I’ve been using dates online for a while now and I’ve discovered that most people need some help with their profiles. Most are boring and some are downright alarming. With this in mind, I’ve come up with some tips for online dating.

1. PICTURE. Please have one. Men, we all know what a penis looks like. So unless yours can yodel, is wearing a funny costume or you transplanted it from a stallion (i.e. anything over 15”) we don’t need to see it. Women; yes, you have very pretty boobies and vajajays. We know what they look like. We don’t need to see them. Unless you’ve vajazzled your vagina or you’ve tattooed the Constitution of the United States on your boobs we don’t need to see it. A nice picture of your face and another of your full self (clothed in some manner, please) is quite sufficient. Make the picture current. Within the past year at least. You may not think you’ve changed in the last five years or so but, trust me, you have.

2. PROFILE. Please fill it out. Simply putting “ask me” isn’t enough. Also, tell us something relevant about yourself. Hobbies, what you’re looking for (Sex? Money? Companionship for your lawn bowling tournaments? Marriage?) and what your potential partner should possess (Intelligence? Money? Looks? Job? Ability to speak English?). If you’re a cougar (older woman looking for a younger man) say so and say what your age limits are (please at least make them legal). If you’re a wolf (male version of a cougar), say so. However, wolves have it harder and you need to let your younger woman know what you’re offering. Money, prestige, intelligence, good looks and a very large penis are the biggest attractors I understand.

3. DATING SITE. Please pick the one or ones that are appropriate for what you’re looking for. If you go to a site that is for swingers looking for marriage, it’s not going to happen. Likewise, if you go to a site that is all about long-term and commitments looking for casual sex, don’t expect a lot, either.

4. CHAT. After a few messages you’re going to want to chat. This will give you time to get a feel for one another. Please ensure that you either have Yahoo chat or MSN (they will link together) so that members interested in you can take things to the next level.

a. QUESTIONS TO ASK. How old is the member’s picture. That woman may have looked like Daisy Duke five years ago but looks like Boss Hogg now. Do they use recreational drugs? People stand all over the place on this issue, but if they’re not compatible with you it’s not going to work. Do they drink? How much? Getting sloppy drunk is such an unexpected surprise when the person you’ve chosen turns out to be a raging alcoholic. What do they do for a living? I’ve found that engineers make the best lovers. I think it’s the attention to detail but that’s just my opinion. However, their job will tell you if they have ambition, drive and intelligence. Don’t dismiss the dishwasher, though, he may be an actor on the side. What is the other person looking for? Missing a commonality in this area is a recipe for disaster. He wants a monogamous marriage, she wants an orgy.
b. DON’T RANT. It’s not cute. It’s not enlightening. It’s creepy. You don’t know the other person on the other end well enough to vent your spleen. You may have every right to be annoyed that your neighbor is inviting the aliens over to probe you every night. Don’t announce it to everyone.
c. BE SANE. We all need some lovin’, however, if you have mental health issues, though, please take your meds and look to those voices for some cuddle time. You may want to reconsider dating, though.
d. BE HONEST. If you have 12 kids or recent facial reconstruction surgery, let the other person know. It’s alarming and upsetting to go to a date and discover some surprise.
e. BE OPEN. If you have 12 kids or recent facial reconstruction surgery, let the other person know. It’s alarming and upsetting to go to a date and discover some surprise.

5. MEETING. Meet in a public place. Meeting at your home or in a secluded park somewhere is never a good idea. Make sure people know where you’re going and always carry a charged cell phone. Online he or she may have looked like the catch of the century. Reality is different. Ted Bundy was so charming people described him as the type of man you’d take home to meet the folks. Online that woman may seem to be ideal, but she might be a bunny boiler as soon as you connect. Please bathe and groom yourself. Remember, you’re trying to make a good impression.

6. CONNECT OR DISCONNECT. After you meet if you connect, great! Now you can go to dinner, see that play or get naked. Whatever you were hoping to do. If you don’t, let the other person know politely and honestly. Shake hands and wish them luck meeting someone in the future. Don’t scream, rant and rave that they give you a chance and don’t stalk. It’s not attractive.

These are my tips for online dating. I know I’ve probably missed a few, but I think I’ve hit the highlights. There are some really decent people out there but we’re outnumbered by the freaks. Be careful and have fun.