1) The net is a great way to supplement your social life, it is not a replacement for meeting people in person.
2) The good thing about initially meeting people over the net is that you don't get distracted by "in-person chemistry", so you have time to discuss those issues that tend to become very important once the "New Relationship Energy" wears off.
3) The problem with initially meeting people over the net is that there is no way to find out if you have that "in-person chemistry". You can exchange email, find out that you have many interests in common, nearly identical philosophies on life, then when you finally meet in person, that romantic spark just isn't there. If you are wise, you will take advantage of the opportunity to develope a great friendship rather than trying to force the relationship into something that it just won't fit.
4) Talking on the phone is a good way to get an idea if your personalities will mesh. If every thing that the other person says reminds you of three things that you want to say, and everything you say likewise triggers them, then that is a good start. If on the other hand, you quickly find the conversation dragging with long periods of silence, then there is a good chance that you won't have much to talk about in person either.
5) Be prepared to go on many, many first dates, and not very many second dates.
6) Photographs are misleading. Don't prejudge someone solely on their picture. It could be 5 years or 50 pounds (either way) out of date.
7) The ratio of men to women leads to a positive feedback loop, the result of which is that men send out lots and lots of letters and women send out very few initial contacts. A one line "wanna fuck" letter just is not going to stand out from the fifty others just like it. Write a note that shows that you actually read the other persons ad.
8) You will find yourself writing nearly the same description of yourself over and over. Invest some time and energy into writing a good description of yourself. Ask friends, especially friends of the appropriate gender, to read it over and give you feedback. However, it is very important to write something that directly addresses the ad, or letter that you are replying to. It is very obvious, and insulting, to someone when they receive a form letter. After you write an original introduction, which directly addresses the ad that you are replying to, you can say, this is a description that I wrote up about myself and then append it.
9) Lunch often makes a good setting for a first meeting. You usually have to eat anyways and lunch has an inherent time limit in case things don't go particularly well, and they usually won't. On the other hand, if things do go well, you can always make plans to get together that evening.
10) If someone says that they are looking for specific characteristics, and you don't match them, don't send them a letter. Someone who is looking for a tall, slim black man, is not going to be interested in an asian guy who is 5'1" and weighs 220 pounds. On the other hand, if someone describes 17 things that they are looking for, 16 of them match you to a tee, but they want somone over 5'9" tall and you are 5'8" tall, tell them that you miss this one criterion by just a little bit, but here are all of the other reasons that they might like you.
11) "No single guys" means "no single guys". Sure, maybe if you are Tom Cruise, they might make an exception, but if you're Tom Cruise, you probably aren't looking for dates online either.
12) Be honest. If you are 5'5" tall and have stringy brown hair, don't say that you are 6'4 and blond. They'll find out as soon as you meet in person. If you aren't looking to meet in person, stick to the chatrooms with all the other balding middleaged highschool cheerleader nymphomaniacs.
13) If someone lies. One strike and they're out. You don't know what else they lied about.
14) Post a picture. They're going to find out what you look like eventually. If someone isn't going to be interested in you because they think that your picture is ugly, they aren't going to decide that you're great looking in person. People have an incredible ability to see what they want to see, and cut folks a lot of slack. Also, ads with pictures get looked at a LOT more.
At least one of the pictures that you post should give a good idea of what your build is really like. Many, if not most, guys are primarily interested in things such as the ratios of bust to waist to hips. Choose your photos based on what you are trying to select for. Generally folks aren't interested in stuff in the background, they want to see what YOU look like. However, be mindful that there are many subtle clues about you based upon style of dress, cut of hair, even body language. People will make judgements about your social class, financial status, even what they feel your values are, based upon these cues.
15) People will fill in the blanks of what they don't know with what they want to believe. When you just communicate via email, that leaves a lot of opportunities for you to fill in the blanks with what you want to believe.
16) Appearance counts. In person, that means what you wear, how you groom yourself and how you carry yourself. Online, that means how you write. Spelling counts. So does grammar. Learn the difference between their, there and they're. Someone that writes at a fifth grade level seems like they've got the intellect of an eleven year old.
17) WRITING IN ALL CAPS MAKES YOU SEEM SOCIALLY RETARDED.
18) Fat is not spelled BBW. There are attractive large people, many of them are also fat. Carrying 70 or more pounds of fat might make you big, but it does not automatically make you beautiful. I personally find overused euphemisms offensive. "Curvy Renaissance Fair wench" is an evocative description. Saying that you are Large, and endomorph, size 16, shaped like a fertility goddess, "I've got an hourglass figure, actually it's more of a dayglass figure", "as shapley and comfortable as a beanbag chair, once you're in you won't be able to get out", are all descriptions. I've met many large women that are not beautiful, perhaps attractive but not beautiful, and a few large women that are beautiful. It would be like if every guy with acne described himselfas a "Pimpley Handsome Guy".
19) Not everyone lets their preferences be dictated by advertising campaigns. Many guys would rather date a woman with a normal womans figure than an extremely thin supermodel, but many guys like thin women, and quite a few like their women "built for comfort, not for speed". Likewise, many women like thin effeminate men, others like large furry "bears", and some just like to date "regular guys". Some people will like your build, some won't. Don't take it personally, just keep looking.
20) If you don't give someone a chance to say no, you won't give them a chance to say yes. If you don't play, you can't win.
When turning someone down for a date, be clear as to whether you can't make that date, or you aren't interested in dating them. Everyone has different levels of cluefulness when it comes to getting hints. Many people, but not everyone, will assume that declining a specific invitation will imply no interest in further invitations, unless they specifically say otherwise.
21) A little politeness can go a long way. If you decide that you aren't interested in someone, it's not much effort to send a quick note saying so. That way, they will at least know that you got their message and won't be left wondering whether you didn't like them, or their email got lost. If you mention why you don't think that someone is a match, you might find that the issue in question is something that they are very negotiable on e.g. "I'm sorry but I'm not attracted to blondes", "Oh, that picture is six months out of date, I was seeing someone that really liked blondes, so I bleached my hair, it's now growing out to it's natural brunette".
22) On, at least, your first date be prepared to pay for at least your share. If you're a guy, be prepared to pay for the whole thing, unless you've explicitly come to agreements otherwise.
23) Write an ad to attract who you want to meet,
don't worry about getting lot's of chaff,
go for the wheat.
24) Don't go out of your way looking for insults in what other people post.Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by incompetence.
Last modified 24 July 2001
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