The Power of the Ping Compels Me

Dearest Rachel –

I promised myself that I wouldn’t be suckered by these ladies. But I have to confess, I’m almost incapable of leaving anybody on ‘read.’ I try not to start a conversation, but if someone addresses me, I almost always feel the need to respond, even if it’s only out of sheer courtesy.

I don’t remember who said it of him, but there was somebody who claimed a sort of grudging admiration of Richard Nixon, specifically for his penchant for lying. “The man lies when it’s not even convenient for him,” was the part that caught my attention, and which seems so appropriate to describe the newest would-be paramour.

I’m not even going to dignify her with a pseudonym; for the moment, I will simply call her Natalia Raelynn (or my be NR for short), because that was what she called herself in her profile. Based upon subsequent information gleaned from her and her texts, that’s more than pseudonym enough for her.

Let’s start with the fact she caught me flat-footed. After having sent her a smile Sunday, I found myself getting messages from within the app while Kevin and I were gaming (so Kevin, if you were wondering around about my inattention during the game, this was part of the problem. Sorry about that). She didn’t send out the walls of text like “A” had done, but her style didn’t feel entirely natural, either. She asked for my phone number, which I gave to her, at which point she started texting me in a more conversational style.

Of course, my guard was already up at this point, because – like with everybody who texts me from this site – I checked the area code, and found that she was located not in Chicago, as her profile said, but in northern Arizona. Again, it’s not the sort of thing to make or break a relationship, as most of these are cell phones we’re dealing with here, and anyone can travel from anywhere to anywhere else, but it is a less than ideal sign.

It has occurred to me that I should be asking someone who claims to be from Chicago as to which neighborhood they live in, if only to determine a mutually convenient (or maybe inconvenient) location to meet, should the opportunity arise. It would certainly weed out the folks who claim to be from the city and aren’t. The only problem is, apart from a handful of neighborhoods, like Sauganash, Streeterville, Pilsen, Bronzeville, Austin and the like, I’m not particularly familiar with most of the neighborhoods myself – or which ones are safe versus which ones aren’t. So I’d probably get myself strung up in my own trap by doing that.

Be that as it may, Natalia continued to text me, and me being a slave to the ping, I would respond. What was odd was that at one point she admitted to being busy taking care of her nine-year-old daughter, and would get back to me by email. The weird thing was, I hadn’t given her my email address, so how was that expected to work?

I’ll be honest, honey – as much as I’ve gotten to the point where I expect to be scammed, I’m amazed at how incompetent the scammers are. At this point I was just playing around simply to figure out how she would dig herself out of this hole.

Eventually, she mentioned having told me her email earlier in the conversation, and that she was expecting me to contact her by that method. Well, I didn’t remember anything of that sort, so I scrolled all the way back to the beginning of our texts. Nothing. Okay… well, maybe it was part of our discussion within the app. So I went back to it only to find that she no longer existed; the only thing left of her was a listing of “Removed User.”

Now, why would that be? I ask with a liberal dollop of feigned innocence.

I proceeded to tell her that her account seemed to have been removed, so no, I didn’t have her email address. However, I still gave her mine (at least, the one that doesn’t include my name in it), so that she could write back to me when she got the chance.

And did she ever. It didn’t take long before I got another wall of text.

I would say that I have no words, but it probably doesn’t matter, as she has words enough for the both of us. No paragraph breaks, weird grammar and capitalization… and is she calling herself ‘Michella’ now? What’s up with that?

Under some circumstances, I would concern myself about publishing this letter, as it’s supposedly a private email. But honestly, I don’t see where this is even real. It’s even punctuated like yet another code 419 scam letter, and I don’t think I’m ruining someone’s life by putting it out here publicly. At least she confirms that she’s in Arizona, under which circumstances I wouldn’t have given her the time of day in the first place. What’s weird about that is that, further on in our text conversation, she claimed to be from New Jersey. Now, why on earth would you do that, after just having said you lived in Arizona?

Not that it matters; I’m looking for someone in the area that I can actually meet, and either one of those locations is a disqualifier in my book. The deception is just the cherry on top. It’s just so frustrating.

I’d mention to you about Chigusa and her texts while Kevin and I were gaming (yeah, I was juggling two other conversations while I was trying to build monuments for the greater glory of the Greek Empire; sorry about that, Kevin), but they wer relatively innocuous in comparison.

And while I found myself woken up by – and responding to – several texts from Naruko at about two or two-thirty in the morning (which shows you just how much my phone is starting to become my master rather than the other way around), her story as it’s been unfolding today might very well be another letter in and of itself. I’m not sure I’m even ready to go into that. Suffice to say, the world of online dating is fraught with peril, and however lonely I might be, I can’t afford to be desperate.

As always, honey, wish me luck… I need it now more than ever.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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