It Happened to Them

Meeting online at the dawn of Internet dating
The Internet: A Gateway Drug
More than a quarter of you have taken the technology plunge:

27.5% of our poll takers say they’ve tried online dating.
Out of that group, almost half (48.2%) have taken the ... um ... biblical plunge and slept with someone they met on the Internet.
12.5% of women say they’ve had sex with someone they met online.
19.4% of men say they’ve done it.

What are the odds? In 1998, long before sites such as Match.com, eHarmony and JDate entered the lexicon of dating strategy, two people managed to hook up online even though neither intended to do so.

Divorced with two children, Anita Pinciotti barely had a moment to soak in the tub, let alone dip her toes in the online dating pool. Fortunately, her daughter had other plans. At 13, Jaclyn was having a ball with a relatively new online service, AOL. She quickly noticed that members could search the profiles of other subscribers.

“I told her there was no way I was going to post a profile,” Anita recalls.

Still, one member’s profile stood out. “I saw Dennis’, and there were lots of similarities: Our birthdays are a day apart, we’re both Italian, he also had two kids, we both were in education.”

Anita’s daughter noticed that Dennis was online — so she sent him an instant message.

“Who’s this?” replied Dennis, minding his own business.

Thus began a two-month-long e-mail, instant message and, ultimately, telephone courtship (he lived in Garfield Heights, she was in Fairlawn). Photos were shuttled back and forth, and a first date was arranged.

“I had butterflies,” Anita confesses. “But we sat and talked and laughed — there was definitely chemistry.” Anita was surprised to learn that Dennis wasn’t searching for a mate either; he had filled out the profile because he thought it was the registration procedure for AOL.

The couple married a year later, built a home in Copley to accommodate their four children from previous marriages, and today they’re looking forward to their ninth anniversary.
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