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Better one-hand typing

Tips for maximizing your on-line potential

PHOTO 4 PHOTO. You are your own brand on-line. Credit: Jeremy Maude

Whether it’s Friday 3am after another luckless night at the bar searching for Mr Right, Mr Right For Tonight or just cooped up on a snowy Sunday afternoon scratching the walls, you can easily find a man on the Internet.



But the happy chatter needs to take care when trying to snag a man. It’s a virtual jungle out there, with hundreds of guys vying for attention.



You’re nothing but a nickname here, and it’s up to you to differentiate yourself from all the John’s dicks and Hairys. Don’t let the dreaded message, “User has left private chat or is ignoring you” be your on-line fate. Follow these suggestions to getting lucky on-line.



First, know your target. Who do you want to reach? All too often a chatter will make the mistake of posting their chat bio without identifying what they themselves really want.



Looking for sex? Be specific. “Looking for action,” “Lonely tonight” or “Horny bottom party guy looking for hot fun” should do in a pinch.



But mean what you post. There’s nothing quite so irksome as a virtual cock tease. Similarly, if you’re looking for a friend or long-term relationship, it’s wise to omit those erotic references to your six-pack and monstrous dick size. Don’t be afraid to create two nicknames and profiles: One for your saintly side; one for your nasty.



Second, treat your on-line “nick” as your brand name, and market it well. Your user name should reflect your personality, but succinctly so. Avoid being too wordy. Those who chose such on-line names as LKNG4RNCHYTOP2FUKME not only scream hopelessly desperate, but indicate they’ve been around the block perhaps one too many times.



And when it comes to creating your on-line profile, avoid bio diarrhea. Filling your bio with useless words such as “true to the core,” or “genuine” only shows that you’re probably willing to lie just to get a guy in the sack.



One guy on the ‘net went one step further by making his nickname, “Trust, Truth, & Honesty,” which is only likely to attract the type of guy who enjoys countless hours reading and sending inspirational forward e-mails to a listserv of people he barely knows. Keep the halo out of your bios.



Still, honesty on the ‘net has its virtues, says Mike, a chatter on Gay.com, still one of the most popular chatting site.



“I don’t like when people use a fake name because you eventually get to know them by their fake name. I mean, if you meet someone in a bar and he said his name was Jim and two weeks later the name was Bob, wouldn’t that be strange?”



Mike says his nick, mike28cdn, reflects best what he likes to see in an on-line nick: Name, age and location.



And don’t lie about your age, either.



“It’ll just blow up in your face,” says Mike. “Once a guy told me he was 22, 5′ 11″ blond hair, blue eyed, but he ended up being 27 and overweight, brown hair, brown eyes. We started to chat on-line a lot, then on the phone. Finally we were going to meet, but he called me an hour before and told me the truth. I was pissed.”



You’ll also want to avoid being too much of a bitter queen in your bios, like the guy who insisted on “No perverts or trolls.” Besides not being very nice, few men are anxious to identify themselves with “pervert” or “troll” and will thus ignore your warning.



And what about your pic? Should you post one? If you don’t, at least always have one ready to send to potential on-line suitors. Men can only “talk in the dark” for so long.



If you’re not comfortable posting it for the world to see, consider adding “pic to trade” to your bio. Whatever you do, don’t tack on such inane captions as “Here’s a random shot of me being silly at the web cam.” Puh-lease. Everybody knows that guys who post photos of themselves on a gay chat room rigorously select their pics for optimum attractiveness, including, but not limited to, an amateur session or two of PhotoShop.



Tristan72X is one chatter who will freely admit it: “Oh, of course. I searched long and hard before I found a pic that was appropriate. Glamour shot baby!” And his caption? “Damn you, paparazzi!”



If you don’t have a pic to trade or post, you’ll be expected to describe yourself to your new on-line buddy. In doing so, keep away from such phrases as, “Friends say I’m good-looking.” You fool. Friends always tell friends they’re good-looking, even when they’re not. If you truly are hot, simply stating that you are a reasonably attractive guy will do.



When you see someone you want to have a private chat with, introduce yourself as you would in person. This is your first impression in a relationship that could last a lifetime, and first impressions are everything.



But there’s a fine line between coming on too strong and too weak. A simple hi, while easy, is banal. Guys on-line are constantly inundated with “hi,” so why not set yourself apart?



That said, keep it clean, unless the guy’s profile looks like he wants nastyspeak. “Spank me tonight?” might turn the average chatter off. You wouldn’t whip your dick out at the first cutie you saw at Woody’s, so don’t do it on-line.



A direct, polite approach works: “Hi, my name is Jack, You wanna chat for a bit?” This indicates that you’re not about to monopolize anyone’s time, and that you actually have some manners: Perhaps a refreshing presence to many in the chat room.



If you want to be really forward, start out with something like, “Your pic is sexy.” It’s risky, but you might pull it off if you have a pic that’s reasonably sexy yourself.



And remember what mom told you: Play nicely with others. In other words, don’t chat if you’re in a foul mood. Public chat rooms are awash in drama, but a private chat with someone new is no place to be complaining about how much you hate the gay village, your boss or your goldfish.



Remember to use open-ended questions. Too many closed ended queries usually end up seeming like a desperate criteria checklist for your perfect man. But, says chatter Tristan72X, make the questions probing.



“Don’t just ask what they do for fun,” he says. “That’s so typical, and you’ll get the same answers everyone else gets: Movies, hanging out with friends, going out. If you really want an idea of what he enjoys, ask him what he did last night or the previous week.”



And maybe all you really did last Friday was chat on-line. Which perhaps was the same thing you did last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. But the new guy you’re chatting with doesn’t have to know that.



Thus, never assume he knows all the on-line lingo by congesting your conversation with innumerable chat abbreviations. Something like ROFLMAOWTIME (rolling on the floor laughing my ass off at you with tears in my eyes) will only intimidate and confuse him. Big turn off.



“One or two [abbreviations] is fine,” says Octavianus_20. “But when they start speaking in a foreign code that you need to decipher, then it’s time to go.”



And if the guy you’re chatting with makes eye-crusties look exciting, just closing your chat window is rude. Octavianus_20 says his method for getting rid of someone is simple and it doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.



“Ideally, you could say ‘I’m going to bed now’ but then, if you don’t want to be rude, you have to log off and go back on with a different name. That’s how I’ve ended up with seven different nicknames.”



While chatting on-line is great for meeting men, keep it at that: Meeting them. Chat rooms can become crutches to in-person engagement. The following scene is too familiar, and entirely unnecessary: You chat with a guy for a few evenings, maybe even a few weeks. A guy you think could really be “the one,” and you’ve already sorted through carpet swatches for the new house. But not until you finally meet the guy for dinner do you realize that you both have absolutely nothing to say to each other face-to-face.



Mike28cdn says that since he began chatting a few years ago, he’s learned it’s best to speak to potential dates on the phone or meet them as soon as possible.



“I don’t like carrying things too far on the Internet, because the relationship can only go so far. You need to see how you interact with his personality. How do you know if you like the way the person laughs, or even the sound of his voice?”



The moral? Don’t waste your time on-line. Get on, get off and get out.