I am often accused of judging books by their covers. I don’t see a problem with this. If it has a semi-naked man or a baby sloth on the cover, I buy it. If it has a lot of words or Glenn Beck on it, I don’t. This also works for the labels on wine bottles. (Boxes aren’t that pretty.)
I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing. You say I’m judgey, I say I’m following my gut. It’s usually right, when I want to listen.
Shortly after my divorce, and while I was still new to the online dating scene, I often found myself giving guys the benefit of the doubt. I suffered from a strange hallucinogenic phenomenon I believe is called “Hope.” I exchanged a few emails with a guy named Mike who lived near me, seemed normal, spoke in complete sentences and was slightly younger than me. I know what you’re thinking. . . “Slightly younger” to me could mean 12 years. I’m talking a perfectly reasonable two year age difference. He was never married, no kids, employed. The only negative I could find was a bad haircut. Clearly it was the same haircut that worked so well with the ladies on the playground in 4th grade that he decided to keep it for the next 25 years. Haircuts could be changed though. (See “Hope”, supra.) Ah, to be a naïve Match rookie. Now when I look at a profile, instead of hope I see terror, cirrhosis of the liver, and old lady style chenille bathrobes.
Mike and I exchanged a few emails before he asked if I was on Facebook. Back then I considered Facebook an invaluable resource because nobody cared about privacy settings. You could see every photo (yup, same haircut), which made it easy to spot the fake profiles or really outdated profile photos. It seemed like no big deal because you could always unfriend and block them after taking a quick peek.
So I peeked. Haircut aside, the pictures weren’t that bad. He seemed good with kids. Bonus points for cuddling with his dog. Large Italian family–meh. . .been there, done that, possible dealbreaker for someone who breaks out in hives at the thought of dinner conversation with more than 2 humans or 1 human and a dog. I was still undeterred because he seemed “nice.”
I snooped further into his posts. OH NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. He was a full blown Jesus freak. I don’t mean that he was a superfan of a Spanish athlete pronounced “Hay-zeus.” Nope. Son of God himself. There were Jesus memes. Novenas. Daily praise for the sun and family and extra marshmallows in his Lucky Charms. Jesus sandals. Jesus fish. All that was missing was an oil painting of him with Jesus. (Ed. Note: I still miss Ben Carson.) There was no way I could co-exist with this guy. I didn’t want to be rude, though, so I couldn’t unfriend him. Instead I gave him the silent treatment on Match until my subscription ran out. I believe the kids refer to this practice as “ghosting.” I invented ghosting back in the old days. I was so good at ghosting I could have been Patrick Swayze making pottery.
I happily went on with my life and forgot all about him until after a long, blissful silence, a post popped up with his name and Mother Teresa’s face. To paraphrase, it said something like this:
“Hi friends of Mike. This is his sister. I just wanted you all to know that he is doing ok, but he is very depressed and could use some cheering up. If you want to send him a card or a quick note, I know it would mean the world to him. This has been a very stressful time. You can write to him at Mike _____, _______ Correctional Center …..”
WWWWWTF? Being a lawyer, I immediately turned to the trusty judicial website and there it was: 2 counts of felony home invasion. I decided to Google for a police blotter note. There wasn’t just a little note. There was War and Peace. Several articles on him committing two armed home invasions in the middle of the day. In one case, teenage children were in the home since there was no school that day. He stole a total of $300 and some jewelry with an accomplice in a white commercial van. (Is there any vehicle that would be more suspicious?)
Not only was he a felon, he was a stupid felon. I’ve never again let anyone tell me I’m too picky. It’s a short slippery slope in Jesus sandals to burglary.
And now I always check the criminal case lookup as soon as I get a name. There’s your PSA.