Corrections or additions?
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
and a comparison survey of half a dozen matchmaking sites, both free
"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
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."
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
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.
Don’t expect women to write to you first, based on your
Post a profile, even if you initiate all conversations and
include your ad in your E-mail. Otherwise, you are not fully
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
usually last, and your subject line is your chance to make a great
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.
The author of "Putting Your Heart Online" talks about love
on the Internet. Free. Friday, September 25, 7:30 p.m.
Corrections or additions?
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