The Craigslist Creep

I’ll never forget my very first online date. Although I wish I could.

It all started a little over three years ago. I was nervous about uploading my profile and picture to an official dating site like Match.com, so I decided to dip my toe in the water with a little website called craigslist.

Craigslist had been around for a few years, but this was long before the craigslist killer and before anyone realized it was little more than a haven for creeps and an online photo gallery of penises.

I figured I’d put up an ad, men would respond, and if someone tickled my fancy I could contact him. Or not. No commitment, no pressure. It was my little puppet show and I pulled the strings.

I posted an ad and received about 100 responses. I sifted through them and one guy sounded interesting. He was brutally hot and looked like Johnny Depp, except cleaner. He was also from Europe. I was in my European phase so this was great news. I wondered if he had a sexy French accent. Or maybe he was a cute Dutch boy. I was becoming excited at the possibilities.

I sent him my picture and we agreed to talk on the phone to set up the date. It turned out he was from Turkey and his accent wasn’t sexy at all. He had a sharp, halting voice that deeply offended my cochlea. But I kept my focus on the magnificent face on the end of the line that would make up for it.

He suggested a restaurant in Santa Monica and we arranged to meet the next day. Since he’d only sent me the one photo, I asked if he looked like his picture. He told me that his hair was shorter now, but he looked better than his picture. I felt my ovaries shimmy.

The Big Night

The next evening I was so nervous getting ready. I even left work early to give myself enough time to beautify. What should I wear? Hair up or down? A smokey eye or a red lip? After sufficient primping, I felt confident and set out to meet the gorgeous man.

I arrived before he did and started checking out the menu. Suddenly, I felt someone sneak up behind me and say “Boo!” I turned around and nearly had a seizure.

Who the…? Where is…? Am I being punk’d? There must be some terrible mistake. Then he said my name and I realized there’d been no mistake.

I’d been bamboozled.

The man standing before me was not the man in the picture. I am not being hyperbolic. This man was a completely separate human being than the one whose photo was sitting in my inbox. Not on his best day ever, not 15 years ago, not with copious hours of Photoshop was this the same guy. I expected Johnny Depp and what turned up was a Middle Eastern version of Paul Giamatti. He had said his hair was shorter — how was I to know this was code for bald?

Just so you get a full appreciation of the situation, this is the picture he sent:

And this is who showed up:

I was taken so off guard I had no idea how to react. As if in some kind of bad dream, I said nothing and somehow wound up at a table with him. I was stewing behind my menu when I looked up and caught him staring at me with his buggy eyes. When I asked why he was looking at me like that, he said he was “enjoying the view.” I wished I could’ve said the same.

If you consider me shallow by focusing on his appearance, you bet your ass I am. Looks matter. Attraction matters. Just ask the peacocks. But what peeved me most was the deception. And for the record, no, he did not have an endearing personality. He was a real turkey. From Turkey.

I would’ve preferred spending time with this fella.

For the life of me, I still cannot fathom what this guy was thinking when he sent me that picture. Nowhere in my ad did I say I was vision impaired. Did he really think he could pull this off?

Shaking the Turkey

When the date finally ended, I shook his hand, thanked him for dinner and ran for the car. As soon as I got home, the phone rang. It was Turkey, wanting to make sure I made it home alright. I let it go to voice mail and went to sleep.

The next day, he called me at 8 a.m. And again at noon. And again at 4 p.m. Each time his voice mail said he was just “checking in.” Checking in? You are not my boyfriend, numbnuts! You’re just some charlatan who managed to con me into dinner with a fake picture you shoplifted off the Internet. I sent him an e-mail telling him I was not interested.

Fortunately this ding-dong did not contact me again… until last week. I received an e-mail telling me that Turkey had joined Facebook and wanted to be my friend. And guess what? That’s right, he’s using the SAME PICTURE.

I couldn’t help but feel a tad bit guilty for not calling him out on his duplicity three years ago. Who knows how many women I might’ve spared from the trauma I endured?

