Kathryn's Blog

Bye bye Craig’s List

Another reason to avoid Craig’s:

Police Arrest 35 In Craig’s List Prostitution Ring

FT. PIERCE, Fla.—Police arrested 35 people in connection with a prostitution ring that used the popular Internet classified ad service Craig’s List to set up illegal “dates.”

The arrests were the result of a three-day undercover operation by St. Lucie County Sheriff’s that resulted in charges of soliciting, deriving income from prostitution and procuring prostitutes. Deputies posing as customers used the online service to arrange the service of prostitutes.

The prostitutes then implicated pimps. Detectives also placed ads on Craig’s List to lure prospective customers and arrested them when they responded. Craig’s List, which allows users to sell, buy or list want ads for free, has a disclaimer that the site is not to be used for illegal activities.


A map to your door?

Eeeyeow!  Here’s the best reason I have seen yet to avoid posting on the Craig’s List personals.  Unless you want them knocking on your door.  Then again, maybe you do…

Personal ads + Google Maps = HookupMaps

Finding that someone special is so tedious. Apparently, finding someone not-so-special, but good enough for right now is even harder. It requires, first, grooming, then flirting and conversing, and above all, going into dreaded designated meeting places like bars or yoga classes or--horror!--coffee shops. (You can tell I haven’t dated in awhile, since I have no idea where people actually go to get a date. The dentist? A “writers’ workshop”? Those are my best ideas.)

But never fear, all you lonely souls out there, because a new, semi-creepy application is to the rescue. A mix of Google Maps and Craigslist classifieds has resulted in HookupMaps, a service that shows you exactly where the people wanting to “hook up” in your city are. For instance, in San Francisco, I can tell you that in my friendly hood of the Mission, there are currently 518 people seeking people. It will also tell you the age and gender of each poster.

The site also lets you filter your searches based on a few criteria: m4m, m4w, w4w, w4m, and whether the post contains a picture. You can search by city, neighborhood, or, disturbingly (or perhaps, ingeniously, if you really don’t want to wade through all the dreck) by keyword. An example of a keyword search would be, “mature,” or, “looking for love”...or perhaps I am being naive.

A few of my favorite headlines up on the site right now read, “I am Barack Obama going on a date with you,” and, my personal favorite, “I drink beer in the shower.” Yeah, that last guy seems like a real winner. I’m sure young, Bay Area women will be flocking to that post.

But seriously, you never know. With HookupMaps you can easily filter the online personal ads Craigslist has to offer and thereby take matters into your own hands. Now there is really no excuse to join Match.com.


Got to keep those fingers limber!

Here’s another article about older folks finding sex online.  I’m not quite 60 yet—think about what is in store!

Golden oldies discover love at first byte

Thursday, 23 October 2008 Dani Cooper

Cybersex is not just for the young with older adults using internet technology to liberate their libidos, an Australian researcher says.

Sociologist Sue Malta, at Swinburne University’s Faculty of Life and Social Sciences, says her study shows older adults have a voracious appetite for the internet and sex.

And, Malta says, they are using one to ensure they are not short of the other.

In the study, which will be presented in December at The Australian Sociological Association conference, Malta held in-depth interviews with 45 older Australians and five older Americans about their romantic internet relationships.

Malta says she wanted to examine whether technology was making a difference to how older people’s relationships developed and the longevity of those romances.

She says the results overturn two stereotypes prevalent within our community: that older people are asexual and are not technology savvy.

“That old stereotype that you get to a certain age and you don’t want to do it any more is not true,” she says.
Sexually intimate faster

The participants were aged from 60 to 92 years and included those involved in online relationships and a smaller group that had first met face to face.

She says her findings suggest online relationships between older people become sexually intimate faster and are of shorter duration.

Malta says many of the older women said the cyber romances suited their lifestyles because they “never wanted to live with anyone again”.

“The biggest reason they gave was because they had no wish to become someone’s nursemaid and housekeeper,” Malta says. “They had already been there, done that.”

She says the participants had on average been using the internet for 10.5 years with the online daters averaging 3.5 hours on the internet a day and the non-internet daters about 1.5 hours.

Many of the participants used the internet for more than romance, she says, adding it was a tool for banking, share trading and booking holidays.
Definite views on cyber cheats

The internet romantics also had clear views on cybersex, cyber-cheating and cyber-flirting.

Most felt cyber-flirting was fun, but a precursor to a sexual relationship, while none of the Australian participants approved of cyber-cheating.

Some of the participants had engaged in cybersex, with one older woman saying she would only have cybersex with someone she was not going to meet and all her cybersex encounters were with men much younger.

“She seemed to treat them like casual sexual encounters,” Malta says, but instead of having to go out to a club she could experience it all “from the comfort of her own home”.

Malta says while there was little difference in the behaviours of the two older groups she found her older online group had a markedly different approach to internet dating than a group of Canadian 30-somethings who took part in a study in which she collaborated.

“Surprisingly the younger group was less sexually overt than the older participants,” she says.

Malta believes this is because younger people use internet dating in the hunt for a possible life partner so are more self-conscious about how they present online.

“The older group are not interested in that and can be more relaxed and go with the flow,” she says.

Malta says many of the study participants reported being surprised by their own sexuality.

“A lot of them had had big breaks between being widowed and having a sexual relationship,” says Malta.

“For many they said it was the first time in their life where they were about to have real sex,” rather than just lying back and “thinking of England”.

