Guyspeak to do when it comes to online dating: converting your online to offline - taking it to street. Meeting each other. After all you'll be dating in real life not in the cybersphere and sharing a common space and time is ultimately the point of it all. "So, how 'bout it, babe," (yes, we were already short-handing each other with cutesy affectionate names, after all "Thermos" and "Harlequin2" felt so formal at this point) "Would you be open to meeting in the city for a drink or walk around the park?"
She agreed and in the days leading up to our first date our correspondences grew even deeper: I'm talking the works. I'm talking family issues, inner demons and lost loves. I'm talking the kind of sharing that's usually done in a post coital moonlit bedroom a few weeks into dating someone. The night before the date I met up with my Joy Luck crew at a local diner. They peppered me with questions and an incredible "waiting in the wings" energy took hold. Are you ready for tomorrow? What are you gonna wear? Don't forget to take out cash before. You don't want to be at a cash only bar and look like an as*hole.
I got it. I got it, I said. They were making me more nervous than I already was, but I figured that's what wingmen do - prepare their pilots for launch. What they don't generally do is what they did next. While nervously spinning a fork on the table a sheet of paper hit my hand. Actually, a small stack of papers.
What is this? I asked. The one pal I had known longer looked at me -- his eyes buzzing mischievously.
Just read it.
I unfolded the paper and began reading. It was my correspondences with Harlequin2. Not one, not a few, but ALL.
How did you get this? I gave you guys my password? I asked.
Noooo. My other friend said drawing out the short word.
Not exactly. Said the other.
What was more curious was the fact that these printouts didn't come from my "Thermos" account. They came from "Harlequin2's".
But how did you get into her...
Then it hit me. It hit me like a barrel of rotting roses dipped in horsesh*t.
You guys. You f*cking guys!
I'm so sorry dude.
It got crazy quick. And you fell for it so damn hard we just weren't sure what to do?
They got me. They got me real good. And though I was pissed and deeply hurt, I had to admit that their execution was rather brilliant. Having me find her rather than pointing her out to me. Having her meet every single one of my dream-needs.
But the picture, I said, like a nine year old clutching a Santa wig and beard... Where did you get the picture of her?
That was the easiest part. Just some random porn site. For a while we were scared she looked too good and you'd know it was bullsh*t, but damn, you went all in, man.
I did. I really did. I muttered back.
I sat there for a few minutes shaking my head and reading through my emails with... her, with THEM. Embarrassing, no doubt. But also laced with a sort of sweetness. I had opened up and dreamed big.
Could I be mad at them? Yes. Of course. And for a few weeks I was. But for the most part I handled it well.
Wow. So I'm really not gonna go out with her tomorrow? Somehow she still felt alive.
Sorry, man. Sorry.
You got me. Damn, you got me good.
A Catfish tail of the highest order, indeed. And an invaluable lesson learned. If it's too good to be true - it probably is.
When I got home I tore the sheets into pieces and tossed them into my garbage pail. Man we were a match. I plopped down on my chair and powered up my desktop. A moment later I logged on to Nerve.com.
A fisherman on his dock, throwing his line once again into the sea.