Online dating has its perks. You can go man-shopping at 3 am
in your jammies. You can search out someone who shares
your adoration of Graham Norton, trashy tabloids or argyle
socks. And, thanks to your most fabulous date-ready photo,
you can do it all looking your best, 24 hours a day.
Every day I get letters from my fabulous readers asking about
Internet dating. Does it really work?
Sure it does. Of course there’s always a possibility of meeting
the Star Trek troll who lives with his mother, or worse, other
Star Trek trolls. The prison inmate. The forgot-to-mention-
she’s-married. But for the most part, online dating is still a
great way to meet someone.
Here are a few tips to help you click online:
A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Emails.
This is possibly your most important asset in successful online
dating. Most people will pass by a profile with no photo – no
matter how fabulous it may be. Most people search for profiles
with photos only. Dating is all about chemistry, and nobody
wants to end up with whoever is behind door number three.
Make sure your photo is the best possible picture of you; feel
free to crop to get the best shot and pump up the contrast to
add a little excitement. (Try it, it adds an extra vaa-vaa-voom
to your picture – you’ll just pop off the page.) Avoid using
pictures of you and other people, even if they’re blurred out.
The message you’re trying to send is fun, sexy or interesting,
not “witness protection program.” Another good trick – wear
red in your photo, or use a red background. It automatically
makes you stand out from the crowd and seem more exciting.
(Works at a party too…)
The Profile. Showing Your Fun Side.
Your profile is your second most important tool. The key here
is to use advertising principles to create immediate interest
and action. Here’s what you need to create a profile that pulls:
A snappy headline, three key points (it’s not a resume darling,
it’s small talk…) and a big finish. (Known to advertising people
as a “Call To Action.”)
Try to avoid sounding needy or negative.
(It’s always best to have a friend desperado-check your profile
before you post – especially a friend of the opposite sex.) Avoid
bad puns, cliches and pitiful jokes, such as “Go Ahead,
Click My Day” or anything that sounds desperate like
“Are You Prince Charming?” or “Searching For Soulmate.”
Funny is good, and frankly, nothing works better than humor
to intrigue and bring those eligibles flying into your inbox.
- “My dog needs a mom.”
- “Outdoorsman seeking good catch”
- “The girl below me is a stalker”
Here are some interesting ones:
Most people will click on a profile with a funny title just
to see what the person says next. And last but not least,
SPELLCHECK! The technology is there, sweets, all you
have to do is push the button.
Okay, so now you’re ready to make contact. Emailing a
potential date is like flirting. You want to captivate without
giving everything away. Both humor and intrigue are
great ways to break the ice, and send those sparks burning
over the DSL. Start off your email with something like “I
noticed the most interesting thing about you.” Don’t spill
what the interesting thing was, just use it as a teaser.
They won’t know if it’s the Haiku profile or their in-depth
knowledge of macram? that snagged you, but people are
fundamentally curious. It will gnaw at them until they
write back and Bingo, you’ve got contact.
Once again, it’s important to keep your emails snappy – short
and charming. Go into too much depth and you’ll induce your
online Romeo or Juliet to snores. In-depth analysis of your
feelings is what therapy is for – this, my darlings, is flirting.
Another tip: don’t send a barrage of emails to one person,
follow their pace and try to keep up. (If they send 4 a week, you send
4 or so every week.)
Finally, never, NEVER give your personal information out
to a stranger, and although in traditional dating settings
a man should ALWAYS pick up his date at her door, meeting
someone you don’t know is a different situation entirely.
Always remember to be safe, meet at a public place, and take
a friend if you can. Let someone know where you’ll be and
when you’ll be home, and be sure to take your cell phone
with you. Always trust your instincts, and if a little voice is
telling you something’s not right, pay attention and hit the door.
Have faith and be safe – Eventually you’ll meet someone
fantastic, and you’ll just, well, click.