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New year, new ♥? Online dating in 5 painful steps

  • A new year, a new chance at love?
  • This is the best time of year for online dating sites, and the most delicate time for your mental health

According to a study from Indiana University, mid-December to February is the busiest time for online dating sites. After all, you're bolstered by your New Year's resolutions, and the tiny part of your heart that hasn't been hardened to coal by years of romantic disappointment is secretly hoping you'll find someone special by Valentine's Day.

And online dating is great! Just think of all the dudes and ladies waiting to have an awkward, anticlimactic cup of coffee with you at a neutral location! You will want to set up your profile right away if you want to ensure you'll be kissing something other than the cold, hard lips of a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck.

Step 1: Find the dating site that's right for you

Are you an avid hunter/farmer/fisher/Christian/Jew/individual who likes to dress up as a clown and hold slam poetry competitions? There is a site for all of your whims. If you're going to go for a free service, remember that there is a higher likelihood you will be contacted by unfettered creeps or scam artists who want to steal your organs. It all depends on how much the experience is worth to you. You could go the tried-and-true route and give in to eHarmony or, but remember, those sites cost money, and wine only costs a few bucks. Priorities.

Step 2: Fill out your profile

A lot of reputable dating sites make you fill out a comprehensive personality profile to help you find your best match. They ask you things like how the color purple makes you feel and what you would do if a stranger offered you a million dollars to kill a man. These details help create an intricate portrait of you as a person -- a portrait that you will slowly realize, is deeply undateable. 

Step 3: Keep filling out your profile

If there is one thing online dating sites love, it's when you talk about yourself. You want to tell any potential mates absolutely everything about you, so when you meet in person, you can skip directly to planning the wedding. Be sure to leave out any references that may hint at childhood psychological trauma or unattractive habits. Your partner can learn all about these things while you are both raising your first child. 

Step 4: Stress over your pictures

It's unavoidable: People who post full body shots on their profiles get better responses. After all, no one wants to walk into their first date and discover that the fun guy or gal they've been talking to is actually just a disembodied head in a jar. Spare yourself the disappointment and grab a tripod, some lighting that's a grade above the fluorescent pall of your bedroom, your sexiest clothes, your un-sexiest clothes (can't be trying too hard), an adorable animal, a celebrity or your master's degree and get snapping. Be sure to agonize over at least a dozen different options -- you want to look hot, but not too hot (can't maintain), accomplished, but not braggy ("Yeah I climbed Kilimanjaro but, like, it was really hard."), and casual, but not like, too casual, ya know?

Step 5: Find love

Apparently, this is what happens next. It may take some time. Remember, you are an explorer in the verdant jungle of love. Trust your heart. Speak with your body. Think with your eyes. Flirt. Talk. Be cool. Don't be creepy. LOL. LOL less. Don't LOL. Try not to get your organs stolen. 

If all else fails, set your computer on fire and hope that the EMT who comes to save you is single.

The Gloss: Top 5 New Year's kisses, ranked worst to wonderful

The Gloss: This exact type of woman is receiving more online dating messages than the rest of us

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