The headline read: Internet Lothario charged with grand larceny for swindling women out of $140,000.
For the past seven years, Westchester, New York resident Solomon Jesus Nasser has romanced women on various Internet dating sites. Spinning a tale of intrigue and wealth, he was able to sweet talk a number of women into giving him computers, expensive watches, and cash. He’s facing a minimum of five to fifteen years in prison. As his mug shot flashed on the newscast last week, I realized: hey, I know this guy.
About a year ago, on a lark and the lure of three months for the price of one, I signed up on Chemistry.com, which claims to offer a scientific approach to matchmaking. I slogged through the questionnaire, wrote the required essay, clicked the magic button. And presto: I had seven matches who the company promised would provide me with many “jolly times and hearty laughs.”
“Nancy," the message gushed, "see who's interested in you!"
Sad to say, the interest wasn’t mutual. Opening lines from the profiles of my initial “matches” included:
- You would need to be tolerant of my addiction to stock car races Saturday nights from April to September.
- I'm just looking for a no strings attached friend-with-benefits situation. I like it wild so if it’s what you want bring it on. I like big-chested girls but it's not a deal breaker.
- I am a KING in search of his QUEEN. The ONE who respects ME. Loves ME. Needs ME. Wants ME. Adores ME.
- I’m a Bi-Polar Manic Depressive. I fluctuate from wildly productive and overly imaginative to sadly depressed and near suicidal. A match for me MUST ACCEPT THIS HARDLY NOTICEABLE DISABILITY.
Understandably, when I read the profile for “Flyboy,” grammatically correct with no obvious red flags, I was curious. I had worked in the aerospace industry for a while, so figured we had at least one thing in common. We exchanged ”relationship essentials,” the first step. They matched and we moved on to emailing through the site. I asked why he didn’t post a photo of himself. Was he shy? “Oh, I have so many people working for me at Sikorsky, that I wouldn’t want them to see my picture if they were on the site,” he told me. We chatted on the phone—he was a little quirky, but some might say the same about me-- and finally decided to meet for coffee.
As I walked to the restaurant, a short, stout man in sunglasses jumped down from his truck. “Nancy?” I was momentarily confused as he looked nothing like the picture he sent. But hey, I’m an open-minded gal--in for a penny, in for a pound.
After small talk about the Stealth Bomber and doomed F-21 (he did know his aircraft, I have to give him that), he launched in on his C.V. Born in Spain, where he was pals with the prince. Or the princess, or some random royal. His father, also a pilot, first let him land a plane when he was just seven years old. (Hmmm. Would he have even been able to see over the control panel?) He went on about how he graduated from MIT, with a doctorate no less, at age 22; how he held more than 80 patents. How he was so important to the entire aerospace industry, that when he was once stranded without a way to get from point A to point B, he was allowed to take a commercial aircraft to fly alone (or was the supermodel with him that time?).
At that point, I ordered a glass of wine.