Long before "catfish"-ing someone was a thing, I was whiling away my days seeing how awesome I could make myself sound slash look in my online dating profile.
You know what I’m talking about. I made myself sound like the Becca who rescues a bunch of nuns and babies and what have you from a rapidly plummeting helicopter. “HOW DID ALL YOU GUYS EVEN FIT ON THIS HELICOP-- THERE’S NO TIME!”
I might yell, before checking my airspeed, slowing to 20 knots, and easing back on the cyclic while I prepared for an emergency landing. (I also glossed over the fact that once for an entire week I thought I had bowel cancer because I couldn’t stop farting and called my mom in tears about it.)
Sadly, I am not Bruce Willis. I’m just an ordinary lady who does ordinary things like binge watching all of "Nashville" while eating only cookies and then swearing I will never eat only cookies again. And when it comes to love, to the idea of big romance, as I have crafted it in my head and heart, the dream is for someone to meet me and be all like “but...you’re extraordinary!”
While this is admittedly a rare (embarrassing?) thing for me to crave, it’s even more rare on the Internet, where I’m working to appeal to guys in a primarily visual medium. If life, I might have an extra minute or two at my friend’s party to convince a guy I’m someone he wants to get to know better. On the Internet, he gets my picture. If I’m luckily, and he is not a total troglodyte, I get the chance to hit him with something pithy about my likes and dislikes. Which is why I've painstakingly crafted each word to create a not-entirely-accurate picture of myself.
1.) My profile picture:
Yup, that’s me. That’s my happy smiling face (and only my face). What’s that? You think I must be trying to hide my body? Well that couldn’t be possible - because I’m holding a cookie! See that? What fat, self-conscious would ever hold a cookie in her hand TO WOO MEN? Surely I am, instead of shy and dumpy, a plucky, can-do Katharine Hepburn type, all making cookies, burning them and being all “Fuck it, let’s walk our dogs by the lake and eat sunshine!”
2.) My favorite movies:
Ugh, this is embarrassing. Yes, sure, I love the Last Unicorn, and I admit that as well, but then I do that thing that girls do when we try to seem like one of the guys in a totally disingenuous way? I LIST CHUNGKING EXPRESS. And yes, I enjoy Chungking Express. I own it even. I think maybe once in college I wrote a paper on it. But it’s not my favorite. I’m not that cool girl who watches cool movies. I own Get Over It starring Ben Foster and Kirsten Dunst and maybe watch it once a week. I think the Mummy is a good movie. Also, Speed.
3.) My sign:
I don’t lie about what my star sign is (CANCER 4 LYFE), because that seems like a lot of effort with very little practical payoff. No no -- I lie about ITS IMPORTANCE TO ME. “It’s fun to think about!” I chirp lamely. The truth? I own Susan Miller’s Love Signs and I immediately turn to it when I learn a prospective dude’s birthday. Would I dump a guy solely because he’s a Leo? No. But is the phrase “No! Why do I always fall for Geminis?” one I have actually uttered and meant? God yes.
4.) My Body Type:
Curvy. I clicked fucking “curvy.” Granted, it’s not like OKC provides you with options to click that DON’T make your skin crawl, and yeah, it’s better than me adding “More to looove!” but curvy drives me up the wall -- because as human beings, WE ALL HAVE CURVES. Exhibit our heads, knees, necks, etc. Why not leave it blank? Why not let my photos do the talking? Why try to lump myself into some category just to appear, I don’t know, AFFABLE.
I lie about other stuff too, innocuous stuff. I say I’m a blonde -- and I am, with chemical assistance every six weeks. I say that my eyes are blue when the truth is they are probably green. I like scotch, but I definitely play up my passion for it to sound cooler, more guy-friendly. The same with pizza.
“I LOVE PIZZA. ALL THE PIZZA. OM NOM NOM, JUST ONE OF THE GUYS!”
I spent all this time creating a girl I think my dream guy would want to date. It turns out this girl isn’t even someone I’d want to hang out with.
My profile is a calculated attempt to appear not just myself, but myself at my most attractive -- in every way. I present a woman with no food or confidence issues. I present a woman who “just likes to have fun” and has never woken up screaming in the middle of the night when faced with the crushing reality of her own mortality. It’s not that I lie, it’s that I airbrush over the interesting joints and folds of my own humanity in a vain attempt to seem to be the one thing I most certainly am not above all others: easy.
What lies have you told online? What's the biggest lie you've been on the receiving end of in the Internet dating world? Would you trust me to save us if the helicopter was crashing? I read a whole thing about it, so.