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Parallax - Advice            April 10, 2000

   Personal ads in cyberspace

Dear Conversely, Ask us a Question!

You being an online publication and all that, do you think that cyber-dating is the thing of the future, that e-mail has replaced or will replace the phone and the occasional love note, and that people will stop going to bars and instead open a bottle of wine at home and flip through the new pics up on whatever dating site they're on? I mean, surely it won't take over entirely, but will it be in the majority? And I can't decide if I think this is good or bad. I've always thought personal ads in newspapers are pathetic at worst, creepy at best. But Internet seems to make it cooler in some way. Could this be?

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Her view:

Dear Cybersleuth,

I think cyber-dating is marvelous. Knock yourself out. It's fabulous that the people have a new venue in which to meet each other and figure out if they like a person. Plus, cyber-dating has some advantages. It can be less superficial than meeting at a bar and telling someone off because of their bad taste in clothes. You can get to know a person pretty well without even seeing them (though you probably should inquire about fashion at some point). And people can be so much more exciting than in real life - geeks can sound cool with their fun little vocabularies, and shy people can liberate their aggressive voices. It's an alter ego-fest.

So lighten up, it's not weird, just new. Give it a whirl, who knows what you'll find. Many husbands and wives have found each other this way. Yee-haw. You might be next.

And yes, there will always be those who are creepy, but they can just as easily be on the Internet than in your office.

Will it be the majority? Who knows and who cares? I'm not some kind of oracle.

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His view:

Dear Cybersleuth,

We've all seen 'You've Got Mail' so of course we know it works miracles, and if Hanks and Ryan can do it, anyone and everyone should. This has always been the land of catalog shopping, after all.

I'm sure all the dot com matchmakers would like to think that Internet personals are cooler than the newspaper and video variety, though I feel that personals in general can only be as cool as the people who use them. For example, if the gentry who frequent the meat-market bars suddenly picked up their Amstel Lights and Cosmopolitans and hit the Information Superhighway, well wouldn't that be cool? Maybe some of those bastions of frivolity would even close down.

As to e-mail, I do admit it is my friend. I find it practical, and private. The only aspect I can't seem to get into are the 'emoticons,' or whatever they're called. Perhaps if there was one to express nausea, I might be tempted...(suggestions from readers welcome...)

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