A 92-year-old participant, who had been a widow for more than 23 years when she became sexual again, told Malta it was “fantastic” and that she no longer “felt like an old fool”.

Malta says her study has implications for social policy.

“A lot of the participants had health issues and found sex and intimacy was one of the best things for them and gave them increased vitality,” she says.

As one woman told Malta during the interviews, “I can hardly walk, but there is nothing like a romp in bed to make me feel alive”.

Malta says by 2031 it is predicted 25% of the Australian population will be aged over 65.

“If older people are sexually active and it is good for their health then how do we design nursing homes to cater for that, because if you don’t you are doing them a disservice,” she says.

Malta also suggests computers and internet access needs to be more readily available in aged accommodation to improve residents’ social networks.


Attitude, attitude, attitude … luck and hard work don’t hurt either!

This is such a nice, positive piece about Internet dating that I just had to post it here.  The author has it just right: Online dating is what you make it to be.  See her suggestions below…

Whats Online Dating? And How to Make Online Dating Work For You

Submitted by ricky776 on October 24, 2008

There seems to be two distinct opinions about online dating in existence today. The first is that it is a fantastic service that caters to the modern man and woman that does not have the time to conventionally date or wises to screen dates first. The second is more negative and seems to imply that online dating is in fact a scam or worse, a marketplace for the sad, lonely and weird. No matter which camp you fall into now, if you ever have a good experience on a dating site then you will perceive it in a whole new light.

In actual fact, your online dating experience depends on what you make of it. You have to make the experience work for you as opposed to the other way around. You should be proactive and cease the opportunity presented to you with both hands. The tips below will help you to make the most of online dating and find exactly what you are looking for at the same time.

1. Choose A Positive Approach - Never join a dating site thinking it will be a disaster. Online dating will be a disaster for you if you take that approach because you will not allow yourself to enjoy the experience. Look upon it as a bit of fun that could lead to some lasting friendships and perhaps a little love. Amy negativity or contempt you feel for others on there will shine right through and you will not get anything from the experience at all.

2. Keep An Open Mind - Never judge a book by its cover, and never judge the person you meet on the site via one email or conversation. Take the time to get to know the individual a little before you make up your mind about someone. Everyone wants to make a good first impression and so will be nervous. Allow at least a couple of conversations before you judge.

3. Take It At Your Own Pace - Do not rush into anything. If you do not feel ready to concentrate on one person then do not do it. If you wish to keep your options open then say you are looking for friendship rather than a relationship. Never commit to anything before you are ready because it really could burn you later if you do.

4. Remain Mysterious - Only ever reveal the details about yourself that you are happy for individuals that you have never met before to know. If you do not want to use your date of birth then stick to the month and year. If you want to be known by a nickname then you can be. Never give your address or phone number out at all. This is all for your own safety as much as for the sake of the experience. Just relax and enjoy it but never put yourself in danger.


Better to laugh than to cry, right?

We’ve all heard the horror stories about bad dates, but here’s somebody looking for the funny side of romance.  Maureen is one of my enewsletter readers, and she’s putting together a book of people’s funniest date experiences.  She’s like to hear your.  Take a look below and send her your biggest chuckles:

Let’s laugh about it!  I am writing a book on the humorous side of dating and looking for volunteers willing to share their personal stories.  If you have braved this wild and whacky world of dating and have experienced a close encounter of the strangest kind, I would love to hear from you.  All stories will remain anonymous; your name will not be used.  Please contact Maureen @ to arrange for an interview and enter “Funny Date” in the “Subject” area of your email.  Thank you.


The end of sex as we knew it?

Here’s a rather long article from the British press about Internet dating taken to its illogical extreme—oh so casual sex, and the deadening of sex in general.  Not to mention the encouragement to people in committed relationships to cheat.  What do you think?

The web of desire or just deceit?
The internet has made it easier than ever to find a partner for casual sex, but having it all on a plate could mean that we end up losing our appetites. By David Smith

* David Smith
* The Observer,
* Sunday October 26 2008

Attractive college professor wants good student for fun hookup Fri.’ ‘Very Hot American in town looking for someone to show him the ropes.’ ‘Monday night - in Edinburgh on business.’ ‘Looking for some fun.’ ‘Inexperienced but curious?’. ‘Sophisticated pleasure for busty lady.’ ‘Ladylike Asian submissive wanted.’ ‘One night stand.’

Just another typical week in Edinburgh, as glimpsed in the ‘casual encounters’ section of the popular website Craigslist. Residents, tourists, businessmen and women passing through - anyone who fancies a bit of sex with ‘NSA’ (no-strings-attached) can announce it to the world and watch the offers roll in. On Craigslist, they don’t have to pay anything or even go through the motions of registering a username and password. This is internet sex: as free and easy as it comes.

The homepage of Craigslist, one of the world’s most popular listings sites, offers flats and houses, holiday rentals, bikes, boats, books for sale, and jobs in just about every sector imaginable. Alongside this classic classifieds fare are personals, some romantic, some for one night only. Just a few mouse clicks away, it seems, the logical conclusion of a consumer age where time is short and convenience expected. Or as the title of Mark Ravenhill’s play had it: Shopping and Fucking.

‘It’s like ordering a pizza,’ says Emily Dubberley, author of Brief Encounters: The Women’s Guide to Casual Sex, and founder of the charity campaign Burlesque Against Breast Cancer.

