Retrieved 4/9/07 from Proquest Research Library
Apr 29-May 5,
.Vol.190, Iss. 2549; pg. 44, 2 pgs
HE WAS a strapping 28-year-old with a mane of brown hair, she a dazzling redhead in a white strapless vest and tight trousers.
Garth Fairlight of London, UK, and Pituca Chang of Irvine, California, first met watching fireworks and eating burgers at a Fourth
of July party in 2003. It wasn't quite love at first sight, but after protesting against high taxes together, the chemistry became
obvious. Two months later she moved in, and by November they were married.
It sounds like a fairy-tale romance, but it actually happened - in the online fantasy world of second Life, that is. Garth and Pituca
are actually screen names, and the pair are at least 20 years older than they look inside the game, where players appear as
cartoon versions of themselves - called avatars and communicate by typing messages.
If the idea of a cyber-romance doesn't turn you on, perhaps you should take a closer look. The couple insist the feelings they
have for each other are real and that they were madly in love long before they met face to face. "The love part happened in the
game," says Pituca, but she and Garth are now engaged to be married in real life. Catherine Smith, marketing director at Linden
Lab in San Francisco, California, which produces second Life, says the pair are just one of many couples who have got married
inside the game. Others say that getting hitched in real life is rarer, but it happens.
While love in virtual worlds may still be unusual, less intense online relationships have become commonplace. A study