From the beginning of time, there is one fact that is undeniable and indisputable. Men are creeps.
Yes, it is fact! While women definitely have the ability to go loco once in a while, it's kind of similar to women that drive; they can get the hang of it if they try, but they're not bringing home any awards. The male species on the other hand boast of such timeless legends like Hannibal Lecter, Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy, Charles Manson and the Zodiac Killer. And on the women's side? Ma Baker.
Yes, we men have a twisted nature that has been passed down from the days of Adam. While it is more pronounced in some, it still has the ability to rear its ugly head even in the most docile of men. As a result, our world has been slowly and irreversibly corrupted. Just take a look around you: we discover radioactivity, and we turn it into the nuclear bomb. We discover fossil fuels, and we create global warming. We invent the internet as a tool for communication, and instead we use 60% of it for porn.
Ah the internet - truly a spawn of the devil is it not? While we laud those special people that developed life changing applications such as Twitter and Youtube, the internet has provided a playground for an interesting breed of individual - the stalker.
The internet stalker is an interesting little creep, simply because in person he may look as much as a stalker as the Dalai Lama. Quiet, unassuming, reserved, polite - but let him loose on the internet and his inner stalker is revealed.
The beauty of the internet is the anonymity it provides. While many people pretend to be open and share their personal information such as real name, photos, location etc, they still hide behind a shroud of secrecy that is almost impenetrable to a fellow online persona. This is perfect for the internet stalker, simply because he can forge an entirely new and false aura about himself. The quiet unassuming person behind the keyboard is transformed into the internet bully that has the ability to shut people up and flirt brazenly with the womenfolk. Sadly, while most guys can see through a fraud of their own sex, the women fail to see this.
It usually starts the same way - the guy chooses his victim, and openly flirts with her in ways that he has only dreamt of doing in real life. Why shouldn't he; the anonymity of the net gives him the license to say whatever he wants without fear of repercussions. Then follows the name calling: yes, the 'doll face', 'baby', 'honey', 'lover' - all names that would never work if actually verbalised, but come off as 'confident' and 'endearing' when read in cyberspace. Emoticons go a long way in helping as well, as virtual hugs and squeezes, flying kisses and what not are hurled with reckless abandon. Once again, such behaviour on a first or second date would be immediately followed by pepper spray and a restraining order, but on the net, well - "awww!".
As time goes by, the girl genuinely believes she has met a confident, charming, charismatic and intelligent guy, and has no qualms whatsoever in sharing her email address, cell phone number and other intimate details. Little does she know that the confidence, charm and charisma are probably 'borrowed' from Grey's Anatomy's "McDreamy" while the intelligence is borrowed from Google. Oh, you thought he actually knew the story and dialogues from 'Mona Lisa Smile'? You poor thing.
But, like all deceptions, most of the time they get found out - sometimes through phone conversations or perhaps if they eventually decide to meet up. The charade rarely lasts long enough for there to be real cause for concern, but it is still an awkward situation in the best of scenarios and the girl is usually left wondering how she was duped by this 5'2" marshmallow of a man. However, it doesn't end there. No, now he has your full name, your email address, your cell number - and these days those are the magic numbers that open all doors to confidentiality. Spam emails, constant phone calls, and in some cases email hacking are all on the cards now, and if you think I'm exaggerating - this all happened to a friend of mine.
Cynical? Perhaps. Granted, not all men on the internet are like that. But the proportion of weirdos that troll the internet is pretty disturbing. At the heart of it all, sadly we live in a world where it is best to assume people are guilty until proven innocent. Because, given the opportunity, most men will succumb to the temptations of masquerading as an alter ego; the internet just makes it all so easy.
Bottom line? While we may find it more appealing to give people the benefit of the doubt, it is probably more beneficial if you do doubt. Just because someone showers you with love, attention and Facebook gifts ("So-and-so has gifted you a unicorn! Click here to send back a diamond encrusted statuette of a hunter clubbing a baby seal") doesn't mean you've by chance stumbled onto the nicest guy on the internet. Sadly, you may have just stumbled onto yet another faceless and shameless dumbass.