By Martine Duplessis

Bad girls, dangerous women and convicted female criminals languish behind bars, fueling B-movie fantasies. What is it about women in prison that elicits this response? Whatever the mystique is, Hollywood has been exploiting it for years. And now, so will the web. In one of those clever pairings of idea and application, ANK Enterprises of Palm Springs, CA brings you Surf to and you will find a way to link up with a lady con of your own choosing. Described as a “penpals and introduction service”, specializes in “introducing you to women in jail.” They bill the inmates as “lonely women looking for a true friend and someone who cares.” The site divides the women into groups by white, black and other, where “other” means no photos of the women, and by age. You can scroll through and click on the women who meet your criteria. Usually a picture and a short bio will pop up, which thoughtfully includes release date, but unfortunately not crime (and that somehow seems like essential information). A casual stroll through the ranks shows that most, but not all, of the women are looking for a decent man and the usual hetero lifestyle thing, but some are open to hearing from women. Black women seemed to mention sexiness noticeably more often than the other two groups, as in: “bubbly, hot, wild …” Ages range from 19 to 58. One older woman is Joann, who is 54, has been incarcerated in Arkansas for 15 years, and is in for “life without the possibility of parole.” She writes that she hopes to meet a marriage-oriented man. The inmates have no email access so all contact is via the US Postal Service. And is there a charge for all this? Yes, indeed. A modest $7 per address. But if this is a little too scary or creepy for your taste, there are plenty of other sites that will provide a personals introduction for you.

At the venerable a more vanilla service is offered: online matchmaking. They advertise 750,000 registered users, and offer a free 7 day trial that inludes unlimited use. They boast “quality singles”, and offer anonymous email as one of their services.

Mainstream and alternative lifestyle curious can congregate at Michelle’s Meeting Place at to find like-minded people. There’s a lot here to surf without paying or registering. This site is divided into the sections “only ads," “only photos," “romance central” (info on all elements of romantic life), “ad workshop” ( write your own ad) , “agent of love” (be notified of new ads), and “only talking” (advice for the lovelorn). Thoughtfully provided thumbmails in the photos section make the site fast. My search for a Parisian dyke netted me 2 ads: a 40 year old who “like to meet women not afraid of muscled girl” (with photo) and a 38 year old who says “curiousity opens the doors to knowledge and …” who claims to be “…either very attractive or very ugly, as people stare a lot” (no photo). Ooo la la!

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