I have a friend. Let’s call her Rose. She is 47 years old, a little ravaged by ill health, bottle blond, somewhat stout, but entirely naive and hopeful for the future. She has one son, 23, from a long ago relationship that didn’t last. Dear Rose has gone through occasional relationships which have ended disastrously with her in tears, heart-broken, because the man only wanted a brief liaison with a giving woman, but once she started wanting something from him (like real involvement in each others lives, some commitment), the guy hopped the next train and got out of town. Every time, she wept copiously, swore it would never happen again, felt like dying for a couple of weeks, wrote oodles of bad poetry and sang heart-breaking karaoke in the local bars with tears streaming down her face. Of course, her girlfriends would hug her, commiserate with her and tell her she deserved better.
By now, you can tell that I have very little patience with this friend. Clearly she’s not a close friend – only a friend by association. Because I have no patience with Rose, I would try to shake her out of her doldrums with some plain talk:
“Rose, it’s happened so many times! Why do you let him sleep with you right away?”
“Rose, if you respected yourself, you wouldn’t let men play with you like this!”
Rose has done it again. A man added her as friend on Facebook. He’s started stringing her a line about being a 53 year-old fireman with a baby daughter. His faithless wife abandoned them after the little girl was born and left him to raise her all by himself. blah blah blah blah….
He sent her THIS pic.
I know what’s coming next: declarations of love, desire to meet her, phone calls, then a story of not having enough money to come to her and a request for help to pay for the trip.
Since I’m living in Kuwait now, I can’t sit her down and tell her some plain truths. I have asked another friend to try to warn her, but who knows if she’ll listen?
Why do I know so much about predacious men? My first encounter with the species was 5 years ago. I was on a social network a friend had recommended to me. This man tagged me whose profile interested me, so I responded. His profile name was Thierry Demederos. We got IMing after some exchange of remarks via the social network system:
Thierry Demederos (04/12/2008 06:57:02 ã): <ding>
Thierry Demederos (04/12/2008 06:57:07 ã): hello Dear
Thierry Demederos (04/12/2008 06:57:11 ã): how are you doing
Thierry Demederos (04/12/2008 06:57:13 ã): ?
Thierry Demederos (04/12/2008 06:57:18 ã): are you here?
Thierry Demederos (04/12/2008 06:57:19 ã): <ding>
me (04/12/2008 08:46:22 ã): hi
me (04/12/2008 08:47:01 ã): Thierry, hi
me (04/12/2008 08:47:10 ã): please come online
me (04/12/2008 08:47:24 ã): i just got home
me (04/12/2008 08:47:29 ã): i had to do some shopping
me (04/12/2008 11:57:20 ã): hi
Thierry Demederos (04/12/2008 11:57:27 ã): hello my dear
Thierry Demederos (04/12/2008 11:57:31 ã): how are you doing?
me (04/12/2008 11:57:36 ã): i’m ok
me (04/12/2008 11:57:41 ã): u?
me (04/12/2008 11:58:09 ã): please, do u have a webcam, I want to see u…
Thierry Demederos (04/12/2008 11:58:11 ã): hope you doing well
Thierry Demederos (04/12/2008 11:58:28 ã): how was your day?
Thierry Demederos (04/12/2008 11:58:28 ã): huh?
Thierry Demederos (04/12/2008 11:59:30 ã): I have a cam…. yeah but now my laptop is not recognising the cam
me (04/12/2008 11:59:35 ã): oh
me (04/12/2008 11:59:51 ã): that virus…
So far so good? I quickly learned about his daughter, Sarah and his wife who tragically died when Sarah was only 2. Thierry was an academic, a researcher on archeological topics. He was Italian, but currently living in the UK. He began to talk love to me. He began to write me poems and beautiful stories about dreams he had of me.
Crimson rain flip-flops on my tiny world,
I, a lonesome sparrow, long to taste spring’s joy.
Twilight, a fiery flame, dimming, slowly,
The monotonous crescendo of the sea rocks my aveoli.
My arteries and veins mourn like sad nightingales,
My heart whispers its grief to the young moon;
Each heartbeat, a musical note, becoming less audible
As the auburn sky swallows my winding neurones.
I am, slowly, mesmerized, seeing the Earth wane.
