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But when I started writing people’s online dating profiles for e-Cyrano.com, all that changed. By the end of our phone call, I’d pare down what they’d said into an enticing short story while marketing their date-ability in the process.

I’d make sure that every sentence focused on what the reader—your future boyfriend or girlfriend—could expect when dating you.

“If you have a super-weird hobby or interest, let people find out your interesting sides,” says Cherie Burbach, author of and showed an interest in Pedro Almodovar movies.

Since I’d mentioned both football and Almodovar in my profile, her note showed that she’d really read my profile, and it sealed the deal for me!

Yes, you looked great, but you want to date someone who is attracted to you right now.

I spend lots of time in this column and over at A(n)nals of Online Dating documenting the worst of the worst internet daters. But there are also some really good ones — and some mediocre ones that could be so much better if not for rookie mistakes.

So, welcome to Internet Dating Bootcamp, where I'll teach you how to trick unsuspecting users into thinking you’re actually cool and normal. You need to be you in your online dating profile, but the process of creating one is a good time to think about what kindergarten teachers call “being your best self at school.” If you’re attracted to Type-A go-getter types who get up at 6am to exercise, emphasize your similar love of hard work. Want someone who shares your taste for obscure French films? No, not everyone wants to date a carbon copy of themselves, but most of us want to be with someone with some overlapping interests.

It absolutely got me to write back.” —Kim Newman, San Diego, CA Love lesson: The number-one challenge in online dating is standing out from the crowd somehow (in a good way, of course).

Everyone is intrigued by a person who’s had an unusual experience—it makes for more surprising small talk and anecdotes they can remember—so don’t hesitate to mention your huge collection of cheesy salt shakers, your speed-walking trophy, the fact that you grew up on a commune or anything else that may make someone just curious enough to write back and find out more.

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