Smart (ass) magazine with mega matchmaker fetish seeks passionate partners for online love-in. We’re virally virile, sinfully sincere and ready to rock someone’s cyberworld. UB2!
And now, without further e-do, here come POZ Personals, our first online swap meet: free, confidential and positively positive (other statuses are welcome if you disclose <grin>). Click on www.poz.com, and get set to start clicking with whoever—and whatever—floats your boat when the party starts on Valentine’s Day. For starters, though, read this month’s “You’ve Got Love!” package, which offers crucial tips on personal ads and ad-itude. Whether you’re a cybercourting vet or virgin, we’ll help you put your best self forward in your profile, flash a mouthwatering handle and take a non-heinous photo. You’ll learn how to spot and delete a BS artiste, deal with and dole out rejections and—most important—pace yourself, balancing excitement and safety as you and Gr8M8 move from flirtation to flesh. Best of all, “You’ve Got Love!” delivers profiles from some 20 “reply right now” hotties that will wet your, er, whistle for what’s to come.
Online dating is, after all, as much about fantasy as reality; even as we search for our soul mate by scrolling through the intimate details of total strangers, we’re also gathering data on our desires, trying to find ourselves. Depending on your sense of humor, of course, that is part of the beauty or bitterness of the game. In my own very humble experience (note the above photo from my gay-sex-site personal), cruising online is an alternative reality where many men “want” me and way many more do not: “Thank you for contacting me, but I am not interested,” goes the ritual dis. Not interested? In MOI!? Well, I can deal—the desire was as fleeting as the hurt. I’ve had my share of both NSA (“no strings attached”) hookups and dates that led nowhere or to bed (and then nowhere)—plus one six-month flat-out misunderstanding. I’ve also compiled a generous list of e-mail buddies who share secrets and surprises, reminding me that being single doesn’t mean being alone. The only time I regret overcoming my inhibitions against publicizing my face, anatomical stats and turn-ons, is when I add up, say, all the books I could have read in the hours I get lost chasing the dragon of desire. (Rule no. 1 in “You’ve Got Love”: Limit online cruising to one hour a day.)
Obviously, POZ comes late to online dating. Last year, nearly one quarter of the 86 million Americans who were single—not to mention all you married “window-shoppers”—reported using Internet sites for romantic pursuits. The current worldwide market is estimated at 100 million plus; revenue exceeds $400 million. POZ can’t compete with the Internet’s many pricey clubs with their deluxe bells and whistles, from audio-and-visual instant messaging to criminal background check–cum–bodyguard service. Nor would we want to. Our values are different. We favor diversity over exclusivity, trust and honesty over private eyes. That’s why our personals celebrate people who seem, at first take, to have little in common but being single and positive. Our online love-in will be fiercely democratic, embracing both the Black Church Lady ISO Mr. Right and the Gay Leather Daddy ISO Mr. Right Now. The site is structured to let each privately pursue his or her happiness.
We fully intend for everyone to cross paths eventually, however, as 2005 reveals our massive POZ.com website expansion in all its glory. We’ll be adding news, expert advice and hands-on services in HIV meds and general health care—plus a gazillion other features, such as a daily calendar of activist and ASO events, a coming-out photo gallery, an AIDS voter registration and whatever else you request to make POZ.com the nerve center of the HIV universe. Ambitious, eh? Well, our mission has always been to create an army of lovers—starting, just in time for V Day, with you.
Walter Armstrong Editor in Chief e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org