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It would have been easy to burnish the truth, but she presented herself honestly, from her age (57) and hobbies ("dancing, rock collecting") to her financial status ("self sufficient").
The picture — outdoor photo, big smile — was real, and recent.
And her pitch was straightforward: Looking for a life partner …
I really like your profile and I like what I have gotten to know about you so far.
"It is kind of a strange way to meet people," she wrote, "but it's not as cold as hanging around the produce department at the Kroger's." She also mentioned the deception she'd already encountered on previous dates — "lots of false advertising or 'bait and switch' folks," she wrote.
"It is amazing what people will do without conscience.
Duane wrote right back, a long message that sketched a peripatetic life — he described himself as a "computer systems analyst" from North Hollywood, California, who grew up in Manchester, England, and had lived in Virginia for only five months.
But much of the note consisted of flirty jokes ("If I could be bottled I would be called 'eau de enigma' ") and a detailed imaginary description of their first meeting: It's 11 am when we arrive at the restaurant for brunch.
A short message sent on a Thursday evening in early December 2013, under the subject line: Match? She signed up for a six-month subscription to Match.com, the largest and one of the oldest dating services on the Web.