Currently based in Chicago, IL, Unsolicited AF is a blog by Zarina Mendoza. Her posts take on dating problems your shitty friends are probably giving you the wrong advice on.

Online Dating Tips To Make Sure You Don't Get Catfished

Online Dating Tips To Make Sure You Don't Get Catfished

Let me begin this post by first telling you about the time I got catfished. For background, I had just dumped my boyfriend of three years and after a few weeks and tubs of Oreo ice cream, I was ready to get back out there and start dating again. Mind you, Tinder only became a thing while we were actually still together and yes, we were one of those couples who were naively like, “glad we don’t have to deal with that!” HA! Anyways, I decided to see what this Tinder thing was about. Some of my girlfriends had it and said they had met some hotties on there.

Why your friends are shitty

Actually this time, this section is going to be why my friends were shitty. They didn’t warn me about anything! For example how you should:

  • Meet a Tinder date in a public place

  • Never give your address and let them pick you up

  • Have an exit strategy

  • MAKE SURE THE PERSON IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS

They just told me to go for it and get back out there! Well, my ass had no idea what I was about to get into after being out of the dating game for three years… no thanks to them.

Back to my story, I saw a guy on Tinder. He looked tall, handsome, and just my type. So I swiped right (and for anyone who lives under a rock, that means I swiped to match with him) and we matched! So, we got to talking yada yada yada he was witty and all and I did what I typically did when a guy asks me if I want to go on a date, I just sent my address and told him to pick me up at 8 p.m. LIKE AN IDIOT. But at the time, I thought nothing of it.

So it’s the day of the date and I get ready. I’m nervous, it’s my first, first date in years. He texts me that he’s arrived and I head downstairs. This guy pulls up in a nice ass Mercedes coupe but the thing is when he gets out of the car to open my door… THE CAR IS TALLER THAN HIM. And when I walk towards the car to get closer, he is not handsome and is no where close to the vicinity of my type. Like if my type were Earth, he would be Pluto and Pluto ain’t even a planet anymore. It was just all so very bad. So at this moment of time I just should have turned back around and walked back towards my apartment. But I didn’t. Instead, I got into his car.

Side note: An important detail before I continue the story is that I was living in Sherman Oaks at the time and the place he chose to take me was a bar in Santa Monica. I was interning in Santa Monica and I grew up in LA so I know the freeways and how to get everywhere.

Instead of taking the 101 to the 405… This guy chose to take me through Mulholland Drive — where there’s dark ass hills and no cell service — when the freeway was right down my street. So when I asked him why he took that route, he said, “Yeah, I made the wrong turn but hoped you wouldn’t notice.” Bihhh what?! I was freaking out in my head, obviously. So, I suggested we go to Brentwood instead (UCLA’s college town that is in the middle of Sherman Oaks and Santa Monica) because I was doing the math in my head that it would be cheaper to call a Lyft back home from there.

Anyways I’ll spare you some details because I could write forever about what else went wrong, but when we got to the bar I told him I had to go to the bathroom. In there, I called my Lyft and when I came back out, I made up some excuse that my roommate needed me. That was pretty much the worst date of my life and after that, I learned how to make sure that never happened again which leads to my tips on to never experience what happened to me:

how to tell if he’s tall or not

Look at his surroundings in the pictures. If he has a picture of himself in a car, check out the ratio from the top of his head to the top of the headrest. If he has a bathroom mirror pic, is he taller than the shower rod or is he closer to the door knob? Keep in mind also, his ass could be on his tippy-toes and I’m not kidding you, I’ve seen it with my own eyes because one guy forgot to crop out his feet. And yes, I sent it to all my girlfriends. We laughed till we literally cried.

does he have hair or is he bald

Some dudes literally crop every picture at their forehead and others have always got something on their head. Hats, beanies, hoods, even the holding-up-the-hand-to-their-head-‘cause-they-think-it’s-cute photo means they’re bald. If they don’t show hair in one single picture, they’re bald. They’re all bald like an eagle or balding.

Is it a cute smirk or does he have teeth

A shiny white smile is one of the best pictures a guy could have. And if they have a nice smile, they usually show it. But if they’re smirking in every photo with his lips closed, he might have braces, a gap-tooth, no teeth, be a vampire, who knows.

Does he have a nice body or is it an old pic

Some Instagram accounts are connected to dating apps but if he doesn’t have one readily available, ask for it. And once you follow him, make sure to check his tagged photos and do your investigating. Also, check out the photos he used on his dating profile and see if any of them are recent or dated a few years back when he was in his prime.

is he really who he is

When you’ve set a date and he’s passed all of the above parameters, always, always ask him to FaceTime. He may have mastered all the above but nothing does the trick better than a face to face convo to see if you still want to go through with the date. Think about it, he’s a stranger you met online so think about your safety first and make sure he is who he is online!

FaceTime gets you to see his mannerisms where a picture just doesn’t do anything. When I’ve done this, I’ve called off a good amount of dates because almost anyone can take a great picture, but body language is an important factor of attraction. And like Will Smith said in one of my favorite movies, Hitch,

“Sixty percent of all human communication is nonverbal, body language; thirty percent is your tone. So that means that ninety percent of what you're saying ain't coming out of your mouth.”

Whether you’re just getting back in the dating game or want to try out online dating, make sure you don’t end up getting catfished like I did. Search for clues in every picture to get a sense of what this guy actually looks like and don’t be too trusting and dismissive of your safety. If you think he feels the slightest bit creepy, don’t go. If he doesn’t have social media other than this dating app, don’t go. If he doesn’t agree to FaceTime, definitely don’t go. Because a normal guy would not give off those vibes and should be open to FaceTiming.

Other than that one horrific experience, I’ve met a ton of great men through Tinder — men who I’ve dated for months actually. Some people live busy lives and that’s why they’re on there so there’s no shame in using an app from time to time.

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