‘In the past if someone suddenly felt horny they probably wouldn’t bother going to a pub, or even joining a dating site to say, “Do you fancy it?” because that would be a bit weird, so they’d just sort themselves out. Now it’s very available and convenient. But there’s something a bit more sordid about it when you don’t even have to make the remotest connection such as, “Do you fancy a pint?” At least then there would be a flirtation and catching of the eye. Now you can just go online and order genitalia. It’s taken sex to its absolute base level.’

Entire histories have been written about how the growth of the internet had nothing to do with knowledge and everything to do with pornography. But just as the net has transformed from a passive one-way street into an interactive ‘Web 2.0’ where users are creators, so the days of computers being little more than digital porn magazines are gone.

The web has become a place through which to contact, meet and have sex with real people, to fulfil the wildest fantasy in the flesh. Cybersex is no longer about merely looking; it is about doing. What no one can yet understand is how this will change the social etiquettes of the past, or how fundamentally it is shifting the dynamics of sex and relationships.

Some sites are quite explicit about their offerings. AdultFriendFinder claims to be the world’s biggest adult social network and sex personals site. Its homepage proclaims, ‘Meet real sex partners tonight!’ beside a picture of a young woman taking off her bra and pouting at the camera. Below there are a series of photos and videos of women with names like ‘sexygirl’, ‘freakychick’, ‘angelfirelady’ and ‘sugarbabe’. The site claims to have more than 2.5 million members registered in the UK, and that tens of thousands are logged in at this very moment. Just log in and you could meet your match.

Other sites quite evidently do as they promise, such as Hookuparea.com and BeNaughty.com. And when a marriage is under strain, spouses no longer have to go very far out of their way to cheat. Illicit Encounters asks on its homepage: ‘Married but Feeling neglected? In need of some excitement? A discreet and confidential extra-marital dating service for women and men… Whatever your reason, we can help. You may be locked in a loveless marriage, starved of attention and affection, partner away or too tired to pay you the attention you deserve, nonexistent love life? Or just looking for some excitement in your life? But you don’t want to end your marriage either. Here you can meet people just like you, in absolute confidence.’

Peter Lines, 43, from West Yorkshire, met his current partner through the site when he decided that his marriage was loveless and beyond salvation. He did not want to ruin his children’s lives so continues to live with his wife in an entirely platonic relationship. He says his current partner was in an identical predicament. ‘Morally, we haven’t got a leg to stand on, but what’s a person to do?’ he asks.

Lines has since become a co-owner of Illicit Encounters, which launched in October 2003 and now has 245,000 members, mostly in the UK. Sixty-five per cent of them are male, and 35 per cent female, a smaller disparity than most dating sites. Women are on average 36½ years old, men 38½. Applicants are required to answer up to 50 questions and fill in a profile. Of around 800 applications received every day, on average 550 are rejected for reasons such as age (people under 25 are discouraged) or personality (self-evident sex maniacs are not welcome).

Lines says that the site is made up of very ordinary people like you and me. ‘It’s the man and woman in the street, the person in the Sainsbury’s queue, the person in the office you would never expect. There are no raging tarts or slobbering lotharios. The membership are primarily people trapped in a marriage and they can’t get out for all sorts of reasons. We did a survey and 71 per cent of people said that if they weren’t having an affair they’d be getting a divorce.’

The internet has made it possible in ways that would have been unthinkable 15 years ago. Lines adds: ‘People in this situation are far more active online than they would be in real life. They wouldn’t go to a bar or another public place to chat to people for many reasons, some of them obvious.’

The site provides a guide on how to conduct an illicit affair, with advice tips including using a separate SIM card in their mobile phone, paying with cash instead of credit cards and never giving their surname, exact location or workplace. But he denies the site is providing an immoral cheats’ charter. ‘We say to everyone that we don’t encourage them to have an affair. We make it very clear on every page that you’ve got to think hard about this; it’s not a substitute for working on your marriage; only do it if your marriage cannot be saved and there’s no way back.’

Not for the first time, homosexuals have been at the cutting edge of sexual and social trends. Gaydar, the networking site for gay men - tagline ‘What you want, when you want it’ - has arguably done more than any other site to make casual sex an integral part of the web. Founded in 1999 by Gary Frisch and his partner Henry Badenhorst in a tiny office in south-west London, it soon became the online equivalent of the gay bar, a safe place to meet, talk and, of course, ‘get laid’. Gaydar is now one of the biggest dating sites on the web with millions of members around the world. The ‘A’ countries alone with registered users are Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Austria and Azerbaijan.

Gaydar is sex shopping writ large, with every specific taste catered for. A user’s profile has a basic checklist: height, body type, ethnic origins, out (of the closet, that is), dick size, body hair, orientation (gay or bisexual), role (active, passive or versatile), safer sex (yes or no), smoke and drink. Anyone who fails to

...#8592; post a photograph is less likely to be successful in finding an assignation. Those who do can turn up in a new city anywhere in the world, advertise their availability and be having sex an hour later.

This is perhaps the most spectacular illustration of how the internet has changed everyday behaviour. Gays bars and clubs are said to have suffered a downturn because men are sitting at computers instead; an article in the Economist magazine attributed a slump at Manchester’s Canal Street gay quarter directly to Gaydar. Cottaging in toilets or bushes, in places such as Hampstead Heath, has reportedly declined or even vanished because sex is so readily available via broadband. The author and Gaydar user Mark Simpson once observed: ‘If Joe Orton had his time again his diaries would have been just printouts of thousands of Gaydar profiles and alarming digicam photos.’

