The One Time I Was (Kind of) Catfished by Two Sisters
Suzy messaged me first on OkCupid, which is rare for a guy like me, especially in New York City where it isn’t uncommon for an attractive woman to get upwards of 100 messages in a single day. This means she doesn’t have to do much of the introductory legwork — but my profile will lie dormant for weeks at a time until I get a mobile notification that a girl has visited me or sent me a note. (I’m too lazy to spend my time trying to sell myself to women with witty messages, especially when I can use that time for stuff like whacking off to porn videos. Or writing essays about my horrible dating life.)
The conversation started at music, specifically about the mutual adoration for the bands Bright Eyes and Brand New. It progressed to her love of tattoos and goofy hats. We exchanged some back and forth banter for a few days before she decided to give me her number and take our conversation to the texting realm. This is something I usually take as a sign that she’s open to meeting in real life. We texted some more — with me really piling it on, maybe something some women would construe as over-texting, but I was just trying to make her laugh — and then we set up a date for the following week.
I arranged to meet her at a place called Boulton & Watt in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. This is one of my favorite date venues in the city. One might think it was because of the cool, Americana vibe and the extensive list of unique cocktails, but it had more to do with its proximity to The Library, a dive right next door that is always showing campy horror films on a projector, and that — more importantly — has a 2-for-1 happy hour deal every day. I liked to arrive a few minutes early for dates and stop at The Library for a double of bourbon or scotch to lubricate my tongue and calm my nerves. (I don’t like first dates. They make me anxious.)
I’d just finished my drink when Suzy texted me that she’d just parked her car. We had a couple drinks and a couple of cigarettes each (I don’t smoke and so was bumming them off her, like a real chivalrous gentleman) and then I walked her to her car. We kissed before she got in. There was tongue, and then a sweeping fist pump from me after I turned the corner of visibility.
We continued texting for a month or so after that, but were unable to align our schedules for a date. She had to cancel on me a couple times, and vice-versa. And she worked weekend nights, which complicated things.
Eventually, our communication just kind of faded out, which happens to me often. I don’t press the issue, because I like to avoid awkward conversations, especially ones that openly invite a woman I don’t know that well to tell me why she doesn’t want to spend any more time with me.
A couple months later, I heard from Suzy again.
She apologized for falling out of touch, vaguely explaining that “life got the best of her.” She had a boyfriend now, but her younger sister, Katrina — who happened to be my age — was newly single.
“I think you’re a great guy and that you two would hit it off. This might sound weird, but would you be willing to meet my sister?”
Some would indeed find this strange, but I try not to overthink things like this. I mean, I’m Eskimo Brothers with my own biological brother, if you can fucking believe that shit. (And two times over, nonetheless. I don’t have many scruples.)
I checked her sister out on Facebook, discovered she was the pretty blonde girl sitting next to Suzy in Suzy’s profile picture. Aesthetically, she was out of my league. I told Suzy to have her sister’s people call my people. I then began texting with her sister, and we decided to go onto a date. (I didn’t take her to Boulton & Watt, don’t worry.)
There were a couple drinks, another walk to the car, and another kiss goodnight.
This time, we actually went on subsequent dates. It was tough, because I’d just started at an ad school where I was taking class most nights until 10 PM, and she was a nurse who often worked 7PM-7AM, with many of her shifts occurring on weekend nights.
Also, she lived in New Jersey.
But we made it work. We would text almost constantly during the times we were both awake, and the conversation never got redundant or stale. (Sometimes it would get a bit weird for me because she’d be like “Oh, I’m hanging out with my sister,” and I’d be thinking to myself about which was the better kisser and who had the nicer ass. Stuff like that.) I even went out to some fucking residential area of New Jersey, called Oradell, to visit her. I had to take a bus 90 minutes both ways to and from Port Authority, and a couple trains the 40 minutes home from there. And this was pretty much just to drink wine, watch Shark Tank, and make out. Nothing more than make out. My friends made fun of me and I understood why. Mostly because I would have made fun of them, too, if they’d been in a similar situation.
The things we do for like and lust, right?
Apparently, my willingness to travel all the way to Katrina’s home and to spend my time there not actively trying to get into her underoos was enough to make her decide that she should come clean about how we ended up in each other’s semi-regular company. Which I had, until that point, been very misled about.
