I help moderate a FB group for local gamers.
NO WAIT THAT'S NOT THE INCREDIBLE PART
So I'm derping around on the Feeb one Friday afternoon, and I get a membership request from (the following is a pseudonym)
Ludmila Savićević Čarapić
which is obviously an Eastern-European name, as anyone can see from all the pointy things sticking out of it.
I immediately suspect it of being a scammer, looking to spam the group with links to see "her" private photos, or whatever. And that's what I'm there for, right? To keep this kind of thing from happening? And it does happen, doesn't it? Someone adopts a thin persona of exotic beauty, and tries to get money out of a bunch of lonely, horny dudes.
Good skeptic that I am, I look at the person's FB profile. Sure enough: not a lot of posts (not that I can read 'em, anyway, 'cause they're in Cyrillic characters), photos of an attractive woman, not much else. The woman's not posing, though -- just a few candids.
Nice try, scammer, I think to myself. Well, actually, to the suspected scammer on the other end of this. But you don't fool me.
Now...at this point, I could just deleted the request and be done with it, but my fighting spirit is up. I issue a challenge via PM: "Did you just request membership in <Local Gamer Group>?" and then forget about it for the weekend.
* * *
Monday rolls around and I remember to check that conversation. No answer. I nuke the request and carry on and all back to 0...
...until the answer does come back. "Hi, sorry for the delayed response. Yes, I'd like to join; I moved here from Serbia a year ago, and I used to play Warhammer Fantasy with my friends back home. I miss it, so I want to find people to play with here."
...and I go,
BUT I'M STILL SKEPTICAL.
So I engage Ludmila Pointynames in conversation, and...um...she starts to sound legit. She asks appropriate questions, gives appropriate answers. She's polite and succinct, curious, friendly.
So I invite her to a new game club in town, of which I am a member. There's an open 5e game. I figure -- hey, here's the bowl for the pudding with the proof in it; if she's real, she'll show up.
"I can't make it this week," she says, "maybe next week?" And again, I go, Ha! Thought so.
The week rolls over, and I send her a message: "Hey, invite is still open for the game club on Tuesday!" She answers, "I will be there!" and I think, We shall see!
Tuesday arrives, and I go to the venue for the game club.
And so does Ludmila.
Seriously, folks -- turns out she's a real person, totally legit, and not a scammer at all. Moreover, she sat down, said her hellos, and dug right into learning D&D and making character choices and balancing options and filling out a character sheet, just like --
-- just like someone joining a game and meeting new friends.
That night, after the game, she even offered to drive me home -- I live about 20 minutes out of town. She'd just got her license, and was itching to drive around town. We chatted on the way; she and her husband are here on some kind of visas, letting him teach and study, but she can't work or anything, so...she wants to game. She's in her mid-30s, and had long wanted to get into RPGs back home, but didn't have the chance until a few years ago.
Ludmila has been a member of the group for months, now. She's smart, funny, creative, and fun to be around. It didn't take long for the club members to warm up to her, and we're all glad she came. Turns out she has some issues with social anxiety, and coming to join the club was a big leap for her. We're all glad she took it. Not just because she made muffins one time, either.
So...what the hell was my problem? Why was I so distrustful, and so ready to be deceived? Well...that's a whole other topic, and I may post about it, but it has nothing to do with gaming so you can skip it if you want.