Bryon and his family’s’ social media accounts showed a very affluent family. He lived the places he said he did. There were pictures of his wife and him together, with and without their adult children, but nothing since year-end 2016.
The conclusion I drew was he perhaps was single, perhaps, but there is no way he’d been split for six years unless they had an unconventional relationship. And if that was the case, if he was actually seeking a new relationship he would be smart enough to say “yes my ex and I are very close, we still do things together blah blah.”
It occurred to me much later that he was so arrogant he didn’t think he needed to do so. He didn’t think anyone would check out his family’s profiles or didn’t care what it showed if they did. Perhaps most women didn’t see the red flags or were blinded by his luxury lifestyle and fancy parties.
Because we’d had such good banter and he was known to a friend of mine, I decided to proceed, but cautiously. I’d give him some of my time, but I was focussed on meeting him in person and seeing what happened then.
All told, we carried on a dialogue for two, maybe three, weeks. It was a combination of texts and the occasional phone call. He was very complimentary. He professed an interest in meeting me in person. He was awesome at the quick intellectual banter, was charismatic, confident, and was no pushover.
But the tenor of the discussion gradually started to change. He stared as mildly flirtatious – something I have no issue with – but it became more sexually explicit.
I was having none of it.
And with my stated reluctance to engage with him that way until after we’d met in person, I saw the intellectual bully. Subtle at first, but the moment I became aware of it, the way he tried to manipulate the conversation was profound.
He was very clever, but not more clever than I.
I don’t want to give this creep too many more words. But here’s the kind of thing that would happen in our dialogue.
He stated multiple times there should be “no filters” between us. Open and honest, always.
I once told him I could be “flirtatious and a bit dirty, but that side comes out once I know someone better.” His reply? “So many precautions and filters… come on Ann. Sounds like history which I don’t care to know nor am I interested in.” He told me my precaution was boring.
When I would say something like “I’m flattered you want a picture of me, but I’m not going to send one until I meet you in person, I’ve learned the hard way to not give too much of myself before I know there is chemistry”, he would say “why limit yourself by the experiences of the past?”
I told him I wasn’t sure about him just yet, that I didn’t know if he was serious about meeting me or was truthful about being divorced for six years. He replied “reluctance again is from past experience. I give you nothing to be reluctant about.”
He said he wasn’t like other men, who were “predictable”. He told me he had the highest regard for me, and no reason to fabricate. He said he wasn’t a douchebag, or an asshole, wasn’t needy, and had no ill intent.
Oh, how I wanted to believe him. But he had not asked to see me. So one day I explained I wasn’t comfortable continuing a dialogue without knowing we had a date set. He told me when he was coming back to my city. I suggested the Friday night of the week he returned and he agreed.
One day I got tired of his twisting and turning of the conversation, and finally explained why I thought he was full of shit. I started with the picture that he told me was current but wasn’t (there were others). He said “I might have been intoxicated and high and duplicated a photo or two but it wasn’t for nothing but the desire for you to see my face and keep you interested. Because I think you are interested.”
And that, my friends, is a great example of how manipulative people can turn things around. It was okay that he lied about “fresh” pictures because it was solely to keep me interested. He thought he was being so. fucking. clever.
I told him I didn’t believe that he was divorced like he said. He turned it around almost immediately by saying “we would have some very intense sex.”
And then I knew there was no way we were ever going to meet.
He insisted he was divorced. Could have been true, but there is no way he’d been split for six years. He insisted he’d never lied to me.
And then the overtly sexual stuff started. He asked if he could send me pictures and video, and I agreed. I never sent him anything sexual in return. I was curious what he would send. He sent me a video of him masturbating, photos of him in the tub (never with his face), and dick pictures. He told me he liked that I’d stopped being prudish.
When I asked on Monday what he was thinking for our date on Friday, saying I was trying to sort out some plans, he responded by telling me he wasn’t the type to make plans that far in advance. He liked to be spontaneous. He said “I haven’t thought about it at all yet. I don’t need or like to plan really. I like my instincts, and trust them.”
When I said I was only trying to understand roughly when we’d meet because I was trying to coordinate something after work with girlfriends, he said “sounds like a business meeting” and he told me to “loosen up, relax, take it easy, and smile.” He said he liked the “cute Ann, she’s fun”.
To be crystal clear, I already knew at that point it wasn’t going to happen. But I was super curious how it was going to play out with him. I was interested in seeing how much he thought he could twist the conversation, and criticize me, thinking he had the upper hand.
I told two girlfriends I was free that Friday night. I knew he would bail.
I waited a couple of days. He’d told me originally he’d arrive the Tuesday before the Friday we had plans. On the Wednesday, I asked when he was arriving. He said Friday morning.
Friday arrived. No text. At 5 pm, I texted “so where are we meeting?” as I was on my way to dinner with girlfriends. He replied with a video of his daughter’s 21st birthday celebration that evening.
When I called him out on his behavior, he started with sarcasm: “Oh, so sorry my daughter decided to have her 21st birthday party.” Sure. That kind of party isn’t booked on the fly. The then went on to say he was a man of spontaneity. And finally, when I said he really was an asshole, and I expected at least a modicum of courtesy given we had a mutual friend, he said he had a right to change his mind about liking someone.
Masturbation pictures on a Sunday, change your mind by Friday.
That’s how the dating world rolls, my friends.
Image from the 1945 Hitchcock movie “Spellbound”; dream sequence designed by Salvador Dali