An email from a site like "snoglondon" might appear to be spam, but for the sake of your love life, don't delete it!
Internet use now holds a medium between work and play, and it comes in the form of online dating sites.
Yes, you can join the hundreds of thousands of Brits who are surfing the net for a mate and start connecting with people from all over the UK via computer. LondonNet even has its own online dating service, and you now can sign up for free.
Before you start calling me a cyber nerd, do a little Google search and you'll see just how many people are catching on to the trend.
Not Just for the Geek-Hearted:
"It's no longer sad to meet someone online - it's much more commonplace," said Simon Dale, the dating expert from SnogLondon.com. He says the stigma surrounding Internet hook-ups has diminished in recent years.
In a city as big and diverse as London, Internet dating is a comfortable and safe way to meet hundreds of other people you wouldn't normally encounter on a tube ride or pub visit. And while the average age of Snoglondon members is 28, ages can range from 20 to 40 years old.
"It really can put you in touch with anybody - it's a leveler, which is one of the nicer things about it," Dale said. "Also, it allows targeting people you'd be most likely to get on with."
You can search and specialize your profile to attract people from certain religions, sexualities, locations and other types. The site is especially helpful to city newcomers - like me - who, despite having a wealth of different potential singles at their fingertips, might find a hard time finding venues, or the courage, to meet other Londoners.
I recently checked out two online dating sites. The first, Speeddater.com, was similar to SnogLondon - what I describe as a more professional site for working adults looking to meet a sophisticated significant others.
This site completely avoids any vulgarity or promiscuous comments by allowing its members to look for a range of relationships, from "serious" to "marriage" to "casual relationship."
Within three days, I received ten messages from men telling me about themselves or looking to chat. And through their profiles, I found out what they looked like and further information about their lives, jobs and personalities.
Flirtbox.com, on the other hand, was geared towards a more casual and open audience, with people who were presumably looking for more of a hook-up than a relationship. And if that's what you're looking for, this is the type of site you should join.
Flirtbox also provides a free forum for members to look for a wider range of relationships: "threesomes" with varying sexes, "web cam chats" and "no-strings fun" were sprinkled amongst the usual choices of relationship and friends.
Within three days, I had countless messages telling about my appearance, what the person was looking for, and a few other rather presumptuous suggestions. The "Flirt" of the site certainly fits the activity of its users.
Lucky In Love:
While receiving messages from other members was practically effortless after I joined the online dating sites, Dale has several suggestions for a successful online dating profile, which he termed an "online calling card."
The more truthful information you put out there, the more chances someone will find something in common with you. Also, a full profile is a good one, and those with photos receive 10 times as many views as those without - let's face it, appearance counts to most people.
Dale suggests that once you have a profile, don't just sit back and wait for an answer - you have to be proactive in your searches to find someone that'll really fits you.