††††††††††† Most people I meet seem to have a nightmare story to tell about how a computer dating experience went disastrously wrong. Though I know a few that turned out well,most do not. My own experience was extremely depressing to me.

††††††††††† It was in Summer, 1998. I wasnít actually looking for a computer date. I was talking to online Vampire role playing people, as I have some interest in Gothic vampire culture. A lady I shall call only Kate got talking to me through Yahoo messaging services. We started going more and more into private message boxes instead of staying with the very busy main list itself. We started developing a cyber-relationship quite quickly. I was in Manchester, England. She was in Austin, Texas.

††††††††††† I knew that she had two daughters, and that she planned to visit the UK. I suggested that she come and stay with me which she sounded happy to do.She wrote to me, and even phoned me. At one point, she spent a long time talking to my mother on the phone.

††††††††††† I shared a lot of intimate personal details with Kate, more than I even post online. After a time, the date was set for her fortnight visit.I planned out all sorts of things to do, and places to go. I arranged the time off work. I also arranged a big party†† where she could meet my friends.

††††††††††† As she got closer to coming over, I gotboth excited andapprehensive. She began appearing on the Yahoo message boards under different names and avatars. She seemed to have a variety of aliases. Some she told me about. I suspected that she had others. She was not very upfront about herself.

††††††††††† On the day of her flight, she was onthe Yahoo service right up to leaving to catch her flight. I should have been elated as it meant she would fly in within ten hours. She didnít.

††††††††††† She had refused to give me her exact flight details. She had not wanted me to see her at the airport,but had planned to arrive at my house.

††††††††††† By the end of the night it was apparent that she was not going to arrive. I e-mailed her to ask what was wrong. Instead of replying by e-mail, she phoned me, or rather, her daughter phoned me. She told me first that her Mother was ill and had been rushed to a hospital. I asked what she was ill with and which hospital she had gone to. The daughter declined to tell me what Ďillí meant but claimed that she was in a hospital in Scotland.As she was supposed to have flown into Manchester, I realized that moving her to Scotland for taking illona direct flight to Manchester airport was ridiculous. I asked the daughter how the Mother had ended up 250 miles off course. She told me that her mother had planned to see someone in Scotland and then come to seeme if there was stilltime before going home.

††††††††††† I realized that he story was being made up as I was hearing it. I pointed this out to the daughter, virtually telling her that she was lying, as she seemed unconcerned about her mother being sick enough to be in hospital in a foreign land, hours after flying there,whilst visiting adifferent person than she had claimed to be visiting.

††††††††††† I thought the daughter would hang up on me, but shecarried on, telling me that it was just not a nice person. As she did so, her voice changed. She was impersonating her mother, and doing it very well. (or as I suspected, the Mother had been impersonating a daughter) I suggested to her that her mother was still right there in Texas. The 'daughter' refused to say one way or the other, but she did tell me thaton some occasionswhen I had spoken to the ĎMotherí I was in fact telling my intimate secrets to the daughter who pretended to be the mother with the Motherís blessing. The whole thing was a huge joke to them (or more likely, just to one person with a split-personality). 

††††††††††† Iíd been polite in listening to her and getting to the bottom of all this nonsense, but now I lost my tempter, told the girl exactly what Ithought of her and her mother, and slammed the phone down.I never heard directly from them again. I watched the vampire chat rooms she haunted for a while for any comments she might make about me, but she avoided talking aboutme at all. Iím sure she was there in some alias or other.

††††††††††† Months later I got an e-mail telling the world abruptly and with no details that she had cancer and asking everyone topray for her. The message wasnítsent just to me, but to everyone on her mailing list. I just got it by chance. Some of the other names on the list were her own aliases.I realized she was playing on people again. There was unlikely to be anything wrong with her body, cancerously or otherwise. Itís her mind that needs attention. 

††††††††††† I was distraught, but my friends rallied round me superbly. The big party I was going to cancel went on anyway Ė everyone made sure of that. The support I got was wonderful.Suffice to say I have never again tried to date anyone without seeing them eye to eye first again.


In January 2009, Kate e-mailed to ask my forgiveness and to give her a second chance. I ignored the request completely. I was not going to risk going through all that again. 


Arthur Chappell