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Dot-com rules: The don't of internet dating

Brie Gatchalian is a freelance writer based in Montclair, NJ. When she's not writing about fashion and beauty, she researches topics related to relationships and mulls over her own love life. She'll be the first to admit she doesn't hav...

The don'ts of online dating

You'll be enticed to hear that I have ventured into the world of online dating. No, I'm not hardcore meeting dudes left and right, going out on dates with the men from these sites, and looking for the love of my life on the Internet. I signed up in the name of research. You know -- just so those of you utilizing or planning to make use of avenues like Match.com, eHarmony, Yahoo Personals or Engage.com will have a bona fide dater testing the waters.
Online dating don'ts!

My first order of business was to analyze the means of communication on said meeting sites. Here's what I unraveled:

Online Dating Don'ts

1) Don't ignore my prerequisites.
A 54-year-old man e-mailed me, "Hi! I found you on here using the matching feature." Ummm, no you did not, man-as-old-as-my-father. "I see that you're a writer. I am also. Check out my profile," Karl continues. Gee, for someone who writes for a living, one would think you would've read my age requirements that state 24-32 (you missed it by 23 years). Regardless, I was compelled to click to see what this online dater looked like. And to my glee, I've hit the motherload of humor -- Karl a la white V-neck (like my grandfather used to sport) and short denim cut-offs. Karl then proceeds to leave me his phone number (home/office) to "call anytime." No wonder you've never been married. 2) Don't be ugly.
Yay, a wink! Or so I thought... The sender was a man named Rae who bears a striking resemblance to Howard Stern rat-packer Beetlejuice. Need I say more? 3) Don't tell me what to do.
Here's another wink, and this time, it's from a somewhat attractive person. OK, I thought. "Quasi Cutie" (let's call him) e-mails, "So what publication do you write for, where do you live, also a comment try smiling in your pictures you are very stoic." Well, Kristian, try using better grammar next time -- don't shoving up three sentences into one. And don't even get me started on your "comment." Seriously -- what makes you think I'd respond to your questions after having given me picture pointers? I already see this as an indication that if we were to become a couple (should hell freeze over), you'd order me around like a puppy. 4) Don't be depressing.
Everyone has a reason for being here in this little dating microcosm, and it's not likely to be a really happy one. So deal. Don't get online and ramble on about your ex and how she cheated/left you/kicked you out/stole your money/went back to her old lover. Likewise, don't write that online dating sucks, you don't think it will really work, of that you've only met losers so far. You'll just sound pathetic and needy -- and very obviously not ready for a new relationship. (And anyone that does respond to you either feels sorry for you or wants to "fix" you.) 5) Don't use "I'm the one" as your subject line.
"i would love to know u my name is jay my email is …" he reveals. Aside from being quite the practical messager (count 'em, three thoughts within one incomplete sentence, where he went as far as to forget two whole letters from the word "you") -- hey, I appreciate efficiency as much as the next girl -- but if you want to make a good impression, be more articulate. Add that to the self-absorbed subject heading, and no, I would not love to know u. 6) Don't be lazy.
If you're actually serious about dating online, don't let your entire profile consist of "Will fill this in later," or "I can't think of a title." You clearly are taking a half-assed approach to something that, for the majority of us, isn't just being done on a bet.
Do us all a favor and make your profile unsearchable/inactive (if not deleting it entirely)... and don't contact anyone until you're ready to do it right.Get 5 more don'ts on the next page!

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