celebrities, narcissists, poor judgment, royals

What makes my “N” chimes ring?

Last night, I was plowing through more of Prince Harry’s “bombshell” book, Spare. As is my custom sometimes, I decided to share a few excerpts from the book for a few friends. I realize that a lot of people are already sharing excerpts from Spare. Now, having gotten through about 80 percent of the book, I know the bits being shared are mostly about Harry’s relationship with Meghan Markle. No one seems to be sharing the rest of the book, which I’ve mostly found compelling and enjoyable.

I will probably finish reading Spare today. I might start a review today, or maybe I’ll get to it tomorrow. One thing I do know is that this book is probably going to spawn a few posts. I’m wading through Harry’s relationship with Meghan Markle and it’s very triggering for me. Many of the behaviors he describes– from the rush of the early relationship, to the way he describes frequently finding her sobbing and inconsolable, to the way she bullies him into psychotherapy– are very familiar to me. They make my “N” chimes ring.

What are “N” chimes, you ask? “N”, of course, equals narcissism. Chimes alert us to something in need of attention. Yesterday, I wrote about my husband’s ex wife, whom I think is a narcissist. Actually, I am SURE she is a narcissist, but I’m not qualified to diagnose anyone, so I hesitate to make that statement. I also realize that I could be wrong. That’s one of the many differences between Ex and me.

Likewise, I don’t know for certain that Meghan Markle is a narcissist. If I’m to go only on what I’ve read in his book so far, Harry thinks Meghan is the most wonderful, fantastic person ever born. And if that’s really true, then I am very happy for him. He’s apparently found the perfect woman. But, I think we all know that perfect people don’t exist. So, the fact that Meghan can apparently do no wrong in Harry’s eyes is one of the loudest “N” chimes.

I started to get that familiar feeling as I read about how Meghan and Harry met. Leading up to that point in the book, Harry had written about other girlfriends. In the years before he knew Meghan, Harry dated Chelsy Davy, a lovely young woman from Zimbabwe. Of the women he writes about, Harry seemed most compatible with Chelsy, but they broke up over lifestyle differences.

There were several other women, to include Cressida Bonas, a friend of Princess Eugenie’s. According to Harry, those women either weren’t compatible or were frightened off by the paparazzi. Harry notes that Cressida, in particular, managed to get him to “open up” and cry, following the death of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana. But Cressida apparently wasn’t exciting enough for Harry.

Meghan, on the other hand, excited Prince Harry from the moment he laid eyes on her. The way he describes it, seeing Meghan on Instagram was kismet. Below is Harry’s description of seeing Meghan for the first time…

I was sitting around Nott Cott, scrolling through Instagram. In my feed I saw a video: My friend Violet. And a young woman. They were playing with a new app that put silly filters on your photos. Violet and the woman had dog ears, dog noses, long red dog tongues hanging out. Despite the canine cartoon overlay, I sat up straighter. This woman with Violet…my God.

Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Prince. Spare (p. 267). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Harry sees Meghan on Instagram. Boom! Cupid shot him straight through the heart. That theory makes my “N” chimes ring. It wasn’t an accident that Harry saw Meghan and his friend on Instagram. Oh, I suppose it’s possible, but I highly doubt that’s what really happened. In my experience, narcissistic types are experts at seduction. They seem to have a special talent for knowing what a person wants or needs. Just like the best cult leaders, they figure out what their victim is seeking and they deliver… or, they make it seem like they’re delivering. Harry thinks he fell in love by chance, but to me, it seems like the whole meeting was contrived. And Harry, poor lad, was ripe for the picking.

Just before he and Meghan met, Harry describes being at several house parties in Los Angeles. Harry was at Courteney Cox’s house drinking tequila and consuming certain controlled substances. He didn’t know Courteney before he turned up at her house. He had a “trip” in her bathroom– the toilet and the trash can both turned into “heads”, complete with mouths. The next day, he went to another party, where he was smoking weed and apparently enjoying other substances. He met the man who wrote “Genie in a Bottle” for Christina Aguilera and made lots of money. Then, after yet another party, he went back to Courteney Cox’s house, where he seemingly had another drug induced trip– one that he apparently thinks of as an “epiphany”, of sorts. From the book:

Then I stared directly at the moon. It was speaking to me. Like the bin and the toilet. What was it saying? That the year ahead would be good. Good how? Something big. Really? Big. Not more of the same? No, something special. Really, Moon? Promise. Please don’t lie to me. I was nearly the age Pa had been when he’d got married, and he’d been considered a tragically late bloomer. At thirty-two he’d been ridiculed for his inability or unwillingness to find a partner. I was staring thirty-two in the face. Something has to change. Please? It will. I opened my mouth to the sky, to the moon. To the future. Aaaah.

Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Prince. Spare (pp. 263-264). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Based on the above passage, I know that Harry was actively looking for a woman to marry. I’ll bet he was lamenting to his “mates” about being single, too. Violet was one of his friends. She probably knew he was looking for a spouse. Meghan was single and available, and Meghan was looking, too. And, if I’m right about Meghan, she probably clued into the fact that Harry was feeling undesirable. She’s also from California and has obvious show business ties, even though she was working in Canada when she and Harry met. Perhaps someone who was with Harry at those house parties said something about Harry’s despondency about being bereft of a wife.

It seems very plausible to me that some people worked behind the scenes to make sure Harry saw Meghan on Instagram. He seems to think it’s “kismet”, but somehow I doubt it was. Add in Harry’s liberal use of hallucinogens and tequila at house parties, and the theory of Harry as a target becomes even more plausible to me. This certainly wasn’t a case of “ask and ye shall receive.” Moreover, illegal drug use and excessive alcohol consumption in strangers’ homes isn’t exactly the stuff of good decision making. Being under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and taking it seriously when one gets a “message” from the moon, also seems like questionable judgment to me.

Later, Harry further describes how he felt when he first saw Meghan, and all he got from that first look at her on Instagram. From the book…

But this woman’s beauty, and my response to it, wasn’t based merely on symmetry. There was an energy about her, a wild joy and playfulness. There was something in the way she smiled, the way she interacted with Violet, the way she gazed into the camera. Confident. Free. She believed life was one grand adventure, I could see that. What a privilege it would be, I thought, to join her on that journey. I got all of that from her face. Her luminous, angelic face. I’d never had a firm opinion on that burning question: Is there just one person on this earth for each of us? But in that moment I felt there might be only one face for me. This one.

Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Prince. Spare (pp. 267-268). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Again, it sounds like Cupid shot Harry in the heart. He was smitten by Meghan, gobsmacked by her beauty and “wild joy”. He could tell “she believed life was one grand adventure.” Harry got all of that from an Instagram video! But he didn’t even know her. This was more akin to infatuation than love. He asked Violet about Meghan. From the book…

I sent Violet a message. Who…is…this…woman?

She answered straightaway. Yeah, I’ve had six other guys ask me.

Great, I thought. Who is she, Violet?

Actress. She’s in a TV show called Suits.

Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Prince. Spare (p. 268). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Meghan certainly is an attractive woman. It’s very possible that six other guys really did ask Violet about her. Telling Harry that six other guys had asked about her, especially since he apparently hadn’t asked, seems like a manipulative move to me. It’s as if Violet was warning Harry to act now, or forever lose his chance with Meghan. But at that point, he’d only seen a video of her!

It’s like a salesperson setting up the illusion of scarcity by telling consumers that supplies are limited. I’m reminded of Martha Inc., a made for TV movie about Martha Stewart. Martha was selling pies, but she only had a couple set out on her table. Sure enough, people quickly bought them. She then set out more pies, but only a couple. Martha was pushing the idea that the pies were in high demand and supplies were limited, so those pie seekers had better act fast, or risk losing out!

I sense a similar dynamic between Harry, Violet, and Meghan. Violet works for Ralph Lauren and probably knows a thing or two about sales. Harry was shopping for a wife. Meghan was shopping for a husband. Violet connected them, and told Harry that other men were also looking. It may or may not have even been true. But Harry clearly got the idea that “supplies were limited”; moreover, he’d already lost out on other attractive women. Harry was determined to act fast, so he wouldn’t miss out on hooking Meghan. And Meghan and Violet, being savvy about sales, probably realized that. Meghan, after all, is an actress, and she’s obviously had to “sell herself” to get roles. She’s done commercials. She gets the concept of sales.

Harry implies in his book that, before he met Meghan, he was aimless and despondent. He’d dated several beautiful young women, but none of them were “the one”. He was 32 years old, and had seen his friends find spouses. He remembered how his own father, King Charles III, was 32 years old when he finally married barely 20 year old Diana. People had made fun of Charles for being single for so long. Charles actually needed to find a wife, because he needed to produce an heir to the throne. He couldn’t marry Camilla back then, so he “settled” for Diana, who was completely incompatible. We now know how that worked out for him. Likewise, Harry worried that he would never find a wife, even though the pressure to marry was probably much less for him than it was for Charles.