The process even formed the subject of a one-man show, Sex Addict, which caused controversy in 2004 when author Tim Fountain invited Edinburgh Festival audiences to watch him trawl Gaydar each night to arrange a sexual encounter, then report back the following day. Fountain has since admitted that the site can become addictive, a confusion of ends and means. ‘I know so many gay men who will literally have Gaydar ticking away all the time, wherever they are, in the corner of the room while they are watching TV,’ Fountain, the author of a new book about the sex lives of the British, Rude Britannia, told the Guardian last year.

‘That’s the worst thing, it’s a terrible time waster. You can very quickly think, “Oh, I’ll just log on and check my messages,” and four hours later you find yourself weeing on someone’s pillow in Willesden Green wondering, “What the hell am I doing here?” Sometimes you think, “Christ, am I still online? I was meant to being doing something else.” The whole web dating thing, gay or straight - on the one hand, it does link people up, but they are not socialising, they are not meeting in bars. They are just sitting talking down a line, ordering what they want, when they want it. That can be a very narrow thing.’

For all its popularity, Gaydar can be regarded as a niche. Not so Craigslist or its rival, Gumtree, which published research last year showing that one in 10 British adults between the ages of 25 and 40 had gone online for casual sex. Nor, indeed, the darlings of the web, social networking sites such as Facebook. This runs the gamut, bringing together business contacts, old school and university friends and former lovers. At one end of the spectrum, a site which invites members to ‘poke’ each other and features countless photos of drunken revelry inevitably features casual sex too.

Earlier this year it emerged that Laura Michaels, 23, had set up a group called ‘I Need Sex’ on the Facebook site and, she claimed, slept with 50 men. Within 10 minutes the group had 35 members and soon attracted 100 men, 50 of whom Michaels slept with after vetting their pictures. One of her Facebook conquests was called Simon from Swindon, whom she met for drinks in a bar in her hometown of Bristol before going back to his hotel room for sex. Facebook later removed the page.

Michaels told the Sun about her experiences: ‘We always met somewhere like a bar first and I would get dressed up and treat it like a date. I know that some people will really look down on me for it. They might even say that I may as well have been a prostitute because then I would at least have been paid for sleeping with so many different blokes, but I don’t see it like that at all. I was satisfying my own desires by setting up the group. I feel like a free, liberated woman and I think it’s fantastic that the internet gave me a chance to do this. I know that it was risky behaviour but that was part of the thrill. I always made sure to tell a friend I trusted where I was going.’

Facebook, MySpace and Bebo’s tens of millions of members can communicate with each other via Zoosk, which claims to be the biggest social dating network in the world. It offers the chance to ‘choose a network and start mingling with thousands of cute singles in your area’. It could well appeal to people who would never dream of visiting an all-out casual sex site but don’t see the harm of a simple mouse click which adds the Zoosk application to their profile page, the first step on a slippery slope. The web abounds with questions such as ‘What would you do if you found your husband added the “zoosk” application on Facebook?’ and ‘Does Zoosk randomly flirt with people’?

The online sex revolution is posing new questions for experts who have not seen anything quite like this before. Phillip Hodson, a psychotherapist and broadcaster, says: ‘I do believe the internet is the world’s largest sex aid, largely functioning to augment, magnify and super-speed the processes of dating. Therefore it does represent a “step difference”, a difference of kind and not just one of degree over traditional mating behaviour. You could never flirt with so many people in your entire life in, say, the Fifties as you can today in one un-enchanted evening. The web - soon to be the instantaneous grid - allows people of high libido (and flexible morals) to find each other as never before.’

But, according to Hodson, the web might be making sex too easy, so we end up having less rather than more. ‘All new media have pros and cons, pluses and minuses,’ she says. ‘Undoubtedly adultery is easier to organise by email but there is a new risk of detection given the electronic trail and the dangers of interception or misdirection - for example “Hello Lover!” ending up in your boss’s inbox.

‘I think that the internet, by providing pornography and promiscuity on a plate, does tend to lower the nation’s overall libido. In order to feel sexy, we need a few more challenges than unlimitedporninanyposition.org or Hookersin30minutestoyourdoor.co.uk. Men in particular seem to me to be in danger of becoming “sex lazy” as well as more fickle.’

Indeed the paradox of the throwaway, instant gratification subculture could be that, like a drug, gratification becomes less and less satisfying. No one can share the sentiment expressed in Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest: ‘This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last!’ It is not only romance that is dead but also the theatre of seduction, the hint of stocking replaced by a brazen sexuality that is about as erotic as a prostitute’s calling card in a phone box. Cinema and restaurant dates are replaced by profiles and pokes.

The era when you married the boy or girl next door, or your childhood sweetheart, in the same village church as your parents, has long been on the wane. But when love is cheap, the internet generation may be less inclined to get married at all.

Dr Aric Sigman, a psychologist and biologist, says: ‘I would be concerned that what we are seeing is unrealistic. Yes, you can have sex, but you are now having more people than ever living alone and never getting married. Even as the technology advances, men and women are less engaged than ever before. There is something about chemistry and nuance that is not conveyed by this IT.

‘This is doing something odd to the human condition that isn’t clear yet. In luring people away from strong personal relationships, it could be that people are having less sex, not more. I’m not convinced that it’s making us any happier.’
How to identify cheating spouses

1 They touch their nose often. Research suggests that internal nose tissues swell with blood when one lies. Beware of this when they communicate with you.

2 They avoid looking directly at you. Lying takes concentration and makes them suddenly divert their line of sight.

3 They stare at you too much. They do this to make sure you believe them.

4 They lean forward and get close. Closeness is usually a sign of trust. But sometimes it can be a sign of deceit. They try to exaggerate how close you are by leaning forward when they lie.

