I Was A Catfish On The Internet And I Regret Nothing

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I Was A Catfish On The Internet And I Regret Nothing

As a 25 year old woman (OK! I’m 33, but who’s counting?), I can say I’ve learned a lot of lessons from my past indiscretions. One of the biggest lessons I learned was to always be myself, and try not to be someone else completely. That sounds confusing, I know, so let’s take a trip back to the 90’s and sort through this mess.

I was sitting on my deck with my friend *Michelle; we had playfully nicknamed the deck “Fornication Palace” because it seemed that whenever boys were around, things would … happen. And as teenagers, we jumped at any chance to use the word fornication.

*Joey — the boy who lived a few houses down from me — would come home the same time every day. He went to an all boys school and both Michelle and I thought he was SUPER dreamy (I know!) so we would make sure that, at 3:15 PM every day, we were conveniently sitting upon the throne of Fornication Palace.

Sometimes, if he was in a particularly good mood, he’d stop to chat. Those days made us so happy, giddiness would drip from our acne filled pores.

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One day, I had the bright idea to go online (the days of dial-up AOL) and disguise myself as Amanda, in a chat room filled with my peers from the same city. My story was that I had just started classes at the sister school to Joey’s all boys school (brilliant, I KNOW!).

“Hey, does anyone know Joey from *St. John’s Academy? I noticed him at a dance and I think he’s pretty hot. Does he have a girlfriend?” I typed, hoping for a response, ANYTHING to hold on to.

Immediately, instant messages would pop up claiming to know Joey, asking who I was and why I wanted information on him. Of course, the creative person I am, concocted such an elaborate story, that all his IN REAL LIFE friends believed me. They started talking to me on a personal level, added me to their buddy lists, and even promised to talk to Joey for me. One little thing was missing: a picture of Amanda.

Michelle and I tore through our Seventeen magazine and found what appeared to be a pretty-but-normal looking teenage girl; she became our Amanda.

This went on for quite some time, with Michelle always warning me that this would get ugly down the road. She knew she'd wind up having to bail me out, as she always did, but I was too entwined to stop, so I continued on my ‘Amanda loves Joey’ online adventure.

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One day, at 3:15 PM, Joey came walking past Fornication Palace and stopped.

“Hey, do you guys know an Amanda? From *St. Agnes Academy? Everyone keeps telling me she’s been asking about me and I know you have friends at that school.”

It’s pretty much a miracle from above that Michelle and I didn’t poop in our pants on the spot. All our lies and hard work came front and center.

We insisted we had never heard of Amanda and Joey walked home, looking more confused than we had ever seen him.

Later that same week, Joey’s mom had asked us to come fix her computer. As Michelle and I turned on the computer, a picture loaded up immediately: Amanda. Nervously, we closed it out but Joey’s mom had seen it and commented about how pretty that girl was. 

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“She should be a model!” Joey’s mom laughed while Michelle and I silently died inside.

I was devastated to find out Joey did indeed have a girlfriend, *Rachel. So of course, Rachel found Amanda and confronted her (via AOL IM, of course).

“I hear you keep asking around about my boyfriend. What’s up with that?” She asked.

Michelle wasn’t around to help, so I embellished the story even more so, adding layers upon layers of back story I didn’t even know I had hanging out in my head. Rachel turned out to be very sweet, and her and “Amanda” became good online friends. The entire situation was so out of control and Michelle declared it was time to end it. She was right.

After night after night of drafting lies, we decided that Amanda’s parents were getting a divorce and she was moving with her father to California. That was my story and I was sticking to it.

A few months later, curious, I went back on as Amanda and Rachel quickly messaged me: 


“I’m OK!” I responded. “Life is nice here. I went to Rodeo Drive and bought a scrunchie.” (Yes, Amanda went to one of the most famous shopping destinations and all she bought was a scrunchie. It was the 90’s, leave me alone!)

Thankfully, Joey never came to know who the real Amanda was and luckily, the show Catfish wasn’t around (or I’d be the STAR!) Fornication Palace continued to live up to its name as I found real life guys to crush on. Joey eventually moved away with his mom and now, I will forever have this story to share at cocktail parties and obviously, the rest of the internet.

(*Names have been changed to protect the guilty.)

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Liza Walters is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture, and relationship topics.