"Of course not," I answered. "I have six."
Here was the breakdown:
1) Personal email. This is given out only directly to the very small number of people I know, trust, and correspond with regularly.
2) Professional email. Given to employers, prospective employers, and the government.
3) Business email. Used for my bank account, bills, online shopping, anything involving money.
4) Fake personal email. When I meet someone and they ask for my email but I don't really want to give them my personal email, I give them my fake personal email. I also use this for mailing lists and newsletters.
5) To save myself having to regularly log into so many separate email accounts, I have 2-4 above set up to forward everything into a single Outlook/Hotmail account, which I keep private.
6) Then, because I have issues with Outlook's functionality, I have my Outlook email set up to forward everything into a Gmail account. The username for this account is random gibberish, and I have never shared it except with my own Outlook email for the aforementioned forwarding purposes.
"That's . . . " And I waited for her to say "brilliant," or at least "sensible." Instead, she gave me "That's crazy. Like, maybe sociopathic."
I'll admit I was a tad taken aback at this reaction.
She continued: "Having a 'fake personal email' is creepy, but everything you said after that is insane. Like, literally insane. Double-forwards? Spies don't even do that!"
Memo to self: Instead of referring to it as my "fake personal email," from now on call it my "newsletter subscription email." Setting that aside, I tried to explain the prudence of my system. This way, even if a hacker gets into any one of the first four accounts, they get access to only one slice of my identity. And the more sensitive the information an account concerns, the lower the visibility of that email, therefore the lower the probability that it will be hacked.
But she only looked at me as though I had suddenly become a stranger to her.
Well, I guess I'm glad I told her I only kept six email addresses.