5 They pull their earlobe. Some police forces are trained to watch for this very mistake when interrogating criminals.

6 They give you too much information. Their stories are too complex, structured, polished or complete.

7 They tend to give you multiple ‘reasons’. If they were honest, they would have the confidence to give just one reason.

8 They stumble in speech, with mistakes in the story to try and cover it up.

9 They use ‘um’ and ‘ah’ more than usual, where they have to think of lies quickly.

10 They are hesitant at the start of a sentence. They have to come up with lies fast and they hesitate.
Mistakes many cheaters make

1 They forget about a ‘love note’ left in their pocket.

2 They come home smelling of a lover’s scent.

3 They are too protective of their handbag or wallet.

4 They come home wearing different clothes from when they left.

5 They choose too many different excuses too often.

6 They forget about itemised mobile phone bills.

7 They spend too much money on their affair and less on bills at home.

8 They come home smelling of smoke, but they don’t smoke.

9 They use a friend as an excuse but don’t tell the friend.

10 They forget about the caller ID and redial button.


Older folks discovering cyber sex?

I’ve got to admit that this is something I had not thought of yet: The pull of cybersex (excuse the pun) for older folks.  Why not?  Cyber sex has nothing to do with your actual age or how you really look, right?
When it comes to cybersex, oldies beat youngsters

It’s not just the youngsters who are hooked on to the Internet for their daily dose of erotica, as a researcher has found that older adults are
Adults are a step ahead when it comes to cybersex.

Sociologist Sue Malta, at Swinburne University’s Faculty of Life and Social Sciences, claims that her study provides evidence that older adults have a voracious appetite for the Internet and sex. For her study, Malta conducted in-depth interviews with 45 older Australians and five older Americans about their romantic Internet relationships. The participants were aged from 60 to 92 years, and included those involved in online relationships as well as a smaller group that had first met face to face.

The study was aimed at analysing if technology had a role in influencing older people’s relationships developed on the internet, and the longevity of such romances. And the findings of the study completely turn over the commonly held views that older people are asexual and are not technology savvy.

“That old stereotype that you get to a certain age and you don’t want to do it any more is not true,” she said. The findings suggested that online relationships between older people become sexually intimate faster and are of shorter duration.

A large number of older women said that the cyber romances suited their lifestyles because they “never wanted to live with anyone again”.

“The biggest reason they gave was because they had no wish to become someone’s nursemaid and housekeeper. They had already been there, done that,” ABC Online quoted Malta as saying. Most of the Internet romantics believed cyber-flirting was fun, but a precursor to a sexual relationship.

There were a few people who indulged in cybersex, and one older woman said that she would only have cybersex with someone she was not going to meet and all her cybersex encounters were with men much younger. Malta said: “She seemed to treat them like casual sexual encounters.” But instead of having to go out to a club she could experience it all “from the comfort of her own home”.

“Surprisingly the younger group was less sexually overt than the older participants,” she said. Such a phenomenon, according to Malta, is because younger people use internet dating in the pursuit for a possible life partner, and thus are more self-conscious about how they present online.

“The older group are not interested in that and can be more relaxed and go with the flow,” she said. Malta said that her study holds possible implications for social policy. “A lot of the participants had health issues and found sex and intimacy was one of the best things for them and gave them increased vitality. If older people are sexually active and it is good for their health then how do we design nursing homes to cater for that, because if you don’t you are doing them a disservice,” she said. 


Florida to Canada?  A long distance relationship that worked…

Love it!!!  Not only is this a successful long-distance relationship, it spans two countries!  And this couple’s experience is very close to what I had with my now-husband Drew: We got to know each other so well by email and phone that it was practically a done deal when we met.  Now, this is not usual, and many couples take much more time, but for us, and for Janet and Robert, it worked!

Cyberspace couple marks year of marriage
QUISPAMSIS - A couple in a whirlwind romance, who married three months after meeting on an Internet dating site, celebrated their first anniversary on the weekend surrounded by friends, still talking about how amazing it was to find each other.

Janet and Robert Hunt say that after a year, they are still amazed at being with someone who shares the same values and enjoys the same things, including motorcycles.

Janet and Robert Hunt, both in their 40s, agree that from the outside it looks like they moved very fast, but any obstacles to their union just melted away - the first being geography. She is from New Brunswick and he lived in Florida.

After making contact through eHarmony.com in July 2007 there were daily phone calls, some lasting several hours. It left them feeling they knew each other better than most people who date the conventional way. They also give credit to the in-depth questionnaire they had to answer before the dating service put their names together as possible matches.

“The end result was that I have more in common with her than anyone I have ever met,” said Robert.

Last year a friend urged Janet to give Internet dating a try. Although she didn’t have a lot of faith in the idea, she spent an hour online completing the form on July 1. About a week earlier Robert had done the same thing in Florida.

The computer matched them up, but for a couple of weeks, Janet put off making any further contact because he was so far away. Every couple of days her list was updated with a few new profiles added, and some taken off, but Robert’s was always there.

“I liked his profile, but he lived so far away I didn’t think it was worth responding,” she said.

But then she realized the worst that could happen is he would say he wasn’t interested because of the distance, so she sent a request for contact on July 13 and heard back from him two days later. By July 16 they were talking daily on the telephone.

