Q: I’ve been communicating through an online dating service with this guy “Bill” and finally we met last week. When we talked on the phone I was very excited that we had so many of the same interests, communicated really well and had a lot of the same political ideas. We would talk for hours and never got bored. I thought he was just the person for me; I was so excited about meeting him. I did post my own picture and didn’t lie about anything about myself. I am not perfect but I wanted to be upfront about who I am. I feel honesty is extremely important in any relationship.
Finally, he asked me to go out on a dinner date. I dressed in my best and was so excited. I even bought some new clothes for the occasion. He told me that I would know him by a red scarf that he’d be wearing. Well, when I walked in and saw a guy wearing a red scarf, I knew it could not be him. So I kept looking for another person with a red scarf, but there was no other guy. Pretty soon, the guy with the red scarf motioned me over. He said, “Hi ‘Gerod,’ I’m ‘Bill.'” I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was nothing like the picture he had posted online. Nothing! He didn’t even have his real picture up or if he did, it was a picture of him 25 years younger, 80 pounds lighter, full head of hair–different color of what was left, and without a prominent scar over his left eye.
My first take was just to turn and walk out but then I didn’t think that would be very nice, so I went up and introduced myself. I thought he would say something about the deception or something. But he didn’t. He just acted as if nothing had happened and that everything was OK. I felt like I had fallen down into a tunnel and landed in Alice in Wonderland, and nothing was making sense. We had drinks, appetizers and ate dinner. The conversation felt weird and difficult, probably because I was in shock and kept waiting for Bill to bring up that he had posted a false picture.
At the end of dinner, Bill paid the tab. I had offered to pay my part, but he kept insisting in paying for it all. At that point he wanted to know if I was going up to his room with him. (He had gotten a room for us. This had not been discussed by us before we agreed to go out, or at dinner.) He said after all I had let him pay for the meal and led him on that nothing was wrong. He got quite rude about having to pay for my meal and drinks and what he thought I owed him. I threw the money on the table and walked off.
On the way out of the restaurant he was yelling at me for leading him on and running off. When I got home I had a long e-mail from him saying that I was shallow, and if I didn’t like the way he looked I should have told him upfront instead of leading him on and making him think it was OK. Now I am afraid to do any online dating. Should I have handled this differently? Deceived
A. I’m not sure you did anything differently than any of us would have done had we been confronted with a situation like that. It is human nature to stay there and try to make sense of things. If this were to happened again, you might be ready to confront the person immediately, so the person didn’t think his deception was OK. You might want to check and see if this online dating service has a way you can report this kind of incident.
I certainly wouldn’t give up because of one jerk, but maybe going out for coffee to meet, initially, rather than a long meal would be a better plan.