I love the Internet just as much as the next nympho with a curiosity worthy of a house cat.

Shoe shopping. Exploring Pandora's other box. (The musical one.) Groupon.

But something has caught my attention at the prompting of an apathetic friend and mother who means well: online dating. Via the free sites, not the secretly conservative pay-to-play sites. Too much work and I'd rather keep the manicure money.

But as I've perused, set up a profile of my own, and even started writing others' profiles for hire (honest ones, nothing made up here) I've noticed some serious no-no's that more than a handful of men have made.

These are small things that could send a woman clicking onto the next potential match before she even looks at the photo of you posing with the president.

So you want to attract a chick who's least likely to be insane, have daddy issues, and drink too much on the first date? Take notes.

  • Usernames: Being witty works: NameTakenToday, LicensetoPhil, Valonisimo. Being basic is OK, too: Ace1982, JustinR, GregPotter49er. But any name with “4u” in it is a repellent, and you'd better believe you'll be skipped if you've got anything along the lines of HotGuy4u, LuvWaiting4u, TheOne4u. Your username isn't the hook that'll reel in the ladies. We're not trout.

    WittyMan? Humor07? IMAKEYOULAUGH247? (Yes, that guy actually exists online.) You could be a Chris Farley/Daniel Tosh hybrid, but with a name like that no one in her right mind is going to think you're even remotely humorous. You're trying too hard, and that's not attractive — especially when the opportunity to explain yourself isn't there. It's the Internet, remember?

  • Photos: Again, witty is fine but keep in mind you've got 30 seconds TOPS to impress a chick long enough to have her take the time to read what you've written about yourself.

    Shirt off posing in front of a mirror with your iPhone camera flash drowning out your face? No.

    Beer bong deep in your throat while flashing a thumbs-up? No.

    Cheek-to-cheek with a long-haired blonde whose face has been blacked out in a rushed amateur Photoshop session? Hell no.

    Full-body shots of you flexing in the mirror might be fun to look at, but it gives the impression that you're trying to sell your physical self, as if what's inside isn't appealing enough. Got any photos taken during road trips or travels overseas? Pictures of you having fun at the beach? Anything with a smile?

    Having at least one attractive photo in your profile could be the deciding factor in the “should I message him?” dilemma, so make sure you're not wearing a hat and sunglasses or some kind of incognito get-up in every pic. And leave the artsy just-the-jawline photo for Facebook. You'll leave the gal wondering, “What is he hiding?”

    Be yourself. Look like yourself. Because if you do end up meeting her and she expects Fabio but finds Urkel when you ring her doorbell, the date's not going to go well.

  • A photo speaks 1,000 words. What does this one say?

    A photo speaks 1,000 words. What does this one say?

    • Your Profile: Just like your photo, be yourself. You don't need to be Shakespeare, or even R.L. Stine for that matter, but you DO need to be honest and genuine.

      If you're a World of Warcraft fan who writes a blog about macaroni and cheese while watching John Waters films, don't pretend you love to hike, live a vegan lifestyle and collect Michael Bay DVDs.

      The latter might sound more “normal” to you, but it's going to attract a girl who hates computers, attends PETA rallies, and doesn't know who Divine is. That's not what you're looking for.

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