Ms. Armbrister met a man online through Yahoo and after a month and a half of e-mailing they had dinner. It went well: The man, who was 29, owned a business, he did not ask Ms. Armbrister to pay for her own meal or try to borrow money. On the second date, they stopped by his house to pick up an umbrella. The house had belonged to his mother, who had died five years earlier. The plastic-covered gold sofas and the heavy gold tasseled lamps suggested to Ms. Armbrister that her date had not redecorated — never a sign of an enterprising personality. But the deal breaker came when she saw his room.
“We walked up three flights of stars to the attic,” she says. “It looked like a teenager’s room. The computer was up there and the twin bed, his clothes were all over the floor. I was like, uuuuuh-huuuuh. He didn’t even seem sorry that he lived in a 12-year-old boy’s room, this was like normal behavior. It said to me, this person is not grown up yet. It was frightening. He’s lived his whole life in the attic.”