Curious about online dating but worried that it might not be safe? Not even sure where to start and which site to try first? Now there is a one-stop reference guide to teach you everything you need to know to enter the world of online dating safely. The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Online Dating will help you acquire the skills to attract a future mate based on personality, values and interests using e-mail, chat and the Web. From a site-by-site comparison of features and costs to exercises that will help you assess what kind of person you are looking for, you will learn how to begin dating online. You will also learn how to:
Some Key Terms.
Some Things to Keep in Mind.
How to Use This Book.
Where to Find More Help.
Conventions Used in This Book.
I. GETTING STARTED WITH ONLINE DATING.
1. Why Put Your Heart Online?
Advantages of Cyber-Dating.
Overcoming Your Own Fears and Getting Started.
The Alternatives: "Brickbats-and-Mortar" Dating.
Deciding What You Want.
Identifying That Special Someone.
Creating a Profile of Your Ideal Match.
Who Might Be Looking For You?
The Spiritual Seeker.
2. What Do You Need to Do Online Dating?
The Absolute Least You Really Need.
Computer and Other Hardware You Need.
An Internet Connection.
A Digital Camera.
A Cell Phone.
Computer Software to Help You Get in Touch.
A Web Browser.
A Photo Editor.
3. Don't Do It Yourself: Online Dating Services.
Turning Online for Dating Advice.
How Cyber-Dating Counselors Can Help You.
Getting Your Friends to Help: Friendster.
II. WORKING WITH A DATING SERVICE.
4. Choosing a Dating Service.
Myths and Hard Truths.
Spending Money Is Optional, But...
Evaluating a Dating Service.
Location, Location, Location.
Consider Who Is Doing the Matching.
Getting Background Information on the Web.
Letting the Website Match You.
Differences in Online Profiles.
Differences in Messaging.
Differences in How Your Privacy Is Maintained.
5. Maximizing Your Dating Site Options.
Comparing Dating Service Providers.
How DSPs Are Similar.
What DSPs Don't Tell You Right Away.
The Big Players.
Sites That Take a Scientific Approach.
Getting Opinions on DSPs.
6. Taking a Trial Run.
Signing Up for Free.
Picking an Appealing Screen Name or Headline.
Features You Should Evaluate.
Filling Out Surveys: Taking Your Time.
Filling Out Surveys, Part 2: eHarmony.
Email Matches, Suggestions, and Teases.
Developing a Healthy Attitude.
Setting Your Sights/Sites Low.
Responding to Initial Contacts.
III. PUTTING YOURSELF OUT THERE.
7. Creating a Profile.
Researching Yourself: Who Are You, Really?
Looking to the Stars: Astrology.
Looking to Science: Personality Tests.
Creating an Online Persona.
Deciding How Much to Reveal About Your Identity.
The Age Question.
Describing Your Personal Appearance.
Describing Education, Income, and Other Basics.
Observing the Do's and Don'ts.
Automating Your Profile.
Creating a Profile Template.
Creating a Profile with Special Software.
8. Maintaining Good Form(s).
Filling Out Forms.
Answering Essay Questions.
Telling Your Story, Your Way.
Writing an "Under Construction" Essay.
Learning from Others' Essays.
Be Truthful, Be Consistent.
Did You Hear the One About...?
Short and Sweet Is Best.
Finding Your Own Editorial Help.
9. Presenting Yourself: Using Photos.
Why Photos Are Important.
Considering Reasons to Go Photoless.
A Compromise: Restricting Access to Your Photo.
Digital Photo Options.
Using a Photo Service.
Hiring a Photographer.
Editing Your Photo.
What Makes a Good Photo?
Changing Contrast and Brightness.
10. Dealing with S-E-X.
Catching the Wave: Surfing for Sex and Thrills.
Mainstream Sites That Include Swingers.
Services That Only Pretend to Be for Dating or Sex.
Webcams and Virtual Sex Games.
Surfing for a Brand-New Family.
Including Sex in Your Profile.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
Religious Attitudes Toward Sex.
IV. JUMPING INTO THE DATING POOL.
11. Making First Contact.
Gone Fishin'-Trolling for Matches.
Searching for Dating Prospects.
Options for First Contact.
Using Your Dating Service's Messaging System.
Switching to Email.
Instant Messaging/Text Messaging.
What Do You Say After You've Said Hello?
Be Upbeat, Be Optimistic.
Keep Track of What You've Said.
Reading Email to Determine What Someone Is Like.
What Not to Do.