Within two weeks, he spoke of coming to Kuwait and rescuing me from a difficult situation I was facing then. We talked on Yahoo IM, but his connection was consistently bad, so we got cut off often. He had a virus in his computer so his webcam didn’t work. I would turn mine on and he would wax eloquent about my beauty. I became his angel, his flower, his heart’s desire.
me (06/12/2008 01:05:53 Õ): Thierry, please talk to me
Thierry Demederos (06/12/2008 01:06:11 Õ): yeah…
Thierry Demederos (06/12/2008 01:06:18 Õ): i don’t know what to say again
Thierry Demederos (06/12/2008 01:06:32 Õ): just weeping here.. that i may loose you
me (06/12/2008 01:06:48 Õ): i want u
me (06/12/2008 01:07:09 Õ): what i have learned of u is so sweet
me (06/12/2008 01:07:13 Õ): so wonderful
Thierry Demederos (06/12/2008 01:07:46 Õ): its only you I want and need too… thats why I weep…
Was I buying his story? You better believe it! I mean, look at the guy! What’s there not to love??
I am not naive, however. I am well-read and suspicious of on-line love that blooms without a meeting in the flesh to determine if there’s chemistry there. I am also of the opinion that I am not beautiful. So, why was this gorgeous guy (if the photos were to be believed) chasing a woman in far-away Kuwait? I kept telling him that I had to see his face, but his webcam never worked and he just couldn’t seem to find a computer with a functional webcam or get his own to work. He began to call me. Another suspicion arose because his accent was anything but Italian OR genuine UK – it was kind of cockney, but also kind of – something else – dare I say ‘African’? I would ask him about it and he would deflect, saying he didn’t know English very well – and the connection was always poor, lots of crackling noises and fading in and out. Still he kept sending me these lovely emails (I wish I could reproduce them here, but my email got hacked about a month ago and they all disappeared) with stories of how our life would be together. He said he would come to Kuwait. He wrote emails about how our first meeting would be, how he would kiss me and hug me and make love to me. Then the story was that he didn’t have enough money to come, would I wire him some money to help?
Suspicion and disbelief erupted. Our association ended soon after that because I said I wouldn’t send him the money and, though he continued to send me impassioned declarations of love, I stopped communicating with him. The funny thing is that I never thought to look up some of the poems he ‘wrote for me’ until much later. The one above I found here. I consider myself lucky to have not fallen for his stories, but I wonder how many women did…
It happened about several times. I was on the social networking site tagged.com and this guy going by the name Joe Mamma tagged me. I mostly didn’t respond to guy on that site cause they were all kind of ‘icky’ – for lack of a better word. But this guy had a stunning pic, so I thought ‘what the hell’ and I responded and we started IMing:
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:38:21 ã): hi dear
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:38:27 ã): nice to meet you
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:38:30 ã): how are you doing ??
me (14/12/2008 10:38:32 ã): nice to meet u
me (14/12/2008 10:38:36 ã): ok, u?
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:39:04 ã): am soo happy to recieve you im
me (14/12/2008 10:39:15 ã): ur obviously on the internet a lot
me (14/12/2008 10:39:23 ã): i just signed on
me (14/12/2008 10:39:29 ã): saw ur message
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:39:50 ã): were are you now and what are u doing???
me (14/12/2008 10:40:16 ã): i’m at home, just was talking on my mobile to some people in kuwait
me (14/12/2008 10:40:33 ã): send me ur cam…
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:40:52 ã): am at the rig now working
me (14/12/2008 10:41:01 ã): at the rig?
me (14/12/2008 10:41:04 ã): what rig?
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:41:05 ã): at lagos gulf coast
me (14/12/2008 10:41:28 ã): oh
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:41:47 ã): our flat form were we work is located at the middle of the ocean were we drill oil
me (14/12/2008 10:42:18 ã): now i get it, no girls around, just guys – right?
me (14/12/2008 10:43:19 ã): am I right, no girls there?
me (14/12/2008 10:43:31 ã): so ur willing to talk to older women like me?
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:43:49 ã): there are just two woman engineers here
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:43:56 ã): yes dear
me (14/12/2008 10:44:08 ã): cause a cute guy like u should have at least 50 women falling over themselves to be with you
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:44:35 ã): well dear what matters in life is understandong
me (14/12/2008 10:45:17 ã): do u think an old lady like me can be understanding, is that it?
