Sparking interest 

Pretend you have a crush on five friends or acquaintances. Pretend you’ve been struggling with all this Catholic guilt because you’ve kept naughty thoughts quiet for way too long. And pretend you’re just too nervous to admit the truth to anyone, for fear of getting your ego slammed. www.thespark.com. is the anonymous opportunity to take a chance at romance and find out if Heart-Attack Jack likes you back.

Much like www.crushlink.com, www.thespark.com instructs you through a matchmaking process. The free Web site directs you into Pimpin’ Cupid, where you log-in and list the e-mail addresses of one or more crushable people you know. Then, a computerized cupid shoots this cyber arrow to Oh Lustful One: “Someone has a crush on you.” They are directed to visit the Web site and list whom they have a crush on. If their list includes your name (oh please oh please oh please), there’s a match and c’est l’amour!

Not really. Upon receiving the e-mail I sent out, a few of my friends listed me as their crush, simply because they were wondering if I liked them. Boooo. This occurs often when matchmaking at www.thespark.com. Even anonymously, we’re more inclined to try and figure out who likes us rather than enjoy admitting the truth of whom we fancy. Or maybe we’re more comfortable getting to know folks the good old-fashioned honest way: when we’re sloshed at a bar. Even so, there’s something cathartic about sending a secret orbiting into space with the knowledge that it will land in the right place, but won’t explode in your face. Light your fire or cause all sorts of trouble; it’ll cost ya nothing at either site.

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