Story by Emily Hecker
It’s safe to say pretty much everyone has seen, or at least heard of, the new TV phenomenon, “Catfish.” For some, these types of situations are purely comical to watch from afar, but for others, they hit real close to home.
Take Grant Haase, sophomore, for instance: he got a friend request from a boy named Shane, who he deemed very cute. As they began chatting, things heated up quickly.
“It started my freshman year around April. I received a friend request from someone I didn’t know that had a few mutual friends. We started chatting, he was cute, he thought I was cute,” Haase said.
As things progressed, the two exchanged numbers and the connection became more than just friendly. Haase, who said he is pretty liberal with adding friends on Facebook and is aware of fake profiles, didn’t question Shane’s truthfulness much. He said Shane was unlike anyone he’d talked to before and the only time he was hesitant about their chatting was when Shane claimed he didn’t have Skype.
Shane, a supposed 20-year-old from Iowa with a rough background, had stolen Haase’s heart.
“It was very emotional because I felt such a connection,” Haase said. It felt amazing. I fell in love, I really did. We were making all these plans, he was going to fly out to visit me.”
By this time, it was July and Haase was back home in Wisconsin when the two decided to finally meet up.
“Everything was great … and then I remember one evening it was around one in the morning and I get this phone call. It sounded like he was crying,” Grant said. “I’ll never forget it.”
Shane said he just couldn’t do it anymore and spilled his guts to Haase. Shane was actually a 15-year-old girl named Jenna. Haase said he didn’t want to believe this because the pictures really did seem to fit the voice.
“I was so angry and disappointed, just all these emotions running through my head. I wanted to throw something, I just wanted to scream,” Haase said.
Heartbroken, Haase blocked “him” on Facebook and eventually had to move on. Jenna continued texting him and even called him one night saying she genuinely liked him.
“Sorry, but I genuinely liked Shane,” Haase said.
Although Haase said Jenna single-handedly destroyed the trust he had for any man, he ended up meeting someone new. They did meet on Facebook, but Skyped right away to confirm each other’s existence. The two now have a secure relationship.
Haase’s advice for online chatting: “First and foremost, be smart. It’s very easy to get caught up.”