Catfish, The Matrix, and That Pesky Moment of Truth

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Did you see that episode of Catfish the other night? It turns out she was dating a 5,000 pound Beluga whale that had escaped from Sea World. What, you’re surprised? It was so obvious, all the signs were there: constant conversations about fish, crustaceans and plankton, all the Skype fails whenever he took the computer under water…

Given the insanity/absurdity that we digest on a daily basis, a future ep like this may not be so far-fetched (also, sea mammals are ridiculously superior in intelligence.) Honestly, who knows what to believe? Thanks to the Matrix 2.0, we can create profiles and personas online that have absolutely no basis in reality. From Match to FaceBook to even a nerdy LinkedIn profile, we can be our own PR machines, churning out perfect images and perfect lives that never fall short, never get depressed, gain weight or get food stuck in-between our teeth. And yet, when you’re supposed to genuinely connect with another person, as human beings are wont to do, things begin to fall apart.

I love to text. I really do. I love to email and IM and text when I’m online dating because then I can sound funny and snarky and witty and have a seemingly endless supply of cultural references (thank you, Google!). And all my pictures are from that perfect angle, above and a little to the right, please, so my double chin gracefully retreats to the shadows and my flabby arms are more taut from holding up the damn camera for so long. And hel-loooo, I’m a blogger – a sex and dating blogger! So I must really be an expert, right? RIGHT?!?

I have also been horribly disappointed, at that moment of truth, that moment of meeting face-to-face where bare-naked, non-Photoshopped reality crashes into my blissful masturbatory fantasy that you so kindly contributed to. And guess what? You were most likely disappointed too (though thankfully, too polite to admit it.) I can’t hold my head/neck at that angle during a face-to-face conversation, or else you’d wonder if I had been a recent victim of whiplash. And I can’t keep punching furiously on my iPhone every five seconds to check if “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” is from Monty Python’s The Holy Grail or Life of Brian. (It’s Life of Brian. Thanks, Google.)

So this brings me back, in such a convoluted way, to Catfish and Beluga whales. As much as we can deride those poor suckers on MTV for falling for such obvious fakers, to some extent we’ve all been there ourselves. We so want perfection, in others as well as ourselves. We want someone who seems perfect to want us, flaws and all, so that maybe then we’ll have permission to accept ourselves as we are. So starting today, I’m posting an unflattering, badly-angled picture of myself on this site.

OK, maybe tomorrow.

ps–according to Wikipedia, Beluga Whales can mimic human speech. You’ve been warned.

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