First of all, I have to say I hate fish – red snapper, grouper, tilapia, salmon, whatever. One of Rick’s friends pledged to cook me trout right after he caught it, but he’s never come through with that promise, so I remain unconvinced that I’d enjoy the taste. I’d make an exception, however, for steamed hard-shell Maryland blue crabs strewn across newspaper and accompanied by a pitcher of ice-cold beer!
Today I want to fuss about catfish: not the slimy, cold-blooded kind that lives in the water, but the slimy, cold-blooded kind that lives on the Internet. According to the Urban Dictionary, “A catfish is someone who presents to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.”
As Charles Dickens’ wrote in the opening of his famous novel A Tale of Two Cities, “. . . it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness . . . .” Those words resonate powerfully with all of us these days for a variety of reasons. We want to help others, we want to help ourselves, yet we don’t want to become victims either. A single woman of a certain age has a target on her back – and we women were raised to be generous, empathetic and beloved.
My last two posts have been about the wonderful Modern Widows Club started by Carolyn Moor not too many years ago. There’s a public Facebook page on which paying members of the Club are encouraged to share the positive experiences and support we’ve received — any woman on this page can be identified both by widows sincerely in pain and by individuals with ill intent. Paying members also have access to a private Facebook page on which, presumably, there are only other widows who want a safe environment to express themselves, seek advice and support one another. I have posted on both of these Facebook pages numerous times; as a result, I have probably received over two dozen friend requests from bogus men and a few grammatically-incorrect messages from others.
I am lonely more often than I like to admit.
I miss the physical touch of my husband Rick more than anything. I want to bury my face in a dog’s furry coat, embrace a girlfriend because of her kindness and even receive a bear-hug from a dear male friend. Fortunately catfish can’t do this through social media – they’re relegated to false photographs, plagiarized romantic notes, bizarre explanations for absurd accents and other assorted scamming tools. I’ve seen enough episodes of Dr. Phil to be horrified by the ignorance of desperate women who give love and money to slimy, cold-blooded monsters who do not even exist.
God give me the strength to keep my wits about me!