Alas, I shall have to pass the duty on to another poor, victimized soul. Because I sure as hell am not going to friend him on Facebook.

60 replies

  1. This is hilarious (in a bad way)…I’m sorry that this happened. I hear of so many experiences like this where people are completely different from their photos. It happened to me too…it was the same guy, just a decade ago…but our ending was a bit different. You can read about in on my blog if you like (posts are called “when to give a guy a chance”. Ended well 😉

  2. Can I just say, that after reading this post,I proceeded to become a loyal reader…. you are too funny and this is SO my life!

    BTW three of my friends are now following you as well. KUDOS!

  3. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”
    checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four
    e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service?
    Appreciate it!

  4. AND THIS is why I DO NOT internet date ANYMORE. Your are not alone. this exact thing happens to me time and time again. guys either post their high school/college photo and hope for the best even though they are fat and bald now. Or they truly believe the actually still look the same as they did back in the day. Seriously why can’t guys post accurate photos. ARe they that afraid of not getting a response. To the guys who post a photo with hats and sunglasses..your pathetic and afraid to show your true looks..why do you waist us girls time and are you a gluten for rejection?? What’s the deal. Just pisses me off that this happens ALL the TIME. I’ve met at least 15 different guys on the internet and not one looked remotely like his photo.

  5. Poor miserable demented man was so unhappy with himself that he sent you a picture of who he wanted to be in hopes of finally meeting someone who was equally insane and could see the “real him”

    I recommend you carry a small container of mental floss to hand out if this should ever happen again….

    • Yes, especially when it’s blatant. I think there actually are people who post 10-year-old photos and think they still look like that. They are delusional. But when you KNOW that’s not you in the photo… unforgivable.

  6. Great story! How could you NOT call this person out on his treachery?! At the very least you should have messed with him…”so how long ago was that photo taken?”

    • I am far, far too nice. I thought, maybe he thinks he really looks like that and it’ll make him feel bad if I tell him it doesn’t. I realize this is ridiculous. But I’m a big pussy.

  7. OMG.

    I can kind of understand why some idiot may try the fake photo with online dating but, who the hell puts a fake photo up on Facebook?!! YOUR FRIENDS KNOW WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE.

  8. This is HILARIOUS! But rather sucky from disappointed chick’s standpoint. Are those the actual pictures of him or are they replications? The turkey looks just like him minus the rubbery neck. ROTF

    Thanks SG, this was so much better than guzzling one of those green festive beers. 😀

    • The first pic is the actual one he sent me. The second is a very close approximation. I never actually got a real picture of him, so I had to select one that was close. But honestly, it’s not far off at all. Glad you skipped the green beer. Green barf is no fun. 🙂

  9. Classic Craigslist story! Love it. I have a similar story but I met the girl on Match.com. I know, the venerable, honorable Match of all places. I’ll be blogging about it in the very near future – inspired by you of course. I DID call her out on her shenanigans and it kinda sorta came around to bite me.

  10. WOW. SERIOUSLY?! I am shocked. Well, not really, but kind of. And the fact that he found you again on FB at this point is just kind of (ok a lot) freaky. What a douche.

    • Well, he didn’t actually find me on Facebook. I am guessing he had my e-mail in his address book and used that friend finder feature. But yeah, I was shocked to see him pop up there after all this time. And that he’s still using that photo — really? No one ever mentioned anything to you? Sheesh.

  11. Oh damn. I mean really—what a schmuck! I had a same experience. Photo of him he had hair on his head, no long goatee, said he was 5’9″ AND instead he was sporting a bald head (by choice), long goatee that looked like it needed a bath and with my 2″ boots on I stood about 1″ or so taller than him. I’m 5’4 1/2″—yeah, he was far from 5’9″! Oh and he chewed ::shudder::

  12. why dont you post the link to this blog in response to his invitation in facebook. Btw I hope he does not have idea where you live.

    btw that’s why it’s important for me to see the guy first from webcam before meeting, and never give any personal details before I see him through webcam

    • Yeah, I learned from this experience to ALWAYS see several photos before meeting – not just one. If I see someone’s profile and they only have one photo, I always pass for fear of this happening again.