A month and a half later they met face-to-face when he flew into Bangor from Orlando. Janet’s best friend and her husband invited them to dinner that night because they wanted to meet the man she couldn’t stop talking about. After dinner Robert got down on his knee to propose and Janet accepted. He had already decided to pop the question before he got on the plane.

“I don’t think (Janet’s best friend and her husband) were ready for that,” Robert said, with a chuckle.

“No, they were quite shocked,” Janet agreed.

“We had spent more time talking than anyone I had ever known, so I really knew her very well,” he said. “We talked five or six hours a night after work and prepared meals over the phone and sometimes we had dinner together.”

Last winter in New Brunswick, when Robert first met people who heard he left Florida to live in Canada, they teased him. But he says Canada feels like home.

When they decided to marry, Robert agreed to move to Canada without really knowing the job situation, but luckily his profession is included in NAFTA. Within a few weeks he had a job as a geotechnical technologist at Fundy Engineering and a work visa.

Janet, who is an executive assistant at Moosehead for Derek and Andrew Oland, and has two sons, couldn’t very easily pull up stakes and move to Florida.

“People move across the country for a job, so why not for the love of your life?” Robert said of his decision to relocate.

After a year they are still amazed at being with someone who shares the same values and enjoys the same things, including motorcycles.

“We’ll be thinking the same things at the same time,” he said.

“It’s like he once said, it’s almost like we share a brain,” she said.

But it wasn’t just the two of them starting off married life together last fall. Her sons Alexander, 19, and Jonathon, 16, were part of the family along with Robert’s 16-year-old daughter, Sonja. There was some drama between the teenagers at times, but it didn’t cause any fights for the parents. They think so much alike that when a problem arose they usually came to the same solution.

Sonja, who attended Kennebecasis Valley High School last winter, is in Connecticut with her mother this fall, but is talking of returning to Quispamsis after Christmas.

Although Robert and Janet had both been married before, and thought they knew what love was, they agree they didn’t. Robert said it’s like someone who ate cheeseburgers all his life, thought they were the best things ever, but was finally served filet mignon and now knows the difference.


Still resisting love online?

You know, I’ve been helping folks find love online for a long time now, and watched as online dating moved from the shadows into full respectability.  But I am still astounded that some singles resist the best show in town for finding love.  Here’s a good basic article for those who remain to be convinced....

Love online 20 million people visit at least one online dating service every month. What are they all looking for?

By CAROLINE DOHACK of the Tribune’s staff
Published Sunday, November 2, 2008

Traditionally, we meet our partners through venues that serve as common bonds — school, work, church — or through family and friends. But as many are discovering, online dating has its own advantages.

Find your match

How many fish are in the sea? Probably as many as there are online dating services. Here is a breakdown of a few of them:

eHarmony: After filling out a lengthy personality survey, the site will find potential matches using a patented compatibility matchmaking system. This is a subscription-based service geared toward people seeking long-term relationships. http://www.eharmony.com.

Craigslist: Craigslist is a great way to find a sofa, concert tickets or lawn-mowing service. It also has personal ads. But because users can post in anonymity, you might find a little bit more than you were looking for. In other words, don’t cruise these ads at work. columbiamo.craigslist.org.

OmniDate: If you find instant messaging potential paramours to be a little impersonal, this site allows you to chat using animated avatars. There is a limited selection of avatars, so your virtual date will probably look more like a fantasy date. But if you’ve always wanted to be a blonde but feared the peroxide, this might be the way to go. http://www.omnidate.com.

Crazy Blind Date: For the truly brave, this site sets you up with someone at the last minute and arranges a time and place for you to meet. This service is only available in certain cities, but if you find yourself lonely when you go out of town, keep this one bookmarked. http://www.crazyblinddates.com.

Geek 2 Geek: The name says it all. In addition to some of the usual online profile questions, you get to pick your favorite video game console and tag interests such as anime, superheroes, sci-fi and computers. http://www.gk2gk.com.

Passions Network: Hey, you know what you like. This site allows you to set up niche dating accounts. If you’re looking for a vegan bicyclist who loves pirates and punk music, you can be as picky as you want here. http://www.passionsnetwork.com.

According to data from Online Dating magazine, a consumer watchdog publication for online daters, more than 20 million people visit at least one online dating service a month, and more than 120,000 marriages occur each year as a result of online dating.

“Online dating is the best thing to ever happen to shy people,” said Joe Tracy, publisher of Online Dating. “They get to know someone via the computer, and then they feel more comfortable meeting them personally.”

Furthermore, there might not be many people looking for partners at those traditional meeting venues, Tracy said. “When you go online, you know there are people looking for the same thing,” he said.

Dave Evans, founder and editor of onlinedatingpost.com and a consultant to online dating consumers and industry members, likens dating to job hunting. You still want to meet people, but you also look for other ways to make yourself known. “Your profile is your résumé. You want to get out there and share it,” Evans said.

Online dating also gives people the chance to search for people with similar interests.

“If you’re the type of person who dresses up as a Klingon on Halloween and you actually know the Klingon language, you can find somebody who matches those exact interests,” Tracy said.

And for many, finding a partner with similar interests and attributes is important. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that online daters often seek partners with qualities similar to those they reported on their own profiles. It’s not that people are looking for carbon copies of themselves. Rather, they want to feel comfortable with a potential partner. Someone with blue eyes won’t be going outside his or her comfort zone by dating someone with brown eyes, the study said, but smokers might have a more vested interest in seeking other smokers.

