Archive for February, 1997

Technology Playing Cupid

February 21, 1997

You’ve seen crazy bachelors and bachelorettes on television on cheesy shows like “The Love Connection” and “Singled Out.” Making crude, sexual connotations while breathing hard was not such a rare occasion.

Now that Valentine’s Day is over, there are no more reasons to blatantly plaster red hearts and flying Cupids all over television networks. In other words, the marketability of the 14th day of February is over.

Or maybe not.

Just when you thought you got rid of Jenny McCarthy’s obnoxious lip, “Surprise Dating” and unnatural matchmaking has found its way into your home. This time though, it is though the Internet!

There are a many services out there in the world of O’s and 1’s, but just a few that are worth taking on a test run. Here’s a quick sample.

Amercian Singles ( – Boasting a swaggering membership of more than 55,000 people, this non-profit dating service appeared to have the biggest database.

One mistake I kept making when browsing the sites was going into the wrong area. Being a hard-working researcher (cough, cough), I had to meticulously preview many of these sites. In doing so, I had to start an actual search for a single woman.

I first clicked on “Men Seeking Women.” Because I am a man searching for a woman, this seemed to be the most logical option to me.

I was wrong.

Clicking on this option actually takes you to the listing of all of the men looking for single women. Logical enough, but in order to find the single women of the world, I had to click on the “Women Seeking Men” button. Maybe I’m just not very good at this thing. (Hey, I’m a clumsy dork online, too.)

Selecting one of these links, like “Women Seeking Men,” takes you to a listing of singles in other countries. Then, if you continue searching, the site breaks these countries down by states, provinces or cities. Finally, you’ll get to the section where it lists the profile names.

Let’s say you are looking for a woman in the United States. The site currently lists 7,400 entries. Then, say you narrow your choices down to those in California (890) and in Los Angeles (83).

You then come to a list of profiles of all of the women in L.A. Some sites have the word “Photo” next to them, which links to a photograph of their perspective sweetie. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to see what they are getting themselves into?

American Singles also provides regular mail and/or FAX-forwarding services for all of their members, as well as what they call “Cupid’s Switchboard” – a telephone operator system – for some.

Meet Me Online ( – This is another cool site.

You can use search strings to further define the type of person you are looking for.

Options such as “Preferred Ethnicity,” “Only those with photos,” and sort functions with options to sort by age, sex, nearest major city, among others, make pinpointing the person you are looking for quicker and more precise.

This site also has a Java-based chat room as well as columns, links, and an on-line FAQ.

Match.Com ( – Being that I wasn’t a member – many of these sites require membership in order to take full advantage of the benefits offered – I had to browse as a guest.

I clicked on “Browse,” and I could search for personal preference and area where the individuals reside.

The positive thing about is that it tells you when the person you are interested in last logged into their server. This does away with old files in the database that you never know about. Who knows, the person you are interested in could be 80 years old by now with 6 kids and a dog named Pete.

Love.Com ( – This site was adequate, but I couldn’t filter out the profiles with pictures (if any) from the ones without. It asked me how I wanted to browse the profiles and what my preferences were, such as age. It then spit out a whole list of names that were linked to the site. Unless I was patient enough to click on each one, I would probably grow tired of reading each profile.

Now that you are up to speed on the dating scene on the web, polish up the old ride, spruce up that plaid suit, drench yourself in your imitation perfume/cologne and drive on over to pick up your online date.


Defining the Smileys Seen in Cyberspace

February 6, 1997


To the “untrained” eye, those three symbols mean absolutely nothing. The computative combination of the three somewhat ambiguous marks, resemble something out of a pre-algebra book. Perhaps it may appear as if somebody made a boo-boo in post press. Or maybe it seems like I made a typo, but whatever the case may be, the “colon” sign, “hyphenation” symbol and the “end parenthesis” marker together, will mean many different things to many different people.

To the “trained” eye however, the marriage of the trio represents something much more than just three odd signs. It is a whole `nother language. A whole `nother way of expression. A whole `nother world entirely. For those of us “onliners” who write excessive E-mail and/or lurk around in newsgroups and chats all day, the “colon” sign, “hyphenation” symbol and the “end parenthesis” marker represents a smile.

Once you start residing and encompassing many parts of the online world, you will soon find out that there is a whole slew of these “smileys” to be seen, heard and discovered. Spending just 5 minutes in any chatgroup will show you that there are many of these “smileys” that are widely used and accepted, and many that are not as well. The enormous variation and self-invented “smileys” that are in circulation, made a dictionary (of sorts) necessary to keep track and begin to fathom the idea of so many symbolic marks.

A few of the funner web sites that define these infamous “smileys” in detail are “The Smiley Dictionary” (, which separates the “smileys” into classic smileys, funny smileys, people smileys and even an add-your own smiley section, “The Smiley Dictionary by thread” (, a hypernews page from the Peachpit Press, and the “Big Dummy’s Guide to the Internet” (, which includes basic, widely used, midget, mega, Usenet and emotional smiley segregations.

The face of E-mail has also seen these little rascals pop up here and there. I use my own variation of the smiley =) quite often. The great thing about these guys is that you can make the most sarcastic or negative remark to somebody, and a simple placement of this =) will make everything all better.

A popular application for these cute critters are for flirting. Let’s say you like somebody in a chatroom or you want to be flirtatious so that somebody will like you. Placing a 😉 after a comment that you have made to the individual will lead to a “are you coming one to me?” reply almost indefinitely. Yep, that simple threesome of characters means that you just winked at the person. Another good one, might be the :* one which represents kissing.

Starting to get the hang of this? Then, test yourself. What do you think 😛 means? It shows the user sticking his tongue out. How about this :-O one? Uh huh, it is a user surprised or screaming. You are getting too good at this. Let’s try a more advanced level. How about >:-[ ? That’s a vampire. What about :-.) ? Tricky huh? That’s Cindy Crawford.

Getting bored? Well, I don’t blame you, but here’s just one more to tempt your tummy. What does mean? That represents an Internet maniac.

Wasn’t that fun? No? Oh yeah!? Well, I don’t think you are very funny yourself either! In fact, I don’t even like you at all!!!