Looking for love thro cyberspace

Two or three friends of mine have dated w people met over the Internet; one married the girl he found. (As for me - back in my single days - tried a v few emails to hot looking ladies on a site or two, but not even so much as a reply :S )

Anyways, just come across entertaining (to me) article, snippets of which here:

... The story begins a year ago in a meeting with Simon, the editor of the health magazine I write for. 'I think you should try internet dating,' he says.

I look at Simon. He is 37, the same age as me. Unlike me, he is happily married and has a baby daughter. What he's really saying is that I'm a great big loser when it comes to love. 'But the kind of people that go internet dating are weirdos,' I bluster.

'You're single. You want to meet someone serious. I think it might make an interesting piece if you see what's out there,' he says.

'Women with sideburns, that's what's out there.' 'Let's put it another way.

You work for us. This is a commission.' In many ways, I still love being a single man, being able to do precisely what I like and having no one to shout at me for eating Scotch eggs from the local garage while playing poker online. At five in the morning.

But I am approaching 40 and running out of peers to party with. Many of my friends are now married with children.

I've got most of my own hair and teeth and even a decentish career. I'm not entirely mad. And yet I'm single. Where are all the millions of women who must, statistically speaking, be simply bursting with desire to meet me?

'OK,' I say to Simon. 'I'll try it.' ... Browsing the sites, I'm puzzled.

Why are there so many beautiful 22-year-old blonde girls online? Lots of them seem to live close to me. I email a selection. Within a few minutes, I get three replies. The first reads: 'Thanks for your email. I am available between 16.00 and 04.00.

Call this number... ' The second says: 'Thanks for your message. You can call me on ... ' The third is similar.

Checking the girls' profiles, they all say the same thing: versions of 'I really like older men' and 'I think lesbianism has a lot to offer'.

How many hundreds of lovely young girls who are into both lesbianism and older men can there be in the same postal district in the West End?

Ah, I see ...

Next day I start again, this time trying to avoid the prostitutes. ... Very soon I hear from 'Bongowoman' who is 32 and describes herself as good-looking. She is 5ft 9in and works in publishing. Likes opera and pop. She characterises her drinking as 'light'.

This makes me pause. How many people, when asked by a dating agency, would deliberately characterise their drinking as anything other than 'light'?

'Hi, I'm a Sagittarian and I drink until I get violent.' Still, Bongowoman, ... I can't say a cruel 'yes' but I can't honestly say 'no' either. She leans across, pecks me on the forehead and says: 'Thanks for the wine.' Then she's gone.

What now? The internet dating shop is open 24/7, so back at my desk I notice someone called Lizzie has put me in her 'Favourites' file. She's 5ft 4in with a pretty face, dark hair and a goofy smile. She's a 'consultant'.

Over the next few days we exchange emails of increasing candour, culminating in her telling me that she likes dancing around nude in her flat to heavy metal.

I am not sure whether to get excited by the nude dancing bit or appalled by Lizzie's taste in music. ... 'I've brought you to a gay pub,' I say, morosely.

Lizzie laughs. 'Shall we go somewhere else?' ... The next day I text my friends about Lizzie. 'This could be the one,' I say.

And then I open my email box and see the message. 'I'm sorry, but I don't think it's quite right. Sorry. Lizzie.' I read it again, and then once more.

Then I reboot my computer as if it could be some kind of software glitch.

But the message is still there.

The heartbreak lasts about four hours.

By teatime I feel a lot better.

Over the next few months I have a series of dates with unsuitable girls.

Among them, the thirtysomething architect-who informs me that she met her perfect man just two days before but thought she 'should still come along'.

She spends half the evening exchanging text messages with her new man. We split the restaurant bill.

Then there's that smart Iranian girl, from Qom via Cambridge University. We go to a pub and she tells me that she dislikes men because they are lying and weak. I don't bother taking her phone number. ... I may be lacking in success - and any sexual contact whatsoever - but I am meeting some interesting new people. I have also learned that the people of Smolensk put carpets on their walls during the winter.

But on the downside, I have had several internet encounters that petered out to nothing. For some reason, people find it easier just to disappear brusquely online. In cyberspace, people just leave without a word.

I strike up an email correspondence with Lenina, a cute blonde with a penchant for the film Flash Gordon. We exchange the usual wry, mildly flirtatious emails - and then she just disappears. So I find Lenina's profile again.

I read through our exchanges and see how our emails dwindled.

In desperation, I decide to use a method I have long considered but always dismissed. I'm going to Tell The Truth. I'm going to email Lenina and tell her the Real Facts about myself. ... She also looks lovely: 29 years old, smiling, nervous, curious, talkative, keen to get a little tipsy. I ask her about her job in advertising. She asks me about my flat and I tell her.

... Watching her taxi disappear, I get a strange sense of juvenile excitement.

A few days later we have a date in a pub in Islington. We spend the night laughing. We have lots in common. ... One day, six months into our relationship, I tell her this. That I love her.

Glory be - she tells me she loves me, too.

Now comes the marriage question, the commitment bit. One warm summer evening we're sitting on the roof terrace of my flat. I turn to Claire and I say: 'Will you marry me?' And she says: 'Yes.' As I write, Claire and I are still together. In fact, Claire is now six months pregnant. I am happy. I'm happy because it's still there; the feeling, still there after quite a long time.

... But what about online dating in particular? How could I not be in favour?

Online dating helped me fall in love; I'm sure it can do the same for anyone. And that is, surely, a good thing.

When you are looking for love, you are shooting for the moon. Who cares if you get there in a gondola or in a minicab? Just get there.

How to spot a mad gold-digger

In my experience, there are certain words and phrases women will often use when describing themselves on the internet. With a little thought, you can decode most of their descriptions, but here's a list of the common ones to get you started: Curvy - Tubby.

Cuddly - Huge.

A cat lover - Desperate for kids.

A traditional homemaker - I'm looking for a meal ticket.

Fun-loving - Drunken, possibly a crackhead.

Scatty - Bonkers.

Adventurous - Fond of unusual sexual practices.

Demanding - Impossible.

Sensual - A good kisser.

I'm from St Petersburg - Marry me.

I like rugby-playing types - Dominate me.

My favourite things include the theatre, clubs, dancing, restaurants, sport, reading, football and walking - I can't think of anything else to say.

I will send you a photo privately - I am married and I don't want my husband to know I am doing this.

I'm Rightwing - You'd better earn more than me.

I hate cruelty to animals - I'm predictable.

I'm tired of the singles scene - My looks are going.

I've got a pierced navel - Honky TonkWoman!

MY">http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2006/04/30/1625708.htm]MY SEARCH FORTHE PERFECT WOMAN...ONTHE INTERNET

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