This one really made me angry. Bryon wasn’t a catfish in the traditional sense, but he was fishing for something, with no intent to catch this fish.
I knew he was lying about something, right from the beginning – I will tell you why shortly. But being focussed on that lie prevented me from noticing the other signs of a catfish right away.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing for me is to meet someone who was what I seek. You know, if not for the whole douchebag thing. He was intelligent, accomplished, and interesting. But he was an intellectual bully.
He was also likely married. Or at the very least, nowhere near as single as he professed.
It all started on Plenty of Fish. His profile caught my eye – a handsome dark-skinned man wearing a tuxedo and a big smile. His profile said he was divorced with children and he spoke of interests and desires in life which matched mine. I sent him an opening message, which I rarely ever do.
He replied right away. He liked my profile and said so. There was the great quick banter I love so much. He was flirty but not over the top. He said, “hey A I’m never on here and now getting messages… save me from here… can we text instead?”
And I fell for it hook line and sinker.
The first sign something was off was the first or second evening we were texting. I was home alone and asked him if we could talk on the phone. He promised “later”, but explained he was waiting for his children to show up for dinner. It was perhaps 9 pm.
We kept texting, using WhatsApp. An hour later he sent me a picture. In it, he was sitting on a couch at nighttime. I asked if it was right then and he said yes. When I clicked on the picture it revealed it was a screen capture from another chat exchange. Those of you who use Whatsapp will understand what I mean. You can see the picture, the time stamp at the top, the ID of who sent the picture, and tiny thumbnails of all the photos you’ve exchanged along the bottom.
And that’s exactly what I saw. It was a picture he’d sent, but from a month prior, and in the row of little pictures at the bottom was another picture of him in bed, a selfie of two women, and a few other pictures.
If there’s one thing I really hate it’s when a man lies and thinks he can play me because he’s smarter.
So I challenged him directly. I didn’t care if he sent me an older picture but to lie about it – and not have the savvy to crop the picture? COME ON. He denied it. I wasn’t going to let it go because it made zero sense to me. I explained why I knew he was lying and went to the chat I had below his and mine to take a screenshot as an example.
It just so happened the chat below was between Todd and me. I found a picture I’d sent him of me on vacation, which we’d laughed about because my trapezoid muscles looked huge – I looked jacked. I was fully dressed and in a ball cap.
I checked the thumbnails along the bottom. There was a selfie of Todd but his face was tiny in the corner of the pic. There were two pictures I’d sent to Bruce on vacation of me looking flirtatious in a towel, which I’d sent to Todd when he said he missed me and wanted to see me. All pretty innocuous in my opinion.
I took the screenshot and added it to my text, as proof I knew he was fucking around.
“Is that Todd?”
What are the fucking chances they know each other? I live in one of the largest cities in the world.
He managed to avoid my question about why he’d bother lying about the picture because we were suddenly talking about Todd. I texted Todd right away, sent him his picture and asked if he knew him.
By 11 pm I was curious why we could still text when he was supposedly unable to talk because of a dinner. When I asked, he said they were going out late. I was 80% certain it was bullshit, but I know sometimes there are valid extenuating circumstances. I was aware of becoming overly cynical, so I told myself perhaps he had a good reason but one he didn’t want to share.
Todd called me the next morning. He said he was reluctant to say anything about mutual friends because it ended badly a few times before. Given the experience I’d recently had with my girlfriend, I completely understood. “But Todd, all I’m looking for is whether Byron is who he says he is,” I said, “I’m not asking you to tell me whether he’s a good person or if we are compatible.”
“Okay, Ann…” Todd paused. “It’s so weird, he and I were on the phone for hours yesterday talking about a business deal, and you were texting him all night. Between the two of us, we took up most of his day. Yes he’s the successful businessman he says he is, but… I think he’s married.”
Right. Of course.
I explained he’d said he’d been divorced for six years and Todd mused perhaps it was one of those situations where someone may not want business partners to know. Sure, it is possible. But how likely? Todd said he was uncomfortable talking about it so I didn’t press for more information.
I set out to do some online research the next day, while Byron and I continued our flirty banter. He splits his time between three cities (established as truth) and I had Liam for an extended time, so there wasn’t an immediate window to meet. He’d sent pictures of his children and their names. I knew his last name because he’d told me. It didn’t take long before I found his social media accounts, those of his children… and that of his ex-wife.
Although she sure didn’t look like his ex-wife.
Image from the 1945 Hitchcock movie “Spellbound”; dream sequence designed by Salvador Dali