Online Dating - The Rules

By Sonja Holbrook

1. Be Honest About Your Dating Status

My personal pet peeve: men who lie about being single. Nothing is more infuriating than a man desperate to break in a new kitten. Signs to look for include:

- Picture-less profiles: married men don't want to be ID'd by their friends or *gasp* their wife.

- Harried and hurried emails, demanding to meet TONIGHT: he's got a 2 hour window while his wife is out with the girls and needs to fill it.

- The conversation ALWAYS leads to sex: it's all he's got on his mind and he doesn't care who it comes from.

- He loves and needs and wants and has to have you. Oh yeah, I bet he's falling for you and is half-way to *ahem* divine inspiration.

- He gives you detailed instructions which include not leaving voicemails, not calling at certain hours, failure to even disclose a phone number, a warning that he may disappear for a while, and a request for naughty pictures up front, given that he has to delete them quickly.

- Cheating married men are slimy and hardly worth a single girl's time. Why take half of a half of a half of something, when you can have it all without the drama?

- Married women are in the same category, but why repeat myself?

2. No Penis Pics

Holy God this shouldn't even have to be mentioned. First of all, most of these pictures aren't even artfully taken. Second of all, these penises are often nothing to be proud of. I can attest that I've been visually raped more times than I can count and, adding insult to injury, the offending parties didn't even grace me with an erection. There is nothing pleasing about a flaccid unit. What, am I supposed to pet it and serve it dinner? Men, women do not want to see a picture of your penis or your "boys". Just because you don't have a job or a life, and spend hours online pleasuring yourself to equally aimless and spineless women who having nothing else to do than show off their pancake-like sweater puppies, doesn't mean the rest of us are panting to see your junk. It's like penis pics and boobs have replaced "Hi, how are you?" “Fine, thank you, and yourself?"

Penis: 'sup, baby? Wanna get some? Get at me!

Boob: oh you know it, baby, I gots to get me some of that!

STD-ridden sex ensues and we have yet one more generation of idiots, setting evolution back a few steps once and for all. Please, for the good of the species, do not send over your penis pics.

3. Be Safe - Have a Double Life

Meet in a public place. Not his place. Not your place. A public, well-lit and moderately populated place.

- Don't divulge the contents of your TRW. Your address, your work address, your bank and every other piece of confidential information can be used in a myriad of ways to compromise your safety. This is common sense, but you never know.

- Don't go back to their place. I don't care how safe you think they are. I don't care if you feel the need to screw right then and there. You don't know a person after a few hours, minutes or seconds of meeting.

- Use a free email account. When it progresses to private email transmissions, use a free anonymous account, so that your last name isn't readily available.

- Stick with paid dating services. You get what you pay for and it's pretty safe to assume that if you have to pay for it, typically the low-life population gets weeded out.

- Limit the alcohol. It impairs your judgment. Period.

- Let someone else know where you're going to be. Make sure a friend knows where you're going and what time you'll be there. Provide them with all of the other persons information as well. That way the cops will have something to go on when your friend files a missing persons report.

4. Know You Are Not the Only One

This isn't Highlander, there can be more than one. Only the ignorant and the arrogant believe they are the only ones playing the game. Given how dating sites are designed, you'll never know how many are in line before you. If the woman you are interested in is extremely attractive and you know for a fact that she's being pursued by every other tool on the totem, you need to do something that makes you stand out. Try speaking up and speaking out.

Cut straight to the chase: "When may I meet you?"

Be Interesting and Funny, But Don't Write An Essay

Surefire way to sit on the back burner: "So, yeah. I'm interested. Tell me about yourself."

Asking someone to tell you something fascinating about them makes you look lazy and stuck-up. It says you think you're too good to volunteer any information and too lazy to ask an actual question. If you were truly interested, you wouldn't waste her time by asking her something so generic. She'll know you're sending that email to every other girl and you will be instantly dismissed from her court. Anyone can ask a boring question, but it takes true style to say something really cool.

