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It's All Relative: Plug In, Hook Up

 by Lucia Bill  published on Thursday, February 2, 2006

Lucia Bill/issues/arts/695530
Lucia Bill
 

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Online dating services are not something ASU students are in desperate need of. Considering the amount of fine specimens of both genders present on campus and the frequency of social gatherings powered by alcohol, finding a partner is far easier than a click of the mouse. But even though you may think that the abundance of booty in your everyday environment makes Internet dating irrelevant, the creepiness factor involved may still be of interest to you.

Someday in the near future, you will leave this hook-up central, hailed even by Playboy magazine, and end up in a cubicle for at least eight hours a day. Odds are that in between TPS reports you will start thinking about something other than the next budget meeting. As they will tell you at orientation, looking at porn at work is not a good idea because everything is monitored (and you thought Smart Enforcer sucks).

You may still hit up the bars to troll around for a date. "It's more fun to play the game," says business management sophomore Ben Boyd. "To ask the girl out ... I don't want a company to do that for me."

But if you end up moving to some far-off location where you don't know a soul, the former stud in you may just get desperate enough to sign up for one of those Web sites that you initially thought only old fat people use.

Maybe you'll find the One, have 2.5 kids, a golden retriever and have sex twice a week. Or, you'll spend $30 a month on a subscription to a website to either get the company's employee to flirt with you, date a convict or get scammed by a Nigerian criminal.

The complaint that employees create fake profiles to keep subscribers interested was filed against Yahoo in Florida at the end of last year. The lawsuit alleges that Yahoo "deliberately and intentionally originates and perpetuates false and or nonexistent profiles on its site to generate interest," in order "to falsely represent more substantial participation than actually exists." The lawsuit sought class-action status.

But if getting hit on by some guy in a cubicle just like yours seems uncomfortable, dating a felon may be a little more upsetting. Certain matchmaking Web sites, like True.com, have been lobbying to have Web sites do background checks on their clients. According to a USA Today article, the issue has been pursued by legislatures in Virginia, Ohio, Florida and California, but no law has been passed to date. In Arizona, such a check would be limited because the database True.com would use doesn't have access to Maricopa County court records. "I could never do online dating," says public relations freshman Lindsey Karr. "I'd be afraid that the other person is one of those creepy older men trying to lure young girls in that you hear about."

But while there are means of checking up on your love interest in the United States, international connections have proven to be the most hazardous. Con artists in Nigeria have been using what's referred to as 'sweetheart scams' to get U.S. residents to send money overseas. According to MSNBC, the cons purchase gifts for their prey with stolen credit cards and court them for as long as a year before asking them to help them transfer funds out of a bank. One college student had all of his college tuition money frozen by a bank after he cashed fake money orders for a love interest in Nigeria. And you thought that the repetitive tuition hikes are a rip-off.

But the case for online dating is not lost. To make up for the damage recent suspicion has caused, Match.com, the largest online dating service in the world, came up with the perfect solution to quell your worries.

For an additional fee, you can join the "MindFindBind" service which will give you access to over 50 instructional videos from Dr. Phil McGraw, the most popular pop psychology talking head since Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Sure, there may be some risks involved in online dating. The Nigerian thing may cost you next year's tuition. But advice from the love doctor himself? Priceless.

Reach the reporter at lucia.bill@asu.edu.



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