WITH the average age of Net users going down progressively, one would imagine the new recruits to be in their diapers, pacifier in mouth and eyes on screen surfing the Net for formula milk substitutes. But the profile of the Nets latest catch is a bit different. He isnt a seasoned geek. Hes rather a reluctant acolyte whos turned to the Net for some good-old fashioned TLC. Hes also someone who has-in the middle-class scheme of things-been there and done it all. Someone who has been married once, has kids and a good job, is not given to an unhealthy amount of socialising and perhaps still harbours fancy notions about matrimony. Hes probably not as well-versed in the art of downloading MP3 soundtracks, using search engines to find porn sites or Netsurfing to get university admissions as some of his younger contemporaries are. But he has a lot of real time to spare. In the beginning, he may have been a tad cyber-unfriendly but hes a fast learner, whos using the info highway for what its worth, maybe more!
"It helps if youre not a very sociable type," avers Jessie Joseph, 43, a school-teacher who has recently found love on the Net, thanks to a friend who introduced her to online classifieds. Divorced for 12 years and with two teenage sons, Joseph is now to meet her online beau in the UK. She met him after a friend suggested she put her profile on Rediff onlines romance page. At first her "honest profile" got scant attention. Then she snipped 20 years off her resume. This time the hits came pouring in, but they were largely from libidinous teens or teen-pretenders (who sometimes got straight to the point asking for cyber sex or a romp on the sly). But her patience with the honest profile paid off. "I met two or three very nice people...a very nice-sounding chap from IIT Bombay and a whole pile of married men willing to have confidential relationships."