You might be interested to know that statistics that I’m making up right here on the spot show that there are more people meeting each other online these days than in all of the dive bars and pool halls and discothèques combined. In fact, thousands of new lovebirds are diving headfirst into the online dating world everyday and if they can ever figure out a way for your average Joe to download his beer via the Internet, technology may very well pave the way for the end of the gin joint as we know it. Clearly the true isolated geeks like myself are going to have to build some sort of Super Internet if we’re ever going to get any peace and quiet around here…

But of course, the more people in the pot, the better when you’re search for the love of your life, right? Then again, I know of a certain witch who says the same when preparing her famous Soylent Stew, but this is the Valentine’s Day column, not the Halloween column, so let’s try to stay on task! Dating can be an intimidating and scary enough process as it is, so it’s easy to see how factoring in the old magic typing machine could leave most folks scratching their heads and other assorted body parts of preference!

And that’s where I come in because, well, let’s just say that I’ve got the kind of time on my hands these days to spend hours upon hours…upon hours…playing around online and as of late, even I, myself, have been dabbling a bit in the art of finding love online. It may be a big, scary world out there filled with girls who won’t return your calls and guys who listen to what they want to listen to in the car, but because I’m the kind of guy that I am, I thought it would be nice this holiday to put together a list of tips and tricks that I’ve managed to uncover over my years to help make the most of your online dating experience! Just like that kid in the Trapper-Keeper commercials, you’re going to be beating them off with a stick by the time we’re through here…

In Creating Your Dating Profile…

· Your screen name is your identity to the online dating world, so first and foremost, choose wisely! Although beerslut83 may be your perfect moniker today, what if later on down the road, you decide that you’re more of a box ‘o wine kind of gal? Just the first of many important decisions that you’ll be making today.

· The description you provide will be one of the primary ways that potential candidates will determine whether or not to contact you…assuming that you posted a hot photo, that is…so you’re going to want to write something intriguing that will be sure to grab your prospective suitor’s attention. Something along the lines of “I really don’t know what to put here…” is a great way to start!

Other suggested opening lines include:

“I know that only dorks do this stuff, but my girlfriends thought it might be fun…”
“I really don’t have problems meeting guys…”
“I probably wouldn’t even be filling this out right now if I wasn’t soooooo wasted!”

· And by all means, if you enjoy having fun, be sure to include that, too – in those exact words, as it’s such a clear and concise way to describe yourself. It doesn’t really matter what you enjoy doing – you can talk about that on your first date; what’s important is that you’re not one of the many people who, tragically, don’t enjoy having fun.

· Sure, photos are nice…if you really want to date somebody who’s shallow! Your real dream date will accept you for who you really are, regardless of that unsightly hump on your back, so hold your ground and save those baby photos for when they meet your parents next week…

· But if you insist on going against the grain and want to post a photo or two, the historical look is really what’s in right now – preferably something from around the time of your high school prom if you’re in your mid-twenties. I hear that jumbo hair and parachute pants should be making a comeback any day now…

In Making the First Move…

· She’ll never know that you’re interested if you spy on her profile nightly from afar, so be bold, take that first step, and see if you can first uncover her MySpace profile with a little clever Googling. A little research can give you that added edge you’ll need to take this one to the bank.

· In today’s fast-paced, technological world, communication flies at the speed of light, so there’s definitely something awry if you don’t hear back from your new friend within a matter of days, if not even hours. This can be a great opportunity to show your future girlfriend that you really care – keep sending those e-mails one after another until you hear back from her. Not only will you prove that you have excellent follow-up skills, but it’s also a pleasant reminder to her that somebody out there is interested in her!

· Any savvy dating enthusiast will tell you that “No” is the new “Maybe,” so don’t give up hope if he tells you that he doesn’t go for chicks who still live with their parents. Maybe he was having an off day, or maybe he just received some bad news about the paternity suit that his bitch of an ex-girlfriend filed on him last year – whatever the reason, keep those *winks* coming because you never know when he’s going to let his guard down…

In Actually Going on “the Date…”

· This will be the first time that you meet face to face, so be prepared for all of the quirky, physical traits that even the wonders of the Internet simply aren’t able to portray. Sure, the “sparkling complexion” that she described in her profile may very well be more along the lines of what the rest of the world would describe as “hideous warts,” but seriously, at this point you can’t even remember the last time you had a date, so deal with it.

· The most important part of any first date is ensuring that you both feel comfortable and often humor is the best way to help ease difficult situations, so try joking about how nervous you both really are and just watch as the tension breaks away.


“So you’re not really nervous, are you?”
“No? How about now?”
“What about now?”

· Above all, know that this is truly your time to shine by proving that you’ve read your date’s profile twenty times a day, every day, since they first crossed your screen. Try to fit in the subtle references that dates previous have likely overlooked, such as that she “really enjoys doing fun things.”

In the Event That Things Don’t Go “as Planned…”

· So if the date ends up being a total bust because she ends up having two humps instead of only the one that she mentioned, or he unexpectedly turns into the Wolfman halfway through your date and you’re just really not into all of that excess back hair, keep in mind that if you can make it home by 10:00pm, you should still be able to catch a rerun of Smallville on the WB…

Of course, I can only give you the knowledge – it’s up to you to make use of it, so go forth on that Information Superhighway, hunt down the guy or girl of your wildest dreams, and stalk them incessantly until they finally snap and end up filing a restraining order against you. Have fun!