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From the archives: Everything you need to know about online dating

Meeting Mr or Miss Right isn’t easy. Silly little details – shyness, extreme body odour, dressing like a security guard from Star Trek or carrying bits of your murdered ex-partner around with you in a bin bag – often prevent people from getting to know the real you. If only they could look beyond that and see your sparkling personality! Thanks to online dating, they can.

Online dating is easy: just sign up and then lie, lie, lie. You may spend your days watching Star Trek re-runs and pretending to be Captain Kirk while stuffing your face with Wotsits, but online you’ll say you love long romantic walks, trips to the theatre and teaching cats to play the banjo. Inches – and in some cases, several feet – are magically added to your height, multiple zeroes appear on the end of your salary, and your occupation becomes the job you’d like to do rather than the one you actually do.

And none of this matters, because the people you meet are all lying too – but one thing you can’t really fake is your personality, and that really is something special. Before long you’re chatting with someone who seems to be a soulmate – smart, funny, available, and as interested in you as you are in them. So why not meet?

And you do, and that’s when the wheels fall off the love bus. They’re shy. They’re wearing a red Lycra jumper. There’s a definite whiff of cheese. And they’re carrying something in a bin bag.

[Originally published in Official Windows Vista magazine. Their budget didn’t stretch to the real Guy Browning, heh]