DamnFessy. It was 1994 and I was dizzy with the amazing new technology of America Online. I dared to enter a random chat room and before long a private message window popped up. He steered our friendly chit-chat steamy; I felt that same guilt-soaked titillation I’d experienced when, years earlier, I’d first discovered my dad’s porn stash. I marveled at how we’d found each other and whether we’d ever meet. . . until he accidentally typed “your ass on the air” and I laughed so hard I lost my dial-up connection. B+

Bazzers007. A friend recommended a dating site, and I bit on a bloke from London with one of those fantastic English accents and dry British wit. We raced breathlessly to reply to each other’s emails, watched “Four Weddings and a Funeral” in synch, and spent a tiny fortune on long-distance calls. And when I sent him the dates and details of my flight to meet him, he disappeared from the internet. C-

Machid. Witty and hilarious, we talked on the phone all night long. He sent me an admittedly outdated photo, and begged me to visit him but fretted so relentlessly that his home wasn’t clean enough for me, I promised him I wouldn’t mind. “I’m no princess,” I said.

But maybe I should be. He looked nothing like his photo, kept half a dozen full garbage bags in his kitchen and had science projects growing in his bathroom. Still, he insisted I keep the ring he gave me, rationalizing that if I’d been like most of his girlfriends, he’d have spent more than that on drugs for the weekend. D+

SalesGuy44. My mother thought he looked cute in his photo, so I agreed to meet him for dinner. Shortly after he joined my table, he launched into full-body spastic tics, lunging forward and hissing at me, then returning to the conversation as though nothing had happened. I ignored his apparent disability, helped him order a drink, and continued conversing with him as though nothing had happened–even though the spasms got increasingly more in my face.

After fifteen minutes of this, he suddenly flung himself forward onto the table, laughing hysterically, and congratulated himself on having planned such a clever ice-breaker. C-

PatAttyPaul. We met at Barnes & Noble for coffee. I wore a black pencil skirt with a charcoal gray t-shirt; he wore track pants and a sweatshirt, and let me wander the stacks for several minutes before he came over and introduced himself. “Nice outfit” he said. “So you shop at Goodwill?”

He regaled me with a fairly offensive story about how he negotiated his property tax bill to practically nothing, likened my hair to a bird’s nest, and then tried to hypnotize me. A-

EFM3. A chat room regular, so consistently online without actively participating in the conversation I thought he was a computer program. We ended up dating for three months, then I had to break up with him, change my name, and move five states away. B-