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U3A Writing: Surfing The Net For A Chat

"Not everyone tells the truth on chat lines. Married men lie about being single and most men and women glamourize their appearance and occupation,'' warns Cynthia Kasmy.

Today young people are brought up to understand computers, television sets, DVDs, iPods and a whole new generation of appliances that we, in our older years, would never have remotely dreamt of owning.

Children at school are taught to use computers. They live with them every day. Unless we “not so young” citizens became computer literate through our jobs or have really persevered to master these “monsters” - and monsters they can become when something goes wrong - a large section of the population just cannot fathom out this new accessory., According to my son, if you cannot use a computer or any other of the new fangled gadgets you are “digitally impaired”.

So many young people spend hours of their spare time on the computer instead of exercising or just going out to enjoy themselves. This has spawned the “chat lines”. For no additional cost one can log onto a chat line and find somebody to correspond with on the internet.

Not everyone tells the truth on chat lines. Married men lie about being single and most men and women glamourize their appearance and occupation. Not every person can be attractive and have a high powered job. Monica logged on to a chat line for the under 30s as “desperately seeking male friends”. She was almost immediately contacted by George, Wallace and Evan. The first person she contacted was George. He proved quite literate. He told Monica that he was a 24 year old IT Manager. He said that he was six feet tall with a slim, athletic body, brown hair and blue eyes. He sounded like Monica’s dream man.

After a few days of correspondence, George discovered that Monica lived about ten kilometres from his home. He immediately made an appointment to meet her. Monica had not been completely honest about her appearance. She was five feet four inches tall and slightly plump. She told George that she was five feet seven inches tall and very slim. She had long fair hair. Monica has short brown hair. So, what to do? Should she go and meet George and make a fool of herself or just be at the appointed coffee shop, preferably with a friend and see who turned up?

After drinking coffee with her friend Vivian for over half an hour a single man entered the premises. There were no other single people at the remaining tables. He looked around and then settled himself at the counter and ordered a cup of latte. This guy definitely did not fit George’s description of himself. He was about five feet six inches tall and sported a big belly boop. He was definitely older than 24 years. He glanced around the shop from time to time but could not see anybody that fitted his mind’s eye description of Monica.

Monica and Vivian stayed for another twenty minutes and left the coffee shop. No more corresponding with George. Either he was lying about himself or he did not bother to pitch up. Monica received a message from George that very evening. He said he had turned up for the arranged appointment but she had not arrived. Was there a problem? The problem was him. Monica did not even bother to reply to him.

She still had the contact details for Wallace and Evan and decided to correspond with both of them simultaneously only this time she would be a bit vague about her height and appearance. Monica enjoyed her internet chats with the two correspondents. They also lived in close proximity to her home. Wallace had described himself of medium height, slim and twenty-five years old. He was going to be the next candidate for a supposed date. Funnily enough he chose the same coffee shop as George for the meeting.

Monica followed the same routine. Vivian accompanied her to the coffee shop as before. There were either two guys sitting at tables or two or three girls, no singles, but it was twenty minutes early so the two girls seated themselves at a table, ordered coffees and proceeded to wait. At the appointed time a tall, anorexic-looking guy entered the coffee shop. He was really plain with a pimply face and looked about twenty years old. He was definitely not Monica’s cup of tea. He seated himself at the long counter and kept on looking around all the time. She waited for another half an hour. People came and went but always in twos or threes together. The guy just sat there waiting for someone to put in an appearance.
Sorry Wallace, even though you can write charming notes you are definitely not what I had in mind for a date. That was the end of that correspondence.

There was only one more person to meet Vivian suggested that they bring Carla with as well this time around and Monica could always go and join Evan if she was interested. An appointment was made for two days’ time. Monica dressed in a new sweater and jeans and with blowdried hair and good make-up she thought she looked quite attractive. Exactly at the appointed time her quarry walked into the coffee shop. He was medium height, looked the twenty-five he was supposed to be, with sandy coloured hair He had a nice smile when he ordered his coffee from the waitress. She waited anxiously for about eight minutes and when no other single guys walked into the premises, she approached him gingerly. “Evan” He turned around at the mention of his name.

“Oh, hi Monica Would you like to sit at the counter or should we try to find a table?”

“It would be nice if we could find a table” Monica replied.
Her friends smiled at her encouragingly. “I got a lift with some friends. Perhaps I should arrange a time to leave with them.”

“Don’t worry I will take you home. The night is still young.''

Monica said her farewells to Vivian and Carla and spent a most interesting evening chatting to Evan, who proved to have a great personality and sense of humour. Soon she was going out with Evan on a regular basis but the two of them spent less time on the internet and more time chatting in person. Sometimes these chat lines do work out but be warned there isn’t always a happy ending when you meet strangers over the internet.

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