Knock, Knock, Who’s There?

man-in-maskI read a statistic the other day that said more couples now meet online than they do offline.

Hell, yes, they do. In this age of Tinder, Match.com, e-Harmony, Zoosk, Christian Mingle, OurTime.com, POF, OKC, Facebook and you-name-it-I’m-sure-it-exists, more people rely on profiles, pics and witty quips than their real-life personality in order to get a little romance up in here.

That’s all well and good, I suppose–until someone’s profile, pics and witty quips are absolutely fake, forged and fraudulent.

For the record, I’ve never been truly catfished–where someone in person is not at all who he says he is online. But I’ve definitely been surprised. And I’ve shut down questionable situations that had red flags flapping all over them. Including my run-in with GOD.

No, not that God.

Gio Orlando DiGiacomo–or, as his initials would tell you, GOD. Like I said.

Gio was born as the result of an alleged priest/nun fling and quietly sent to live in an orphanage in Palermo, Italy, where he was then picked up by an immigrant family coming to America, then dumped off at an orphanage in Watsonville, California–extremely far from Palermo.

Stick with me, it gets better.

He learned to play the piano from the Italian priests and nuns raising him in the orphanage, and was accepted into Juilliard (yes, that Juilliard) when he was just 17. He got kicked out after a year and a half, but that’s okay because he soon met some finance guru in NYC who took him under his wing and groomed him for greatness as he tapped into his innate sense for making money and entrepreneurial spirit. Eventually Gio founded an international bank, which grew into 35 offices worldwide, then he sold it for millions and billions and zillions of dollars.

I’m not done.

When I met Gio, he had just broken up with his much-younger girlfriend whom he claimed had recently stolen his $250-million-dollar fashion company and he was fighting to get it back. But he wasn’t worried about money because his million-dollar-a-month jet ski business in Italy was providing enough cash to satisfy his insatiable appetite for designer clothes and four-star restaurants. Did I mention he has a vacation home in Positano, my favorite Italian city? Oh, and another outside of Rome. As well as a Ferrari. Oh wait–he used to have a Ferrari. But now he drives a Hyundai because “he likes it better.”

Is your head spinning yet? Mine was. What’s true? What’s false? What’s a little of both? I don’t know!?

At the end of our date, he dropped me off at my car and said, “I need to go find a hotel – I’m between houses right now.” What? And then, “I want to see you again, but let me say before you leave: Don’t believe everything you read online.” Well if that isn’t glaring sign to Google his name, I don’t know what is.

Later that night, I Googled, indeed. What I found (from 2010): “A Menlo Park woman and her boyfriend are accused of swindling an 81-year-old woman out of $13,000.” They allegedly took the victim’s credit card and made “constant purchases” of clothing and other items.

Now I’m done.

And I was truly, utterly, completely and absolutely done. I blocked GOD’s number and prayed he’d never find me again. Holy hell. Who had I just met? A bonafide nutcase, not to mention an accused thief.29141-bigthumbnail

It’s a small miracle that real relationships actually begin from online connections given the potential for people to be whoever the hell they want to be in the cyber world. I recently canceled a date with an (alleged) bigwig on the coaching staff for the San Francisco 49ers because I couldn’t fully verify that he was who he said he was. He had pictures, yup. He sent eight of them to my phone at 6:00 a.m. one morning. He didn’t shy away from an in-person meeting–we actually set a date for a drink. He texted as I imagine an Irishman would, with some Irish vernacular thrown in (I had to Google what a wobbler was), which makes sense considering he’d just moved from Ireland to California less than a year ago.

BUT. It still seemed sketchy and he refused to call or leave a voice message, which would have truly verified that he’s the real deal. His accent (or lack thereof) would have been the kicker. So I kicked him to the curb.

After my date with GOD, I couldn’t handle another weirdo, spinning lies, fabricating some crazy life story and speaking in a multitude of unbelievable tongues. Was I being too quick to dismiss? Possibly. But let’s face it: Either the (alleged) 49ers bigwig is a poser or he’s a dick for not verifying his identity with a phone call. Which ever it is, he’s not healthy relationship (or even good date) material.

All of this is to say, online dating is definitely here to stay, successful for many and not a bad way to go if you’re smart, savvy and aware of the potential pitfalls. And ladies–there are plenty of pitfalls. Watch your step.

Fortunately for me, it also makes for good blog fodder. So winners, losers, frauds, posers or crazy mofos, come at me. I’ll either flirt with you, date you, befriend you . . . or write about you.

-Sienna

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