First Person: A Look into the Fishy World of Online Dating

There's a good reason that the holidays are considered prime-time for the suicide prevention hotlines, and it's the most wonderful time of the year… for getting catfished.

First of all, in case you don't know, to be catfished is to be fooled by someone that you have developed some sort of "sure, this is healthy" internet relationship with. There are a slew of different ways that your semi-imaginary online love interest can play with your heart, but for the sake of simplicity, let's just say the moment you find out your Internet Prince Charming traded in his white horse for a white hot case of crabs is the moment you've been catfished.

The holidays are an excellent time to prey on otherwise self-respecting, intelligent victims. There's something about mixing a warm glass of eggnog with debilitating loneliness that makes you susceptible to being the unsuspecting victim of a fraudulent Internet love affair. This year, while normal people all over the world were hanging their stockings by the chimney with care, I was developing a relationship with a guy named "Steve."

Here's the catch. Steve-O, whom I had never met before, was headed home to Tennessee for the duration of the Christmas season. His constant reassurance, that my sad existence eating microwave popcorn and talking to my dogs would be much improved if I would only drive several states to spend the holidays with him, seemed "kind-hearted" and "sweet" in the gauzy light of a third glass of wine and the fourth showing of "A Christmas Story," but in reality… it's just weird.

Fortunately, I had enough common sense to not drive five states away to sing Christmas carols with a guy I had never met before just because I was sad. I did, however, overlook how weird and ultimately creepy it was that this guy was asking me (repeatedly) to do this and told myself that he was a nice guy, a business owner, and an upstanding member of society who really, really cared about me and would somehow make all the lonely, holiday sadness disappear. Frankly, locking yourself in the closet and eating six pounds of store-bought Christmas cookies is the only cure for that.

Regardless, I had built up quite an affection for ol' Steve, and on New Year's Day, he called to wish me a happy new beginning and ask if I wouldn't mind checking on his apartment for him. I didn't even find this to be a strange request until I got there, he opened the door, and I found out he was actually home and had come up with this elaborate scheme to lure me to his apartment that was tactfully decorated with a stripper pole in the living room and colored lights on the ceiling.

A little research would have told me that Steve had two busted mug shots on and a house-arrest-style parole. Either way, I think I'll stick to watching sappy movies on repeat for the next holiday season.