I slid into the DMs of a popular Instagram influencer. He responded, and even though he has a monstrous following for his sexier content and sponsored merch, we connected on a deeper level. Before you even think it, yes, he definitely knows who I am and we talk often.
Now I’m trying to decide how to get to the next level. He’s definitely one of these online hot bodies, but he also posts those shots with 900-word captions on serious topics. Should I appeal to his serious side, or compliment his #protestsexy hashtag?
Sometimes I feel like he’s a messy flirt, starved for attention. Other times, he might not respond at all, then I wonder if maybe he’s the strong silent type that I actually need.
Maybe he embodies the crazy that’s good for sex and the calm that’s good for a mate. Before I decide if I want to pursue a relationship, how can I figure out which side is the real him?
Step 1 might be to meet the guy in person. I say that half-hoping you are kidding, but knowing that online fantasies can feel real.
Step 2 is to slow your roll on this virtual reality long enough to ask yourself some questions:
How many people probably DM with this person every day? Depending on his reach and the nature of his content, it could be a lot. How many would you be comfortable with on an ongoing basis?
How good to you think this person is at curating his content and interacting with his fans? Is there a chance he’s activating those energies to generate interest when he chats with you?
Now consider your dilemma over “the real him.” In a real relationship, you’d already have a better idea which parts of him are authentic. Grubbing for clues to the truth in his posts, which he curates for profit, might not ever reveal his true offline self.
Can you say with any certainty that he would even be interested in a date, much less meeting you in person? Prepare for what you would do if his answer is no.
If you insist on pushing it after answering these questions honestly, maybe run a test: Stop DMing and see how long it takes to hear back from him. There’s a good chance your relationship is virtual, not reality. Fantasize all you want, but leave it in the app.
The Q is for entertainment and not professional counseling. Send your burning Qs to [email protected].
Illustration by Brad Gibson
This column also appeared in Q ATLus magazine. Read the full issue online here: