BreakUpGirl: meeting people online is an “ultra-hip” member of ChickClick, a group of websites that also included Chick Pages, gURL, and Estronet. Break Up Girl was an early advice column for young women, and here is some advice about meeting people on the ‘net.

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Meeting People On-Line: Listen to Your Mother

Surely, at some point, your mother must have said something like:

Whatever you do, don’t pick up anyone along the highway.

She could never have imagined that this warning might someday apply to the “highway” built by those phone lines that plug into your computer-but she’s onto something. For many people, on-line dating services or chat-room minglings are the heaven-sent solution to problems of shyness, lack of car, etc. But do you ever feel a tad sneaky, or a bit, well, bad, as you hunt-and-peck for that spark ? It may be because, in effect, your mother is watching. Though her bytes of wisdom certainly predate the modem, eerily, clairvoyantly, somehow they seem to apply…

Mom says: You don’t know where that’s been. Meeting someone. While the anonymity of the ‘net is a haven for some, it also means that for all you know, you could actually be corresponding with a 13-year-old boy, a 65-year-old man, an FBI agent, or, God forbid, a reporter. Furthermore, when you chat with someone on the Internet, you are, in a sense, on-line with everyone else he’s ever been on-line with. How do you know, for example, if he’s been tested for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Mom says: Don’t sit too close. Liking someone. An Internet address gives him a whole nother way not to call you. Waiting by the computer is not only lamer than waiting by the phone, but according to the newspaper clippings your mother has sent you, those electro-magnetic rays emitted by your computer, clock radio, television, and microwave, will kill you, make you infertile, or at least make your glasses prescription thicker, thereby rendering the whole meeting-someone enterprise pointless to begin with.

Mom says: You’ll freeze that way. Really liking someone. So let’s say you’re getting into some heavy instant-messaging. You’re describing your best cyber-hickey (The best kind! No turtlenecks!) in your best purple prose, when all of a sudden-crash!-your screen is paralyzed. Frozen. The cursor is dead to the world, but your live conversation beautifully preserved. Guaranteed, it is at this moment that your housemate or boss will peek over your shoulder to see how you’re doing at Mortal Kombat.

Or is that your mother’s phantom-like reflection in your screen…?