Mark Thompson

Kittenfishing: The Dating Crime We’re All Guilty Of

That thing we all do now has a label. “Kittenfishing” is the official term of misrepresenting yourself online as a way to hook bae. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.


2008 was a good year. I was in shape, I had my eyes on a career, the vocational grind briefly abetted by a rampant lust for the outdoors, especially sailing; which I didn’t take seriously, but I had the shoes to prove that I did, and I could take you out in my sloop if you were interested. Hit me up on Myspace.

All of which was filthy filthy lies, so I could do filthy filthy things. In fact, the only truth in the above paragraph was “Myspace.” I’m even not entirely sold on 2008 existing as a year, as all I remember is a handful of Saturday evenings spent recreationally abusing recreational drugs and stealing clothes from backpackers. Good times.

However, while my life game was weak, the bullshit was strong. And as Myspace gave way to Facebook which gave way to Tinder; lie everything (turn, turn, turn). As it turns out, there’s now a label for the elegant bending of the truth in order to nab bae: Kittenfishing. The dating equivalent of stealing groceries at the self-checkout.

It’s a victimless crime: The mango should be cheaper / the dating should be easier.

Put another way, it’s the electronic cover of sucking in your gut when you approach someone you like the look of. In fact, dating app Hinge has done some digging through the tide of verbal diarrhea and come out the other side, clutching at data, in the rain, to the dulcet validation of sweet sweet narration, stating, “The phenomenon of well-intentioned dating app users presenting themselves in an unrealistically positive light. A kittenfisher’s profile is often comprised of photos that are outdated, heavily-filtered, or strategically angled, text that has been ghost-written by a particularly witty friend, and height that has been rounded by more than two inches,” Hinge goes on to estimate that 40% of men and 24% of women claim to have fallen victim to the beast-that-until-very-recently-did-not-have-a-name.


“Kittenfishing” is the dating equivalent of stealing groceries at the self-checkout. It’s a victimless crime.


But allow me to retort, those figures seem, ironically, misleading.

Which, and not to denigrate their sojourn through miles of foul-smelling conversation I can’t even imagine, but the whole “kittenfishing” thing seems like the default setting that all dating apps come with. The idealized you. You’re never that free, spontaneous, witty, or svelte IRL, otherwise, you wouldn’t be using a dating app in the first place.

So, perhaps the lesson here is being truthful up front and having nothing to hide, and therefore the right person will like you for you blah blah blah, you die alone. I’m all for absolute truth in the dating world, but the cost is massive, not in the relationship itself, but rather the finite period at the beginning of it. That golden snapshot in time where you truly believe your new beau is hilarious as they are gorgeous, their brain as volcanic as their performance between the sheets before you find out otherwise.

Now, the right person may see through that, but the exposing of the hairiest of your mental warts to the rest immediately may bring the speeding locomotive of reality crashing through that door. And while the relationship will come to that, all I’m saying is that we should embrace the suburban stops on the way.

In short, fucking lie.

That being said, here’s a picture of me on my yacht.

Call me.


Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson lives in regional NSW working by day in an accounting firm, and by night lives and breathes being a food and wine snob. He hopes to one day be a food critic or at the very least, meet Maggie Beer.

Related posts