Did I ever tell you guys about the time I got Catfished? Picture it, 2001: young JNic is fresh off a high school breakup and first semester of college homesickness breakdown. I wish I could lie and say I worked my way through it healthily, but that is far from the truth. 2001 was a TERRIBLE year for me. Lots of bad happened (some I caused; some I didn’t) and I think I was seriously depressed. Not wanting to admit anything was wrong, I turned to the place where alllll people go to escape the real world–the interwebz LOL.
Back then, as you should well know, people were still wary of the net. You didn’t make friends, arrange meet-ups and all of the stuff that is commonplace now. You checked your email, maybe hopped into a chat room every now and again, then logged your ass out. It was the era of 56K and nobody had time for clogging up the phone lines coz you’re on the Internet.
Somehow, dunno what lead me there besides my stanship, I ended up in the Janet Jackson official site’s forums. This was the first time is truly started forming friendships with the people in the computer (lol). Though we all initially came there for one common interest, I wound up finding people with whom I held LOTS in common. I’d spend hours (mostly early AM when I shoulda been asleep) posting & chatting with my crew on JJ.com.
One day when I was online I got a PM (personal message) from a username I didn’t readily recognize. I thought it was one of the homies incognito (that happened from time to time), but it wasn’t. The message was innocuous enough and this mystery person and I began a dialogue. This lasted a few days and then I got an AIM from the same username a few days later. I continued chatting with the user who I’ll call B going forward…because his name is Brian LOL.
So B and I talk about everything from A/S/L to the shit I was going through. He tells me about things he’s going through, life in NYC and all sorts of personal info. After a while the obligatory pic exchange happened and you could blow me over w/ a feather when I saw his pic. He was capital C, Cute! I’d had no inkling of romantic feelings toward him, but after my disastrous K breakup, it was nice to have a cute guy that was interested I hearing what I had to say. Superficial, party of one? Your table is ready!
So B & I talked constantly. Whether we were on the forums acting silly or on AIM, we touched base once a day at the least. To say I’d grown fond of him was an understatement. So fast forward to the summer of 2003 when my aunt decided she wanted to go to NYC for her birthday. I’d been DYING to go to New York, so when I found out my mom was going too, I invited myself along. Jazzed, I immediately let B know I’d be in his city and open to meet up. He was hesitant, so I rescinded the offer. Feelings were a little hurt, but I did understand the trepidation. After all I was some random stranger from the Internet. Who knows if I woulda went cray cray and tried to harm him, right? LOL same could be said of him.
So I talked it over with my girl Ally and she was convinced that something in the milk wasn’t clean. She knew the trajectory of our entire friendship thus far and was hella confused as to why he wasn’t chomping at the bit to meet up. I’d adopted a “whatever” attitude about the situation and continued my building excitement for my first trip to The City!
Well imagine my surprise when upon landing and turning on my StarTac flip phone, I had a message waiting from B. He’d had an apparent change of heart and wanted to meet up. My trip was short and jam packed with activities with my mom and aunt, so I didn’t factor in any time for him. Talked it over with my ma and she was hesitant about the entire situation. My aunt, however, was surprisingly cool with it and encouraged me to skip doing one of those bus tours with them the next day and set up a date w/ B. She brought my mom around to the idea, on the condition that they meet him before we take off, so I called him to see if he was available the next day. He was and we planned lunch & a walking tour of Manhattan. I was equal parts anxious and excited.
So the next day comes and we’re set to meet in the lobby. At this point the mental picture that I have of him is from the photos we’d exchanged previously. So when I’m downstairs and he is allegedly there too, I’m hella confused. I see no one who looks like who (at this point) I know to be B. All of a sudden I hear a familiar voice call my name so I turn around and…the face attached to the voice is NOT the one in my mind’s eye.
He expected my surprise and it was evident in our greeting. Leaving my mom and aunt we embarked on our day together. It was awkward as neither of us really discussed the elephant in the room. Conversation, which flowed so freely before, was stilted and weak. I wound up back at the hotel sooner than anticipated. My mother and aunt were still out enjoying the sites, but upon their return, pressed me for details of my day. I was brief, for two reasons: I was annoyed and also confused.
Call it naivety, but it never occurred to me that people would present themselves as something that they were not. I figured that because I was honest, so were others. WRONG! When I returned home, I continued correspondence with B until one day I was fed up and finally brought up the deception. He admitted he’d used his brother’s pic because he was insecure about his looks and wanted to present the best picture possible.
I was taken aback and a bit hurt that he’d think I’d be superficial enough to not be his friend because of his looks. Soon enough I got over the deception and we remained friends for quite a while after that, until some other shit started going wrong, but that’s another story for another day. Let’s just say I sure wish Nev and fine ass Max woulda been around back then to help me out LOL