Tips for Women:

Tips for Men:

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This article by Nicole Plett was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on

September 23, 1998. All rights reserved.

Matchmaking by Modem

A January 1, 1999, California wedding is planned for

Nancy Blachman and Princeton resident David DesJardins, a pair of

contemporary sweethearts who aren’t ashamed to admit that they met

. . . online.

Blachman thinks more singles should meet this way, and announce it

proudly. Blachman is also promoting her new book, "Putting Your

Heart Online" (Variable Symbols Inc., $18.95), written under the

pen name Nancy Capulet, perhaps the most up-to-date guide to love

in cyberspace. She talks about her love, romance, and the Internet

at Borders Books and Music on Friday, September 25, at 7:30 p.m. If

the name Capulet rings a bell, it should. It’s the family name of

Shakespeare’s star-crossed Juliet. "I wonder whether Juliet’s

story might have had a happy ending had she and Romeo communicated

via E-mail," says Blachman, tongue in cheek.

Web personals are faster, more accessible, more up-to-date, and easier

to search than old-fashioned print ads and those costly 900-number

personals, insists Blachman. And the number of potential respondents

is positively staggering and growing exponentially. The service that

she and her fiance used, match.com, had 100,000 members two

years ago, a number she says has now grown close to a million

internationally.

Many sites have 5,000 to 10,000 new ads per week. And with libraries,

schools, churches, and senior centers offering free public access

to the Internet, almost anyone who wants to ride the highway can do

so.

Blachman’s book covers everything from how a novice can get online,

to how to dodge "cyberheads, Web weenies, and online liars."

Also how to safely exchange information, terminate an online

connection

that isn’t working out, and how to move the online connection into

real life. With time at a premium, the Web allows singles to write

from the comfort of home, any time of the day or night, and to end

unwanted advances with a quick E-mail.

"`Putting Your Heart Online’ is the book I wish I could have read

before I posted my first online ad," says Blachman, the survivor

of two long relationships neither of which felt "right enough"

to tie the knot.

Hardly a technical neophyte, Blachman runs her own consulting and

training business in mathematical software, Variable Symbols Inc.,

which she has relocated from her former home in Oakland to 375 Nassau

Street in Princeton (609-688-9666). She is the author of six technical

books, including the tutorial for the software program,

"Mathmatica,"

owned by Wolfram Research.

A native of Palo Alto, California, Blachman found herself, at 35,

at the end of a long-term relationship. "I found that pursuing

the usual sources — friends of friends, the bar scene, parties,

professional associations, prints ads, dating services, and singles

events did not yield a man who could be a permanent, committed part

of my life."

Her find was Princetonian DesJardins, a long-time employee of the

Institute for Defense Analyses on Thanet Road, who was working on

a Ph.D. at the time at nearby U.C. Berkeley. The relationship got

off to a slow start, but the couple’s depth of common interests and

professional experience, discovered gradually over time, led to

commitment

and a cross-country move for Blachman.

Men and women should be prepared for very different

experiences with online dating. Women typically receive 6 to 12

responses

a day; if a man received two a week, he has written a good ad, says

Blachman. Her book includes an array of real-life anecdotes by

cyberspace

lovers as well as many sample ads. There is also an appendix with

a glossary of techno-babble to make the Web user feel on top of his

or her field (including an index of "emoticon" smiley

graphics)

and a comparison survey of half a dozen matchmaking sites, both free

and paid.

"It used to be that you could only meet techno types online,"

says Blachman. "But there are now more than 100 million people

online. There are people from all walks of life, including people

who aren’t that comfortable with computers. These matchmaking services

make it easy."

If computers are good at anything it’s data crunching. Online

matchmaking

allows you to define your desires from the most basic (gender) to

the most obscure (allergic to nuts). Dating service forms can weed

out individuals who are incompatible on basic issues like whether

or not they want children.

"I see this as a new, great way to meet people that I think is

going to explode. We’re at the beginning now. People may prefer to

say they met in a bookstore than online. But be honest, so others

can realize they can meet someone this way."

Top Of Page
Tips for Women:

Be honest about your looks and body type. If you’re

slender, say so. If you’re overweight, admit it.

"*"Describe what you want: your words may cause some people

to lose interest, but those who respond are more likely to suit your

tastes.

"*"When someone writes to you, be considerate and let him know

you received his message. A note will help you avoid having to wade

through `Did you get my last E-mail?’ messages.

"*"Write back promptly, even if just to say `I’ll write more

later.’ Keep the momentum going.

Top Of Page
Tips for Men:

Don’t expect women to write to you first, based on your

ad.

"*"Post a profile, even if you initiate all conversations and

include your ad in your E-mail. Otherwise, you are not fully

participating,

and some women may consider you a stalker.

"*"Don’t be put off if a woman does initiate contact. More

and more women who are tired of being approached in clubs, bars, and

on the street are using the Internet to take a more active approach

in selecting people to date.

"*"Pay attention to the women’s criteria.

"*"Carefully consider your E-mail subject lines. First

impressions

usually last, and your subject line is your chance to make a great

first impression.

"*"Hang in there, even if you receive no responses. Many women

who advertise online are meeting men. Eventually, one of them will

want to meet you. Perseverance pays off.

Nancy Blachman, Borders Books, Nassau Park,

609-514-0040.

The author of "Putting Your Heart Online" talks about love

on the Internet. Free. Friday, September 25, 7:30 p.m.


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