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'The Rules For Online Dating'

Authors Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider turned the dating world upside down with their 1995 bestseller "The Rules," telling women that they needed to play hard to get to reel in Mr. Right.

In their new book, "The Rules For Online Dating," they apply their relationship advice to cyberspace providing a list of do's and don'ts for successful computer romances. They visit The Early Show to talk about it.

The title of their book explains its whole premise: "The Rules for Online Dating: Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right in Cyberspace."

Among the questions they address are:

  • How do I write an ad?
  • Do I post a picture?
  • Should I force the relationship from e-mail to phone?
  • How can I "disappear" in between dates?
  • Should I be the first to initiate a correspondence?
  • Is it OK to date a married man online?

All rules are based on three premises: A man must initially feel a spark for a woman; the man must pursue the woman; and all men love a challenge.

Here are their "Rules For Online Dating;"

  1. Don't answer men's ads or email them first. - Answering a man's ad is to pursue a man; it's no different from approaching a man at a party or a bar, calling him, and asking him out. He knows you like him and the party is over. If he does end up dating you, you'll never know if he's dating you because it's easy and convenient for him or because he's really crazy about you.
  2. Create a good screen name. - Pick one that is not boring but not too sexy, not too ho-hum but not too marriage minded. Do not go to the other extreme either and attract a man who is just interested in sex. Strive for something in the middle. Be descriptive.
    Good examples:
  3. Less is more when writing your ad. - When answering the questionaires an online Web site requires, give the impression that you just threw some answers down with a cute picture on your way to the gym or work. After all you are very busy. And, do not answer questions that you would not answer on a first date. Mistakes: Women who say they are looking for love or marriage or who are willing to relocate; women who post more than one ad on the same web site (desperate); women who post three or four photos in the same ad;eWomen who write long answers that have a Hallmark touch to them.
  4. Post a smiling photo. - Men don't focus on what you write as long as they like your photo. Don't use anything too provocative.
    For the women who don't want someone to know about their new hobby: get over it and put up your picture, it's really not a big deal.
  5. Wait 24 hours to respond.
  6. Don't answer on weekends or holidays
  7. Write light and breezy Emails. - Do not respond to a man who sends his profile or photo only. If an email comes with no photo, respond "Would love to see a photo. Thanks." That's it; nothing else. If he refuses to send a picture, there is a reason. When he does send the picture, if you like it, answer with a: "Thanks!" no "Nice abs" or "Cute Pic". Don't tell him that you read his ad. Do not respond to anything that was in the ad, such as i.e. my brother is also an accountant.
  8. Never Email a man a second time if he neglected to respond to your Email. If you get an angry Email that says he wants more than three lines in an email from you, press DELETE and refer to rule #13.
  9. For the first three months, don't initiate an Email, only respond. if he sends you jokes and "did I tell you how cute you are?" notes, do not respond. Wait for third one and only then write back.
  10. Block yourself from Instant Messages.
  11. Don't volunteer your phone number first.
  12. If he doesn't ask you out within four Emails, Delete/Next
  13. Screen out Mr. Wrong
  14. Don't waste your time on time-wasters
  15. Don't force the relationship from Email to phone
  16. Put safety first
  17. Don't ad-interrogate on dates

This is the fourth "Rules" book. The others are:
  • "The Rules: Time Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right"
  • "The Rules II: More Rules to Live and Love by"
  • "The Rules for Marriage: Time-Tested Secrets for Making Your Marriage Work"
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