Dear Facebook: My Name Is NOT Elizabeth Gallagher

Hi. My name is Ross von Metzke. I’m a 35-year-old gay male living in Southern California. Blonde hair, green eyes, 6’0”. Did I mention I’m male?

But according to Facebook, for the last 24 hours, my name has been Elizabeth Gallagher.

Why?

If I’m being honest, it’s my own fucking fault — but I’m gonna pin some of this on Facebook anyway because, well, why not.

It all started with a man named Jordan Axani. He’s a 27-year-old, good-looking, straight guy from Canada who has an ex-girlfriend named Elizabeth Gallagher. Back in March, he booked a “fairly wicked trip around the world for Christmas” to be enjoyed with his girlfriend. But then she broke up with him and the ticket is non-refundable.

So rather than let this incredible opportunity go to waste, Jordan paired up with Reddit to search for another Elizabeth Gallagher. He made it very clear — this woman would be under no obligation to be his girlfriend, to even stay in touch with him after the trip. Heck, he’s not even insisting on a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower. All he asks in his post is that the lucky Elizabeth Gallagher to win the once in a lifetime opportunity to travel to New York, Milan, Paris, Bangkok, Prague, and New Delhi be Canadian and have a good attitude.

I may not be Canadian, but I also never pass up the opportunity to make a good joke — or, apparently, a fool out of myself on social media. And so, I logged into Facebook and changed my profile name to Elizabeth Gallagher because I thought it would make for…

A) A great Snapchat.

B) A good laugh for my mom when she saw she had a son named Elizabeth Gallagher.

C) A chance to write a funny email to Jordan Axani, who as I mentioned before is a good-looking guy.

D) A Facebook post that would almost certainly get a ton of likes and hysterical comments from my circle of friends.

There’s just one problem. When the screengrab was captured and the photo was taken, I took a good, hard look at Facebook’s name-change policy. You can only do it once every 60 days.

Wait, what? I was going to be stuck as Elizabeth Gallagher for the rest of 2014.

First, all of the tags in my photos changed. Elizabeth Gallagher at Los Angeles Gay Pride. Elizabeth Gallagher shirtless in almost every selfie taken between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  Elizabeth Gallagher hanging out with my mom and dad at her birthday lunch in Laguna Beach.

I started messaging my friends to see if any of them had any clue how I could get this switched back, but half of them ignored me because they didn’t understand why some woman named Elizabeth Gallagher was messaging them.

People searching for my name on Facebook couldn’t find Ross von Metzke — in Mark Zuckerberg’s world, Ross no longer existed. But if you typed in Elizabeth Gallagher, guess who popped up? Me! And a lot of people must have read that story and been eager to track down an Elizabeth Gallagher, because in the last 24 hours I’ve received no less than 17 Facebook messages from people I don’t know alerting me to this incredible opportunity to see the world. All of them from men. I’m presuming straight men who don’t spend a lot of time looking at profile pics, because three of these gentlemen suggested that even if I didn’t qualify for the trip, they’d like to show me a good time.

I do want to visit Montreal again and I love a good concert and a “fine dining experience,” but the guy who told me I could “even sleep in his bed and he wouldn’t try anything” is gonna be in for one hell of a surprise when I step off the plane.

I began to pity any woman actually named Elizabeth Gallagher.

People started posting messages to Liz on my wall — friends and family, because you can’t post on my wall unless we’re friends. “Hey Liz, how’s it going?” “Well you might have been named Elizabeth if you’d have been born a girl,” my mom reminded me. And of course, people posting and messaging me wondering why the fuck I’d gone and changed my name to Elizabeth Gallagher.

And then I got my first email — from a client. Oh, did I forget to mention I actually oversee people’s social media accounts for a living? Yes, I’m the social media manager and marketing expert who got so excited about a lame joke that I failed to read Facebook’s name change policy — I still think they buried that fun “60 day” fact just to fuck up my life, but I digress.

“Hey Ross, some woman named Elizabeth Gallagher just posted something on my wall as an admin. Do you know who that is?”

So now I was going to have to send an email to all of my clients explaining to them why Elizabeth Gallagher had suddenly popped up in their lives.

And yes, I even got one message — a serious message — from a friend I haven’t seen in a long time wondering if I was considering getting a sex change and this was just my idea of dipping my toe into the shallow end.

I was starting to feel like Sandra Bullock in that movie “The Net” when they erased her identity and changed her name to Ruth Marx, a high-school dropout whose mother died of a drug overdose and who was being treated for venereal diseases.

I was going to have to spend the rest of my fucking life as Elizabeth Gallagher.

Thankfully, as I discovered on Tuesday, Facebook has a failsafe. If you can provide documentation proving your identity, they’ll make a name change. I lied and told them my friend had pulled a prank on me and that my name was not Elizabeth Gallagher, including a photo of my California Driver’s license.

Tuesday afternoon, after spending 24 hours living a lie, I was once again Ross von Metzke, photo tags reverted. People could find me by name again. My mother got her son back. And at least three straight gentlemen now have the honor of knowing they once tried to pick up a gay dude on Facebook.

I’ll miss Elizabeth, and to the lucky lady who gets to join Jordan on the trip of a lifetime, have a blast and take lots of pics. I’m just glad to have my life back.

Ross von Metzke is a writer and social media manager, living in Southern California and is currently hanging his head in shame.

[Reddit]
[Buzzfeed]