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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.

7) Post a picture.
Only blind and/or terribly desperate people will respond to you if you haven't added a picture to your profile. Add photos -- and no, a blurry, dark shot on your cell phone camera is nearly useless. Likewise, a pic of your dog, photos of you as a child/teen and pictures of male models from magazines aren't of much help, either. We're not suggesting you hire a professional photographer or spend an hour at the mall's portrait studio -- just a clear, normal snapshot or two is all we need. 8) Don't call me out.
Bud, I know you were being sincere in your e-mail, but no dice. Mark rambles, "While I think you're INCREDIBLY gorgeous and there is something infinitely sexy about you (I'm having trouble taking my eyes off your pic... it's mesmerizing), there seems to be a juxtaposition in your profile. Allow me to question it. You say that you are 'friendly, quirky, easygoing...' That doesn't really seem to mesh with a) your grammar and spelling obsession b) your 'intensity and passion' and c) your being 'ridiculously punctual.'" Woman Shocked at ComputerDon't try to butter me up, mister. Mask your smart-ass self with compliments all you want; you've just irritated me. Marc then ends his letter with, "BUT... you are adorable, and if it were just about looks, I'd propose today." Yeah, I appreciate your sharpness, honesty, and attention to detail, BUT no thanks. And FYI, if it were just about looks, I'd head for the hills the minute I saw you coming with a diamond.

9) Don't cut and paste.
I've gotten this e-mail one too many times. "Hey, I like your smile," some say. Hmm, interesting. You, sirs, have obviously never even looked at my profile, because had you done so, you would have noticed that I'm not smiling in any of my pictures. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that you probably used the cut-and-paste feature on your computer and emailed the same exact thing to 10, 20 -- maybe even 100 girls. I guess in your book, quantity is better than quality. And in my book, "quality" means not responding to a guy who's not very selective. 10) Don't sound desperate.
For instance, "ChicagoBulls" (his handle) e-mails, "I'm working at the University of Alabama for research and will be moving to Brooklyn soon. I'm currently seeking a soulmate. My account here will expire on April 12 so please send e-mails to ..." Being as that I've never had contact with this man prior to this e-mail, let me just say, holy crap -- a soulmate and an expiration dates -- yikes! What are you doing, "ChicagoBulls"? You're not going to find your soulmate by actively looking for one amidst deadlines. (Plus, you'll seem cheap.)

11) Don't be creepy.

Pick-up lines are bad enough in person, and totally will not work online. Innuendo and downright provocative stuff in your profile just makes you sound oogy, not intriguing. If you were truly smooth, you'd know enough to play it cool.12) Don't tell me your life story.
I won't even begin to cut and paste the B.S. this Eric from Central Jersey sent me. Let's just say it's four paragraphs (with more than seven sentences to each paragraph) about his likes, dislikes, hobbies and aspirations. Okay, I can't resist -- here's one quote: "I am very close with my parents, and my younger brother who is 21 years old. I like to say little brother, but everytime I say that my friends and family laugh, and ask me who's the little brother, since he's like 5'11. I love to laugh and make others laugh. In fact a smile, is the first thing that attracts me to someone. I am also very affectionate and a big cuddler, and snuggler who likes to kiss, hold, hug and gives lots and lots of massages." (Are you still reading? I doubt I was able to hold your undivided attention through all of that mumbo jumbo, but just in case you stuck around, read on.) Geez! Who cares?! These are things one does not need to know at first contact. Okay, so here's another quote (because it's just too damn good of an example as to why not to do this): "If you're interested, e-mail me at … or IM me on AIM. My screen name is … so we can get to know each other, become friends, and see what develops. Possibly, in the future we can discover new places and things together." Oh my goodness -- I guess you have it all planned out for us huh, Eric, stranger/bore extraordinaire?Just click delete
Whichever side of the dating pool you're on, it pays to be savvy if you want your online dating experience to be not just fun but also fruitful.

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