Example: "I had a next-door neighbor with your name. She was 80 yrs old, grumpy and smelled suspiciously like rotten grapefruit. So I'm glad I found you on here. Even if we never speak to each other, you've erased a traumatic memory with a very classy, very tasteful, very beautiful visual. Thank you for that."

It's funny and she won't be able to resist asking you for the story of your neighbor.

5. No Old Pictures - Look Like What You Look Like

Putting up a picture and a brief line: "just lookin' for a honey to spend some time wit" is not the best course of action. For best results, try to adhere to the following:

- Use a CURRENT picture. Not one that's 10 years old or even 5 years old. Because when you meet, they'll know who you REALLY are.

- Don't brag about who you are. I'm sure you're very interesting and fascinating, but it will become very clear that you are already in a love affair: with yourself.

- Use proper grammar & punctuation. It matters and if a person is too lazy to focus on what they're saying, then they'll be even less focused on what YOU'RE saying.

- Be HONEST about your circumstances. Be HONEST about your goals. Be HONEST about your agenda. Be honest about who the heck you are and what the heck you're looking for.

- Don't parade the fact that you're financially successful. It makes you look like a snob and you'll only attract other snobs or gold-diggers.

- Don't wear self-pity like it's a warm, hand-knitted sweater. So you're divorced. So you just got dumped. So what? If you choose to put yourself out there, then you're stating that you're ready to date. Ergo, don't become the Swamps of Sadness that everyone has to steer clear of. Leave your drama where it belongs - at home, under the floorboards, bound and gagged. There's nothing noble about wallowing in self-pity. It only makes you look pathetic.

- Your profile is an extension of you and is the resume for your personal life. Make it good.

6. Be Gentle

Some may not believe that this is important, but when your desires are not reciprocated, there is a proper way to deal with it. If your mental SOS isn't immediately picked up by your date, let them down gently.

Not Acceptable:

- "Crap, I forgot to feed my dog before I left!" You both know Rover isn't starving.

- "I've got a bunch of errands to run after this." Doesn't work, no matter what the hour is.

- "Whoops, look at that *checking cell phone*. I gotta run but it was great meeting you! We'll do this another time?" Yeah, I wouldn't hold my breath.

- "I just don't feel up to really DATING anyone right now." So why am I here?


- "Hey, so thanks for the coffee/drink/dinner. I had a great time, but I really should be going. I hope you have a great evening. Good Night.

- It IS acceptable to arrange a decoy phone call. It gives you an out and you don't have to lie. Just try not to go over the top with your dramatic exit.

- Even if you're not interested, you still should spend 20-30 minutes with this person before escaping. Then you go home and draft an email:

- "Thank you again for meeting me. I enjoyed hearing about _____ and ______. While I did enjoy meeting you, I didn't really feel that strong a connection with you. Please don't take offense to this." You've done nothing wrong. Good luck with the site and be safe!

7. Act Your Age - Do Not Lie

- There are various unspoken rules in our society. Always bring flowers to Moms house, wash after you wipe, 2 parts to 1 makes perfect rice and you never lie about how you look.

- This includes uploading pictures of you wearing your 10th grade cheerleader uniform when you graduated 15 years ago.

- This means you don't send a picture of your ripped, surfer 27 yr old son and call it an accident.

- This means you don't list 20 shots of you in the same room, wearing the same shirt, shooting from the same 10 feet up angle, with 20 different facial expressions and calling it "random".

- This means you don't pimp out your hotter, younger sister because, in reality, you're a 300lb shut-in who hasn't thought past phase 1 and fails to realize that when you do meet face-to-face, the conversation will be short and sweet.

- "I didn't think you'd go out with me because of how I looked." You were right.

- Don't type "I'm 45 years young!" Why men do this is beyond me. You're still 45 and now, you're officially trying too hard.

- Don't type "You're only as old as you feel!" I have the energy of a 12 yr old. Still want to date me?

- Don't type "I'm 50 but I look 30!" Never, ever apologize for your age, unless you're 16.

- Don't be carrying 100 extra big ones, be pushing retirement and have no sense of humor and then declare you will only date girls if they come gift wrapped and carrying their own stuffed toys. Sicko.