Singles are realizing that due to the influence of Mirage Man Syndrome, computer dating is not delivering dates and mates as it once promised. But have no fear, there is an emerging industry of professionals who will pretend to be our friends—for a fee—to set us up with dates.

Why did computer dating fail to deliver after so much promise? Susan Baxter, 32, founder of "Hire a Boston Wingwoman", observes,"You go to meet [the person] and realize their picture was taken ten years ago and that they are not who you thought." Susan is right. Mirage men know that the secret to making the date successful is to pretend to be what the woman wants. So when they fill out the profile for the computer dating service, they may fail to mention their real passion is laying around all weekend unshaven in the underwear watching sports beamed in to their satellite dish to their 50 inch plasma television with stereophonic sound. Instead they present themselves on their computer dating profile as enlightened consumers of the opera, classical music buffs, season ticket holders at the local community theatre, gourmet cooks and  guys who enjoy poetry and romantic walks on the beach at sunset. These mirage men are experts in the video portion of the profile. You will see some of them portraying  themselves on camera as being politically active and politically correct, casually name-dropping their favorite Green celebrity, how they love to ride their bikes to work every morning and faithfully attend those Saturday morning Sierra Club hikes. Everything in their presentation of self is designed to woo a woman. Honesty? Forget about it!

The Hire-A-Cupid system cuts down on some of the dishonesty of the computer dating scene. The Cupid accompanies a man or woman to an event and, pretending to be a good, pal, chats up prospective dating candidates and makes introductions. Instead of sitting in a corner  crying in your beer unable to start a conversation, the Hire-A-Cupid brings the dates to you.

As preposterous as it may seem, the Hire-A-Cupid actually meets a hidden need for modern American men and women. As Josh Mitchell, 27, proprietor of his own Indianapolis cupid service for women, put it, "No one seems to know how to have a face-to-face conversation anymore. A lot of social skills you used to pick up  watching your parents, but now everyone is busy watching stuff online or playing video games." Josh is correct. Socializing skills are being lost as technology isolates us from one another. Once upon a time families spent time together conversing and playing games that encouraged interaction. Beginning with television in the 1950s, people began to be pulled apart by the power of the medium. Now with computers, cell phones and video games, there is little interaction between family members even at dinner time. The conversational skills that were passed from adults to children are being lost. Just in the nick of time, the free market system has provided us with professionals to bridge the conversation gap as Cupids. 

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