A 60-year-old Canadian man has been wandering the streets of Shenzen, China, desperately looking for his online girlfriend whom he has never met in person, the National Post is reporting.
11 months ago Jake Malone began exchanging emails — 396 of them, to be exact — with his Chinese “girlfriend,” who alternately goes by “RiLi” or “Rebecca.” Madly in love with her, he boarded a plane to fly half a world away to meet her, despite her insistence that meeting in person would spoil the “magic” of their relationship.
Malone explains what he finds attractive about his “girlfriend.”
“Her smile is cute and soft. I can tell how innocent her heart is by looking into her eyes. That innocence is what attracted me to her.”
He arrived in China only to find strangers. No girlfriend met him at the airport, and when he went to the address of the “clothing company” she claimed to own, he found only an empty building, closed up years ago.
Undeterred, the Canadian man has taken to walking the streets of Shenzen, according to the Province, carrying a billboard with a photo of the woman he believes is “RiLi.” In Chinese, it reads “Your Canadian love is looking for you.”
The Canadian is something of a local celebrity in China, and the people of Shenzen are helping him in his quest to find his elusive lover.
“People in Shenzhen are very friendly. They took photos of me and put them online. I am very thankful for that.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Malone may very well be a victim of an online prank known as “catfishing.” In its mildest forms, catfishing simply refers to the practice of misrepresenting yourself online, according to this Inquisitr report — perhaps representing yourself as younger, better-looking, or better-employed than you actually are. More severe versions of the prank involve creating an entirely fake persona for the victim to fall in love with. Catfishing victims have found themselves in online “relationships” with people who don’t actually exist at all.
Unwilling to admit the possibility that he’s been had, the Canadian man insists that his Chinese lover will meet him — eventually.
“I believe in her. I can feel from her letters that she loves me.”
He also has plans for their life together once they do wind up finally meeting. Malone, a Buddhist who speaks Mandarin and practices tai chi, believes that life in China would suit him just fine.
“I am afraid that she will not be able to get used to the Canadian life. But I can adapt to her life in China. I can be an English or tai chi teacher, since I have been doing that in Vancouver.”
As of this post, the Canadian man spends his days wandering around Shenzen’s Luohu KK Mall, hoping some day he’ll find his lost love and they’ll live happily ever after.
[Image courtesy of: Shutterstock/Giedriusok]