A good 20% of my patients come to me for dating (or hookup) advice. They are trying to find love (or mistresses) and are having no luck. When I ask if they’ve ever tried online dating most roll their eyes and say it doesn’t work. Even the conservative Economist magazine says that internet dating is the way a majority of North Americans are connecting for relationships. The problem is that most people have no clue how to market themselves.

I’ve probably written over 150 different dating ads and have learned a few things during the process. Here are my thoughts on the need-to-know details for meeting online.

1. Men tend to look better than their pictures and women tend to look worse. Women spend time, energy, great lighting, and make up making sure their picture is great. Guys simply take a picture with whatever camera is handy.
2. For guys, it’s all about the picture and first physical impressions. This is the time for women to go to the gym, get a makeover and present themselves in the best possible light. Men fall in love with how you make them feel but need the intial eye candy to start the conversation.

3. Women need to find out important information from a dating ad. Girl priorities are safety (you aren’t going to attack them in the parking lot), you aren’t a braggart or stuffed shirt just talking about yourself and all the cool gagets you have. Being humble is huge. That you have friends, interests and love your family. That you have asense of humour and can make fun of yorself. The last piece of information is that you smell good and understand the importance of good hygiene. Looks are about fifth down the list of desired characteristics for most women.

4. Lastly the important things no one tells you about in getting a date. For women, don’t show a picture of your pet. You come across like a crazy cat lady. For men, most women are addicted to sugar and can be bribed to meet briefly with a suggestion to go for ice cream, hot chocolate or a great truffle rather than the usual coffee.

I wrote the below ad for my brother over 5 years ago. It gives you an idea of a profile that pulls (he had over 300 responses). Girl #2 he met is now my sister-in-law and the Mom of my amazing neice and nephew. I write ads for countless people and can write one for you. Send me an email at sue@loveandlipstick.com and I’ll help you out too. Or try me at www.sexwithsue.com

OK, I’m not quite sure how this is going to sound but I’m going to give it a try. I am a fun, interesting, thoughtful, easy-going, articulate guy. I am believe that life is an adventure best shared and I am looking for someone who is who is just as happy to stay in and rent a movie as go out. Someone who likes to travel, is affectionate, adventurous, and open to going new places and trying new things. Independent but still loves to spend time together. Qualities I look for in a partner; kindness, optimism, humour, fun-loving among others.

If you are into playing games then I am definitely not your guy. I like women who are as comfortable dressing down as dressing up. I am physically fit and affectionate. I value honesty and communication. I am a small business owner, I play guitar, love animals and friends and family are very important to me.

They gave me two thumbs up (well, sort of)
read the reviews…

Ok, I did a poll of my family and friends asking for their descriptions of me as I tried write this profile, on this, my first attempt at online dating.
Trying to be charitable here’s what they said:

Slightly Lopsided (my friend Fred)My sister cut my hair, (fortunately the #4 clipper is forgiving while she was learning), and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings by mentioning the lopsided look that my buddies had no hesitation in pointing out to me. It’s since been corrected.

Nice to animals (Troy age 6)
I secretly worry about my niece and nephews’ hamster named Oreo (after the cookie), and bring over sunflower seeds and hamster treats when I visit. I think this concern is justified since their previous hamster Squishy, had a demise that foreshadowed its name.

Full of useless trivia (my friend John)
With an honours degree in history (almost as useful as alchemy, or some other extinct career path), which only seems to allow me follow the twists and turns of American politics, when I read the Time magazine website. The place I check in daily, to get most of my world news… My higher education hasn’t helped me run my business or deal better with my employees, but gives me a few good stories about Mongol Hoards, or knowing some of the more obscure Roman Emperors.

Lousy poke player (my buddy Greg)
He’s just jealous. In fact, I play a mean hand of Texas hold’em. At least good enough to gleefully take money off my friends when we have the monthly poker game. But not enough to do anything but get my ego handed to me when I played a few hands on a recent trip to Vegas. Oh so humbling.

Absolutely the most wonderful, sweet, thoughtful, funny, supportive, sensitive, greatest guy in the whole world, who doesn’t eat enough vegetables. (my Mother)

Awww Mom.

Interesting taste in movies (Vivianne, my friend Rob’s sweetie)
I love Clerks, Kill Bill and Firefly the series, so I favour the literate, slightly off beat, but funny, movies that make up my large eclectic collection. It’s a toss up which I prefer more, cuddling on the couch, or trying out new adventures (anything from travel, rock climbing, making up songs on my guitar, to strange, experimental cooking). I’m a great guy with a can opener.

Sane, mushy, dependable, great haircut, and should stay out of my freezer (my sister)
Well she’s referring to the fact that I’m a bit of a schmaltz, treat women with respect and consideration, balanced, (no serial axe murderers in the family). She’s constantly insisting I drop everything I’m doing to come over and babysit or bring her something. The last part refers to my addiction to black cherry ice cream (which she has caught me eating directly from the carton) and my daily workouts to mediate this addiction.

So, if you are a kind, sincere, fun loving, and optimistic woman, and are even remotely interested in learning more about the nice, ruggedly handsome guy described in this quasi profile then drop me a line. I would like to meet you too.