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 (www.1st-site.com) and the straight-forward Match.Com (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 (www.thekiss.com), which offers kitschy osculation info. Then buy some goodies online for your main squeeze at Godiva Chocolatier (www.godiva.com), 1-800-Flowers (www.1800flowers.com), or PC Flowers & Gifts (www.pcflowers.com). When things really heat up, you can send digital love letters from Greet Street (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 (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 (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; 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.