In today's cyber-social world, online dating has been mainstreamed as a perfectly respectable, legitimate first step in the mating dance. It is also big business, and the process of matching singles has become quite sophisticated. Companies now use complex algorithms that consider a multitude of user traits including personality, preference, attitudes and many more.
No matter who you are, what you do for a living, where you live, whom or what you worship (or not), or how you like your coffee, there is probably a niche site catering to your particulars and peculiarities.
While these options and the technology are impressive, it is not science. It's still up to you to present yourself in the best possible light and differentiate yourself from all the other cyber singles.
With that in mind, the editors at Minerva Place combed the web for the very best Internet dating do’s and don’ts and threw in some personal experience to help you successfully navigate the world of online romance.
Do submit. For whatever reason, some people don’t. But without a doubt, this your most important and effective marketing tool. Men are visual creatures, and most will either take the time to learn more about you – or not – based on your photo.
According to one popular online dating site, people who upload a photo are 15 times more likely to attract attention than those who don’t.
Don’t engage in deceptive advertising. We all have a couple of favorite photos we believe are especially flattering. By all means, use them. But only if they were taken this decade.
If you’re a 30-something, it is not a good idea to post pictures of yourself in a thong snapped by your college boyfriend during Spring Break ‘02. Sure, you’ll get plenty of attention, but this bait-and-switch can lead to a very humiliating first meet-up when you see the disappointment on your date’s face.
The same rule applies if you’ve changed your look dramatically since the photos were taken. If you’re sporting a new neck tattoo or gone G.I. Jane with your formerly lustrous locks, do take a new photo.
Bottom line: current photos only.
Don’t spoil the surprise. Resist the temptation to show too much skin. By all means, accentuate your fabulous bod, but leave something to his imagination. Wear something flattering, not overly revealing. A good rule of thumb: Never post a picture you wouldn’t want your mother to see.
Don’t try too hard for that sexy, come-hither look. Sometimes the faces we make – no matter how much time we’ve spent in front of the mirror – end up looking downright goofy. A pleasant smile, just enough to show off that cute dimple or your sparkling teeth, will suffice.
We recommend asking a close friend – someone who won’t pull punches -- for an honest opinion.
Don’t wear sunglasses or a hat. Do we have to explain? Shades and a lid may be appropriate for a perp walk or ducking paparazzi, but they defeat the purpose of a profile pic, obscuring your hair and eyes. So unless you have something to hide, dispense with the fashion accessories.
And while we’re on the subject... don’t post photos of yourself wearing head gear of any description. Whether you’re scuba diving, sky diving or bull riding -- we promise you -- this is not your most flattering shot.
Before you make a final choice, do solicit a second opinion from that shoot-from-the-hip girlfriend. Let her choose from a couple of recent photos that show off your best assets and reveal your most fabulous, realistic self. If you don’t think you have a photo that fits the bill, ask her to help you create one.
This is your opportunity to describe everything fascinating, lovable and special about yourself. Again, it’s not a bad idea to consult with a close friend or two. They will probably come up with some attributes that you weren’t even aware of.
Do keep it short, engaging and to the point. Don’t describe every detail of your childhood, your latest European adventure, or all the reasons you prefer cats over dogs.
Do be confident and positive. This is not the forum to be self-effacing, to rant about government corruption or the bastard you were married to for seven years. Save that for your blog.
The image you want to project is of a fabulous woman who is centered and happy, one who is willing to share a little sunshine if the right guy just happens to come along.
Harry is a former NYC hedge fund manager, now a freelance writer specializing in popular culture, health and extreme sports. He lives and works on his 40-foot boat (The Vaguely Worried) and is currently moored near Marina Del Rey, County of Los Angeles.