Monday, July 09, 2007

We Never Met Online

Tracey started out doing this strange work as favors for friends, but her college sweetheart encouraged her—she had a special gift and a fresh idea; she could make some money. She decided to set up her own small business that customized and distributed “How We Met” stories and scripts for couples that have already picked each other up online and know each other well, but who are too ashamed to admit they met over the Internet. Tracey got the business started a little over a year ago: she placed an ad in the yellow pages and set up her own website. Soon she was writing “How We Met” narratives for hundreds of customers and charging each a modest fee. The customers placed orders for a fascinating Meet-Up story that they could tell people whenever someone asked, “How did you two meet?” And for a slightly higher payment, the couple received a script adaptation of the story so that in case they wanted to re-live their first encounter in the real world versus carrying around the memory of their lame virtual “love at first byte,” they could do so according to the situation Tracey scripted for them. Tracey made up all varieties of tales about the first time her lovers / customers encountered each other. Some involved elaborate and clumsy run-ins where, possibly, one party sustained an injury. Other scripts detailed dramatic entangles in which both parties were in the process of ending previous long-term relationships when they happened to encounter the “new” love at unlikely times and place, such as while creaming their coffee at The Starbucks or while gassing at The Pump. The scripts ranged from simple encounters in local bars to lewd mistakes at mask parties and risky dares on nightclub dance floors. The idea was that the customers would receive their stories, pretend as if they had never met, put on a ruse for one evening as if this were the first time they were ever meeting, and then engage in that activity set up in the premise of Tracey’s story. The couple would follow Tracey’s narrative and script to a T, and then fall in love after that “first” real world date. Later, if people asked, the couple could safely say, “We never met online.” Tracey was also able to claim that hers was a GREEN business; some of the "How We Met" stories narrated love at the recycling plant or portrayed urban neighbors helping each other out with separating paper from plastic and consequently falling in love. After a time, Tracey’s business went on to bring her much success, culminating in Yahoo and Google entering a heated bidding war to buy her out. Google won. Tracey made millions. Now she’s married, pregnant, and filthy rich. She has no friends because they all envy her too much, and the guy who originally encouraged her to make money off her idea died last year in Iraq; unfortunately, he’s not around to celebrate and share Tracey’s wealth. But these days you’ll find a lot of couples out there who are quite content with the lovely stories of how they met. Thanks to Tracey’s efforts, no lovers need to feel ashamed of having met online.

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