Harry also explains that in the palace, married couples are more prestigious than single people are. From the book…

Behind all this hand-wringing about me was something more substantive than “tittle-tattle.” It went to the whole underpinning of the monarchy, which was based on marriage. The great controversies about kings and queens, going back centuries, generally centered on whom they married, and whom they didn’t, and the children who issued from those unions. You weren’t a fully vested member of the Royal Family, indeed a true human being, until you were wed.

Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Prince. Spare (p. 231). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

So, based on the above passage, it’s clear that Harry was feeling the pressure to find someone to marry. He wasn’t a “fully vested member of the Royal Family”, because he was single. I hesitate to agree with his assertion that his family didn’t see him as a “true human being” because he was unwed. But obviously, the point is, he felt he was getting too old to be single. He was desperate to find “the one”. Meghan showed up at the right time. Boom! Cupid magically fired his dart. Bullshit.

In my experience, when someone feels that kind of pressure, they become vulnerable to a quick sale. That’s actually how Bill and I wound up living in our last house. If you’ve been following my blog, you probably know that in spite of the little voice in my head telling me to steer clear, we moved into a home in which the landlady was a bit narcissistic. We had to sue her to get our deposit returned. If we hadn’t been feeling so pressured to find a house, we might have avoided that situation. But we settled for a quick sale. Former landlady saw us coming… She told us other people were looking, which was probably a “white lie”. Other people probably were looking, but they’d wisely passed. Under different circumstances, we would have passed, too. Hopefully, next time, I’ll listen to that voice in my head.

Is Harry in a similar situation as Bill and I were back in 2014 (and Bill was with his ex wife)? Obviously, I don’t know Harry personally, so I don’t know for sure. But the signs are pretty clear to me. The “N” chimes are sounding. I’m very rarely wrong when I hear those chimes. I’ve ignored them before and been very sorry. Hopefully, I’m wrong in Harry’s case, because I don’t want him to be unhappy. I like Prince Harry, and I’m enjoying his book, even though I’ve learned more about his penis than I ever thought I would (more on that in a later post). Moreover, I don’t cheer for people to have bad relationships. I just know the signs and symptoms of manipulative behaviors.

Time to wrap up this post, although I am definitely not finished writing about Spare. I’m only writing about my “N” chimes because of last night’s discussion, and because I know I have friends who are apparently offended by my impressions of Harry and Meghan. I don’t mean to offend. I’m being honest about how I feel. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my dealings with abusive, manipulative, narcissistic people, it’s that they want their victims to suffer in silence. They thrive on secrecy. So I’m not going to be silent. If I’m wrong, I’ll say so and apologize. But unfortunately, I don’t think I’m wrong about this.

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scams, sex, true crime

Partial repost: A scammer tries to threaten the Overeducated Housewife…

I am reposting this post from July 2018, because this just happened to me again… it’s basically the same crappy, threatening email from some scumbag loser who buys old passwords from the dark web. I am not scared of this scam, but want to share it for those who are scared… or just as amused as I am. I have gotten this email a few times by different “people” or “bots” or whatever. It’s always the same stupid threat. For the record, no one on my friends list or contact list would even care if I looked at porn. They’d probably congratulate me.

I see I also wrote about this scam in 2019. Well, the warning bears repeating… Fuck these people!

Picture it.  You’ve just opened your eyes for the first time of the day.  You’re scanning your email messages, most of which are either from mailing lists or just plain junk.  Your eyes hit a message entitled, “Alert!”, followed by part of your email address and one of your passwords. 

You scan the message and it’s basically full of threats and accusations, followed by a demand for money paid in bitcoin.  The scammer claims he or she has infected your computer with malware that can turn on your webcam and has filmed you doing nasty things as you view porn.  If you don’t pay up, the scammer is going to send a sex video of you to your online contacts.

I got a message like that this morning.  There I was, sitting on the toilet, taking a dump, and deleting most of the worthless spam that collects in my email accounts every night.  I got an email from a chap calling himself “Elton Delaney”… (almost certainly not his or her real name).  For the purposes of this blog post, I will refer to “Elton” as male, even though it’s just as likely that the culprit is female.  Here is a screenshot of what Elton sent me last night as I was going to sleep.

I was alarmed the first time I got one of these. Now, I just roll my eyes.

I’ll admit, my first reaction to this email was shock and alarm.  I was barely awake and, the fact is, Elton did have one of my passwords. It’s a very old and weak one that I used on a regular basis maybe 15 years ago.  I have long since upgraded my passwords to more secure ones.  The password Elton has won’t grant access to much now.  
Elton had sent the message to my newest email account, one that I don’t use for emails to friends and family.  Clearly, my email was in a database that got hacked and sold to scuzzy lowlife bottom feeders like Elton and his ilk.  Still, in my sleepy condition, I was initially taken aback by this message.  Poorly written as it is, it was designed to provoke a panicked response, prompting victims to act before thinking.  I surmise that some people must have taken the bait and paid up.  Fortunately, I am not among the duped.  My brain kicked in and I realized that Elton is full of shit.

