Dating for losers

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'' So perhaps the sense that you don't have to settle as much will bear out in more solid bonds.'' Along with large dating sites like Match.com, which boasts nearly 800,000 subscribers who pay .95 a month each, and 8 million separate profiles, numerous dating sites now exist for every imaginable group of people.

Generally, there is no charge for posting a profile on a Web dating site, but to contact a prospective date, most sites require users to pay a subscription fee.

Greg Bush, 34, an emergency room doctor in Huntington Beach, Calif., swears by Eharmony, one of several sites that profess to take a more scientific approach to the matchmaking process.

Prospective subscribers to Eharmony, founded by a psychologist, fill out a long questionnaire, and the service says they are rejected if it appears a match for them cannot be found.'' She's gorgeous,'' said Mr.

As it did for book buying and auctioning used toys, the Internet reduces the transaction costs of meeting romantic prospects.

With pictures, long essays, sometimes even videos -- and a cut-to-the-chase etiquette that encourages pointed questions in e-mail messages -- singles say they can learn far more about potential partners online than they can by sizing them up across a crowded room or wringing information from a friend.'' The traditional institutionalized means for getting people together are not working as well as they did previously,'' said Norval Glenn, a sociology professor at the University of Texas.

Web sites like (Time Out New York), and offer online dating services by pooling a collection of profiles submitted by their younger, more urban subscribers, through a template provided by their New York-based company, Spring Street Networks.

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Buss, author of '' The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating'' (Revised edition, Basic Books, 2003).

Helen Gaitanis, 35, of Los Angeles searches only for white men aged 33 to 43 who are at least 5-foot-9. Gaitanis found that when she did send an e-mail message to a man, he almost never responded.

She refrains from filtering out brown eyes, despite her strong preference for blue. Instead, she is concentrating on refining her profile and updating it often enough that it does not get lost in search results, as profiles are generally ranked in order of the latest updated.

When you first meet someone, character traits are not usually obvious (unless he is a complete moron or meathead).

But as time goes on and you date someone, character traits are revealed.

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