There are a lot of red flags you have to learn to pay attention to when you're online, dealing with other people. You don't always automatically know how to recognize them, sometimes it takes a while being online, or a while on a particular social networking site, before your experience allows you to see things for what they are. I don't know what people's motivations may be for fucking with us, but they seem to have the desire to do so, and we must stretch a giant condom over ourselves to protect us from their bullshit.
That was a weird metaphor. Just go with it and pretend it was all clever and stuff.
By the way, this post won't really be all that sex-related but it may help protect you from people you encounter online, some of whom will be looking for sex. Not that people who look for sex are bad, but, well, you know... Just, shut up! Okay. The point is, you have to both be on the same page with what you want, and you both need to trust one another, and when the other person seems a little fishy, you need to know when it's time to just hit the block button, just to be on the safe side.
So, here's a completely non-comprehensive list of likely signs that the person you are dealing with online is not quite what they seem, A.K.A. Red Flags:
I was talking with a guy last night on Grindr whose photo was cropped rather oddly. It basically had letterboxing, like the black bars you have when you would watch a widescreen movie on a standard TV. The guy in the picture kind of had the facial expression of someone who might be interacting with someone, like maybe this was taken from a webcam conversation with someone. So, I asked for additional photos. When in doubt, always ask for more photos. The next photo he sent me had a similar look to it; it was a photo from an angle which most people would find difficult to do with their smartphones, showing full view of his ass, taint, balls, and erection, with his legs spread wide, and the camera's point of view is somewhere between his ankles, it would seem. This one also had black bars all around, but, at the top of the screen, I also noticed it said "Saving screenshot..." which is a telltale sign. Typically, if you have your own photos, you have absolutely no need to do any screenshots of them. My guess is this guy stole these from online somewhere, or from some guy he was chatting with via Skype. When I asked him if the photos were really him, he took a full day to reply and then said, "Yeah." I then asked why they were screenshots... I'm still waiting for a reply. That seems fishy.
Someone who is using real photos should be able to produce an abundance of photos upon request. Especially in the age when every fucking phone has a camera on it. I've heard guys tell me they don't have any pictures. Bullshit. Take a fucking photo or get the fuck out. Guys who are unwilling to send photos, and who don't give a legitimate reason, or see evasive, may be hiding something. They might be married, or have a partner whom they are cheating on. In rare cases they may be political figures who don't want to be that public, but I doubt that's happening often enough for me to have even bothered with this sentence. Dammit, what a waste of a sentence.
Oh, here's another fishy thing: On the site Adam4Adam.com, users can upload photos and they can set every single one of them to be private and unlock them to whomever they choose. Some guys won't upload any pictures at all, and they'll message you and, if you're confrontational like me, you'll ask them why they don't have any photos. If you're somewhat more friendly, you'll simply ask them for photos. You're so much nicer than me.
The guy, with no photos whatsoever, will then offer to email you his pictures. "Why?" You ask. I ask, "Why?" too. I never really get an answer. I usually tell these people that I'm not giving them my email address. I tell them they can upload their photos to the site and set them as private if they like, and just unlock them for me. The fact that they want my email address is really suspicious. I can only figure they'll sell it to spammers. Which seems like a lot of effort to go to get email addresses, or maybe an alternate way to contact people. I don't know. It's just weird, and creepy, and I don't like it. BLOCK!
This is getting a lot longer than I thought it would be. I might have to break this into different posts. But, let me just do one more bit...
When a guy won't answer direct questions repeatedly, there's something up. Evasiveness won't always have something to do with answering questions. It can be used in a number of ways. He may give vague answers to questions, which you may not recognize as being vague, right off the bat, so pay attention. Simple "Yes" and "No" answers are sometimes too minimalistic and suspect. It depends on the question. Evasiveness can also come in the form of stalling. You might ask if he wants to come over, which should be a simple question, if he actually wants to come over (and that should be the clue right there), but he's going to ask you a shit ton of questions, and there will be longer and longer gaps between his replies. This person has already decided he's not coming over, and he doesn't know how to tell you this. So, he's going to ask you how far away you live, how long you'll have the place to yourself - long pause - whether you have pets, because he's allergic. Then he'll ask if you have condoms and lube, which, you know, he could just bring to be on the safe side. All of these questions stall the conversation. He's hoping you'll either give up on him, or some better option might come along, because you weren't really his first choice, but his first choice is stalling on him, or he simply changed his mind after seeing your pictures.
I should state that long delays in replies are not always stall tactics. You'll have to take note of what kind of replies you get when they eventually do reply. In some cases, the delay in replies is due to the app that they're using logging them out, without them knowing, and the notifications stop. Or they fell asleep. But, if they come back and they seem engaging and interested, give them a pass for the long delays. Plus, you might not be the only person they're talking to. Don't ever count on being the only person they're talking to.
Okay, I'm going to call this PART ONE, and I'll do PART TWO on another day...