Sex in the City: A beauty executive's catfish Tinder date at Jewel Changi Airport has a not-so-happy ending

Sex in the City: A beauty executive's catfish Tinder date at Jewel Changi Airport has a not-so-happy ending

Something's fishy

Editor: Aravin Sandran

Who says love is dead in Singapore? Buro.'s Sex and the City series features anonymous dating stories that are drop-dead hilarious or downright tragic, but always thoroughly entertaining. This week: a 24-year-old, bisexual beauty executive's catfish Tinder date at Jewel Changi Airport has a not-so-happy ending. Interested in submitting a story? Spill the tea via email with your age and occupation.

6 July, Saturday: When I saw the profile, I thought he was hot. Appearance-wise, he was an athletic (big biceps) Chinese guy. He looked like he could bench press me. His profile had his surname, age (26), and a brief one-liner about his hobbies (diving).

Just a few minutes after we matched, he messaged me. It was something generic like "Hi, how are you doing?" It was late at night, so I thought it was going to be a booty call at first, but he genuinely wanted to have a conversation. I texted him for a bit until 11-ish before I got tired and stopped replying.

10 July, Wednesday: It was only after a few days that he asked if I wanted to chat on Telegram. I thought Telegram was safe, so I gave my username to him. I looked through his pictures, and there wasn't much of him. It was basically shots of nature that looked like desktop screensavers. There was one photograph that showed his back. I just assumed that some guys didn't like taking pictures, or weren't comfortable posting pictures of themselves. To be sure, I asked him for his IG because that's the best way to get an impression of someone these days. He said that he didn't use his account any longer, and it had been inactive for a long time. I was beginning to see red flags, but I was also curious.

11 July, Thursday: He asked me out on a date, but as soon as we started talking about dates, he got flakey. Worried that I might lose interest, he quickly doubled back and said that he could meet up late on Friday night. It was total coincidence that I was going to be watching a movie until 11 at Jewel so I suggested that we grab drinks after.

11:15pm, 12 July, Friday: I watched Spider-Man: Far From Home and thoroughly enjoyed it. My friends left me at Burger King because I was suppose to meet him at 11:30pm at a bar nearby. I texted him before making my way there, and he said that he was "still working on something". At this point, I was very annoyed and pretty suspicious that something wasn't right, but I wanted to get to the bottom of it. I told him that we already agreed to meet and I was prepared to wait.

11:35pm: After about 20 minutes of waiting, as I was standing outside the bar, somebody taps me on my shoulder from behind. I turned around, and it was a completely different guy. He was Chinese (at least that was true to his profile), very tall, very skinny, and average-looking with short hair. He was wearing an Adidas soccer jersey, basic-boy three-quarter khaki shorts, and navy slippers.

Here's how the convo went after the shoulder tap:

Me: Yes?
Him: It's me.
Me: You look like a completely different person.
Him: I know. (long pause)
Me: So, what were you hoping to achieve from this?
Him: Can we sit down? Can I explain?
Me: Sure we can sit down and you can explain, but I want you to know that this is not a date anymore because I don't feel comfortable dating someone who has lied to me very blatantly. (At this point, I was worried that he might get violent or create a scene.)
Him: That's fair, but I want you to hear my side of the story.

He confessed that he was new to the dating game. At first, he used his real photographs in his profile, but he received very little matches. In the name of having a little fun, he began using a set of fake photos, and obviously, he started getting more matches. He claimed that he was only intending to talk to all these women without ever meeting up with them. Apparently, he only met up with me because I seemed "chill" and more likely to accept him. The story was, he had just got out of a long-term relationship that ended badly. His girlfriend cheated on him with his best friend (who happens to be very buff) and broke up with him. She said some very hurtful things about his physique before it was over, and it was a big blow to his ego.

He asked if I could forgive him, and since I was feeling pretty sympathetic at this stage, I said I could forgive him but I couldn't date him. Since he didn't have any good photos of himself, I offered to take a few photos at the bar that turned out pretty good.

1am: By this point, I was done for the night. I told him that I never wanted to see or speak to him again, but wished him the best before leaving the bar. I blocked him immediately when I got into the cab.

The key takeaway from this experience for me, is that not all catfishes are predators. Some of them have a story that I can sympathise with, but their catfish behaviour cannot be condoned.

To guys who are looking to put up fake pics on their online dating profiles, I would say that it's too much effort to go through with it. Listen, uglier men have managed to snag girlfriends and wives, and have gone on to live very happy and fulfilling lives. Hell, you can even be single and live a fulfilling life. Calm down. If it happens, it happens. Someone will love you, even if it's just your mom.