This is an exerpt from an email with a female friend of mine, discussing our experiences with meeting people over the Internet. I don't think she'll mind my quoting her, or my putting my response up on the net.

> This internet thing has completely bamboozled me. If you meet someone in a
> pub or at the supermarket or anywhere, you are more likely to say hi, those
> pants would look really good on the floor next to my bed (or whatever ;) )
> and not go on to list what you are looking for in an ideal partner and
> relationship. I know relationships are hard work, but starting them ??? That
> shouldn't be hard work, should it ? (ie boy meets girl, girl meets boy etc
> etc instead of boy and girl swap ideas on what their looking for via email,
> boy and girl talk on phone and tell life stories, boy and/or girl decides if
> this girl/boy measures up, boy and girl arrange to meet, boy and girl meet,
> boy and girl talk about weather because they have run out of things to talk
> about, boy and/or girl goes home and decides that the next one might be
> mr/ms right etc). I'm sure it works for most people (but not for me).

Some background; We choose our cars, our clothes, our jobs etc (all of which are essentially disposable) far more carefully than we choose our partners.

This has, in the past, been a result of limited opportunity. I can't just walk to a new girlfriend yard and pick a few, test drive them, read reviews, check the warrantee and get insurance.

Instead, I have to brave the 'scene', or try and meet women through friends. Sometimes this works, most often it doesn't. So, we often end up 'settling' (I hate the term, but can't think of anything more apt) for whatever we can, where there's at least some level of mutual attraction. This often means we get a 4wd when we wanted a motorbike, or we get a sportscar when we wanted a ute.

Personally, I think the whole Internet dating thing is a big win. I don't tend to run out of things to talk about, and if I do, then the ute should be a station waggon, or similar :)

There's also my position on the 'right' person. I don't believe that there's a 'right' person for me. I believe there's hundreds of thousands of mostly right people for me. The trick, is finding them, and that means a combination of 'chemistry/spark' and general ability to like eachother (which aren't necessarily related). I've had flings with girls that frankly, I couldn't stand to talk to, but I was crackling with sparks around. And the converse, I've met women that I click with really well, but have no sexual attraction to whatsoever. And, I've met people with both, and had relationships with them. Still trying to puzzle out what went wrong! C'est la Vie!

The core of it is that meeting someone that works for you is a numbers game. The best way that I can increase my chances of meeting someone that has both. is to meet a lot of them. How do I do this as an IT body in a small company, when all my friends have partnered off? The Internet.

And as to starting relationships being hard work? That's a tricky one. I don't think actually starting a relationship is ever hard, the hard part is finding the person to start it with!