As of 2018, this was about $4000. The guy who wrote today offered me a bargain at about $2300.

Elton wants me to pay him almost $4000 to keep Bill and a bunch of online retailers from seeing intimate videos of me. It’s not happening. Actually, Bill would probably enjoy seeing such a video. It’s a shame one doesn’t exist.

Despite Elton’s ominous threats, I deleted the message without sending him a .5 bitcoin payment, finished my morning rituals, stripped the sheets off the bed for the wash, and then went down to the living room, where Bill had already set out my morning coffee. I told Bill about Elton’s threat. Not long ago, Bill finished his second master’s degree in cybersecurity. I thought he’d get a kick out of hearing about the threatening scam email I received. I joked to Bill that Elton might send him a video of me doing what he’s seen me do live thousands of times since we’ve been married. Believe me, it’s just not that exciting.

Then I did a quick Google search and found that this particular email scam, which has evidently been around for years, has recently resurged.  Of all of the email phishing scams I’ve seen, this one is probably one of the most infuriating.  It employs shame and the threat of humiliation to blackmail and extort money from the unaware.  While I know what Elton claims to have on me would not be very interesting to my email contacts, plenty of people are looking at things online that might damage their reputations or upset their friends and loved ones.  Those people, eager to keep their embarrassing online habits under wraps, are most likely to give in to demands for payment.  Unfortunately, our culture promotes shame, especially regarding sexual matters.

Although some people have been swindled by these emails, the scammers themselves are often quite stupid. Here’s a link to a story out of Miami where a woman named Briyana Valls tried to extort money using threatening text messages. She texted a guy who had briefly left his phone unattended at a bar, and threatened to tell his wife he was cheating on her unless he paid Valls $500. For all of her threats, Valls didn’t prove to be very savvy. She agreed to be paid in person, and that’s when she got nabbed by the police. Valls is now cooling her heels in jail, where she faces extortion and grand theft charges. The FBI also recently issued a warning about these email scams.

Sure, I’ve looked at porn on the Internet.  I expect a whole lot of people have.  It’s not something I do very often, though, because frankly, I find most porn videos boring and kind of gross.  I am much more inclined to read dirty stories, and most of the free ones on the Internet are terrible.  I’d do better to write them myself.  There was even a period in my life when I wrote erotica just to pass the time.  It’s part of what attracted Bill to me.  Given that fact, Elton’s threats mean very little, especially since I don’t have a boss and my mother doesn’t use the Internet.  If she did, I doubt she’d care that her married 46 year old (er 49 year old) daughter is finally sexually active.    

But even if I was watching a lot of porn and Elton’s threats were somehow credible, there is just no way Elton got any videos of me doing nasty things.  It simply didn’t happen.  There is no way it could have.  If Elton did send all of my contacts a “sex video” of me, it would probably either bore them to tears or make them laugh.  Besides, most of the people who would be getting the videos would be spammers like him and burned out online retailers who might welcome the distraction.  I don’t use that particular email address for communicating with most of my loved ones.  The lone exception is Bill, who is well aware of my tastes for sexually explicit stuff.

I was also pretty put off by Elton’s nasty and threatening tone.  Some of the scammers who send out these emails are at least decent enough to be funny.  Elton’s email requesting money comes across as very rude.  It definitely wasn’t something I wanted to read first thing in the morning.  Hey Elton, you get more flies with honey than vinegar, you feckless fuckstick.  The next time you send me a threatening email, have the decency to say “please” and “thank you”.  Maybe if you did that more often, your life’s mission wouldn’t be reduced to sending pathetic scam emails to uninteresting and unsexy overeducated housewives like me.

So… if you happen to get one of these emails yourself, just toss it into the round file.  Don’t worry.  It’s a scam.  If any of you happen to get a video of me doing nasty things, I hope you enjoy it.  And Elton, if you ever read this post, please go fuck yourself… and be sure to video it and send it to all of your friends and loved ones.

Edited to add:  Bill says the people behind this scam have already collected over $250,000.  Don’t fall for it!

Edited to add in 2021: At least this time, the email was in my spam folder and had a big red warning on it, so at least the email servers are getting that this crap doesn’t belong anywhere where people might take it seriously. Seriously… none of my friends would care if they saw a video of me looking at porn. And any that would care aren’t worth my time, anyway.

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