Do you ever read a story involving somebody putting an absurd amount of effort into achieving something relatively mundane and think, “Yeah that’s absolutely not worth it.” It could be a fist fight between two parents at Walmart on Black Friday over a Playstation, or a fat drunk guy crushing several children and covering himself in nachos and beer while jumping over three rows of seats for a foul ball, or maybe it’s the people who camp out for days to get a new iPhone. (This is in contrast to the people who camp out to get free Chick-Fil-A for a year, which is undeniably worth it, to the point where I would camp out in winter, without a tent, in a neighborhood roamed by coyotes that fear nothing and have developed an insatiable hunger for human flesh.)
That’s what I thought when I read the story that was emailed to me today, about a football coach I will not name, at a Power 5 school I will also not name, catfishing a young woman for over six months, and carrying on an illicit, intimate relationship with her, all while married.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s not meant to disparage the woman who emailed me. Not at all. Based on our correspondence she seems like a decent, kind, intelligent person. The coach, too, for that matter, doesn’t strike me as a bad person. Not evil, anyway. Confused? Definitely. A little off? Ohhhh yeah. But it’s not like the guy was trolling Leukemia support group message boards or quietly sabotaging wheelchair brakes. It’s just that, well, this is a lot of weird, unnecessary, sleazy, creepy effort just to get laid, dude.
The relationship began in a seemingly normal way, according to the woman who emailed me, whom I will call Barbara Honeyfarts (because no one ever has any fun with the aliases they create for anonymous sources, which is lame, and also because on the extreme off chance I end up getting sued over this story, it’ll at least be hilarious to hear “Barbara Honeyfarts” read aloud in court before I’m ordered to be someone’s butler for five years).
I was back in my college town for a surprise engagement party. I met this guy at a bar. He told me his name was “Mike” and we all know how this story ends. I chalked it up to a fantastic night, but the next morning at brunch I kept looking at my phone to see if he texted me like he said he would. He didn’t.
A month later I came in town for a pub crawl, and I somehow drunkenly made it through the day and was able to go out at night. I go back the same bar I was at the last time I was in town. Twenty minutes later who walks in? Mike. We immediately locked eyes and spent the rest of the night together. He couldn’t believe he ran into me again and I agreed that the odds were crazy. He told me about his job at my old university where he raises money from donors and alumni in the development offices. I thought it sounded like a pretty sweet gig. I met some of his buddies who all said they work at the university as well. The next morning he again promised he would text me, and this time he did.
Okay, sure. That all sounds normal enough. Pretty standard college town hook up situation. Ole Barb went out, met a guy at a bar, and got some. Then she and Mike ran into each other again (it’s a college town, there are only so many bar options) and they both were like, “Hell, we’ve seen all each others’ parts, last time was fun, let’s go do this shizz again.” We all know the drill.
However, the relationship soon began to evolve.
From that day we texted, Face Timed, or Snapchatted everyday. We usually never went more than two weeks without getting together. He met all of my friends. I met a number of his friends as well. He took me out to dinner. He made me dinner at his place. We went out and enjoyed drunken nights in our college town. If he had to work when I was in town, I would hang out at Mike’s apartment all day and work on stuff, watch Netflix, or go the apartment pool.
The fact that “Mike” is now carrying on an actual relationship with Barb, and is in constant contact with her, all while lying about everything right down to his name is creepy on its own. But where it gets really odd is that apparently his buddies are on in the game (or are being forced to be). On the one hand, damn that’s some solid wingman’ing. On the other, though, this isn’t a one night lie. Forcing your friends to play along with this is downright maniacal.
Mike isn’t telling Barb he’s a neurosurgeon, or that he won Chick-Fil-A for a year. This is a long con. If my buddy wanted me to nod and say yes when a girl he was talking to asked me whether or not he was an FBI-counterterrorism agent, I’d do it. Once. What I wouldn’t do is go out and grab drinks with them two weeks later and play along as my friend described getting shot while raiding an ISIS hideout in New Mexico the week before. That just sounds exhausting. Also weird to the point that I’d be telling all my other friends, “Let’s not hang out with Steve anymore. Something is wrong with that dude. He burned the shit out of his leg with a cigar and told this girl he’s seeing that it was an entry wound.”
We were a little nervous about the fall, because I was starting a great new job and his job gets busier during football season. We were really happy and comfortable where we were, so we talked about what worried us. He reassured me that we would be able to make it work. He was going to come to Thanksgiving with my family and visit my hometown with me on the football team’s bye week.
Visiting your mistress’s family on Thanksgiving under a fake name crosses you into full-on lunatic territory. Seek help, sir.
I would come to town for football games and we would make time for each other. I was very pleased and very much in love with this man. He told me he loved me too and that no one has ever made him feel this way…
Not even his wife!
…and he thought he had his life all figured out until he met me at the bar that night.
That’s an understatement.
He bought me an Edible Arrangement for my first day at my new job. He surprised me with this expensive set of matte lipsticks I had been trying to order repeatedly. He loved to do the little things that all girls just eat up.
This might not have been his first rodeo. And by “rodeo” I of course mean “extramarital affair.”
The next thing he wanted to do for me was get me a flight out to an away football game. I was stoked. I picked out the game I wanted to go to with the intention of having Mike invite his two roommates, “Carl” and “Molly,” both of whom currently lived close by the school the away game was at, because they were both working out of state for school at the time. I heard lots about Carl and Molly and was really excited to meet them.
