I’m glad you were you when we met.

These were the words of my cyber boo, who sat next to me in real life as we tuned into the second half of Catfish, the most gotcha! and have-a-seat show since To Catch a Predator.

In case you haven’t seen the show, it’s a reality-based docudrama (aka reality show) on MTV about the truth and lies of online dating. In e-terms, a catfish is a person that lives another life online by using someone else’s pictures. The catfish may also take other info from that person’s life or create another existence all together. Intents vary, but the side-eyes don’t. In this show, a camera crew accompanies one half of the e-relationship as he or she goes to meet the other…for the first time. Chris Hansen nor dude from Cheaters are part of the show.

On Monday’s episode, Trina, the abstract model and “interpretive dancer,” showed up with camera crew in tow to meet the e-love of her life, Scorpio — who was also supposed to be an “interpretive dancer.” Once Scorpio came out of his house (Yeah, they went to his house) and into reality, the world was underwhelmed (humored). The man that she thought was a chiseled, purse-lipped macchiato turned out to be Rufus in the well-nourished flesh. He was a brick house built on lies. At least 73 pounds heavier and a few shades darker than expected. 2 kids became 4 and 27 years young became 32 years crisis. The antithesis of winning. I weep for him.

As you can imagine, Trina wasn’t too happy with the real world revelation. It was evident in the tears that trekked through her make up. With her disappointment moving in rhythm with the world’s tiniest violin, she spoke into the camera about her disappointment with his lies. Sad stuff I tell ya.

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Online life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get in person. Well, unless you take a few precautionary measures and keep these things in mind:

If they can’t speak on the phone and skype at the same time, it ain’t real.

For online love when speaking on the phone isn’t enuf. If you’ve been talking to someone seriously and have yet to see them in a non-static state, you’re setting yourself up for failure. And to be extra safe, you should suggest going on video while on the phone to put your mind twice at ease. Don’t get hit with the front double.

If you need a camera crew, it probably ain’t real.

If you feel like you need a camera crew to accompany you to the first meeting, you already suspect lame sauce. At that point, you’re just in it for the camera time, which is pretty phuckin’ selfish. Two strikes against the potential for everlasting love.

Whatever you think they weigh in their picture(s), add 20 pounds.

Worst case scenario: You were 20 pounds closer to their real weight.

Best case scenario:  You can live with it.

When you look at online pictures, always think about the message on driver-side mirrors,but with a twist: Objects may be bigger than they appear. 

Attractive Black Men (however you choose to define them) don’t look for love online unless they live in Dakota.

More specifically, they don’t do dating sites. And if they do, they’re probably looking for bargains and free shipping with a return label. You know, so that you can go home and sleep in your own bed afterward.

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There are plenty of other precautions and rules, but I’ll leave that up to you today. What advice would you offer someone falling in e-love or seeking it online? Also, if you’ve seen the show, what do you think? 

You are not your pixels,