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January 24, 2000 e-mail e-mail to a friend in need

Baby, it’s cold outside. (Finally!) What a perfect opportunity to -- now that you’ve gotten cozy with The Big To Do -- stay in there and meet people! That’s why it’s time -- finally! -- for Breakup Girl to devote a column theme to:

Browsing for Love in All the Right Places

Of course, devoting one column theme to Internet romance is like devoting one month to women’s history. And, of course, I touch on the topic just about every week anyway. But I thought -- especially since I forgot my boots today -- I’d stay here where it’s warm and make some key points about taking your real-life love life (RLLL) on line ... and back IRL again.

A few words in favor of meeting people online.

Studies show that approximately one bazillion people use the Internet to meet and greet -- why, look at all these people! -- and (if things don’t work out) delete. Surely you know that matchmaking / personals services, chat rooms (singleswithoutmakeup.com) and the like are veritable hotbeds of...hot beds. Oh, and also wholesome courtships. And rightly so. Being on the cybermake allows you to cast a net wider than your block (or your office) but narrower than "the bar scene;" to break the ice and give the shy a leg/word up when you meet IRL, to test the waters without risking that "shaved my legs for nothing" feeling, and (ideally) without judging / being judged on the relatively superficial.

So I will say that I was surprised by a recent study for Harlequin Enterprises -- that Harlequin -- in which only 3% of [411] women say they’ve dated a guy they met online; 83% say they wouldn’t even consider it. So where do they meet? 31% say "work or school," and 30% say "other." I can only assume that "other" is comprised of people who responded (a) "on the moors" and (b) "Well, we did meet on the Internet, but I won’t admit it."

Come on, you guys. If you meet one of those other terrific "I don’t meet people online" people online but are afraid to admit it because of what people will think -- well, I’ll tell you what they’ll think. They’ll think: "Gotta try that."



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