Lovelies:

My friends over at OkCupid contacted me yesterday with some information that I thought might be helpful to all of you out there who are doing the Internet personals thing. The Cupids did a statistical analysis of 500,000 emails to see what worked best when someone was contacting an alluring single person for the first time.

Here's what they found ...

#1 - Be literate.

Netspeak, bad grammar, and bad spelling seem to be huge turn-offs when it comes to a first note, so avoid abbreviations like ur, u, wat, wont, and so on. These all make a terrible first impression. Exceptions to the rule? Expressions of amusement, like haha and LOL--probably because most people like a sense of humor, and it seems acceptable to use slang to convey that you have one.

#2 - Avoid physical compliments. Particularly if you're a guy writing to a girl. This can come of as creepy, particularly from a stranger on the Internet. Emails that included phrases like You're so sexy or You're gorgeous didn't get as many responses as those that stayed away from such objectifyingstatements.

#3 - Use an unusual greeting. Avoid hello and hi; what seems to work better, in terms of getting someone to respond to you, are openers like: hola, howdy, how's it going, what's up and even yo!

#4 - Don't try to take it outside the dating site too fast. If you ask to get on the phone or email using your real-life addresses right off the bat, that's likely to turn off the person you're flirting with online. One of the things that the Internet personals have going for them: relative anonymity. Start chipping away at that too early, and you might lose someone you could otherwise have on the hook.

For more tips about crafting the perfect first message, check out OkCupid's post about this, here. (And for more tips about making the most of the online personals, check here if you're female, and here if you're male.)

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commenters: Natti B.! Live from Nottingham! (Aren't you? Or am I getting mixed up?) Anyway, I LOVE your story, and love that you would recommend it. ... Amber: I am sorry about your story! I hope you saw my post about tips for making a first date great; I recommend not exchanging too much communication with a dude before you fall for him! (I'd met my epistolatory lover before we started to write to each other--not that THAT worked out so well either.) ... And C-Yumm! I think you need to go hug that little cat. I'm with you--stop torturing yourself. I am absolutely positive you deserve better. xxx

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