Review by Richard Sumrall
Having a hard time meeting that special
person? One way to meet Mr. or Ms. Right is through a new Internet
service called "online dating." In their new book, "Online Dating
for Dummies," co-authors Judith Silverstein and Michael Lasky write
that their guide "provides practical, proven strategies for
selecting the right dating site, establishing your Internet profile
identity and protecting your privacy." Readers will learn how to
choose an online dating service, write a honest (and flattering)
personal description, respond to potential dates, recognize
potential fraudulent services, cultivate their online relationship
and maintain a level of safety during the initial face-to-face
online dating work for you
There are many advantages to online
dating. There are an almost limitless number of potential suitors
online, it's more convenient than traditional dating, and you
eliminate those awkward moments that are a part of first
To participate in the Internet dating
experience you must first gain access to a computer, the Internet
and a printer. Establishing your own e-mail account is also a
necessity. It is especially helpful when using e-mail to become
familiar with Internet-specific dating terminology and "emoticons."
These keyboard-created faces allow participants to convey thoughts,
feelings and emotions in their message. Two of the more popular
emoticons are :) for happy person and :( for sad person.
many online dating sites, so little time
Selecting an online dating service
involves making several decisions. The authors make the distinction
between "free vs. fee" services. Although you may be tempted to try
a free site it's important to remember that these sites may be
inundated with advertisements, have a limited scope of coverage,
lack site supervision and post no barriers to entry. Pay sites
generally avoid these pitfalls and do a better job of protecting
your privacy and personal client information. Pay sites are not
without their problems.
First-time users should be choosy since
some dating websites can have different personalities. The authors
explain, "Internet dating sites are a lot like theme parks… When you
first arrive, you don't know where to begin, and everything seems
overwhelming. But after you get your bearings … you begin navigating
with ease and confidence."
Jumping aboard for the online time of your life
There's a difference between taking a
guided tour of an online dating site and signing up for a trial run.
Many site tours are nothing more than a sales pitch and fail to give
you a true impression of its value. If you choose to sign up for a
trial run, remember these tips:
--Answer most of your mail (excluding
--Assess whether the site fits your age
and geographic category.
--Browse hundreds of the profiles of
the gender you're seeking.
--Take charge by initiating a few
--Make a serious attempt at writing
answers to the essay questions (practice makes perfect).
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Others issues to consider when setting
up your account include establishing your screen identity (to make
that great first impression); answering the Q&A about yourself
(marital status, age, body type, income, education, etc.); dealing
with matters of sex (addressing sex or not in your profile and
deciding the right time to talk about sex); and selecting the
all-important photograph (to post or not to post, how to avoid photo
blunders, and dealing with the "attractiveness" issue).
Initiating contact and skirting the hazards of online dating
When you make that decision to initiate
contact with someone online, it's always wise to maintain a certain
level of anonymity and compose an effective e-mail. An e-mail
message can indulge the recipient with a flattering compliment, gain
information by asking an innocent question or ask for a
clarification of something in a previous e-mail. Central to all of
these communications is a good understanding of e-mail etiquette.
When your results yield the possibility
of a real contact with the person, you should be aware of more than
what you're going to wear or say. Planning how to ID your contact,
adjusting for the inevitable "picture shock," preparing a course of
action in case of extreme disappointment and ending the date on a
positive note are essential to your planning.
Safety first is always advisable when
planning your first date. Develop your safety net by telling friends
what you're doing; be mindful of the presence of drugs, alcohol or
guns; and bring enough money for emergencies or identity protection
(you may not be ready to flash your credit card).
Sometimes people use online dating
service to perpetuate frauds on unsuspecting contacts -- frauds by
married people, people posing as members of the opposite sex, the
older posing as the younger, criminals and porn site purveyors. You
can uncover these frauds by carefully checking the available
information on your prospect, asking plenty of questions and
verifying the prospect's home telephone number.
Dating for Dummies" a wonderfully informative guide for people
interested in trying this revolutionary approach to meeting the
right person. The book addresses virtually every topic imaginable on
the subject and includes two informative lists: 10 ways to screw up
online dating and 10 ways to succeed at online dating. Since the
authors themselves met through the online dating experience, they
write, "We're proof that Internet dating works. As a result, we
offer our advice based on our own experiences as well as the help of
many other Internet daters." This book is recommended to anyone who
is considering using the Internet for online dating opportunities.
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