True romance is just a click away...
This wouldn’t have happened ten years ago. The idea that a single girl would put up her picture and details on a website and invite god knows what kind of weirdo to approach her, not to mention what it might do to her reputation should a family member spot her peddling herself in such an undignified way, meant Asian women and Internet dating kept a safe distance from one another.
But that was before social networking became our daily fodder, and now we don’t think twice about posting our picture on a website, and random men sending friends requests is a normal occurrence. Add to that, the rise of reputable dating sites means more women are signing up, and more importantly, so are perfectly decent, attractive young men.
In the early days, Internet dating was a source of shame, a public admission that we can’t find someone in the real world. That attitude no longer exists. We’ve tired of relying on leaving our chances to the dancefloor or the sofa at a party, copping off with someone seen through beer goggles, then waking up to find we have a boyfriend, who we then spend however long with trying to work out whether we actually have anything in common. No, we want to be wooed. Someone to soberly pick out, interact with for as long it takes to ascertain whether we might click, and only then go on a date to see if anything comes of it. Why not? We browse and buy just about everything from the Internet these days. Why should searching for and selecting the right man be any different?
That’s not to say this very modern way of dating doesn’t come with its unique set of issues. Is my picture good enough? Will I seem too keen or desperate if I wink at or message a guy? How will I feel if he doesn’t show any interest in me? And what the hell do I say? Relax. We’ve got some tried and tested tips that will see you on your way to internet dating success…
CHECK ME OUT!
Choosing the right profile picture is everything. Daters scan an image for less than a second to make their mind up – not my type. A big welcoming smile makes you immediately likeable, and while it’s inadvisable to choose a soft-focus shot or, god forbid, an airbrushed one (you don’t want to see the look of being duped in his eyes when you do go on a date), there’s nothing wrong with a black and white photo to make yourself look softer, classier. Add a selection of other photos, especially situation shots (and a body shot, men like to see the whole package), including happy images of you out and about with your friends. A lot of women put up pictures of them with their exes. We asked one why and she said ‘because I look good in it, and it shows the kind of guy that goes for me.’ Wrong. When men see other men who they don’t know, they either feel intimidated, or think they’re superior and therefore worth someone with better taste. Don’t do it!
HANDLE WITH CARE
A handle is your unique user name, and while there’s nothing wrong with creating a variation on your real name (like PrettyPreeti), an unusual choice shows imagination and a fun spirit. Avoid obvious ones like DesiKuri, or ones that say nothing special, like ChocolateFan. Think about the kind of man you’re after. If you’re looking for a stable, secure and solvent guy, calling yourself WildChick could drive him to skip on to the next profile. Similarly, if you’re after an outgoing, spontaneous guy, introducing yourself as ShyGal risks losing him at hello. And anything overtly sexy like Hot4U is just asking for trouble! Think colourful imagery, tongue-in-cheek wordplay – something that includes elements of what makes you tick. For instance, if you’re a fan of sci-fi and love shopping, you could call yourself StarBuy. This is your alter ego. Think like a pop star!
This is the one-liner, the equivalent of the sub-head magazines use below the attention-grabbing headline. Its job is to give an inkling of what’s in store, enticing the reader into checking out the profile that follows. Make it snappy, punchy, biting. Avoid clichés. ‘Looking for Mr Right, not Mr Right Now’ may spell out what you’re after, but it’s been done to death. Some people like to put a quote from a favourite movie, poem or song; others like to leave a tasteful suggestion. Be confident, not boastful, and never apologetic. So something like ‘read on to see what wonders lie in store for you’ is much more preferable to ‘not sure if I’m your type but here goes…’ Oh, and the plagiarism laws that effect us publishing types don’t apply in online dating. If you see an original one you like, steal away!
READ ALL ABOUT ME
You’ll happily spend hours getting ready for a night out, but spending more than a few minutes writing an online profile just seems like such a pain! But getting noticed is all about making the effort (without seeming like you’re trying too hard)! It’s just like writing a cover letter, and all those fears of coming across as dull, needy or full of yourself are equally valid, but just as with a formal letter, throwaway phrases such as ‘I work hard, play hard’ don’t really reveal anything about you. Firstly, answer all your basic details (leaving them blank shows you don’t really care, clicking ‘ask me later’ suggest you have something to hide, and while it’s okay to blag the odd interest, don’t go overboard lest you get shamefaced when questioned about it). Now it’s time to sell yourself. You may be in a dead-end job, bored of your social life and desperate for some male attention, but that’s not exactly going to win hearts, is it? Instead, phrase it by focusing on the positive: ‘After a period of reflection, I’m ready for an adventure and looking for someone to share it with.’ It’s simple, but says you’re happy and ready to date. Daters love a good analogy, so don’t be afraid to sprinkle a hint of wit by saying: ‘Things are swimming along nicely, but yearning to go on an unknown voyage and looking for a shipmate to steer with me.’ Be clear, a little bit mysterious, and don’t be too full-on with your needs. Think: fun, funny, flexible. And please. Spell check!
LET’S GET IT ON!
Relax. This part is easy. Dating is still old-fashioned and it’s down to him to make the effort of wooing you by picking up on your interests and characteristics. But if you like a guy, but are afraid of rejection, this one’s a winner: ‘I checked your profile and like what I saw. If the feeling is mutual do drop me a line. If not, don’t worry, I can take it. I’m a big girl!’ It shows you’re interested, confident and, guys crave this quality more than anything else in a potential girlfriend, cool!
No-nos for women:
• Lists of demands and dislikes. Don’t make your Mr Right sound too ideal – you’ll appear too fussy and possibly a ball buster!
• A set plan. Yes, you’re done wasting time and ready to settle, but don’t make it obvious that marriage and babies is your main agenda.
• Money. Of course, you want him to have a decent job, but you don’t want him thinking you’re just out for a man to pay your way.
• Self-obsession/lack of confidence: Men get put off by women who only talk about themselves. And while it’s okay to be shy, you don’t want to seem like you have nothing to say for yourself.
Men to avoid:
If he goes on at length about:
• His ex-girlfriend, especially if he reveals how she broke his heart or was ‘mad’.
• His mum. It’s okay to talk about family, but you’re looking for a man, not someone tied to his mother’s apron strings.
• His job. It’s natural you’ll both reveal what you do for a living, but oversharing his stresses or boasting of his success suggests a work-bore.
• Disapproving of your lifestyle. Out!
• Being crazy. A lot of men mistake madness for humour, but if he doesn’t make you laugh, that’s all he is: a nutter!