Volume 91, Issue 77

Friday, February 13, 1998

chumping for joy


FOCUS
 

Love at first write: playing the Web dating game

By Elana Lavine
Gazette Staff

When asked his opinion on the social potential of the average bar, Patrick McManus is a skeptic. "Bars are bad news. I always thought they were, even back in the lounge-lizard '70s," remarks the managing editor of Single Life Magazine, based in Halifax.

"If women are looking for Mr. Right, I don't know why they'd go looking in a bar. Men are more fortunate in the sense that we are masochists, meaning we like to inflict pain on ourselves. It's in our DNA," he exclaims. "Men are usually the ones who initiate contact and might take the abuse of eight rejections to find the one woman who doesn't walk away."

While summoning up the courage to introduce yourself to strangers, possibly with a tried-and-true witty remark, there are other options for the faint at heart – dating services. These meet-and-greet organizations for singles, of all possible gender combinations, have become popular and successful enterprises.

"Webpersonals is the 66th most visited site on the World Wide Web," says Bradley Moseley-Williams, director of public relations for the Interactive Media Corporation. "Both Webpersonals and Telepersonals are our trademarks. Telepersonals serve Canada, the United States and Australia, while Webpersonals serve anyone on the planet with a Web hook-up."

When asked why such ventures have been so successful, Moseley explains that the company has learned a lot in its 10-year existence. "The way we advertise, as well as the quality of our services, has always held appeal. But more than that, telephone meeting systems are safe, convenient and easy. There is a conception that only social rejects use the system, but that's really not true," he says.

"We put people of a like mind in the same place. Taking the initiative to get involved with our service is a proactive step which usually leads to other steps – as opposed to moping at home every night and watching TV," he adds.

What kind of a relationship can you build between two voice mailboxes or email addresses? "Initially, most people do send messages and later speak in person," replies Moseley-Williams. "Because you're not relying on physical attributes, you really have to build a rapport with the person. As my own personal observation, people invariably fall for someone who isn't their type, or the kind of person to which they'd always been physically attracted.

A cybervisit to www.webpersonals.com shows some clients posted personal ads with titles like 'Lonely in London' and 'Tickle me Elmo,' however, the "Success Stories" section yields a ton of stories about 'love at first write,' ensuing long-distance correspondences and even marriage.

"She is more than I ever expected to have in my future wife," reads one poignant testimonial. "She is my dream coming true." Another reads, "Without you [Webpersonals], I would never have known that my soul mate was searching for me in Alaska; over 3,500 miles from me! He is now with me in West Virginia and we are very happily married."

Modern personal ad services have certainly travelled a long way and offer an alternate route to romance.

London and Surrounding Area Dating Services

www.webpersonals.com

Love Lines Video Introduction Agency
Kitchener, 570-4650

Making Connections
680-1244

New Beginnings-Personal Introductions Inc.
680-0840

Together- www.togetherdating.com/intorductions/
1-888-643-8437




To Contact The Focus Department: gazfocus@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998