  13. Who actually thinks they can pull that shit off? That maybe, when you meet them, their personality will let you forget that they lied to you and are not attractive? Because people who are *actually* awesome pull this kind of crap all the time??

    Bummer about your wasted night. You’ll never get those moments back. But at least you got a blog post out of it.

    • This is what confuses me the most – how on earth could he possibly think he could pull it off? Then I wondered if he was so deluded that he actually thought he resembled the guy in the photo. Good god, is that possible?

  14. I did the same thing awhile back, except I posted a hideous picture of a Burmese Hunchback so the chick would be totally into me. And, well…you know how the rest goes.

    Maricopa County Community College Intro Psych…I owe thee one.

  15. Unbelievable. I’ve heard similar stories so many times from my friends (mostly from my female friends), but usually it’s just their date used an old photo, not that they actually used someone else’s photo!

    I just can’t understand how someone could think that when they got to the date that they arranged using a deceptive photo (or saying they’re 6’2″ when they’re really 5’6″, or make over a million a year and show up in an old beater) that there wouldn’t be a problem.

    My theory is that the men might be thinking something along the lines of “I’ll win her over with my personality when I get there,” based on the popular theory that women don’t care as much about looks.

    Actually, I think there’s a grain of truth to that theory.

    It isn’t that women *don’t care.* Of course they do. It’s just that women are a little more flexible about it than guys. They’re more capable of finding attraction in things other than appearance than guys are. But that isn’t the same thing as not caring about looks.

    • Yes, since then I’ve been out with guys who look a lot worse than their photo, but it’s always at least been them in the photo. I guess I started my online dating experience with the worst.

      Some women care about looks as much as men. I think I’m one of them. If it came down to looks or money, I’d choose looks. Of course, he has to have a good personality too. But I’m pretty picky about appearance. Not all women are the same. Some care and some don’t care, and some care to varying degrees. I happen to be one who really cares.

  16. There is nothing right or good about this. You should have taken your one look and excused yourself for his misrepresentation. I admit I have done my fair share of internet dating but when I used a photo I always stuck with me. The best picture I had at the time.

    You’re quite the sport for letting him take you to dinner. Blarrrggh

    • Ah, shoulda, coulda, woulda. I think I was so in shock I just didn’t even know how to react. But I totally would have been within my rights to have left. Dinner was tasty, though. 😉

  17. I instantly hate this guy. Not just because he deceived you (in a pretty pathetic way), but because it’s guys like him that make the whole dating thing hard for the rest of us. Those of us who try to be straightforward, put up honest pictures of ourselves, are constantly aware that we’re battling douchebags like him.

  18. I cannot believe you had dinner w him you poor thing!!!! Can I ask why??? I am confident that had it been me I wouldve shook his hand and said: Thank you for coming to meet me. However, I feel that you misled me by putting up either an extremely old or fake picture of yourself. This deception makes me have to decline a date with you. Take care. -T

    • You know, I think if I’d met him today I would’ve left as well, but at the time it was the first guy I’d met online — and the first blind date I’d ever been on for that matter. I had no idea something like that could’ve even happened and was completely thrown off guard. I think I was too stunned to say anything. Plus, I am wayyy too nice. Isn’t that rich? I didn’t want to offend this out-and-out impostor for deceiving me.

      It was a very good restaurant, however. I had no qualms ordering an expensive glass of wine plus dessert. It was delicious.

  19. I had a similar first experience two years ago. I should have been wary when I could only see pictures of him waist up. Body type average? No fkn way. I was so pissed at the outcome I was fuming in my seat and hardly said two words in the movie theater. At least he gave me 2 hours of silence.

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