The next time we went out, Katrina came to my neighborhood in Brooklyn. We ate at a place that specializes in meatballs, and then went to a bar, where she told me she “had to talk to me about something.”
“Uhh…” I said. “Really? That’s usually not good.”
At the time, I was coming off a few years of dating dormancy where first and subsequent outings with women were sporadic at best. A big reason for this was the reasoning that if I started seeing someone and things got even vaguely serious, but then went badly, we would have to “talk to each other about something.” If abstaining from getting emotional about women was what it would take for me to avoid these types of situations, I was willing to accept that. I still had a few years before I’d feel an itch for female companionship, before I started to get Ted Mosby desperate.
“I hope you don’t get mad,” she said.
“Again: not good. But I’m not generally quick to anger. Lay it on me.”
Katrina proceeded to tell me that her sister had been looking for a man, and that Katrina had suggested she sign up for some online dating sites. Suzy was hesitant to do so, so Katrina signed her up on her own and worked as her dating social media manager, basically. I guess Katrina, who had a long-term boyfriend at the time, wanted to be able to do double dates with her sister or some shit. I also suspect that Katrina wanted to experience online dating, something she hadn’t been able to do while in a long-term relationship. She’d missed the developments of sites and apps like OkCupid, Tinder, Hinge, HowAboutWe and Farmers Only, among others.
Katrina had actually been the one to find me on OkCupid. She vetted me past Suzy and initiatied a conversation. All of the messages I exchanged with “Suzy” through the dating app were penned by Katrina, who said she found herself increasingly more attracted to me, to the point that she told Suzy she was going to give me Suzy’s number and let things go from there, because it was getting weird.
Shortly after Katrina and her boyfriend called it quits, she actually asked Suzy to message me and say that I should meet her sister.
I’d been had! Nothing had been as it seemed. I’d been manipulated by women before — and I’m almost positive I will be again, a multitude of times — but was it really a negative? It certainly wasn’t something to get all butt-hurt about. It was less a lie, more a sleight of hand. The only thing I was even vaguely upset about was that I hadn’t figured this out on my own. I’ve read enough Harry Bosch novels that I should be able to figure out when someone’s low-level catfishing me or whatever. (Note: I hate that “catfishing” is a very that’s out there in the zeitgeist, and that I’m using it in a story.)
I felt like an idiot. But not in a bad way. At least Katrina, Suzy and I were the only ones who knew about this rather well-natured deception.
But we weren’t.
“I’ve wanted to tell you for a while,” she said, “But I didn’t know how to, really. I was afraid you would get mad and never want to see me again.”
I laughed and took a big ole’ pull on my cider (I’ve got gluten problems, OK?), said “I’m not even mad at all. This is actually pretty funny.” I ruminated on the fact that this had all happened and, in its strange way, landed me dating a woman I was very into.
Katrina was relieved, she said.
“My family has been telling me, like, every time that we get together, that I needed to come clean to you, and I told them at dinner tonight that tonight would be the night, that I would throw it all out there and hope that you wouldn’t be too pissed off or freaked out.”
If she’d plotted out her reveal to her family that night, that was fine. But why did we have to go and eat another dinner that I paid for (chivalry: it’s not dead!) after she had already had dinner with her family while they laughed about how I was none the wiser to the deception Katrina and Suzy had been laying on me for more than a couple months?
I ultimately shrugged it off, and kept reassuring Katrina that I had done so. She kept reaffirming that I wasn’t upset for the next couple days.
Apparently, most people are more hesitant than me to start an even casual relationship that is built on a number of lies.
We kept “dating” for another couple weeks, before our schedules got too tough and our communication started petering out. Katrina became gradually distant in a way I’m sadly used to — a way that indicates to me that the girl I’ve been seeing is moving onto brighter pastures, but does not want to directly tell me so. When she began to “ghost” on me, I wished that I had lashed out at her for misleading me — so that I could have been the one who ended things for a pretty legitimate reason. But at the time I was willing to accept that all these strange things that had happened could potentially become a great, hilarious story we would tell people about how we met and started dating.
As our communication grew more sporadic, and then devolved to almost no communication at all, I accepted all of this for what it was:
A slightly funny story where I am, as usual, the punchline of the joke.