Mike and I had been seriously dating for about six months or so by this point and discussed me moving back to my college town to be with him once I was done with my contract at work. This is where things get tricky. My brother-in-law also went to my alma mater and is a huge football fan. He was going through and adding some coaches on Twitter when he immediately got blocked by one. Then I get a call from Mike. Mike tells me that his name is not actually Mike, and that his his real name is [Ed. Note: redacted but for the sake of the story let’s go with “Chaz Deferens.”]. Chaz does not work in the Development Offices, but is instead a football coach at my university. Molly is not his roommate that works out of state, but his wife of over a decade. And Carl? Carl doesn’t exist. All of his friends that I met? They also work for the university’s athletic department and went along with the whole charade.
There’s just so much to unpack here:
1) They dated for six(!) months.
2) He lied about his name the entire time. How does that not get old? How does that not get weird? How was there not at least five moments like this:
“Mike… Mike… MIKE!”
“Wha- oh, sorry. I, uh, must’ve zoned out. That is totally my name though. Mike. Is me.”
(Oh, right, this dude is possibly crazy. That tends to help, I imagine.)
3) He said he loved her. Good God.
4) He was trying to get her to move to the same city as him. The fuck is wrong with you, man?
5) He was going to introduce his mistress to his wife, apparently? His wife who he talked about all the time, referring to her as his roommate who lived out of town at the time? Again, sir, I ask: THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!?!
6) His friends either hate hanging out with him, or they all have mistresses who they also gave fake names to, and they’re all trapped in an elaborate web of blackmail. I can’t decide which it is.
7) What was even the point of Carl?
My head at this point was exploding. At this point I completely cut “Mike” out of my life, because I realized how manipulative he really was. He told me everything I wanted to hear, but everything ended so suddenly and so unexpectedly that I had trouble moving on. I thought he still had to have loved me a little bit to keep the lie going as long as he did. I thought he was unhappy in his marriage, made a mistake, and wasn’t a bad person.
A month or two later I get a message from “Mike” telling me he was sat down by the head coach and the athletic director and told that donors were threatening to pull donations over what he did. I am not really sure how they found out, because I was keeping quiet.
The head coach incident strikes me as a lie he used to get some sympathy and get Barb back into his life. That said, I hope it did happen, because I have to assume it went something like this:
“Son, I’ve got about six team member arrests I’m trying to keep quiet at any given moment, boosters I gotta both appease and also keep from sending a Corvette full of strippers to a high school senior’s graduation party, not to mention plan for playing against a top-10 defense next week. The last thing I wanna be worrying about is you and your dumb dick. Lock your shit up. Call your wife and tell her you love her, and then pull your head out of your ass. Now get the hell out of here.”
I crazily felt sorry for him and wished him the best. A couple days later I checked in with him to see how he was and we got to talking. I found out he was getting divorced. After a couple of weeks of chatting again, we talked about the possibility of us getting back together and going for it. He said he wanted to, because the reason he was so torn up over what he did was because he ruined the “perfect relationship” (that we supposedly had) that he had always wanted with his wife. I told him when he was fully divorced we could try again and see if we could work past what he did.
While I was waiting for him to get divorced, we fell into old habits and he was telling me all of the right things, but he was still worried that he would always be a liar, and he really wanted to change that. He continuously told me that we could make it. We could make it work. I came in town and refused to see him couple times, because I didn’t want to be the girl dating a married man. I slipped on that plan when he offered me, my friends, and family free tickets to a game. He then invited me, my sister, and my brother-in-law on a tour of the training facilities, locker rooms, and stadium. I began to think that we could make this work.
“Hey babe, I know I lied about my job and being married and also my actual name, but I’d like to make it up to you by showing you and some close family members where the football team lifts weights.”
I feel bad for Barb, who certainly by this point in the story is making some mistakes of her own (which she admits), but is by no means the one at fault here. Still, it’s easier for me to express how I feel about this whole situation from a man’s perspective, and from that perspective I again have to wonder how in the hell all of this work is worth it!?!?! How, man??? Can you not get off without juggling at least three lies at any given moment? Do you skip porn and instead falsely report your credit card stolen while masturbating?
“Hi… I… ugh, oh God… I’d… huh huh huh… like to dispute… HHHHLLLLLLL…. a chargeeeee OH GOD YES!”
Then I saw on Facebook that he was tagged in a picture with a student, and she was calling herself his girlfriend. Again, my head exploded. The guy is such a liar. The entire time that we were “trying to make it work” he was dating this other girl and I had to find out about it on Facebook. Was he trying to have a relationship with both of us or was he just too chicken shit to tell me? Also, who has that kind of time?
That’s what I’m saying. Guy already works for a Power 5 football program. I have to imagine free time is limited as it is. When does he get to take a dump? It’d be one thing if he was just hooking up with a bunch of different girls, but Chaz is trying to date multiple women simultaneously. That’s just… not a solid use of time. Also, super weird.
Turns out a cheaters are always going to cheat, second chances are dumb, and even though I am “perfect for him” he could “never live with the guilt of what he put me through.” Yeah bro, must be hard for you. I just feel bad for this student who is probably really happy right now. I am sure “Mike” looks great on the outside, but he a bad person who doesn’t respect women.
Well at least Barb came out of this whole ordeal wiser than before. As for Mike/Chaz Deferens? Seriously, dude, see a therapist..