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John Lamb, Published February 14 2012

Lamb: Sifting through online singles

Congratulations, you made it through Valentine’s Day without your latex balloon allergies making you break out like a pepper-sprayed college student, being hug-mauled by Valen-teddy bears, or going into a choco-coma.

Or for the rest of us who observed Singles Awareness Day, congrats on not gouging your eyes out with the pointy corner of the heart-shaped box of chocolates your co-worker left empty on her desk as she hurried off to the romantic evening you’re trying not to hear about right now.

Valentine’s Day can be a bitter pill for single folks to swallow – especially since we have to buy and consume it on our own.

And that’s when we take things into our own hands.

Just as New Year’s Day brings about resolutions to join a gym, the day after Valentine’s Day prompts single people to take the plunge into the icy depths of online dating.

I jumped the gun and joined an online dating service in early January. It can be a bit daunting as you try to put your best foot – or face – forward into the unknown, so I’d like to offer some advice to those ready to make the leap.

If you’re a guy looking through photos on one of these sites, one of the first things that will strike you is the number of women who take pictures of themselves behind the wheel. I really don’t understand this pose, as there is nothing alluring about someone looking for a parking spot.

Are they hoping someone says, “I really like the way you wear that seat belt” or, “Just how I like my women: irresponsible and an insurance risk. That seat belt will really match your neck brace.”

Is this an extension of all those women who take cellphone shots as they try on outfits? This is strictly a woman’s thing. Guys rarely try on clothes before buying them, mainly because their wives buy the clothes and if men did try on clothes, not one would text a friend to ask, “Does this flannel make me look fat?”

People should also consider not just how they look in the photo, but what is in the background. One woman’s portrait showed her sitting on the floor in front of two hampers overflowing with laundry.

What is she trying to say? “Single woman looking for able-bodied man for sorting and folding. If you’ve got the hypo-allergenic detergent, I’ve got the quarters!”

Of course, beauty is more than skin deep, and reading profiles gives great insight into what makes people tick.

When asked the stock question, “What are you passionate about?” most women respond, “life.” This is good to know, as I would be hesitant to ask out someone who was so passionate about death – that’s too “Harold and Maude.”

Likewise with people who claim to “live life to the fullest.” Good for you, but I’m thinking about half-assing it myself, maybe giving 47 percent, tops.

According to the questionnaires, what women overwhelmingly want in a date is honesty. Honestly, that’s what you’re looking for in a blind date? I think a sense of adventure or humor is more important, as you have to be able to laugh at how silly the whole process is.

And ultimately laughter is the best medicine.

Much better than bitter pills.

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533