I have terrible luck with women and relationships. They swear they love me for my body, or my mind, but are only interested in my wallet. I don’t know how most of them find me. What’s worse, most or all of them are probably men.
In the last several years, I’ve received emails from three women in Ghana, two UN paediatric nurses somewhere in Africa, a West Point graduate working as a civilian for the US Army in the middle East, and a zoologist-fashionista now living in West London. They all claim to be native-born Americans–four said they were from Texas. The West Point graduate was from Beverley Hills. Significantly, all of them spoke flawed English, making mistakes native speakers would never make.
They believed in relationships based on love, trust, and loyalty. They promised to be the best girl friends or wives. One of the Ghanaian women provided vivid descriptions of connubial gymnastics. She sent nude pictures. (The pictures were of an American woman who has modelled for years.) Incidentally, talking about sex was the only time she spoke correct English.
The stories were dramatic–the three Ghanaian women were born in Texas, but lived in Ghana with their mother because of problems with their father(s). They were impossibly poor and had their own personal computer which had no video camera for online chats. They believed in love, loyalty, honesty, and would I buy them a new mobile telephone, iPad, etc? When I refused, I was accused of treating them badly.
The zoologist-fashionista provided lovely photos, had impressive physical attributes, believed in love, loyalty, truth, and that I should buy her an iTunes gift card–$50 or $100, either would be fine. I’d known her less than two days when the first request came. It was strange that she couldn’t answer any questions about zoology–not even what it is.
The two nurses worked independent of one another, and happened to approach me within the same week. Once we had chatted or exchanged emails a few times, the Crisis occurred. The UN was pulling them out of a dangerous area of Africa for their own safety! They wanted to send them to another area that was even more dangerous! Since they had refused to go. the UN declined to pay for their return to America. Would I send $1500 for an air ticket, following which we could begin our loving lives together?
In fairness to the West Point graduate, she didn’t ask for money because I blocked her after a single conversation on Facebook. She asked very personal and probing questions, with a view to creating a tribe of little cadets in the immediate future. At the end of our communication, she informed me I was now her ‘boyfriend, honey.’
They followed a particular scheme. When I expressed suspicions, they deflected, forgave, and remained unperturbed. There was always an excuse not to make video calls. They ignored what I wrote, and pursued matters that focused on their stated goal–an intimate relationship with me. I’d write, ‘How did you spend your day?’ They’d reply, ‘I think trust is the most important part of a relationship, especially when there’s kids.’ Frequently they didn’t recall details I’d previously provided. Their English was inconsistent, making grammatical errors, followed by almost Shakespearean English, and then lapsing into their previous mode.
I have nothing against people for whom English is a second language–many of my friends speak a different mother tongue. I have a lot against being conned, and particularly, against being conned badly.
These people are confidence tricksters, of course, and by nature are predatory and malicious. Their crimes are usually so minor that Law Enforcement would never pursue them, especially if crimes are committed across international borders. They think themselves clever, and see themselves as the online version of Raffles, a fictional 19th century gentleman-thief. They are not.
It is very sad that such people operate at a time of global chaos and threat, when trust and friendship are need, but distrust and betrayal are rampant. Many people, glad of a new friend, are victims.
Yes, your lips are like wine, and I want to sip from them, but until your security clearance comes back, I’m on the wagon!
Paul TN Chapman
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