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Online dating dos and don'ts

Find Mr Right right online

Ready to join the estimated 40 million Americans who are giving the online match game a whirl? If so, you'll need to give your profile some pop to stand out from the pack. More important, you'll have a real shot at finding a click-worthy guy you really, well, click with.
Online dating tips

Get started with these dating profile dos and don'ts:

... go into online dating cold. Before you start entering your sassy stats, do a search as if you were looking for "you" and see what comes up. Read other gals' profiles to see your competition, get some clever ideas, and take note of the things that scream turnoff.

... make your user name unique. "It doesn't have to be brilliant, but it should signify some expressive detail about what makes you you," suggests Gail Laguna, online dating expert and spokesperson for Spark Networks, which operates several niche online dating sites. Some of her examples: TennisTime, Luv2cook, SalsaDancer. Much more intriguing than Sexylady123, isn't is?

... go overboard with the seductive picture poses or bawdy talk. Overly suggestive pics or innuendo may attract the wrong type of person, warns Stephany Alexander author of the book "Sex, Lies & the Internet: An Online Dating Survival Guide." Remember, there's a fine line between flirty and trashy -- don't cross it.

... be positive. "There are few of us who enter the dating scene who don't have some emotional baggage," says Nancy Michaels, founder of MatchGoneWrong.com, a dating site for women over 40. Still, she says, try not to emphasize phrases such as "no games" or "no drama." Instead, specify what you are looking for, such as "a great guy who shares my love of jazz music."

be intimidating. Often Mr Right just needs a little nudge in the right direction to get the courage to contact you, says Laguna. Be sure to include an invitation to contact you in your profile to come off as approachable and warm.

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