Love on the Virtual Highway

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By Jett Pe Benito

Love has once again reinvented itself and has found a new avenue to trek on—the World Wide Web. Millions of users now go online to look for love, companionship or simply to while away the time. Unknown to some there are now different types of ways by which you could “meet” and “talk” to people—without having to actually meet and talk to them.

Online Dating

These are dating services which recognizes the immense contribution that technology gives to its business. A typical online dating service would require the user to register his/her personal information first then wait for somebody to respond. A fee must be given upon receipt of the information received, coursed through the dating service.

Real Life

Dino wasn’t really looking for a relationship on the Internet but since some of his friends tried out this new online dating service and heard good results, he thought “when in Rome…”. So he went online to register his personal information. A week had gone by with no takers. Dino was beginning to experience a lot of insecurities. Finally, an email from the service sent confirmation that there were 2 girls who were interested. Dino was in a quandary, should he pay for the information on both girls or should he just pick one and see where it goes from there? He decided to just pick Alice, his sister’s namesake. He then confirmed his choice, paid through his credit card and got the information on Alice. He then called Alice and set a place for them to meet. Asked about how his date went, he answers cryptically ” You really don’t who you get to meet through the Internet.”

Chatting Online

A less tedious process of meeting anyone is through chatting online. A big risk to this is that someone could easily lie about himself/herself when “talking” to you. This translates to only one thing: if a person could lie about himself/herself, then he/she has something or everything to hide.

Reality Bites

Esther is an 11-year-old girl who had just been allowed by her parents to go online. Promising them that she wouldn’t chat, she spent Friday night surfing her favorite sites. When she checked her email, she found an ad, advertising a new site for kids about her favorite teen show. She clicked on the name and was led to a site where she had to register. She was registered as Esther and found herself chatting to Moby, a 12-year-old boy from the city. Moby asked things about Esther she wouldn’t normally tell a stranger. “I liked Moby because we could talk about the same things.” This correspondence went on for about a month. Then Moby invited Esther for them to meet at the city mall. She agreed. Esther went to the mall and waited for Moby. She waited for about 45 minutes when a 30+year-old man approached her. “Excuse me, Esther?”, Moby asked with a smirk. “No”, Esther replied confidently, belying the growing fear that was hammering inside her. “You must be Esther, you’re here alone, obviously waiting for someone, wearing a printed white and blue shirt. ” countered Moby. “I’m waiting for my someone alright, my mom” answered Esther. “Really?” Moby suspiciously. “In fact, there she is now” exclaimed Esther. And with that she stood up and ran off. All she heard from Moby was a bewildered “Where?”. After that incident, Esther never again chatted online without her parents’ supervision.

E-mailing

A more acceptable form of keeping in touch with someone is through electronic mail. In the tradition of the hit movie “You’ve got mail,” sending email has become more widely accepted because it mimics the act of writing a letter and sending to an address without the fear of immediate discovery. Furthermore, e-mailing someone gives the person more control and gives a more personalized touch of knowing how the person is and not merely asking and answering through short phrases and sentences.

Reality Bites

Joel and Hannah have been e-mailing each other for a year. Their relationship evolved into, other than e-mailing each other, talking on the phone and going out twice. But since they lived far from each other they are thankful that technology provided a solution of what would otherwise have been a very expensive correspondence. Can they safely say that they are now in a cyberrelationship? “Yes” answered Joel with a wide grin. “Although we don’t always get to see each other, getting emails from him almost everyday makes it more bearable.” Hannah answers.

What it All Boils Down to

Actually, the underlying purpose why people flock to the Internet to search for prospective partners is to search with the factor of anonymity. This anonymity benefits both searcher and searchee. But the search in whatever form it may come whether through technology or through some simple means can only hope to gain one thing—real love.

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