The internet has become the dance floor of the new millennium. Now you don't ask someone for a dance, you read their profile, look at their picture, and if you like what you see, you send them an e-mail.
But what are the things that you should avoid? Which things in someone's ad should make you run like the wind?
Spelling errors. On an online dating site, a person probably has about five seconds to make an impression on you. There's lots of competition. If it's too much trouble to run their blurb through the spell-check on their computer, how much do they actually care? And what's more, how much truth do you think there is in their claim that they have a postgraduate degree if they cannot spell 'intelligent'?
Already attached. Unless this person is looking for friends – of the same sex – head straight past. If they are still married, how come they're looking for romantic attachments? This kind of ad should make your warning lights flash. Keep right on going past.
A rose by any other name. The name someone chooses for themselves says a lot about who they are, what they're looking for and their attitude to life and relationships. Kinkyjane, Studfarm and Slipperyandwet leave little margin for error when deciding what they're looking for. Steer clear of those with names such as Saveme or Desperate – they're not looking for a relationship, they're looking for a meal ticket for life.
A picture paints a thousand words. If someone does not put in a picture at all with their ad, or a picture where they are more or less wholly obscured by the Rottweiler, the tractor or the knitting, there is a problem. Another problem occurs when the picture is so blurred that it could be of anyone south of the Sahara, male or female. No one expects all other people to be oil paintings – let's face it, 90 % of the people checking out the site are no oil paintings themselves. So what's with the no-show picture? Go for someone with a clear picture, who is smiling and who looks genuine, even if they won't win a beauty contest.
Kids living with me. Think carefully about this one. You might be a single parent yourself and finding another one and having a good relationship could be very fulfilling. But if you have no experience of kids and are not even sure about whether you want any of your own, think twice. Becoming a stepmom or stepdad is not easy and should not be done without careful consideration. For your sake and for the sake of the children.
Too good to be true. 'Sexy girl just looking to share fun times' sounds too good to be true, because it is. So who gets to share the not-so-fun-times when the Great Dane vomits on the carpet or a pipe bursts under the bathroom floor? Life does not just consist of fun times – alas. Even with the fun times rolling, a time will come when things will have to be taken a step further, or you'll have to move on. Life is not one endless merry-go-round of fun, fun, fun.(Where are all these nature lovers who love the Great Outdoors? Could they be slouching at home watching yet another video?)
Looking for daytime fun. This man or woman is cheating on his or her spouse or live-in lover. What's more, the spouse probably doesn't know about it. Don't be surprised on contacting this one if you are charged for his or her services.
No baggage. People who say this about themselves have a serious problem. Everyone has baggage – that's if you've registered a body temperature somewhere in the last 10 years. If the person doesn't even realise that he or she has baggage, the problem is much bigger than was previously thought.
El Desperado strikes again. When someone is very non-specific about the person they are looking for, except about their required income, you should smell a rat. This is not about getting a new partner, this is about getting Mr or Mrs Moneybags who will take over all responsibility for their debts and general financial welfare. – (Susan Erasmus, updated, January 2006, Health24)
(Picture: Find love button from Shutterstock)