Picture it and Write: Doctor Joe: Agony Uncle 7

by joetwo

Hi there, this is my offering for this weeks Picture it and Write from Ermilia’s Blog here. Once again; the picture is not mine I only use it for inspiration. Anyway, Enjoy.

Doctor Joe: Agony Uncle, 95% of problem marriages referred to him do not end in divorce*.

Dear Doctor Joe,

I met this guy online over three months ago and I think I might be falling for him. The thing is we never met, we have only been talking with E-mails and Facebook. How will I know I’m talking with a genuine guy and not some figment of someone’s imagination? I want this so much to be real.

Online Olive


Dear Online Olive,

I can’t say that I know that much about the internet, it has all been a little bit after my time (You can find a video of a woman satisfying a horse there; that’s all I know. And all I want to know) but I do know something about long distance romances which I think may serve as an example.

When I was a younger man I exchanged letters with a woman from Estonia who posted an ad in an international newspaper. After two months of quite revealing and occasionally steamy correspondence we decided that I would fly over to meet her. Imagine my shock when instead of the fellow nineteen year old nubile Svetlana I instead found a fifty two year old six foot three overweight trucker called Sven. Needless to say I found the whole experience very disappointing; Sven was a terrible kisser. But I think my story well illustrates the cardinal rule. You cannot trust what you read and hear.

The truth is, we all lie to each other all the time. I for example, often tell young ladies that as well as being the dashing fellow I plainly am I am also a top-notch neurosurgeon. Unless they are completely vacant upstairs (My favourite!) they figure out I’m bullshitting fairly quickly. And therein lies the nub of your problem Olive; our bullshit detectors work best face-to-face.

It is something to do with that beyond words communication crap that people like to talk about. I guarantee that if you meet this guy in the flesh and he is not genuine you will cop on within a few minutes. But of course you don’t want it to get as far as a meeting if he isn’t, that much is clear. But here is hope Olive; while our online bullshit detector doesn’t start off very sharp that does not mean that we can’t train it up for you. All you have to do is follow these simple steps.

1: Ask him to send some pictures of himself. When you get them trawl though picture frame catalogues and men’s health magazines. If you find a match, and he HASN’T said that he was a male model for a picture frame company than you know he is not genuine.

2: If he has sent a kosher pic then start asking about where he lives, preferably with a map or tourist guide open beside you. Tailor your questions to his location. If he doesn’t mention that the community center is beside a shopping plaza with a great range of stores and adequate parking that should raise a red flag.

3: Bullshit artists often have more than one woman on the go at any one time. That means that you can easily confuse them with strategic lying. Mention in one missive that you’re about to have surgery on a in-grown toenail on your left foot then a week later say your right foot is still swelling. If he doesn’t catch the discrepancy; another red flag.

4: The final step is easily the most tricky as it may involve you doing some heavy reading to catch up to speed. Whatever field he claims to be in Try and find some obscure nugget of information that he should know. If he claims to be a banker ask him about calculating interest rates. If he claims to be a spy ask him for a list of double agents in Eastern Europe. If he is stumped then he is dumped.

If you follow those steps and he passes with flying colours than you can be sure that he is genuine (or a conman who really puts the effort in; which is almost as good) and you can feel free to turn your online flirtation into some offline romance.

The very best of luck.

Doctor Joe


* Editor’s note: 93% of problem marriages referred to him end in manslaughter.

To read Doctor Joe’s other advice columns and to send him a question yourself click the link here.