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Get a date by Valentine's Day: 5 Online-dating tips

1:49 PM, Feb 12, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON -- Which one do you want first, ladies?

Ok, the bad news: Washington D.C. is considered one of the most advantageous dating cities for single men. Single women outnumber single men, 53% to 47%.

The good news? Here's 5 tips from a true expert on how to tip the scales in your favor.

Laurie Davis has helped thousands of daters date better online. She says it's okay to ask for help, "It's not something our moms taught us when we were growing up, so it's a new skill you need to learn."

We searched to online daters who wanted to be part of the story. Carrie Zolan, Promotions Producer at WUSA9's profile stood out.

Zolan's profile started out, "I'm a typical redhead, fun and fiery...." Zolan explains, "I figure when you hear redhead, you think, feisty, exciting, what not, so I thought I would try it that way."

Davis says Zolan needs Tip #1: Stand out and be specific about it, "You never really want to describe yourself as 'typical' because you want to stand out from the rest of the matches on the screen." That includes music and movies, two thing many people talk about , but tend to gloss over. "Rather than saying you like all kinds of movies, mention how you like Hitchcock." Why? Davis says that makes it easy for someone to write to you.

Tip #2 is also for the ladies: the old rules don't apply, women not only can write to men, they SHOULD. Davis explains why, "Sometimes women don't want to be the first one to reach out, but it's really important because you never want technology to get in your way. If you're on page 10 of his search results and he only looks at the first 5, he may not even come across you."

Zolan says she writes to men, but not as much as maybe Davis might recommend, and her reasoning is one we can all relate to, "I don't know what to say, I don't know what that first line is, if I read a profile and either thought 'he's really attractive,' or 'I really like that profile,' I'm like 'now, what do I say?'"

That leads us to Tip # 3, crafting the email. Davis says there are two things to remember, "Keep it short, and end with a question."

Tip #4, has to do with your pictures. Zolan's profile contains just one. It's a great action shot of her laughing, wearing sunglasses. Davis says she needs to add more, "I can't see her very clearly because her sunglasses are on. So that's a huge no-no. You never want to disguise yourself too much, you want to show your match what you look like, and you want to show them what you look like in different scenarios." Davis says upload 4 to 7 pictures total, no more. Make sure one is a full-body shot. Make them fun, and have them show you in your real life.

Tip #5 is for when you find someone you like. "The most important part of online dating is getting off-line because that's where everything's going to happen."

With Davis' direction, Zolan and I re-wrote her profile. It now opens with "I'm a fiery and fun redhead." No more talk of "typical." Zolan mentions the singer 'Pink,' the movie 'Say Anything,' and how she makes killer brownies, giving any guy an starting point to email. Plus, she added 3 new, clear sunglass-free pictures, each one showing her in her element, having fun. We also gave Carrie Davis' book, "Love at First Click," which tells how to give good email. Armed with the tools, Carrie hops online. We talked to her two weeks later, ""Before, there really was little traffic on that one, very little, I'm checking every day, I'm having more visitors and more email messages from people, so it's definitely jumped up."

Debra Alfarone, WTSP

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