It’s taken a while for me to come out and tell this story, mostly because after it happened I was both embarrassed and devastated. Well, now I can say I’m completely over it. So here is a breakdown of what happened.
It was the first time I’d ever tried online dating. Sure, I’d flirted with guys on Facebook a few times but in my book that didn’t count. A friend of mine introduced me to Tinder. I had my reservations at first, but it wasn’t long before I was completely sold on the idea of casually hooking up online.
So I made a profile and started swiping. Most of them looked like creeps to me so for the first week, I would just swipe left. Should I say good fortune smiled upon me? Well, at least at the time it seemed like good fortune. I had a match! And he didn’t seem like a creep.
We started chatting and then ‘tukavuka WhatsApp’ and that’s where all the naughty went down. Before that there were the casual introductions that a lot people don’t really care much for like our favourite genre music and basic details about our families. He told me he worked at an IT company in Westlands and that his job involved a lot of fieldwork so he travelled a lot. He also shared that he lived in Kasarani.
Next was the exchanging of pictures. This stage was still pretty tame. I sent him a selfie of myself and he sent me his. He was photophobic (his words, not mine), that’s why his pictures were so ancient. He hadn’t taken a picture of himself since 2012 (also, his words, not mine).
I started getting comfortable with him after a few weeks, texting turned to sexting and then into phone sex. I was all in folks. I sent him the entire nine yards, the whole shebang of naked selfies in different positions, I even threw in a couple of videos. Not a single picture from him, except the three he’d sent previously in the beginning of our ‘relationship’.
You must be like, ‘what was she thinking?’. In retrospect, that should have been a major red flag but we pass through the present blindfolded. As such I cannot beat myself up for failing to notice that something just didn’t add up and act on it.
I found myself falling for this man. He had a voice smoother than cocoa butter and the sweetest sweet nothings I’d ever heard. I had to meet him! He, on the other didn’t seem too keen about it. He always found an excuse as to why he couldn’t make it. Not being able to meet him made me obsessed and desperate to see him. I would spend hours imagining how he’d skin would feel on mine or how our encounter would be when we finally met. I was such a wreck.
This went on for about five months, my desperation increasing with each passing day. One day, he called me and told me he was ready to meet me. He was however stranded in Eldoret and needed me to bail him out. I sent him money for bus fare and food as he took the journey. I hardly slept that night due to the excitement of finally seeing him. He called me at 5am when he got to Nairobi and told me to meet him at Memorial Park at around 7am.
A few minutes after that call, he called me with a different number to tell me that he’d just been robbed and the thieves had taken away all his possession including his laptop. He told me he needed to get to the office where he worked and since he didn’t have a laptop, he asked if he could borrow mine just for the day. I agreed, the meeting point and time didn’t change.
I got ready and left the house. Once I got to town, I called him with the number he’d used earlier. It was off. I almost cried. I couldn’t believe I was being stood up again. I was about to get on a matatu back home when my phone rang and it was him. He told me he couldn’t make it but he’d sent his brother. He gave me his brother’s phone number and I linked up with him and gave away my laptop. Why I was so naive and gullible is something that still baffles me to date.
Fast forward to that afternoon, the virtual love of my life called to tell me he loved me and that he was grateful for all the help. He had one favour to ask. He needed me to send him Ksh. 15,000 for an emergency he’d tell me about later when he came to pick me up. He told me it was very urgent and I was the only one he could call. I called a few friends to raise the amount and i sent it to him. Immediately after I sent the money, his number went off. I tried to reach him for several days after that to no avail. His brother’s number was off too.
It took me a while to accept what had just happened. That I’d been conned. Back then, I didn’t even know that there was a special name for that type of con “catfishing”. I am so over online dating.