I wake up realising that the AC has been switched off. In my disorientated state, I frantically unlock my phone to find the source of my pleasure.
“Grindr” shows up in a private folder on my phone, and I click on the app. The first thing I do without hesitation is to click the messages icon at the top. I click on it repeatedly, anxious to see if “Nick” has replied. When I see Nick’s profile at the top of my unread messages, I am relieved. My grin turns into a chuckle when I see he has indeed sent me nudes of himself, as he promised just hours before.
He really does have a nice thick one, I note, and whip out my own to start masturbating to them. A quick shiver, and a low moan. I come. I instantly proceed to the bathroom to wash myself. The jerk off session was quick, and satisfying, and I now long for a snack. Perhaps a bite out of a karipap Mum usually makes for tea. Or maybe not. I had other things to do first, I reminded myself.
Within a few minutes however, I chat up another guy. The cycle continues, and the catfishing starts anew.
For the uninitiated, catfishing refers to the act of using someone else’s photos, usually for the purpose of pursuing deceptive online romances.
Dear Straight People,
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.
I know exactly how to get around having multiple profiles on Grindr using just one email address – instead of making multiple email IDs every time – and I know what things to put on your profile that will get you all sorts of messages and picture, 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.
My Grindr profile – 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. I then stock up on various shots of genitalia from another source to make picture-perfect “Jack”.
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), and my adventures begin. I start by reaching out to whoever I want to talk to on Grindr. This ranges from hunks and fit, lean men, twinks, daddies, silver foxes, #masc4masc, and on several occasions, my next-door neighbours.
Sometimes, I come across classmates and former friends of mine. Often, these were the same people I would fantasise 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.
Make no mistake that catfishing is easy work. However, even with all my efforts, it took Nick several hours before he trusted “Jack” to share his nudes. Getting guys to send you nudes takes time, dedication, and precision. No one is going to talk to you, let alone trade dick pics, if you take hours to reply, and not bother to string more than a couple of syllables as your choice response.
The size of Jack’s penis may have well accelerated the process, no doubt, but Nick would have never offered to trade nudes if Jack was not the hunk of a boy that I had designed him to be in the first place. Nick would have never sent the real me his pictures. And I’m not being fanatical – I had tried chatting Nick up through a different Grindr account, but once we started traded pictures, I never heard from him again.
I was overweight, ugly, and 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. At age 30, you can only imagine the toll this would have on my mental health. I am single, alone, and haven’t had sex yet.
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.
Dumbfounded at the simplicity behind the idea, I remember thinking online dating was too good to be true. Friends of mine credited solely these apps for having being able to find their significant others – in fact, two of my friends remained together for years after hitting it off on Tinder – so I figured the same would work out for me too.
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. The thrill I experienced at this point is indescribable beyond compare.
Growing up in a country like Singapore, where LGBT rights remain largely unrecognised, I had initially found it difficult to connect the dots: gay people aren’t just those effeminate men with handbags, they’re just like ordinary people. So being exposed for the first time to such openness and diverseness among gay people, through Grindr, impressed me, and changed my view on the idea.
When I was asked to send him a few pictures of myself, I hesitated.
Being a little on the plus size did little to raise any self-esteem I had at that point. And I had a bad camera, so any pictures I sent him wouldn’t suffice. 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 realised soon enough that I was simply not good enough for seemingly anyone on the app.
“Fat. Not interested.”
“Malay? Not my type, sorry.”
“Not into u sorry.”
And so began my first step into the real world. Rejection. Discrimination even within a discriminated group.
I want to say that I persevered, and that I started working on building my body. Or that I started taking to the local gym, and found my boyfriend of 10 years there. But life sadly, isn’t that simple, and I started to catfish soon after.
I would tell myself:
“Nobody was going to talk to me anyway, so what wrong was it if I use someone else’s pictures?
Anyway, it was not like I was going to meet up with them for teh tarik or a date, so it’s not that bad, right?”
I wasn’t interested, at the time, in hook-ups or dates; I just wanted a hot guy to talk to.
Dating apps like Tinder and Grindr do little to bring together communities and people with similar interests.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and nothing rings true 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 pictures while shirtless, with your muscles bulging, and your pecs and abs on show for the world to see. It’s been a while since 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 is seasonal; I don’t do it every day.
I know many of you will be upset with me, not only for breaching people’s trust and taking advantage of a minority community in a country like mine. But I’m sorry. I know what I’m doing is wrong. Deep inside I am alone, sad, regularly go through bouts of depression, and contemplate suicide every other day.
Like all of you, I am human, and I have needs, and I am sad at how my life has turned out.
But that is my story. I hope things get better for me.
Contributed by Jack
Note: Edits to parts of the submission not affecting the primary message have been made.
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*All names and identifying details in this story have been changed by the author in order to protect his privacy, and to maintain anonymity.
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