Hello, men of the internet. I know you’ve long awaited this post, the post that unveils what the women of the internet (or, more specifically, what my roommate and I after a few glasses of wine) have to say about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to OKCupid messages. If you’ve been messaging women as quickly as you can click that “send” button with few or no responses, well, sirs, your online luck is about to change in the best way.

I almost hesitated to write this post, because really, shouldn’t a part of getting that coveted response be earning it? Giving away these tips seems like it’s helping you cheat at this thing, somehow. But the truth is, I’m tired of reading horribly written messages, and I feel it’s time that someone say something about how to be the type of guy that a girl wants to make contact with online. And the wine is telling me that that someone should be me. And wine never lies.

So, men looking to be lucky in online love, here are some dos and don’ts:

  1. Don’t spam. Here’s what I mean by this: Don’t send a hundred identical messages to women in the hopes that one will bite. While there may be plenty of fish in the OKCupid sea, unlike with actual fish, women aren’t all into the same bait. Not only that. Women are offended when it’s obvious that a guy has put zero thought into a message. “Hi” or “How was your day?” Does nothing for us. It says nothing about what you liked about us, it tells us nothing about your ability to string together complete thoughts (or lack thereof), and it’s just plain spammy. We aren’t one-size fits all. To hit on us as if we are is insulting.
  2. Do ask questions. This is called making conversation. And it’s only polite. You messaged me for one of two reasons: You wanted to know me better, and then have sex with me. Or, you just wanted to have sex with me. Nothing says, “I’m only here for sex,” like a series of statements with no questions attached.
  3. Don’t be creepy. For all you would-be comedians out there: What might come off as a hilarious joke to your friends, can — and very likely will — come off as creepy as hell to strangers online. Know your audience. Jokes about murders are inappropriate until at least the 10th date. (And even then, read the room, man!)
  4. Do actually read a profile before you send a message. If Christianity is important to you, maybe don’t message an atheist. Don’t like smokers? Don’t try to date one. Want someone with killer abs (and to you, I say, shallow, sir!)? Don’t contact a girl who describes her body type as “average.” Learning these facts about a person just takes a quick scan of the OKCupid “Details” column. So skim it. If there are deal breakers, move on, cowboy, and find your Christian, nonsmoking, abs-of-steel goddess elsewhere.
  5. No matter how tempting, don’t get all weird about the fact that you’re online dating. This means no, “I normally don’t do this, but…” or “I’ve never online dated before, LOL!” No need for disclaimers. You’re here. I’m here. We’re here. Let’s just get on with it, shall we?
  6. Do put some thought into your profile. Fill it out completely. It doesn’t take all that long to do, and it’s the first thing she’ll click on after reading your message. If you lose her at that point, all message effort is wasted. Try not to misspell things if you can help it. That will make smart women click off of your profile almost immediately. You don’t want for that to happen — because I have it on great authority that smart women are the best lays.
  7. Do put even more thought into your photos. Shirtless bathroom selfies and almost dick-pics are not going to help you find love. Neither are partial photos of your face, and a series of photos where you hide your face with sunglasses and a hat always. Show us the goods, but not too much. Upload more than one, because it’s nearly impossible to tell anything about a person from a single photo. And if you must include group shots, make sure it’s clear who you are in the picture by including solo shots elsewhere.
  8. Do be yourself. Imagine all the people…being real online. Lennon would have advocated for it if he were still around. Authenticity is attractive. Even if you do get a lady to go on a date with you under false pretenses, that version of you often isn’t available to stand in when it’s D-Day (Date Day). I once had a guy I met up with whose online profile said he was Australian. He was definitely from New Jersey. Did not get a second date. Be real. Be genuine. Be yourself. It’s easy if you try.
  9. Don’t be sad — or desperate. There’s place for charity, and it isn’t in the online dating world. I’m sorry if you’re feeling sorry for yourself, but I’m not sorry enough to invite you into my life with any type of response. Don’t ask strangers things like, “Do you think I’m ugly?” Strangers are not your friends. We are not your support system. To the people out here who do this, here is my response once and for all: No, you’re not ugly, but you’d be way more attractive with a smattering of confidence. In the wise words of drag queen diva RuPaul, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” Let those words sink in deep. Let them wash over you and cleanse you of this disease called self-deprecation and loathing, and then wake up and join the world of the living. People date there. You could be one of those people!

And there you have it: everything you need to get your OKCupid responses, and the quality of those responses, to go up in a big way. Best of luck to you, sir! But only if you’re the first guy, the one who’s trying to get to know someone, and then have sex with that person. To the second guy, the one just there for sex, I say keep up with those bathroom selfies and almost dick-pics! They’re awesome, dude.