Web hero Lynn Harris mends surfers' broken hearts
Even Spider-Man wasn't this good with a Web. The superhero of the Net set is Breakup Girl—secret identity: Lynn Harris, 31. At www.breakupgirl.com, Harris's caped concoction (motto: "When it's over, I'll be right over") cheers up the jilted in comic strips and answers questions about dating. A single Yale grad and part-time stand-up comic, the New York City-based Harris (along with illustrator Christopher Kalb) dreamed up her alter ego a few years after a brutal breakup of her own. "I have all these successful friends," she says. "And what do they cry about? Relationships."
The hit site was recently snapped up by Oxygen Media, which plans to air Breakup Girl cartoons on its new cable channel. Solo this Feb. 14? Advises Harris: "A breakup is the first day of the rest of your love life."
You've Got Mate
Secretly smitten with someone? Two Web sites can find out if the feeling is mutual. Enter your dream date's e-mail address, and eCrush.com or SecretAdmirer.com will ask who tickles his or her fancy. "Your identity is revealed only if you match," says SecretAdmirer founder Miles Kronby, 34, who boasts 10,000 matches so far (eCrush claims 35,000). If you strike out, he adds, at least you "won't be embarrassed."
Can I ask for a first date via e-mail?
A casual "met you last night, wanna have dinner?" note is a fine way for the tongue-tied to break the ice—though it doesn't exactly signal a hunk of burnin' love, so hope your fun e-Valentine digs shy types. One tip: spell-check.
World Wide Wed
Sure, it's a meet market out on the Net. But what sites have the wedding bandwidth to get couples to "I do"? We asked representatives of some popular destinations how many users they claim have actually gotten hitched:
Users: 2 million a month
Weddings claimed: More than 10,000 since 1996
Best for: Oglers. Half the ads include photos
Users: 300,000 active
Cost: $9.50 to answer an ad
Weddings: 300 since 1995
Best for: Monogamists. Playing the field would get pricey
Users: 178,000 active
Cost: Free trial, then $16.95 a month
Weddings: 800 since 1995 (and 30 babies)
Best for: Scenesters. Owned by an event-listings site, it suggests destinations for dates
Users: 200,000 registered
Weddings: 30 since 1996
Best for: Young hipsters. Attitude-laced application asks for such info as what you would be "willing to get arrested over"