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Online, Offline, Inlove.

Sleepless in Seattle is a romantic classic. Every girl who has seen it is said to have shed a tear. If you remember, the story had an affianced girl falling in love with some guy she heard on the radio.

Let's think realistically now. If your friend did that and slipped it in your normal conversation you'd be smacking her silly. Or, more in times with today, if your friend announced she met a guy online - you'd most likely have a fit. We're ignoring the part where she is engaged, for simplicity's sake.

Or would you?

Cyber love affairs are becoming more and more common. It's been around for a while. Stories of people meeting each other in MMORPGs [Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games] and getting married have been going around since early 2000s. Suddenly, the social stigma of meeting someone online is much less. It's there, but it's less.

Initially, there were some reservations about whether this practice was prevalent in Bangladesh. Apparently, it is. A college student tells the tale of her sister who had met a boy on the internet. When asked about the fate of the affair, she said that they are now happily married.

Another tale is of Naveed and Tanya, best friends. Both of their Facebook names were of characters from a Japanese anime they were avid fans of. Naveed added Tanya, and over the course of a year, they'd become best friends. Interestingly, they started speaking four years ago and they have yet to meet each other face-to-face. They both know where the other lives, but somehow all their attempts to meet end up in a mess. Now, wouldn't that make for a nice TV show?

However, not all internet affairs have a happy ending. Let's not forget the dangers. When you're talking to someone online, you're behind a screen. You have no way of verifying who that person is or what they are really saying. There are numerous instances of online predation - rape, kidnapping or even murder. Any of you watching Dexter know that serial killers are excellent liars. Online, they don't even have to act. They just write - what to them is - fiction.

There is another slightly disturbing occurrence. There are certain people in the world who enjoy creating an alter ego of them online and letting them loose on others. Some people, mostly guys, often impersonate females while contacting other guys as a sort of prank. One guy fell in love with a girl named Helga, who he met online. They exchanged pictures and wrote over a hundred e-mails to each other. However, there were aspects of her character that made him suspicious. Upon investigating, he found that the pictures were stolen and that this girl Helga never did really exist.

Finally, there is the off chance that you find someone who exists who isn't a freak and you decide to meet in real life. Then, you realise that the boy online is completely different from the one you're sitting across. You have nothing to talk about; you're struggling to find a topic while he plays bounce on his phone. Then you two just fall apart.

Cyber love affairs are becoming a reality, not once in a lifetime chance occurrences. It is now a very common way to interact, especially with the advent of social networking sites. So, to those who are vehemently taking a stance against it, it's time you learnt to embrace it. However, never at the price of your own safety.

*Names have been changed to protect identity.

By Selima Kobir Khan

An awkward valentine

Valentine's coming up, people hooking up, or not. But with so much coupling happening, what's the stupidest/weirdest thing you know someone (even you) has done regarding proposal, love and all that mushy crap? This is what our readers had to say.

Mustabeen Qazi
Here's a proposal story. I used to go to a coaching centre, and there a guy was trying to hit on an acquaintance of mine. On his grand ask out day he brought a love letter and a bracelet in a scented envelope. The idea was to make the heavy envelope skid across the table to the target girl. So he made it skid, but it turned out to be an epic fail. Not only did the envelope end up in a wrong place, it turned out that target was already with another dart. I felt so bad for the guy that I made it skid the right way, fixing the direction with my hand! And now? Well, things have changed.
Er, we're just as clueless as you guys. --RS

Samiul Mahin
This is the point of the story when we should think of upgrading the modes of transport of the letter. Homing pigeons, postal service, siblings all fail before the coolness of small radio controlled cars. In a big class, clip a note to the spoiler n drive it towards your buddy.

Jonayed Nasir Anik
There was once a boy who proposed to a girl and successfully secured her number. The next day, she burst out at him, "So you are the one who's written his phone number all over the toilets and added "Call me, me Hot Boy!"
Rajesh C.

When I was in class 5, I told a girl I really, really liked her. I liked Thundercats. She liked Thundercats. I thought it was a match made in cartoon heaven. She said she only JUST liked Thundercats, not 'really, really' liked it.

Tahmina Chowdhury
A guy once tried to surprise me with a gift and a proposal. He jumped out from behind a door as I was approaching. I freaked, had a glass of coke in my hand, threw it at him. It soaked his phone pretty bad. And yeeeeeah, we dated later.

Jawad Mahmud Hoque
Last year, I spent the Valentine's Day staring at my ceiling fan. This year, I plan on spending it by staring at my ceiling fan and telling people that I could not leave the bed all day.
We suggest you get a different fan this season. Sincerely, RS

Rafin Mohammad E
In other news, chocolates are at very low prices after Valentines $_$

Aditi Rahman
There was a guy who wanted to propose by spray painting a message onto a wall. Unfortunately, it was our wall and my dad was furious as to why my name was there. Not cool.

A boy I knew wanted to impress me and he did. He went all out, got me roses, way too many. I lived in a dorm. My room was filled with roses. It was a beautiful sight to see. Just one glitch. I am allergic to flowers.

Arun Kumar
I gave a tomato to a girl I liked in school. Told her it was known as a love apple. Asked her to be my valentine. She didn't say yes. But at least she didn't throw the tomato at me.

Rayaan Ibtesham Chowdhury
Stupidest thing? I suggested that the friendzone was not my place. She laughed.

Rumman R Kalam
My friend asked a girl out in KFC on Valentine's Day.
He kicked a chair afterwards. Y'all can guess the result.



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