Pet Benatar once said “Love is a battlefield,” and I think the more modern and infinitely more accurate saying would be “Dating is a minefield.” There’s so much shit we have to watch out for: bad pickup lines, dudes who are still posing in their profile pictures with dead fish, Trump supporters, catfish. And now there’s a new dating horror story that’s apparently everywhere, if sites like the Daily Mail are truly representative of modern dating. It’s called kittenfishing, and before you ask what is kittenfishing, just know that it’s probably happened to you more than once.
Okay, so you know how catfishing is when you blatantly lie about who you are, what you look like, and basically everything about yourself so you can get someone to like you and then hopefully appear on an MTV show with Nev and Max? And you know how a kitten is a baby cat? Right, so kittenfishing is basically baby catfishing. Like, instead of stealing some Instagram thot’s pictures and passing them off as your own, maybe you use some old pictures from college when you were 10 pounds skinnier and had a fresh spring break tan. Or, say, you work at the Apple store hawking iPhones and tell people you work “in tech sales.” SPEAKING FOR A FRIEND.
Did a lightbulb just go off in your head because you’ve totally been kittenfished? Yeah, I know. Same. I feel like we all have one kittenfishing story. Ready? I’ll go first. So I meet this guy on Bumble, as one does. He seems like the full package. He’s cute—I mean, a little skinny for my taste but whatever I’m on Bumble, I’m not about to be picky. So yeah, he’s cute. He’s funny. He’s got a job, one that isn’t selling iPhones (if you can tell, I’m still a little bitter about that). He’s smart—I’m talking like ivy league smart. I give him my number. We’re texting. We’re vibing. He’s laughing at all my jokes and seems to be mildly impressed that I, a white girl in 2017, know a few things about rap music (remarkable, I know). We set up a date, and I’m thinking this is the one. I’m mentally introducing this guy to my parents, wondering if I should tell everyone we met on Bumble or just say we met at a bar when everyone will know the truth is we met on Bumble anyway?
But before I emotionally masturbate myself into my wedding dress, my common sense kicks in. “Wait a sec, Betchson,” I say to myself. “This guy is too good to be true. If he were really all that, he wouldn’t be on Bumble in the first place. You already stalked him on Instagram so you know he is who he says he is, but something’s got to be wrong with this picture.” I know, I’m ever the optimist. “What if he has like, a really bad haircut? Eh, I could live with that. Or—no, wait—he probably has a really weird voice. No—a face tat!” I laugh to myself at the idea of it—it’s just too ridiculous. “You crazy for this one,” I think to myself, because sometimes I think to myself in Jay Z’s ad libs.
So I get to the bar where I’m supposed to meet this guy. I’m sending a “here” text because I never like to show up early, but then I hear off in the distance, “Sgt. Olivia Betchson?” I almost don’t turn around because my name, my real name, is very common and also because it sounded to be a small child uttering it. “It can’t be” I think to myself. But I turn around anyway and IT’S HIM. My date. A full-grown man, exactly like in the pictures, but with the voice of Elmo. I immediately know it’s a wrap. I don’t know about you all, but I just could not fuck Mickey Mouse with a straight face. Part of me curses myself for having jokingly predicted this outcome, while part of me is smug that I was right, yet again. It’s a blessing and a curse, really.
(In this guy’s defense he was a perfectly nice dude except for the fact that one of the first things he said to me was to tell a story about how one time a girl showed up for a date who was heavier than her pictures and he literally pretended to be someone else and ran away. Seemed more than a little hypocritical, if you ask me.)
At the time, I asked my friends if “voice catfishing” was a thing. Now I know. I was a victim of kittenfishing, and if you think hard enough, you probably once were too. Comment below with your kittenfishing stories, and maybe I’ll feature the best ones in an article or something.