Dear Electra,

I met my boyfriend on OKCupid and it was love at first IM! We're actually hoping to get married. I'm bringing him home to meet my family this Thanksgiving. The only problem is my parents are very traditional and do not approve of my meeting people on the Internet—in their opinion, they're all creeps and potential axe murderers! Should I lie and say we met at a bar? Or is there something I can say to my parents to convince them my boyfriend is the wonderful human being he is?

—L.

Dear L.,

You are faced with an involved problem, indeed, but here are a few things you can at least be thankful for today: that you have a fast Internet service, that you did not spend three hours on the phone with Time Warner cable, that the only wine you had in the house on a day when Time Warner cable turned you to drink is not a cheap Malbec that someone brought at a dinner party you threw a long time ago. And, of course, you should be thankful you have a boyfriend who is not a creep or axe murderer but is good at instant messaging. Because who is good at instant messaging? Usually, creeps and axe murderers.

Today, Internet dating is as common as online chess, and in many ways less risky than meeting strangers in bars. In fact, it has become more of the norm. Soon people will start saying: “You met him not online? Are you sure that’s safe?” and most married couples will amend the story of their first meeting with the “we met online” prelude. Is this sad? No sadder than playing online chess and drinking cheap Malbec alone on Thanksgiving, if you ask me.

But I would suggest you avoid answering your parents’ questions until you are sure they absolutely like your boyfriend. If they do and they ask you how you met you can quickly say: “At an orgy.” Give them a minute to process this, then add: “Just kidding, we met online, through mutual friends.” Or, “Online, at a party.” This way you are not lying to them, you are just confusing them. And if years down the line, after you and your boyfriend are happily married, the question comes up again at another Thanksgiving dinner, you can always distract them by announcing you’ve decided to adopt.

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