Being Open While Being Sensible.
12. Email and Chat Room Etiquette.
Making Friends with Email.
Checking Your Email.
Choosing an Email Program.
Check, Double-Check, and Spell-Check.
Using Email to Flirt and Attract.
Greetings and Salutations.
Look Before You Type: Avoiding E-Malfunctions.
Watch for Warning Signs.
Observing the Niceties of Netiquette.
Keeping Your Email Private.
Moving to the Next Level.
13. Instant Messaging and Chatting.
Do Your Research.
Keep the Conversation Going, But Not for Too Long.
Chatting Up Dating Prospects.
14. Meeting Someone in Person.
Choosing the Right Time and Place.
When Is It the Right Time?
Zeroing In on the Right Place.
Meeting Face to Face.
Picking Up on Visual Cues.
Asking the Right Questions.
Preparing an Exit Strategy.
Tell Someone Where You're Going.
Arrange an Escort.
Arrange a Way to Get Home.
Follow Up with a Message.
15. Religious Values and Other Challenges.
Sharing Your Religious Beliefs.
Shopping for Religious Dating Venues.
Race and Other Qualities.
16. If Things Don't Work Out...
Saying Thanks, But No Thanks.
Saying No in the Early Stages.
Saying No After Things Have Progressed.
Trying Different Ways of Saying "No, Thanks".
Making a Courteous Good-Bye.
Making a Firm Goodbye.
Hearing "Thanks, But No Thanks".
If Someone Stops Communicating.
If Someone Turns You Down.
17. If Things Do Work Out: Planning to Say "I Do".
How Do You Know He or She Is "The One"?
Going Online to Plan Your Wedding.
Planning Your Honeymoon.
Creating a Wedding Website.
Where Should You Buy All That Stuff?
Involving Your Parents.
Religious and Other Differences.
V. THERE'S A MATCH OUT THERE FOR EVERYONE.
18. Specialty Dating.
Physical or Other Attributes.
Dating with Disabilities.
Dating with Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
Hobbies and Other Interests.
Threesomes and Other Combinations.
Gay and Lesbian Dating.
Political and Social Causes.
Timing Is Everything: Short-Notice Dates.
19. Dating in Your 40s, 50s, and 60s.
Enjoying the New "Good Old Days".
Facing the Skeletons in the Closet.
Focusing on Fun and Adventure.
Staying Positive About Health Issues.
Single Parenting and Other Issues.
Who Does the Asking?
Whom Can You Trust?
Dealing with Intimacy.
Dealing with Age Differences.
Encountering Younger-Much Younger-Dates.
Dates Who Don't Act Their Age.
Dates Who Are Up to No Good.
20. Dating for the Geographically Challenged.
Keeping in Touch.
Enlisting Family and Friends.
Finding a "Russian Bride".
Where to Meet Someone from Out of Town.
Finding Dates When You're Constantly on the Move.
Small Town, Big Dreams.
Ironing Out Relocation and Travel Dilemmas.
Trusting Your Instincts When You First Meet.
VI. COPING WITH UPS AND DOWNS.
21. Practicing Safe Dating.
Maintaining Your Privacy.
Blocking Your Personal Information.
Anonymous Web Browsing.
Picking a Good Screen ID.
Observing Good Safety Practices.
The Pay Phone Option.
Notifying Friends and Family.
Trying an Invitation-Only Service.
Asking the Right Questions.
If Things Go Wrong...
If Someone Threatens You...
If Someone Stalks or Harasses You...
If You Just Don't Meet Anyone...
22. Avoiding the Date from Hell.
Realizing What Can Go Wrong.
You Say the Wrong Things.
Dealing with Problematic Personality Types.
Watching for Inconsistencies.
Researching Someone Beforehand.
23. Improving Your Chances of Success.
Evaluating Your Profile.
Editing Your Profile.
Changing Your Photos.
Changing Your Approach.
Loosening Up Your Criteria.
Relaxing Your Attitude.
Keeping a Dating Diary.
Evaluating Your Current Relationships.
Getting on the Same Page.
Having a State-of-the-Relationship Talk.
24. Finding Support.
Turning to Your Dating Service Provider.
Making a Marketplace a Community.
Learning About Your Peers.
Learning About Your DSP.
Turning to Website Discussion Groups.
Suggesting a Topic.
Joining an Existing Thread.
Chatting Up a Storm.
Special Needs Support Groups.
Walking on the Wild Side: Usenet.
Looking for Professional Help.