I met my boyfriend on a dating site. Since that time, lots of my single friends think I’m the Internet dating expert. What surprises me about that is that most of these men were around for the years prior to meeting my Mr. Perfect when I met a pathological liar on PerfectPartners, a man I’m pretty sure was a serial killer on Match, and at least a half dozen married men.

Now looking back on my experience and watching those experiences of my friends in the Internet dating world, what I observe most often is a silent desperation in men that makes the whole process incredibly heavy and serious. We are looking for Mr. Right and have a great deal of hope that every next guy is him. If we go out on three or four dates we giggle to our friends about our new boyfriend and secretly start “practicing our signature” with his last name, (you know you’ve done it). No matter how many times we get burned, hope in the Internet dating world springs eternal and sometimes leads to delusion.

So, here it is, my Internet dating strategy that finally scored me my Mr. Perfect. I have shared this with many guys that look at me crossed eyed. But I’m here to tell you this one works if you are strong enough to stick to the program. I call it “30 free meals”.

That’s right. When you sign up for, let’s say Match dot com, the cost of that membership is about $25.00 a month. You want to recoup that investment and maybe even capitalize on it by getting your moneys worth, not in fine men, but fine food. After two dinners out, that someone else paid for, you have more then made your money back.

Now, I can hear it all now, about how wrong, stupid, bitchy, greedy, or sexist that is. However, I’m going to stick to the principal of my plan.

The rules are simple.

#1. When you go out on a date, first through fourth, he pays. Period. When I was doing the Internet dating thing, I was big about paying, always on the first date and often even after that. I wanted to prove my independence. Show him how capable I was. What I was, was attractive to the unemployed. I realize now that a gentleman likes to pay. He likes to treat a date, show off a little. A gentleman does not expect to get laid for the price of dinner. Now, as a relationship progresses obviously, you will pick up the tab sometimes, but in the beginning don’t even look at the bill when it hits the table. Stare into his eyes and smile graciously. LOL

#2. Don’t even think about getting even remotely anxious about why you haven’t found Mr. Right until you’ve had your 30 free meals because finding your soul mate is not the name of the game here – free food is. You do not talk to your friends or family about these men. You certainly do not enter into any relationship, real or imaginary where you refer to any of them as boyfriend. If you are getting free food, you are successful at the Internet dating game. If you think that at “free meal number 18” you have found someone worthy of calling your sister about, try with all your might to refrain. You have 12 more meals to go. By holding tight to this strategy it prevents men from taking themselves or the process too seriously.

Now I say all of this only slightly tongue and cheek. I am more serious then not. Mr. Right might be on page 14 of your matches. However, Mr. Right is going to run like hell the minute he picks up the scent of your desperation. The only way Internet dating works is if it’s fun and ever so light.

So, lighten up. You are two meals away from making money on your investment. With this economy, that’s a good bet!

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