Looking for Love in all the Web Places
When my column lands on a holiday, I tend to ignore it. I prefer to write about anti-government lunatics building pipe bombs than, say, Christmas. I don't have a lot of original things to say about Christmas. What new can be said about a holiday that has been kicking around for 2000 years?
I should also ignore Valentines Day but given finding love has been the central and ruinously expensive preoccupation of my life for the last two years, maybe I have some small insight.
Currently more email is sent than regular mail. Hopefully the same can't be said about greeting cards. I've never been terribly impressed by people who send me those web-based virtual cards. I figure I'm worth at least the price of a stamp. Likewise I've never bothered to send one out. There's something rewarding about finding a cute card that says what you want to say all for the price of $2.75. Then again, some things are better left unsaid. Once I discovered a "On the Death of Your New Born Baby" card that tried to console the grieving parents by suggesting "you must have loved your baby very much even though you didn't know it for long."
One deranged fellow only managed to correctly spell "meat", "train" and "you pay".
Words fail us from time to time. Words even fail highly paid greeting card writers. While hunting for Valentines day cards last weekend, I found a card that read "I love you / I farted". Someone is actually going to buy that card for someone that actually loves the purchaser. If you feel you can't top an ode to your own body odor, I suggest a visit to the Cyrano Server. As the name suggests, the Cyrano Server generates romantic prose suitable for pasting into an email or a virtual card.
If you think your relationship is dying, and you're over the age of 25, try to resuscitate it. Spark up the romance. Do anything but give up on it. As I can attest, it's not easy out there to find new love. The few people that are over 25 and are not in theoretically permanent relationships are usually either really busy with work or harboring so many resentments about the opposite sex that you're more than likely to get a face full of pepperspray than a coffee date.
You might find some relationship-saving tid bit at http://www.loveadvice.com/. Alternatively check out lovingyou.com/index.shtml. Not that all of the advice here passes muster. A page on Top 10 Romantic Cities lists "Italy" as a city. Mangia cakes!
If you're having doubts about your relationship, punch up the Love Calculator. You enter your name and the name of your significant other and a CGI script determines the probability the relationship will have any chance of success. It's a fine bit of pseudo-science, but hey why not? Since when does logic rule love?
If you're currently single, the net provides some means for finding love. There are a number of matchmaking web pages where you fill in biographical data about yourself and hope beyond hope someone decent reads your profile and emails you. Probably the best free matchmaking service out there is American Singles.
These matchmaking sites tend to work better for women. At times they work too well. Female friends who have posted ads report getting two or three hundred emails in the span of a few days. Emails ranged from an oil executive in Thailand offering marriage, a $20,000 a month allowance, and a chauffeur-driven car to a creatively punctuated message from one deranged fellow who only managed to correctly spell "meat", "train" and "you pay". Needless to say, never give out your work or personal email address in these ads.
Since the release of the movie You've Got Mail, there's been a lot of talk about finding love through IRC chat rooms. IRC tends to work better than web romance ads. Email gets boring after two or three exchanges and there's a lot of pressure to meet the person quickly. On IRC, you can yammer on for months, getting to know the person, before it ever occurs to you to meet in Real Life. If you don't have an IRC client installed you can get one at http://www.tucows.com/. The best is mIRC.
For the truly desperate, there are dozens of web pages advertising foreign "mail order" brides. These sites make money by selling you the mailing addresses of women who so want to escape crushing poverty, rioting, and bad plumbing that they're willing to marry someone who is incapable of finding a decent woman within four time zones of home. While many of the women depicted at these sites are beautiful and well educated, should a life long romance really begin with an order number?
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Copyright 2002 Karl Mamer
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