But if I'm going to find out what really makes these women tick, I need to leave the safety of the virtual world and see them for myself. I arrange to meet a 41-year-old mother of two who misses "romance and flirting", in a cafe in two days' time.She has declined to tell me her name, so I have to think of her as her web sobriquet.Her photograph reveals that the hour has stretched to 90 minutes.I'm already starting to feel like I've had enough of this experiment.Many of them are middle-class, many have young children.
We have encountered one another via an internet dating service established for the sole purpose of enabling married people to commit adultery.
Postings such as: "I want a man who can look after me and knows how to treat a woman. I'm surprised and unsettled by the forward tone of some of the material. Determined to avoid the connotations, I reply: "The Beatles." I never hear from her again.
One woman sends me a message heavily laden with sexual innuendo and I come to regard her as the mistress of the single entendre. Another woman's first contact with me included a plan for a day out together, including visits to art galleries, a stroll round a park and then "a few hours under the duvet". I'm later propositioned by someone who tells me she has an hourglass figure.
In the end, we agree to part and she wishes me luck and assures me I'll find the perfect paramour. This was like having a meeting with a new accountant with a helping of self-disgust thrown in.
Later on I'm perplexed when she sends me two flirty text messages.