But getting outside those comfort zones opens up more possibilities. Maybe you like hip-hop, and she likes classical music. “Does that mean we’re not right for each other?” Evans said.

Still, some people prefer niche dating services, which narrow the selection by focusing on a hobby, lifestyle, religion or other aspect of life. For instance, JDate.com is a popular site for Jewish singles.

What kind of dating site is best for you? Consider your goals. If you’re just looking for something casual, free services such as Yahoo! Personals have the most users. But for those seeking serious, long-term relationships, paid sites such as eHarmony.com tend to attract like-minded people.

Once you decide on a site, here are some tips for making the connection:

● Get a new e-mail address specifically for online-dating correspondence, and don’t use your full name. You don’t want anyone using that information to track you down.

● For safety’s sake, don’t include identifying information such as phone number, last name or place of employment. If you have children, don’t post their photos or include too much information about them. “You’re putting this information out, and anybody in the world can read it,” Tracy said.

● Post a photo, preferably one that actually looks like you. Researchers at the University of Chicago found women who posted photos received twice as many e-mails than those who did not, and men who posted photos received 50 percent more e-mails.

● Write for whom you hope to attract. If you value a sense of humor, convey it through your profile. If you like a certain genre of movies, include little references. Your best matches will understand what you mean.

● Avoid clichés. This will help you stand out. “What people don’t realize is you’re seen in a series,” Evans said. “I’ve looked at 20 women before you, and I’ll look at 20 women after you.”

● Be truthful. You never know when a lie will come back to bite you.

● Be positive. Statements like “my last relationship left me emotionally scarred and cynical” won’t get you anywhere.

● Use spell-check.

Finally, if you’re worried about being judged for looking online, a survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project Report found that only 29 percent of Internet users surveyed believe online daters “are in dire dating straits.” But these respondents, according to the report, tend to have less online experience and are less trusting of people in general.

Most view online dating as a way to use technology to enhance their lives.

“It’s another arrow in the quiver of opportunities to meet somebody,” Evans said.


81 year old guy meets love online

Ya got to love it—read all the way to the end…

Chinese man, 81, marries Internet date

Internet dating isn’t just for the young—ask an 81-year-old Beijing man who has married a woman he says he met and courted online.

The Beijing News said Wu Jieqin, a retired art professor, married Jiang Xiaohui, 58, Monday, culminating a relationship that began with an online personal ad.

“The Internet does not just belong to the young,” Wu said. “There’s no rule saying the elderly can’t find love on the Internet.”

He said he met Jiang after a series of other virtual dates, adding, “I was smitten when I first saw her photo.” The Chinese news agency Xinhua said the couple chatted online before Wu traveled to Sichuan Province to meet Jiang in person, and that he eventually proposed to her on bended knee.

There was one hitch—Jiang had to overcome strong opposition to the union from her parents, aged 85 and 86, Xinhua said.


JDate Scores Again!

Who says you don’t meet good people online?  This lovely love story was featured in the NYTimes “Vows” section—and they met on JDate!

October 26, 2008
Marilyn Michaels and Steven Portnoff

FOR Marilyn Michaels — comedian, impressionist, actress and latter-day vaudevillian — the prospect of marrying again at 65 seemed like the set-up for a Catskills gag about old age.

“God help us!” she exclaimed. “Get me under the huppah in time!”

Ms. Michaels, a Broadway baby whose parents performed on the Yiddish stage and at the Metropolitan Opera, hails from the borscht belt school of rat-a-tat punch lines and dead-on impressions, skills that have brought her acclaim on stage and screen. She radiates more energy than actors half her age.

And yet, in early 2005, the twice divorced Ms. Michaels found herself lonely and tired of “New York hippie-dippy guys,” she said. She opened a profile on JDate, where Steven Portnoff’s black hair and twinkly eyes stopped her cold.

“He called himself a straight arrow — I wanted that,” she said. Imagining herself with this divorced lawyer, she mused, “Just think of all the people you can sue!”

The opening line went to Ms. Michaels, who teased him about his age. “You can’t be 60,” she wrote. “You look like 40. What’s your secret?”

“Pick your parents carefully” was Mr. Portnoff’s retort.

Mr. Portnoff of Freehold, N.J., now 63 and retired, said he was not impressed by celebrity. But he told Ms. Michaels that he was already familiar with her work.

He relayed a memory of his father, whom he lost to Alzheimer’s. “In 1991, I took him to a Broadway show,” he wrote. “After the show, all he would say was, ‘That woman was so funny.’ The show was ‘Catskills on Broadway.’ You were the woman. Thank you for the memory.”

Their first date was in the theater district. It was quickly apparent that Mr. Portnoff, with his Mickey Spillane cadence, could keep pace with the comedian’s one-liners.

In the middle of lunch, she kissed him. “I was very forward,” Ms. Michaels said. “I said, ‘Let me get this out of the way.’ ”

Unfazed, Mr. Portnoff asked: “Can I swallow my scallop first?”

Next came a trip to the Cloisters in northern Manhattan, where Ms. Michaels was horrified to see her suburban suitor surveying the flora for gardening ideas. “How could I survive in the wilds of Freehold?” she recalled thinking. “I’m a Woody Allen New Yorker. I don’t drive. My whole family is driving impaired.”

At first, Ms. Michaels kept him at a distance. She was nervous about leaving the city — and also about losing her heart. “I got married very fast,” she said of her earlier unions. “It’s not difficult to get married. It’s the staying married.” She sighed. “I was afraid.”

