So. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o had a fake girlfriend. Having been a fake girlfriend myself, I know from personal experience such women exist. Except that his didn't. I will not be so smug as to sit in judgement on Mr. Te'o, as I believe I was nearly taken in by a fake fellow. This was in the dark days we shall not speak of when I was involved in the nefarious activity called internet dating. I exchanged emails and chatted with a fellow named Ben from Butte, Montana. His profile was impressive, if only on paper. Turned out he was unGoogle-able so I was never able to verify any of his particulars. He was gorgeous. Divorced with one teenage son who lived with him. In one of the photos he was climbing into a fancy corporate helicopter. He possessed a post-graduate degree. Ben was employed in the technical/science/engineering field and traveled frequently. The thing is, he never seemed quite real to me. There was something smelly that I couldn't put my finger on, or nose for that matter. He would disappear and reappear, always telling me that he had been in London and too busy to email until he returned home. Needless to say, we never did meet. Looking back, I am convinced that Ben from Butte, if that was his real name, could have been incarcerated pretty much anywhere. I expect he was on his best behavior. Which earned him computer privileges. Where he perpetrated his too good to be true persona via swiped photos and a fake profile. Testing the feminine waters for companionship possibilities when he was released in 12 to 15 months. Which brings us up to a week ago. When I met a very friendly, nice-looking young man named Richard. He was positively aglow over having connected with a woman through an online dating service. She seemed perfect for him. They were going to meet the next day. For Richard's sake I hope she was real. Because it's perfectly fine to be a fake girlfriend as long as both of you are in on the joke. But when you do it just for the joy of yanking another's emotional chain for whatever perverse pleasure you might derive from it, shame on you. As for moi, I remain an optimist. I truly believe there is an abundance of love available out there for those of us who are ingenuous enough to ask for it, possess the faith to believe it can happen, and remain open-armed and open-hearted enough to receive it.