If, like many modern singles, the last date you had was in yourbreakfast cereal, you're probably tired of the so-called "singlesscene"--bars, the gym, or "networking." Maybe you're ready to trymeeting someone on the web.

Online, there's not as much pressure: no awkward introductions, noridiculous pickup lines; by filling a simple personal profile, you goright to exchanging meaningful information. But it's not as simple as itseems--dating never is! Remember, your personal profile is a virtualfirst impression, so make it a good one. Here's how:

  • Casual Date or Long-term Love?
    Before you even sit down to type, ask yourself, are you looking for Mr./Ms.Right or Mr./Ms. Right Now? If you're keeping it casual, a potential pal'sreligion or social habits may not be a huge consideration. But if you'relooking for something longer lasting, make sure to be up front aboutyour beliefs and practices. If you won't even consider dating a socialdrinker, make that clear. If your religion requires that you bevegetarian, it's worth noting. Let your potential match know howpracticing you are. Even if you're posting in the "Catholic Cuties"section, make sure to convey your level of devotion: Mass every morningor once a week on Saturdays.

  • Honesty is the Best Policy
    You think Honest Abe would have told Mary Todd that he was a buff blondeof average height? Exactly. Be honest and forthright about who you are,your likes, your dislikes and what you're looking for in a mate.Remember, self-confidence is sexy.

  • A Picture's Worth 1,000 Words
    Profiles with photos get more responses, so pull out the Polaroid andsmile! A recent, relaxed pic will do just fine. Glamour shots need notapply. If you use a picture you've already got lying around, keep inmind: It's painfully obvious when you've tried to crop out the ex. Also,try not to use shots of you with a beer in each hand, or wearing aT-shirt that says "I'm with stupid" or anything very revealing. You'resimply going to attract Mr. or Mrs. Wrong.

  • You Put a Spell Check on Me
    There is nothing more attractive than intelligence; show yours by usingproper spelling and grammar. Spend a few extra minutes to write out yourprofile by hand before typing, then reread and refine your post--or havea friend help out.

  • Eliminate the Negative
    There's nothing more aggravating than a first date who goes on about hisor her "psycho-ex." We've all had bad relationships, so why dwell onthem? Keep things positive. And remember, self-deprecating humor ("I'lltake anything with a pulse!") does not translate on the web--it justlooks desperate.

  • Keep it Simple
    Leave out literary allusions and complex metaphors. The key is clarity: Don't get twisted up in details, or project an imaginary person you think people will be attracted to.

  • Multiple Choice or Essay?
    Nobody like essays tests. The hand cramps! The teeth-gnashing!Nonetheless, a good profile should be an interesting essay aboutyourself. Avoid "laundry lists" of your attributes. Sure, potentialmates want to know if you ski, have a dog or work in a bank, but they'remore interested in your personality! So let your writing reflect yourgenius and wit. Dust off that thesaurus and jazz up your bio to go fromdrab to fab!