Bromancing the Straight Dude on 'The Circle': Catfishing Gay Trainer Flirts with Unsuspecting Hunk

Thursday September 9, 2021
Originally published on September 9, 2021

Nick (left) and Matthew (aka Ashley) are contestants on Season Three of "The Circle" on Netflix
Nick (left) and Matthew (aka Ashley) are contestants on Season Three of "The Circle" on Netflix  (Source:Netflix)

Netflix's binge-worthy reality series "The Circle" is back for a third season, things are shaking up this time around with new twists involving the identities of its contestants.

The show's premise brings a group of strangers into an apartment complex shut off from the real world and Internet. Instead, they are placed on their own network that only allows the contestants to communicate with each other. Their goal is to win over their peers and become the most liked person in The Circle. At the end of the season, one player will take home a $100,000 prize. Each week, one or two of the most popular players -- as voted on by the contestants -- will become "influencers," who will choose someone to "block" from The Circle.

The catch is that the contestants can catfish their Circle personality. On Season 2, DeLeesa St. Agathe shrewdly played the game by impersonating her husband Trevor, and ended up winning. Of the seven contestants on this season, only one player is a genuine catfish: Matthew, an out personal trainer from Long Island who pretty much established his sexual identity upon arrival when he looked at the apartment and said he wanted to add a naked man named Enrique to cater to his every need while there. But instead of playing himself with a thirst-trapping pic, he chooses to impersonate his best friend, a lesbian woman named Ashley. What he may learn, though, is that a man playing a woman is far more difficult than it seems and he can easily be exposed by one of his peers. (Matthew/Ashley will be referred to as M/A with "they/their" as their pronoun.)

Nick  (Source: Netflix screenshot)

It wasn't the case, though. On the show's second episode, M/A was contacted by Nick, a hunky bro who says he graduated from MIT but has shown little smarts so far. Case in point: though he is playing himself, he said he doesn't want to show himself as being too bright. Instead of playing as himself, he lies about his job, claiming to be a "drummer" for a punk band. But contestants were quick to question his occupation as he chose a clean cut profile pic of himself at a baseball game, making him look more like the software engineer that he is.

And he also sees himself as the show's hottie and is out to flirt with the available women. So it wasn't surprising when he reached to M/A. For their part, M/A was already up for flirting with the Nick and welcomed the call.

"I'm solid in the dude category, I need to get some chick friends," says Nick reaching out to M/A. "Ashley does look pretty cute. So if it gets a little flirty, it gets a little flirty."

Getting the message, M/A said: "Wow! You have made me a very happy gay, sir. I want him to that I am the lesbian girl for him to, to chat with... Inner lesbian, let's go," referencing their gay best friend.

M/A is already in Camp Nick, or has they would put it, Camp Daddy Nick. "Oh, Daddy Nick," they says to himself. "I mean look at that face. He just has arms that you wanna literally lay into after a big, long day."

M/A pushes things to the next level by spelling Nick as "N-I-I-I-CK," which Nick takes as "a little flirty."

M/A gets a little bolder. "Legit, liked your big...(laughing) ... dog energy from the start."

Netflix screenshot  (Source: Matthew/Ashley)

Nick gets the joke and the bait. "Wow. She's clever. She took my big Nick energy combined with the fact that I have a dog," he says to himself.

He then messaged M/A: "I've been trying to get a chance to talk to you. We actually answered every Ice Breaker question exactly the same."

Saying to himself: "It's sort of subtle flirting, you know? We're playing for the long game here,"

Meanwhile M/A enthuses, dancing around and singing: "Hashtag power couple. Hashtag power couple... This is how you book a man. This is how you book a man."

When the call ended, Nick thought he found an ally and a possible romantic interest in M/A. For their part, M/A concluded: "I came into the Circle wanting to be myself and use the mask of Ashley. And honestly, I've been salivating over Daddy Nick this whole time. And he has given me the chance to be fully myself. Ashley, I promised you I wouldn't flirt with any men, but you can smack me with your field hockey stick when I get home. Cause right now, I don't care. I'm going for Daddy Nick."