Now that Matchmaker is gone, I’m having to search for and try to attract my own men here in Panama. In an attempt to use my resources, I browsed the online dating site Badoo a few times but thought it was awful. I had never been on a site where men post pics of actors or other celebrities as themselves with such frequency. Like playing Whack-a-Mole, I report abusers to site administrators and block the likes of Johnny Depp, Nelson Mandela (interesting choice), Matthew McConaughey, a Spanish telenovela star and other handsome men standing in place of men who hide and pretend behind stolen pics.
Sadly, even though they’re fake, these photos are much better to look at than many real pics of *eligible* men, most of whom have round faces and even rounder bellies, the product of too much rice, platanos y cerveza I imagine. I spent one evening showing pics to a friend who was equally horrified – photos that look like mug shots, pics taken in such exotic places as the public restroom and practically every other shot of someone holding either a beer or a shotgun. Needless to say, I have very little confidence in finding a mate on this site.
But since I’m curious – and honestly a little desperate – I pay the nominal registration fee which elevates my browsing options from freemium to premium. I am now able to conduct advanced searches for men who speak English, are actually single and have at least a college degree. One guy’s pic stands out so I take the bait and check out his profile. He’s a gym rat with an 8-pack on display in each of his 6 profile pics. But he also has tattoos and doesn’t seem like my type so I move on without leaving a message.
About an hour later, he sends me a chat. He probably noticed that I looked at his profile and thinks I might be interested. Because I’ve got nothing to lose, I’m friendly and respond to his message. Here is my conversation with Ellis – not his real name.
Ellis — Friday, 30 November 2012 10:03 AM
Laura — Friday, 30 November 2012 10:10 AM
Hola. Como estas?
Ellis — Friday, 30 November 2012 10:12 AM
Bien gracias y tu
Laura — Friday, 30 November 2012 10:20 AM
Muy bien. Parece que te gusta ir al gimnasio. Yo tambien pero no tanto como tu.
[Great. Looks like you like to go to the gym. I do, too, but not as much as you.]
He responds by telling me he works out compulsively. He also states that he’s “preso.” I’m not familiar with this word so I jump on Google Translate. Really? Does this mean what I think it means?
Laura — Friday, 30 November 2012 10:30 AM
Mi espanol no es muy bueno. Que significa “estoy preso?”
[My Spanish isn’t very good. What does “estoy preso” mean?]
Ellis — Friday, 30 November 2012 06:36 PM
Estoy en la cárcel
[I am in prison.]
Yep, he’s chatting with me from jail. I suppose he’s using his iPhone? At least he was decent enough to tell me off the bat, I figure. I also figure I’ll be emailing Badoo at some point and suggesting their terms of service should prevent inmates from using the site. I thought online dating stunk in the US. In Panama it’s a little bit worse.