Few Hallmark holidays stimulate such vociferous love-it/hate-it sparring among webheads as Valentine’s Day. Camps divide equally between hopeless romantics, who revel in all-hearts day’s treacly sentiment, and the chronically lovelorn, who view V Day as an existential corporate conspiracy designed to remind us that we are — in the end — suckers, and all alone.
For those wired and hopeful, love can be a few clicks away. The cutesily named Love @ 1st-Site (http://www.1st-site.com) and the straight-forward Match.Com (http://www.match.com) offer online personals at fees ranging from as little as $12.95 a month to as much as $96 a year. What distinguishes these services from the anonymous seediness of chat room encounters is the vetting process: Subscribing members’ profiles are scrutinized, ensuring that Jane, the leggy secretary from San Jose you’ve been chatting up, is really not Jack, a construction worker from Des Moines with an overactive dragline.
Once you’ve found true love, or at least an enticing prospect, brush up on your smooching technique at The Kiss.Com (http://www.thekiss.com), which offers kitschy osculation info. Then buy some goodies online for your main squeeze at Godiva Chocolatier (http://www.godiva.com), 1-800-Flowers (http://www.1800flowers.com), or PC Flowers & Gifts (http://www.pcflowers.com). When things really heat up, you can send digital love letters from Greet Street (http://www.greetst.com) and sing amorous praises at the Amazing Instant Novelist’s romance writing contest (America Online, Keyword: Novel). And cast a vote for the famous face you’d most like to wake up next to at E! Online’s saucy “Who Do You Do?” (as in sleep with) game (http://www.eonline.com/Fun).
A more wholesome take on V Day can be found at God’s Valentine (members.carol.net/~asmsmsks/valentin.htm), a painfully earnest site.
When — or is it if? — love fails, you can commiserate with other lonely hearts at The Anti-Valentine’s Day Page (http://www.netreach.net/~trishy/vday.html), where the headline reminds you there’s a reason why “cupid rhymes with stupid,” stupid. But to really get even, check out the Shoot Cupid game (AOL, Keyword: Valentine’s Day; http://www.binarymedia.com/cupid/ cupid.html), where Shockwave-enabled users can fire off rounds at the winged purveyor of love. But beware: If Cupid’s arrow hits you before your bullet bloodies him, you’re doomed to fall back in love. And love bytes.