The Internet--repository of knowledge, porn, and cat videos. (Depending on your kinks, those last two might be the same thing.) And with sites like match.com, eharmony, and okcupid, it's where the 21st century world comes to date. Sorry, 20th century world--you don't matter anymore. You knew this was coming. Now slink away and enjoy your transistors, automobiles, and Polio vaccines.
Still with me, 21st century? Fantastic. With Valentine's Day fast approaching, it's time to get out there into cyberspace and get yourself a date, like the Good Lord intended.
But not so fast! First thing's first: You need to write a dating profile that will make you seem like an attractive prospect and--perhaps more importantly--not a complete buffoon. Here are some pointers:
1) Own it.
It's not 2004 anymore, when online dating was about as socially acceptable as the clap. Everybody does it now. You don't have qualify your profile with, "I'm new to this" or "I'm still not sure about this" or "What's the Internet?" You don't have to say a friend put you up to it. We don't believe that's true anyway. And don't say, "Might as well give it a shot and see what happens." That goes without saying. That's called dating. If the "most private thing you're willing to admit" on okcupid is that you're on okcupid, it's time to get over yourself. This is where dating is going in 2013. You're not special.
2) Avoid cliches.
No one cares that you work hard and play harder. And you're not really "up for anything" unless that includes juggling razor-sharp machetes or midnight strolls down Skid Row. Everybody is "down-to-earth" as long as the law of gravity is still in effect and they're not a pilot. Yes, most people don't use "their, there, and they're" correctly, but you're a tool for pointing that out. Say something original.
3) Know your audience.
Girls don't like it when guys post a lot of shirtless pictures. Oddly enough, when the situation is reversed, guys don't care so much. Know your audience. And speaking of pictures...
4) Post a picture (or two or three).
Looks aren't everything...but they're also not nothing. You wouldn't date one of those pig doctors from that "Eye of the Beholder" Twilight Zone episode, no matter how charming they were or how much your mother wanted you to date a doctor. So don't expect your match to be less shallow than you--give them a halfway decent chance to see "the goods." One photo probably doesn't paint an accurate picture, unless maybe it's taken by Annie Leibovitz. Digital cameras are really easy to come by now. You probably even have one on your phone. So get a friend or a roommate to take a few shots. Make sure they're close enough to make out details (like your gender, for instance) and that you're not obscured by a shadow or something. It's awesome that you love to ski, but if your face is covered in goggles and a scarf, I can't tell that you're not the elephant man, so I don't care.
Notice how that was the first point that didn't have a period at the end? That's because "Grammar" isn't a sentence, stupid. I suppose for the purpose of symmetry, I should've made it a sentence, such as, "Use correct grammar, you elementary school dropout." Nothing is a bigger turnoff than when someone can't be bothered to put at least as much effort into their profile as they did their sophomore composition essay. (Spoiler alert: If you failed your sophomore composition essay, you're probably going to fail at this, too.) And while we're on the topic of making an effort...
6) Making an effort is a two-way street.
One of the biggest complaints I see on girls' profiles is that guys don't put any effort into their messages. They say things like, "Hey" and "'Sup?" like eharmony is charging by the letter. I get it. It's disheartening to spend a lot of time personalizing a message that, statistically, will very likely go unanswered. So I propose the following corollary to the ladies: if a guy does manage to string a few thoughtful words together for you, do him the courtesy of a response or shut the hell up about it.
That should be enough to get you started on your online dating adventure. Good luck, and go get 'em!