It can be a big decision to start online dating. Some people still see it as a service for losers who can’t meet people in real life. In reality, it’s a good option for busy, normal people. I know many people who have luck with it. I’ve done it and met some great men and some not so great men. Like real life, it offers good and bad options.

Online dating is a way to meet people you would never come across in your daily life. If you did come across them, you would probably walk by them on the street or stand behind them in line at the grocery store and never speak. Online, it’s possible to meet these people while wearing your flannel pajamas and ugly slippers. Single people are available for the emailing any time of day and it doesn’t matter if you are having a good hair day or not.

Getting Started

The most mainstream and popular dating site is Millions of single men have posted themselves, hoping to meet you. There are so many people on the site that it can take weeks to wade through all of them when you first sign up. I live in a major city and within five miles of my apartment, there are approximately 500 single men in my age range.

If you’re kicking around signing up for, the best thing to do (if available) is to get someone else’s login. By spending time on the site, you’ll be able to see if there are people there who interest you. You can get a feel for the site without making a monetary commitment.

If another person’s login is not available to you, you can still search through without a login. The only limitation is that you will see only one photo and you’ll be cut off after viewing a few profiles. If you get cut off, clear the cache in your browser and the site should let you view more profiles.

After you’ve poked around the site and seen what the offerings are, you can give up on the idea, or go ahead and sign up. The only thing you have to lose by signing up is $50. It’s likely you’ll make this money back in free dinners anyway.

The You You Want Others to See

The first step after you sign up is posting your profile. This starts with pictures. It’s best to choose photos that show you in a range of situations. Not just the one of you in your best friend’s wedding wearing perfect makeup and with professionally done hair. You can post that photo, just be sure to post one reflecting what you look like every day. If you have recently cut your hair from butt length to chin length, choose the photo of the chin length hair. Show what you really look like.

The rest of the profile is all about how you answer the following profile questions:

This is the character limited, essay portion:

For fun My job My religion Favorite hot spots Favorite things Last read About me and what I’m looking for (you get many more characters for this one, it’s your chance to talk about whatever you would like)

These are the easy questions that you answer using a pre-determined list:

Your Age Town you live in Age range of men you are seeking Location of men you are seeking Relationships (Marital status) Do you have kids Do you want kids Ethnicity Body type Height Religion Do you smoke How often do you drink Hair color Eyes color Best Feature Any body art What Sports and exercise you like Exercise habit Daily diet Interests Education Occupation Income Languages you speak Politics Astrological Sign My Place (living situation) Pets I have Pets I like

You also will need to choose a headline. See what other women have chosen, then make yours unique and catchy. Your headline, photo, and the first couple lines of your “about me and what I’m looking for” response will be what show up when men do searches.

Once you finish writing your fabulous responses to all these questions, proofread everything. There are people out there, me being one of them, who will quickly dismiss a profile based on poor grammar or misspellings. Your profile is how you are representing yourself to the community, you don’t want to look like a dummy.

What Next?

When you are ready to post your profile, you’ll receive an email message telling you that it can take up to 72 hours for your profile to become available to the world. In reality, it’s more like 12-24 hours for your first posting. Get ready. Your inbox will soon be full of winks and emails to do what you please with.

Online dating can be entertaining and you may meet someone worthy of your affections. Have fun with it. Give it a shot. If you find it’s not for you, you can always cancel your membership.