I recently watched an episode of Catfish, a program I don’t usually bother with. An attractive, intelligent young woman had found someone she considered to be absolutely perfect for her, online. They had never actually met even though they had been in communication for something like 2 years… and were talking about moving in together and getting married. She dreamily commented, several times, that she had never, ever felt a connection like this. There were always reasons why the handsome guy in the pictures couldn’t meet up or speak on the phone… and she accepted all of them.
The presenter/investigator read through the messages of undying love and commitment and said, “This is a chick you are talking to… it has to be!” Of course, the head-over-heels-in-love lady was adamant that it wasn’t… he was just sensitive and completely in-tune with her, that’s all. Well, to cut a long story short, it was a chick… her best friend, in fact. It was an act of jealousy and revenge that had just gotten right out of hand.
I was a little shocked but the presenter’s words immediately came back to me… and it all made sense to me.
The devastated young woman had been ‘connecting’ with another female… not a male. And this reminded me of a question I have asked myself many times throughout the years: are women really looking for a man – or, are they really looking for a woman with a penis?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am talking emotions here, not body parts or strap-ons. Women know how to communicate with women and so it is feasible that a girl can hide behind a computer screen and a picture of a good looking guy, and know exactly what to say and how. It isn’t healthy or right, but you can see how it would be possible to get away with it. Of course, the victim in all of this had been behaving in an believably naive way, but still – she ended up losing her fantasy lover and her best friend, in one fell swoop. That’s heartbreaking.
We all know, intellectually, that men and women are different and communicate in completely different ways. Emotionally, we women sometimes forget that fact. We dream about the man who relates to and understands us in the way that our best female friend does. And, unfortunately, smart but unscrupulous men have figured this out and know exactly how to play the game… drawing their love interest in until they are hooked – and then backing off at the speed of light. I don’t know what would induce one human being to do this to another, but sadly it does happen fairly often.
And, I am not so sure that the shoe is on the other foot, where men are concerned. I can’t imagine them fantasising about and falling in love with a woman who talks just like their best mate. Some might, but most probably wouldn’t. So, it would appear that this is a female issue.
I have said this, time and time again, and to many, many women: men communicate their truth through their actions way more than through their words. If the sweetest talking man in the world is still doing just that two years (6 months, even) down the line, big questions need to be asked. We women sometimes need to become much smarter (not more self-protective), less idealistic, and more open to genuine, mature communication. That way, we are more likely to avoid becoming the hapless victim of a con artist… or a bitter and jealous female friend!
I am not suggesting that men should be allowed to behave and communicate like grunting cave-dwellers… only that they often don’t ‘get it’, and tend to say the wrong things in the wrong way at the wrong time. But, they can learn, in a masculine kind of way! And, if in doubt, think about the beach scene in the film ‘Bedazzled’: Elliot is desperate for Alison to fall in love with him and has discovered that she says she is yearning for a sensitive man… and so the devil grants his wish to become the most sensitive man in the world – only for her to become completely bored with him and run off with the truck-driving thug who kicks sand in his face… a ‘real’ man who will treat her as if she is completely invisible (or words to that effect)! Going back to the Catfish situation, I found it fascinating that it was the male investigator who suspected that the messages had been coming from a woman… and not his female assistant! Very interesting, don’t you think?