In a perfect world, nobody would choose to go shopping for a mate online. But this ain’t no perfect world. The author offers insight and advice for those who have yet to take the plunge.

By Andra La Plume
September 24, 2015

I first ventured onto Match.com a year after my marriage ended, having played through the requisite clichés (crying in the bathtub when I was without my kids; medicating away that pain with the company of an Aussie playboy; recovering from that adventure with its opposite—an achingly dull relationship with a nice beige fellow who eventually asked me if he was my “experiment in vanilla”—he was; running like mad for my independence; and ending up back at the kitchen table on alternate Saturday nights). I signed up at the suggestion of my wise friend Sherman, a professional dater if ever there was one; he’s spent no longer than three years in a committed relationship and, like me, has logged enough time on Earth to remember when a new show called The Partridge Family premiered—this guy has been dating for 30 years. Sherman mocked me, older-brother style, through my first few dating scenarios, observing that my dating age was 25 (the age at which I had met my husband—and though it was 18 years later, I was not much wiser about the ways of the world). In my time on the site, I gleaned some wisdom, and I share it with you now in the hopes that it will save some newcomers the agony—and get them closer to the potential ecstasy—of the psychological beating we call online dating.

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