Beware the Tinder Swindler, 3.5 readers.
BQB here with a review of this Netflix documentary. SPOILERS ABOUND!!!
Stories abound of men doing dumb, stupid, even horrible things for a beautiful woman. Smitten men have lost their lives, their fortunes, their reputations, careers, livelihoods, even committed crimes and gone to jail, all in the name of a pretty face.
As my 3.5 readers know, I am absurdly ugly, such that I could describe myself as a bad DNA mix of Ron Pearlman, Steve Buscemi, Willem Defoe and a bulldog and still not begin to describe the depths of my hideousness. While this has led to many crappy aspects of life, I can tell you the one and only good thing is it has prevented me from being hoodwinked by women. A beautiful woman tells me she’ll love me forever if I do X stupid thing? “Ha!” I cry. “That’ll be the day!” I already know no woman could ever love my gargoylish Quasimodo self and thus it would be pointless to jump through her hoops.
Long story short, this documentary posits the hypothesis that rich men are to women what beautiful women are to men. While we should never get bogged down in absolutes as I’m sure there are many women who wouldn’t be foolish enough to lose their wits at the sight of a dude with a big bankroll, there are some members of the fairer sex who throw common sense out the window in the name of a man with a fat bank account.
Think back to all those Disney movies. Does the Princess ever go for a commoner, or does she long to be rescued by…yes, a Prince with a lot of dough? Take away The Beast’s big bottomline and that movie is just a horrid tale about an ugly dog monster man who kidnaps French beauty Belle and holds her hostage. Take away Christian Gray’s fat stacks and 50 Shades of Gray is just a horror show about a weirdo who likes to spank female fannies.
Ultimately, for…not all women but some women…a man with money is their kryptonite. Perhaps this brings us back to our primal caveman days when prehistoric cavewomen would flock to the strongest caveman who could protect them from saber tooth tigers and wooly mammoths. Today, strength and protection take the form of cold, hard cash.
And thus, here is a tale about women who met a man claiming to be the son of a fabulously wealthy Israeli diamond merchant. Simon, as he calls himself, pops up on the Tinder apps of many a lonely lady and when they see his wealth, his fancy clothes, his expensive cars, his personal private jet, his cadre of servants, bodyguards and flunkies, and his globetrotting lifestyle that lets him go from one swanky hotel to the next, they truly believe they have become modern day Cinderellas who have met their Prince Charmings.
Alas, if only these women had consulted a human gargoyle like me, for like the person who sits in the back of a theater showing a horror movie shouting out warnings to the victim about what the baddie is about to do, I found myself shouting at the TV, “No girl! Don’t do that! He’s going to….ugh!”
First, so many of these women get on this dude’s private jet and fly away with him on the first date. My initial reaction is why are these women so dumb to not realize that getting on a stranger’s plane after a first meeting a bad idea? Don’t they know he could very easily fly them to a shitty country where laws don’t apply and they could end up being drugged up, internationally trafficked sex slaves for the rest of their lives? Have these women never seen Taken? Egads.
Luckily, none of them are turned into sex slaves. But they are taken for big bucks. Once Simon woos them, he bombards his lady marks with tales of peril, various reasons why he has lost access to his cash and great dangers that will befall him if the women don’t fork over their dough. These ladies end up not only handing over their life savings, they also take out massive loans, racking up insane credit card debt that they have no hope of repaying, all in the name of…well they think they are saving Simon from peril but in reality, are funding his lavish lifestyle.
The key lie in Simon’s repertoire is to claim that he has “enemies” i.e. he is a rich diamond merchant and various evildoers want to do him in because…I don’t know, he has a lot of money and they want it I guess? At any rate, the S man simply tells his befuddled babes that very bad, naughty men are tracking him through his credit cards, so he has to use theirs but don’t worry…he’ll pay them back.
So, don’t get me wrong. I get that at the end of the day, the con man is responsible for the con. No matter how dumb you think the conned might be, the conner is the one in the wrong who has done a terrible thing.
Even so…yeah, as an ugly gargoyle whose only credit as an ugly gargoyle is an immunity to being conned by a pretty face, I found myself shouting at the TV. “Really, girl? A man that rich claims bad guys are tracking him through his credit cards and so…he needs YOUR credit card? That doesn’t set off a red flag for you? There’s no other alternative for a man that rich? There isn’t like a secure banking service or a security expert or some sort of banking method a man with that much money can use in this type of situation? Borrowing his girlfriend’s credit card and racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt is the only thing he can do? Give me a break.”
I will say part of me gets why the women are duped. Simon appears to have so much freaking money that it seems like it would be easy enough for him to pay the loans back to the ladies. Still, the cynic in me wonders why these women never asked why a man that rich doesn’t have say, the resources necessary to access secure, untrackable credit and ultimately, if that money is a lot to these women, enough to cripple them financially for life, why take the risk? The documentary’s answer is that they do it for love, that they genuinely care for Simon and worry about his safety but…there’s a part of me that wonders if these women saw Simon as their Prince Charming, their lifelong meal ticket who could give them a fabulous lifestyle, so they’d best not question it and do whatever he says, throwing all common sense out of the window.
In other words, if Simon looked like gargoyle old me and had my shitty lifestyle, they probably wouldn’t let me borrow five bucks if I gave them a promissory note signed by the Pope, let alone throw me a life preserver if I were drowning, but they’ll be duped into committing credit card fraud and get stuck with the bill for a handsome man posing as a wealthy adventurer.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. You know, the strongest among us has their kryptonite, the chink in their armor, their Achilles heel, so I am sympathetic to what happened to these ladies. I just…I don’t know. It was hard not to watch this movie and think if I only had like, a tenth of Simon’s looks, if I had a tenth of his fast talking abilities, if I had just a bit of money…I could have some hotties in my life and wouldn’t be so lonely . I would use those powers for good and treat the hotties right but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Que sera, sera.