I’m not sure when exactly I started catfishing. It may have been two or three years ago, maybe earlier. But what I am certain is that I am quite a pro at it.
Yes, I know exactly how to get around having multiple profiles on a single app using just one email address – instead of making multiple email IDs every time – and I know what things to put in your profile that will get you nudes and dirty messages in an instant. It’s a process that has taken years of experience (both good and bad) to perfect, and I’m quite proud of it. Heck, I know I can get you XXX pics in seconds – and I’ve done it before, many, many times.
In hindsight, I could probably have a WikiHow page dedicated to catfishing on a sex apps.
My profile name – let’s call him Jack – is creatively designed and incorporated using random Asian models on the web – Asian men, from experience, are most likely to get me a response compared to other ethnicities, for some reason – and various shots of genitalia from another source – sometimes another site, sometimes from guys who send them to me – help to construct a picture-perfect “Jack.” I constantly update Jack’s profile with poses of similar looking Asian guys too, some of them in bathrooms, runways, on in foreign malls — all thousands of miles away from where I actually am. I also take time to find at least five or six different selfies taken from multiple angles and poses (I mean, how else can I convince them I’m real?).
The end product is magnificent; a 5’2” versatile top, and one heck of a hunk. Jack is mine, and I love him. But I have to share him, or else it’s no fun. My smartphone in one hand, and a charging cable in another (catfishing can take hours, if I’m in the mood), my adventures begin. I start by reaching out to whoever I want to chat with, which can range from hunks and fit, lean men, twinks, to daddies, silver foxes, masc4masc guys, and on several occasions, my next door neighbors.
Sometimes, I come across classmates and old friends of mine — often the same people I would fantasize about in high school or college. Having kept a minimal presence on social media for so long, it was nice to catch up with these friends and acquaintances I once knew. Nicer still was seeing them fully nude no doubt, but it was just something else being able to talk to someone and have a meaningful conversation, if you just looked . . . different.
My first go at online dating pales to my catfishing adventures today. I must have been 16 or 17 when I first downloaded a dating app (it was an old version of one; and I had just enough space leftover from Facebook). Dumbfounded at the simplicity behind the idea, I remember thinking online dating was too good to be true. But friends of mine credited these apps solely for having being able to find their significant others. In fact, two of my friends remained together for years after hitting it off on one – so I figured the same would work out for me too. Unlike most of my friends, however, I downloaded the gay equivalent of other “straight apps.” I was back from a student exchange stint overseas, and was still questioning my sexuality once I returned home. But once I learned my way around the app, that was sorted out for me in no time.
Pictures of shirtless men with abs, and almost perfect features almost constantly fill my feed, as any experienced user will know and appreciate, and my tongue (among other body parts) always wagged. I sent my first message out to an account at random, and immediately thought he was the one. I mean, he seemed intellectual (he used perfect grammar in his bio), mature (he was politically aware), and above all, he was drop dead gorgeous! Plus, he was a well-built Asian man (and who wouldn’t appreciate any good looking Asian twink?). The thrill I experienced at this point is indescribable beyond compare.
I wasn’t “out” yet at the time however, so I chose to remain anonymous, making use of the app’s policy of allowing anyone and everyone to “mingle,” unlike others where matches have to be made first. When I was asked to send a few pictures of myself, I hesitated. Being on the plus size did little to raise any self-esteem I had at that point. I also wasn’t comfortable letting him follow me online, so I told him I would take a few pictures later. He stopped replying back to me soon after that.
The same thing happened with other guys I mustered up the courage to text. Even when I started using pictures of myself, I realized soon enough that I was simply not good enough for seemingly anyone on the app.
“Fat. Not intrested.”
“Not my type, sorry.”
“not into u.”
I started to catfish soon after; it was inevitable. “Nobody was going to talk to me anyway, so what wrong was it if I use someone else’s pictures?” I would tell myself. I wasn’t interested, at the time, in hook-ups or dates; I just wanted a hot guy to talk to.
An average conversation on the apps goes something like this: I find a profile – let’s say this is “Nick”, a 20-something handsome young man some 10 miles away from me – and within hours of talking to me – and I didn’t even tell him my name – I’d have seen Nick’s family jewels and all corners and sides of his chiseled body (even from angles you’d never expect). We may have barely chatted with each other. When I first see Nick’s business, I send him a few choice replies I use – “thanks for that. Loved it. So hot” – although I have no interest in returning the favour. A few minutes will pass before he laughs at my responses – what else do you say when you’ve shown a stranger your junk?
Unapologetically, Nick will ask for “more pics” of me now. I tell him, “Maybe later. I’m at work now”, while I lie back on my bed. Nick continues to type. I already know what it is he is going to ask, so I proceed to block him. “No”, I decide. “I will not take a selfie with my hand on my forehead to let you know it’s me, and neither will I give you my WeChat number.” Granted, it would have taken more than a few minutes at the most to find the pictures Nick wanted from my gallery, and I could have just used the second number I bought solely for my app activities, but I was not in the mood.
Within a few minutes, however, I chat up another guy. The cycle continues, and the catfishing starts anew.
Nick would have never offered to trade nudes if I was not the hunk of a boy that I had designed Jack to be in the first place. And I’m not being fanatical – I had tried chatting Nick up through a different Grindr account, but once we’d traded pictures, I never heard from him again. I was an overweight, ugly, teenage boy with acne, and nobody, nobody wanted to “tap that.” But once I started catfishing, it was like I was finally desired. Conversations and fantasies were shared, all throughout the night and nudes came in on demand. So quick they were, that I would sometimes challenge myself to get them under an hour, to see how efficient I was at my hobby.
I experience nothing of the sort with my real pictures. Nobody wants to talk to me, and hardly anyone wants me. You can only imagine the toll this would have on my mental health. I am single, alone and haven’t had sex yet. Deep inside I am sad, regularly go through bouts of depression and contemplate suicide every other day. Like all of you, I am human, I have needs, and I am sad at how my life has turned out.
Dating apps do little to bring together communities and people with similar interests. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as the saying goes, and nothing rings truer to me than this. Beauty is the only thing in the eye of the beholder, and it matters not how kind you are, how much of a decent human being you are, or how much you do for society. It matters only if you take great pictures while shirtless with your muscles bulging, and your pecs and abs on display for the world to see.
It’s been a while since the last time I catfished. I’m not saying I’m proud – and believe me when I say that I do not, and will not condone catfishing – of what I do, or what I used to do. Catfishing for me was seasonal; I didn’t do it every day. I know many of you will be upset with me — not only for breaching people’s trust, but for taking advantage of a minority community in a country like mine, and I’m sorry. I know what I’m doing is wrong.
But that is my story. I hope things get better for me.
*Some names and identifying details in this story have been changed by the author in order to protect his privacy, and to maintain anonymity.
Last modified: January 16, 2018