Finding love in this post-Friendster era isn't easy. Just ask 68-year-old University of North Carolina physics and astronomy professor Paul Frampton, who was recently sentenced to five years of house arrest for transporting a suitcase full of cocaine out of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and into the United States.
What compelled the Oxford-educated scholar to freelance as a drug mule? Well, Frampton was under the impression that this valise full of toot belonged to his online girlfriend, one Denise Milani, who in reality is a bikini model who may or may not hail from some undiscovered Toontown where Rob Liefeld was elected mayor. Frampton believed that if he smuggled the drugs, he would be able to retire to a small cabin located two ticks north of Ms. Milani's solar plexus.
Denise Milani, Myspace
"I prefer breathable fabrics when discussing Eulerian geometry."
But when Frampton traveled to Bolivia to meet Milani earlier this year, he was not greeted by his new girlfriend/the letter "P" made human flesh, but by a strange man and an even stranger suitcase (their respective cup sizes went unreported by mainstream media).
Think about it -- Frampton spent his entire damn life acquiring degrees covered in fancy calligraphy and nodding with solemn approval at supercolliders. What hope do average jerks like us have against the wiles of breasty fabulists?
Denise Milani, Myspace
"Why yes, I would love to read your Krull fan fiction -- for 30,000 rubles."
Fortunately for you, dear readers, we at Cracked have compiled this handy checklist should you ever find yourself exchanging sexy instant messages with the entire performance squad of the Namibian All-Nude Ice Capades. So if you begin receiving suspicious emails from the N.A.N.I.C. about needing donations for new tassels for the 2014 Winter Olympics, consult this list immediately.
#3. Your Internet Girlfriend's Photo Is Splashed All Over the Internet
The easiest way to determine if you've been secretly chatting with a half-dozen unconvicted war criminals who smell like a root cellar is to toss your beloved's photo into a search engine. Chances are the crooks need a pretty face to run their scam, but they need to crib one from a Duran Duran album off Google Image Search, because Yuri's the only one with the complexion to pull off that Olivia Newton-John wig, but he refuses to shave his fucking beard.
"Hey, stud, I'm Rio. My interests include dancing on the sand."
And Denise Milani is by no means an obscure girl who once went wild one afternoon. She has a vast portfolio detailing her love of wearing jackets with missing buttons and strategically placed serviettes. Who knows how low these scam artists will sink?
"Hey, baby, my name is world-famous deceased aviatrix Amelia Earhart. I have been reincarnated as a Hotmail account."
#2. Your Internet Girlfriend Is Asking for Favors
When any normal person wants to exploit the Internet for pecuniary gain, they turn to a site like Kickstarter or IndieGogo and claim they're writing vegan cookbooks but instead send maybe 9 percent of the contributors shoe boxes full of gravel and quinoa flour because they blew their funding on fortified wine.
Some people are more honest about it.
Why? Because the Internet's about immediate gratification. Boom, that's New Webonomics 3.0 101 right there, so consider yourself schooled. (This paragraph alone constitutes 0.5 computer science credits at any research university worth its salt, college students.)
What they generally do not do is join a dating site, flirt with a stranger for 11 weeks and then dole out small requests like, oh, moving several thousand miles away to Bolivia. (This goes tenfold for bikini models.) Remember, the Internet transforms every human being into a screaming id ghoul, drunk on technology and chanting only the misspelled YouTube comments as sacred hymns. And if they aren't behaving like this, well then ...
#1. You've Never Met Your Internet Girlfriend
... you should probably assume that an entire bored village somewhere is playing a prank on you. Because we at Cracked have met only an infinitesimal slice of our readership in real life, we must assume (for our own safety and well-being) that each of you is the aggregate population of Durbe, Latvia. And according to Wikipedia, that town has a population of 620 and is a wall.
We thank you for your patronage, wall.