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Friday, February 12, 1999 Published at 14:13 GMT


Valentine e-rotica

By Liz Doig

Unsigned love letters, the language of flowers, tokens and trinkets of undying affection - it's not a leaf from a Victorian diary, but Valentine's Day on the web.

A host of sites allow amorous adventurers to take a leisurely stroll down Love Lane, online.

Test of love

Just a few days to go until Valentine's Day, and you still don't know if your love interest is worthy of affection. Luckily, numerous sites are available to give lonely hearts a helping hand.

[ image: How do you know if they are the one?]
How do you know if they are the one?
The Love Calculator works out the likelihood of a successful relationship between two people, based on their names, as a percentage. Top tips including "make sure you have time to talk" and "time for fun is essential" are also offered.

Starry-eyed lovers can check out horoscope compatibility at In the Stars. Fun times for fishes, capers for Cancerians or good vibes for virgins? A click of a mouse is all that's needed to find out.

The Sex Thermometer calculates the chances of temperatures climbing.

Sneaky does it

Got the hots for a colleague? If compatibility ratings are high, but you still can't face the toe-curling prospect of asking them out face to face - an anonymous "secret admirer" message might be the answer.

Secret gives timorous romantics the opportunity to zap the object of their affection with the message "you have a secret admirer".

The admiree must then go back to the site, have a guess at who sent the message, and anonymously mail them back. If there is a match, the site lets both parties know.

However, even in the absence of a match, all is not lost - the site allows messages to be sent to three people in one go.


[ image: True love might just be an e-mail away]
True love might just be an e-mail away
Messages are cool, but e-cards have pictures! A whole choice of images from cartoons to candy Cupids are available on the web.

Want to sign your e-card with a "?" and not have your e-mail address give the game away? An anonymous love letter - complete with pics of pre-Raphaelite cherubs - could be the answer. Anonymous Letters allows the love-lorn to send messages - without revealing names or addresses.

More for the slushy than the shy, Musical Valentines is strictly for tack-lovers - or to annoy someone who really doesn't like heart-shaped satin pillows.

The brash, bold or beautiful, can take advantage of Customised Greetings which lets you make an e-card with your own picture on it.

[ image: Virtual bouquets: Thoughtful and thrifty]
Virtual bouquets: Thoughtful and thrifty
Cupid Online from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund lets lovers reach across cyber pace - and into their pockets, for charity of course.

And for a straighforward e-card from the heart, the town of Valentine, Nebraska hosts its own site.

Past the awkward stage

For those already shot through the heart by Cupid's arrows, Valentine's Day presents a fine opportunity to give and receive gifts and compliments.

Thoughtful but thrifty, virtual bouquets are a welcome addition to Valentine e-mail. Virtual Bouquets also allows an anonymous log-in. For a thoroughly harmonious Valentine's Day, remember to send the real thing as well.

Tight with cash, but generous with time? Sites like Lycos Clip Art let you print off appropriate pictures to cut out and stick on hand-made cards. Acceptable only from the under 10s.

[ image: Cyrano promises to pen poetic epistles]
Cyrano promises to pen poetic epistles
Having difficulty expressing deep emotions? Like the eponymous hero with the hooter, The Cyrano Site promises to transform stumbling declarations into poetic epistles.

If a phrase along the lines of "I love you like cloves" floats your boat, try love compliments on the surrealist site The Surrealist.

A more conventional approach to romance can be found at Personal Passions, which immortalises you, your friends and loved ones in the chapters of a romance novel. For a price, users can become the "luscious lipped" heroine, the "dark and muscular" hero - or the evil Baron von Villain. A demonstration is provided free of charge.

Dazzle your loved one with cosmic kindness and generosity - and name a star after them! Twinkling gifts can be found at Name a Star.

Pop the question

Getting married in cyber space couldn't be easier. Virtual Wedding takes lovers through their vows (just click the "I will" icon), plays Mendelssohn's wedding march, sprinkles the screen with confetti and prints out a virtual marriage certificate.

For entertainment during the virtual honeymoon, try The Newlywed Game.

Doing the dirty

Love is sweet, but revenge, they say, is sweeter. Done Me Wrong advertises all manner of gifts for the seriously miffed.

Choose between a bouquet of dead roses swathed in black tissue - or T-shirts bearing less than charitable descriptions of the intended recipient.

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