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Published:June 11th, 2006 10:15 EST
Love at first site

Love at first site

By Krzys Wasilewski

Raul and Sarah have been together for five months. Like other teenage couples they try to spend together every free minute, often forgetting about the world around them. Unlike other teenage couples, Raul and Sarah cannot enjoy hand-in-hand walks, hugs or kisses. They haven`t even really seen each other so far. What connects them " both metaphorically and literally " is the internet. Online couples are not anything new. The days when people would rather not admit that they met their spouses on the internet belong to the distant past. Nowadays, no one is surprised to hear that his or her friend`s partner has been spotted nowhere else but in the ever-expanding World Wide Web. Moreover, it has become quite fashionable to be a member of an online dating site. The number of sites one is sign up to tells people how sociable one is.

What has made cyber dating so popular is the universality of the internet. A computer with an internet connection is, apart from a brand new cell phone and an iPod, a must-have thing a modern person should never move without. Less well off internet addicts, can easily use one of many cyber cafes available even in a pint-sized village. While the lack of asphalt roads or the access to fresh water constitute the brutal reality in some countries, the World Wide Web has wrapped around the most remote corners of the world.

Another favorable factor is the simplicity with which people can socialize in the internet. With the growing number of dating sites offering chats and thousands of profiles of men and women to search through, meeting new people is much easier than ever before. Catholic dating services and Jewish dating services, black singles and Latin singles, women from Europe and man from Africa, old and young, small and tall " everyone can poke around in the web to their heart`s content. Regardless where you are from and what is your financial status, online dating is as easy as buying in a mall. Just type the right address in a browser and find the right date.

Cyber dating is a wonderful tool for shy people. They no longer have to sweat and shake as though they were stuck by malaria before deciding to approach a girl or boy and ask for a date. Now, thanks to the blessing of the internet, everyone, even awfully shy, can try their skills in flirting with no fear of being turned down in front of colleagues. Of course, cyber dating does not guarantee its users that everyone will find their soul mate fast and easy. Heartbreaks and breakups happen there as often as anywhere else. But, except for few soaked with tears keyboards and deleted e-mails, the rejection hurts less when with one click of a mouse all the memories are wiped out.

And there is another thing. Normal " first dates rarely look up to our high expectations. The first contact - from its very nature " is limited to a kind of mutual cross-examination when the both parties try to gather as much information about each other as possible. The internet release people from this torment. Since cyber dating is mostly about typing, what online daters do is exchange their points of view, ideas and thoughts. With no physical contact - from obvious reasons - the time spent on chats and writing e-mails, may bring people closer to one another than old fashionable dating. And when online friends decide to move forward " that is to meet in reality " - they are sure they won`t have to begin the conversation with: So...nice weather, huh? "

Online dating but online love? Raul and Sarah are an example that impossible is nothing. In the world where everyone is in a hurry, where people look for one night stands rather than long time relationships, where the word love " has almost become an offense, the internet may be the answer. On condition that the users remember that in the both worlds " virtual and real " trust, friendship and devotion mean the same.