For his part, Mr. Portnoff was smitten. “Every date I laughed so hard my ribs hurt,” he said. “Sometimes as we are speaking, she will morph into one of her impressions.”

For months, they dated infrequently. Then Ms. Michaels decided she had had enough. “It was around Valentine’s Day,” Ms. Michaels recalled, her voice cracking. “I said, ‘I don’t know what’s happening, I’m getting in too deep, I’m scared, I’m scared.’ ” She added, “Even though I knew I wanted him, I had to see if it was real.”

A Dear John letter arrived in Mr. Portnoff’s in box. It was a case this lawyer was not willing to lose: “I tried calling her. She didn’t answer the phone. I e-mailed her. She didn’t respond.”

He moved to cross-examination in an e-mail message: “I have all these great qualities and you don’t want to see me anymore? Am I in a Kafka novel?”

It was certainly a trial of a sort. “I wanted to see how I would feel, how I would miss him,” Ms. Michaels said.

It was Mr. Portnoff’s persistence that lured her back. “He kept pursuing,” Ms. Michaels said. “I heard that need in his voice. He was patient. And nothing got in the way of that.”

She said that after two marriages and a life in show business: “It always has been important for me to have a quiet place, a place where I feel secure and confident. And Steve is very much a grounded person. He doesn’t build castles in the air.”

After a wary reunion, “We seemed to come together closer and faster,” Mr. Portnoff said. But they compromised on their living arrangements: New York on weekdays; Freehold on weekends.

They were married by Rabbi Joseph Potasnik on Oct. 5 before a sweeping view of the Hudson in the bride’s Upper West Side apartment. Ms. Michaels, wore a wrap dress and a white flower behind one ear. Her eyes were wet and her voice shook as she and Mr. Portnoff held hands by a piano.

“She is a handful,” said Dr. Judy Kuriansky, the sex therapist and Ms. Michaels’s best friend for decades. “She is high maintenance. She needs a solid guy. I told her, ‘Do not let this guy go, whatever you do.’ ”

A congratulatory phone call came in from the comic Rich Little, with whom Ms. Michaels once traded impressions on television.

Then the bride crooned tunes from “Funny Girl,” a starring role for her in the 1960s.

Few shows go on without a hitch. Ms. Michaels was momentarily in a tizzy when the rabbi did not arrive on time. The bride was not amused: “I wasn’t planning to have to take that much Valium at my own wedding.”


Lisdoonvarna - Again!

Ladies, if you are really serious about finding love, an Irish accent turns you on, and the thought of moving does not terrify you, buy a ticket to Lisdoonvarna.

SARAH IN THE CITY: Luck of the Irish . . . ?

by Sarah Swain

I WOULDN’T normally trust a 65-year-old man with a Father Christmas beard to find me a date.

But I made an exception for Willie Daly.

I was in Lisdoonvarna, an Irish spa town with a special attraction - its annual matchmaking festival.

It’s a time for the single farmers of County Clare to attend to a much more pressing matter than milking - finding a wife.

First set up to help farmers find love 150 years ago it still serves that purpose today - and a massive 40,000 people will arrive from all over the world during the five weeks of the festival which runs until October 5.

The local newspaper even reports a “Pamela Anderson lookalike” from Texas is in town looking for a hunky Irish husband - and she also happens to be an oil heiress.

As Lisdoonvarna’s official matchmaker, Willie knows what he’s talking about.

He’s matched hundreds of couples and claims to have a 90% success rate.

From a little booth in the corner of the Matchmaker Bar, Willie introduces people he thinks would be suitable for each other.

Men pay 20 euros to go on his books, while the cost for women is “negotiable”.

But could he help me?

“For you I would find a man with a strong build, daftish hair and blue eyes,” Willie told me.

“Not very tall, but strong. And a handsome man.”

And just half a glass of wine later, Willie beckoned me over to introduce me to someone.

“I’d like you to meet Sean.”

A small bloke with a cheeky smile got to his feet, swayed dangerously towards me like a Weeble Wobble.

His eyes lit up like the runway at Shannon airport when he saw me.

“Are you REALLY single?” he said in his lovely accent, not letting go of my hand for about 20 minutes.

But, after chatting with Sean, who had been enjoying plenty of the black stuff that night, I decided he was a little too young for me.

So I decided to take things into my own hands and look for a man in The Matchmaker myself.

But, you see, in Lisdoonvarna, the usual rules don’t apply.

It’s assumed everybody is there for one reason only - and there’s no time to lose.

An innocent trip to the toilet saw me get chatted up three times - but sadly they all looked like they’d parked their tractors at the door (as they probably had).

On another walk to the bar a dozen men looked up from their pints like meer cats, stretching their necks to make sure they didn’t miss a potential Mrs passing by.

Though, again, most of them looked like they’d just sailed in from Craggy Island.

But then I spied a stag night. I could tell they were a stag night as they’d all grown matching moustaches and were wearing cowboy hats in different animal prints.

And I wouldn’t usually approach a bunch of stags.

But I’m glad I did, as I was soon holding court with a hot lawyer from Dublin who looked a lot like American actor Adrien Brody.

His latest case, he told me, was between two rival hair growth drug companies - maybe that was the daftish hair Willie was on about.

He was a strong, silent type, taller than me - and he definitely did have blue eyes.

And I was thrilled when he let me gaze into them.

I might not have found a match for life but, to be sure, it was a great night...

# Thanks to http://www.tourismireland.com, http://www.fernhillfarm.net and http://www.matchmakerireland.com.

Publication date 19/09/08



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