I was working and binge-watching MTV’s Catfish TV show and I realized the show is a painful reflection of online dating and the new social media culture. The episodes follow the same script; a lone guy or girl solicits Nev and Max’s help to discover if this amazingly hot person is really who they say they are. Usually the solicitor has waited for weeks, months and even years without laying their eyes on this person, but what they do have are pictures that rate at least a 9.5 on a scale of 1-10. Instead of exercising judgement, the solicitors hope and pray, holding tight to that last shred of hope that a super hot person is really out there waiting just for them.
The hypocrisy the show reveals in all of us is almost laughable. All these tender moments shared texting, talking on the phone and even e-mailing; are only relevant if the person is indeed just as attractive as their pictures. At the point of the “reveal”, when Nev and his sidekick Max find the catfish and it’s discovered that they are an average person, without the filtered qualities of an Instagram selfie, you can see the disappointment chased by anger, slowly cross the solicitors face.
Don’t get me wrong, most of the “Catfish” find a ridiculously attractive picture of a person that has absolutely no physical characteristics in common with themselves and they use that person’s picture as a way to hook a potential suitor. It’s no surprise that when their online person of interest sees them in person and they look nothing like the fantasy they have spent months dreaming about, their disappointment in losing the physical perfection they fantasized about outweighs the conversations about life, family and future. Has the “catfish” deceived them? Yes. But their true infraction is usually not being attractive and not knowing how to deal with the fact that they are undesirable. Sad? Yea but it’s life. Out of numerous seasons, I’ve only seen two couples decide to stay together and in both of those instances, the solicitor was happy with the looks of the catfish.
The irony is that we hear solicitors talk about how comfortable they felt talking for hours and texting their catfish. We hear how the catfish made them feel like they had someone else in the world that cared about them. Sometimes the stories are extreme with Catfish helping the online suitor get over huge tragedies such as death, illness, etc. So when the face is different is it really that different?
Is physical attraction really the gateway to a person’s heart. Are we so eager to be comforted only by the beautiful that we reject anyone else. Unfortunately the answer to that question more often than not seems to be yes.
I’ve asked numerous single women why their single and most of them are quick to respond, they can’t find the right man. After probing a bit further it becomes evident, most of the women are asked out, just not by the man that they consider attractive or “affluent” enough. The same is true for single men. They all want a good girl, but if that good girl doesn’t have a round ass and a small waist, well she just may not be good enough for them to get to know. We are all bypassing empathy, compassion and concern until it’s attached to a supermodel or man from the beard game matters group.
The sad thing is in watching Catfish, in listening to the aftermath of the reveal, most catfish explain that they weren’t getting attention on their original profile page using their own picture. Overweight men and women lament they never received inboxes until they used the uber attractive model they found online and bingo their personality became so much more interesting and lovable. I call bullshit on all of us.
Until we can admit that most of us are superficial to the point that we will only acknowledge and respond to care and concern being directed our way from a package that we physically enjoy, we’ll forever be obsessed with shows like Catfish, etc. Unfortunately, the best advice I can offer the “Catfish” is to spend the energy upgrading their own physical appearance instead of attempting to snatch someone else’s. You will have more luck losing the weight, getting rid of the acne and cutting the split ends than you will stealing a model’s picture. To the solicitors, my advice would be… WAKE UP! If something feels to good to be true, nine times out of ten it is. Chances are if there was a person that hot online looking for love, they probably wouldn’t be clicking on your profile.
Photo Credits MTV’s Catfish The TV Show’s Neal Schulman (photo provided by MTV)