Dear Uncle Mat 

In this week’s column we will discuss the world of “Internet dating.” I have received many emails and engaged in countless conversations that express a curiosity or interest in this topic, so I’m going to discuss my advice, opinions, and experiences from the last year in a short series of columns. I will begin by posing the question, Why does MSWord insist that the word Internet be capitalized? I just don’t think it can be a proper noun.

Picking a site, or sites, on which to date is the most important decision. Though you can meet people through MySpace or Facebook, these don’t count. I’m talking about real dating, profile-posting, people-meeting, and baby-making sites. There is more to a dating site than its clever commercials. First, if allowed a tour, look at the profiles. Do a limited search. Do you see people you want to date, shag, or buy Hill Country property with? There are sites geared toward marriage and sites for the casual-sex inclined. Look at more than one site before you register anywhere. The first thing I noticed is that 70 percent of the guys on the mainstream sites looking for a long-term relationship were also on the racier sex-centered sites looking for weekend dick. I am not saying that a guy isn’t allowed to look for both until one removes the need for the other, but it’s nice to know that the lawyer who likes hiking and cooking at home is also proud of his deep-throat abilities. Following this market trend, I registered myself on both kinds of services, but with the same ad content. I find it a bit unbecoming to brag of one’s sexual feats. I may be old-fashioned, but I still think some discoveries are best saved for the third date.

After reviewing the profiles, research the services offered by each site. Some have matching services, others offer an advice service, while some allow for instant messaging through the site so you can chat immediately with interested individuals. Costs will vary and some have both free and paid memberships with different benefits available. Pick one, or two, sites with a reasonable pool of members that suit your tastes and the services best suited to your needs and pocketbook.

Best foot forward now, it’s time to make your profile. You need a good picture. Several good pictures. Everyone assumes you are posting flattering images of yourself. If your photo makes you look cross-eyed, I would assume you are cross-eyed. Make sure the photo is clear and recent. Only one photo should be a self-portrait with the camera held at arms length. A photo obviously taken by another person and somewhere that doesn’t look like your kitchen or home office will demonstrate that you are not a creepy shut-in stalker with a chronic masturbation problem. I noticed lots of men like to include a photo from a grand vacation in front of something like a pyramid. These are good as long as you are recognizable. If you are blurry or far away and unrecognizable in all of your photos, the assumption is that you are hiding something, such as a hunch back or scar from an unfortunate facial-piercing accident.

Some of the racier sites allow for more revealing photos of yourself. Fine, but use your discretion, please. A picture of your ass should not be your primary photo. A photo of your dick is going to limit people’s interest in your personality. I like penises, but I really don’t want to see everyone’s. Yuck. The more flesh you reveal, the more people assume you want sex. A picture of me taken by an ex, smiling without my shirt on, made me appear desperate to receive blowjobs. Photo deleted. Honestly, if a guy sees a photo of you shirtless online, you have no surprises with which to overcome any awkward silences on the first date.

Next time I will discuss the written portion of the profile, including what you should say and what the other profiles really are saying. For homework, gather several photos and research sites. After the next column you’ll be ready to post and then I’ll discuss real-time dating. Don’t forget to write in with your other questions.

Much luck and many photogenic moments,

Your Uncle Mat

Uncle Mat answers questions about relationships, sex, pets, and art. Email him at dearunclemat@sacurrent.com or Myspace.com/yourunclemat. Your true identity is safe with him.


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