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I was reading an article in the Boston Globe today, realized that I had never really talked much about how the Contrarian and I met and married.

We first met via the Internet, a process that now comprises something like 22% of all heterosexual relationships.

In our case, it was not via such things as EHarmony or other similar dating sites. A few of those were around, but they were as I recall, pretty much self-entry kind of places. Free of charge.

Most interactions occurred by a device called mIRC, knows as Internet Relay Chat. You entered rooms and spot to whomever about whatever. But we did not meet that way, though we used it as a tool for better communication during our “courting.”

I don’t know if there were such faces as Facebook back then, in the last century, 1998, to be exact.  But if there was, it was off my radar and his as well. We didn’t meet that way either.

No we met via the “news groups.” I think they still exist, though I haven’t look at them in years. It was part of you e-mail process and you looked up hobbies or interests you had, and subscribed. People left messages, and you responded or wrote your own.

I was living in Connecticut at the time, and the Contrarian was here in Iowa. He had been a long user of newsgroups, but for me, it was fairly a new thing. I’m not sure how I found it or even heard about it.

There were plenty of men seeking women, and so forth, and I posted on a women seeking men. I made it clear I was looking for a long-term relationship, would relocate, and general information about me, age, education, and so forth.

The Contrarian responded with a lengthy e-mail about himself. We began to write back and forth for a few days, and felt very quickly that we had found something significant in each other. We made plans quickly for me to visit him.

I had a number of online friends (men mostly), from IRC, many whom I had met. I left them the pertinent information and flew off to Iowa on February 1, 1999, only about two months after we had started communicating.

I arrived in O’Hare in the early morning, and was supposed to connect with a flight into Eastern Iowa Airport. Fog was my nemesis. I spent the day in the airport and finally got a bus late in the day. I arrived very tired somewhere around 9 pm that night. Not an auspicious beginning.

But within a few days, we felt very sure of “Us” and I notified my moving company to set a date for packing me up. I returned three weeks later to Connecticut, and the Contrarian followed by plane about two weeks later.

Oddly, he got snowed in in Chicago, and ended up on a different flight. I too had to wait a good while for his flight to arrive.

We left Connecticut by car on March 16, arriving back in Iowa on the 17th. And well, that about says all there is to say. We married in September of that year, and are now approaching our eleventh anniversary this September.

Telling people, early on, of our method of meeting, usually brought some stares and some “wows”. Most people had tales to tell of Internet meetings going awry, and the media usually reported stories of dead women who had gone off to meet serial killers.

Plenty of folks gave us that “look” that said, “it will never last.” You can’t build a relationship over a computer! And truthfully, I knew a couple of such relationships that had gone sour  after some months. But I suspect that the statistics are pretty much the same as the more “normal” means of meeting.

Clearly, people aren’t afraid of this method any more. I’m not sure it’s better than other methods of meeting people. Smart people I think find it an easier medium to fess up the truth about yourself. After all, you can only communicate by mail and phone so long. There is no point in lying about things that will be discovered at meeting. But then, perhaps some thing that by then the person might care enough to ignore the extra poundage or the lesser stature. I’m not sure.

All I can say is it worked for us.

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