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YourLIFE: The man of my dreams cost me pounds 11.50.

Byline: ANTONIA HOYLE

WHEN psychology student Charmaine Scott idly logged on to eBay, she was looking for something to take her mind of her studies for a few minutes. But the 22-year-old got much more than she bargained for...

'I'D been single for three months and was happy that way - and, besides, with all the studying I had to do for my degree at the University of Westminster I didn't have time for a boyfriend anyway.

After finishing a particularly difficult assignment last February I wanted to wind down, so I went on to the internet for a little light relief. I'd never used eBay before, but everyone had raved about how good it was so I had a look.

On the front page was a picture of someone called Matt Cadman, with the slogan: "Boyfriend for sale." I thought the world had gone mad.

I called my mum, Corrina, and told her to have a look. She said: "He looks nice - why don't you get in touch with him? You've got nothing to lose."

There was something sexy about his cute grin and I felt kind of sorry for him. Most of the 16 bids were from blokes who were obviously taking the mickey. If I didn't snap him up, there was a chance he'd end up with a bloke called Mark. Matt also said that the money was going to tsunami charities, and he'd only raised pounds 11. So I decided to go for it. I took a deep breath and put in a bid for pounds 11.50. Hardly the last of the big spenders, but it was nearly midnight and there was only five minutes of bidding left. I knew I was in with a chance.

I kept refreshing the page, wondering what the hell I was doing, when a sign popped up saying I'd won the bid. My stomach lurched. I couldn't believe it.

The next day, I passed on my number to his friend, who was acting as a contact, and a few hours later Matt called. Although he sounded friendly, I was so nervous I could barely speak.

He was 21, lived in Reading and worked as a DJ for Fresh FM, a local radio station.

He said he was playing at a bar in Watford that evening. I agreed to go along and meet him. My friends thought I was bonkers, but I managed to rope one in to coming with me.

He was better looking in the flesh, but it still took half an hour for me to summon up the courage to talk to him. When I did, I wasn't disappointed. He was friendly, charming and gave me a peck on the cheek.

At the end of the evening we agreed to see each other again.

The next day he asked me out for dinner. Mum texted half way through to see how it was going. "Pretty well," I replied. And it was. The conversation flowed, we were both easy-going and liked the same music. Although I hated to admit it after meeting Matt in such ridiculous circumstances, I actually quite liked him.

He said he'd only put the eBay ad up for a bet, and confessed that he'd been as nervous as me.

This time, as he took me home, we kissed properly. And later that week, we became an item.

Since then, we've been inseparable. He helped me finish my finals and find a job, and I helped him move into a new house in Watford.

I don't want to give Matt a big head by saying he's the man for me but it feels like I've known him for ever and I can't imagine us splitting up.

I'd never have dreamed I'd meet my man this way. Even dating agencies were a no-go for me, let alone buying a boyfriend I'd never even met.

I can recommend finding your fella on eBay - it's worked for me!'

If I didn't buy him he could have ended up with a bloke called Mark

AS TOLD TO ANTONIA HOYLE

YourLIFE REAL STORIES.. REAL PEOPLE.. EVERY DAY

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BARGAIN: Charmaine and Matt Picture: STEVE NICHOLSON
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 13, 2006
Words:695
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