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:45:58 ã): dear what i mean is that if understanding is what both of us need
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:46:07 ã): to maske life go on
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:46:14 ã): to make life go on
me (14/12/2008 10:46:29 ã): consider me an understanding lady, then
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:46:42 ã): wow thats grate
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:46:58 ã): so tell me what are your hobbies and favourities
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:47:24 ã): ??
me (14/12/2008 10:47:50 ã): i love reading, writing, watching movies, spending time with friends, gardening, construction, woodwork – don’t do much of the last three things in kuwait, though
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:48:09 ã): ok thats good
me (14/12/2008 10:48:16 ã): u?
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:49:03 ã): i like travelling , going to the beach ,reading , sharing things in common
me (14/12/2008 10:49:22 ã): i LOVE travelling – wish i did more of that in my job
me (14/12/2008 10:49:31 ã): and had a nice person to travel with…
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:49:45 ã): wow you have got me dear
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:49:59 ã): i just need us to agree to be one
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:50:04 ã): am very serious
get2jomama (14/12/2008 10:50:18 ã): in making out a relationship with ui
Soon it was declarations of love. I was sceptical. C’mon, look at the guy! – or at the pics of the guy, at least… I went along for the ride, just for the heck of it. We chatted at some great lengths. It was really odd that, though he was a computer tech on the rig, he didn’t possess a webcam – go figure… He phoned me several times. It was so strange – he claimed to be Canadian, but raised in the UK, however his accent was unusual – dare I say ‘African’? He told me he was a Baptist Christian and he sure could talk Bible with the best of them. He talked about being born again and quoted the Bible to me. I learned that he worked on an oil rig but would be having a 3 week vacation and wanted to come to Kuwait to visit me. First he would visit a friend in the UK who was a pastor, then come. Strangely enough, for a guy who should be making excellent money working on an oil rig, he didn’t have enough to pay for the trip to Kuwait and needed me to help him. I’d had enough. I told him I thought he was a fraud – probably from African.
That was the end of that.
…but not the end of the predacious men – unfortunately.
There was PJ Smith who added me on Facebook. Wealthy investor in the UK, wants to come visit me after he takes a business trip to Nigeria. We chat. By now I just do it for entertainment, with no belief that it’s real. Guy declares love for me in wonderful flowery terms: I’m as beautiful as the moon, my eyes are stars, blah blah blah…. He loves me like he’s never loved anyone before, wants to spend the rest of his life in my arms, yadda, yadda, yadda….
His name’s Peter, apparently. He lands in Nigeria to follow-up on a business opportunity in gold mines. Misfortune befalls him! His wallet and all his ID and credit cards are stolen! What a tragedy! And he has no one to turn to but me! God preserved my number in another pocket, so he could still reach me by phone! He calls lucky me! Can I send him two thousand dollars to save his live? He will then get a ticket to Kuwait and we’ll spend some steamy time alone together.
Wow! I’m soooo lucky! Wealthy investor wants me! Wealthy investor will do anything at all for me if only I send him $2000!
“Why don’t you call your lawyer and have him wire you some money?”
Doesn’t have lawyer’s number, only mine.
“Ok, what his name? I’ll look it up on the London online directory.”
Gives me his ‘name’ but says he’s not in the directory, just moved offices.
“Well, what about your company name? I’ll find some phone numbers for the business associates so you can call them.”
“Why won’t you send me the money? I love you and everything I have is yours.”
“Well, I don’t know you well enough to send you the money.”
“But I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you. You need to trust your future husband.”
“I don’t respect a man who asks for money from a strange woman.”
….it went on and on and I was literally laughing at him and I talked in circles around all his objections. He just didn’t know enough to give up. He called me for days – maybe even a couple of weeks, always thinking he could break me down. I got to the point where I’d say, ‘sorry Peter, I’m on a date, can’t talk now.”
I mean, do these guys think I’m stupid?
Well, I guess enough women are stupid enough to send money to these predacious men. It’s a thriving business out there.
Loneliness and desperation make fools of us all.
Now that I think about it, there’s predacious females out there. My own brother got roped in by a Russian woman and he sent her money. She wove him a sad tale and milked him for a couple thousand. He wouldn’t listen to me when I told him not to believe her, he really believed her tale of being kept prisoner by her parents to work in a menial job and wanting to run away to Moscow and needing money for a bus. Then when she got to Moscow, she needed money for a ticket to Canada so they could be together. But she never came.