Your welcome back gift: The ABC’s of Internet lovin’

Dear (hopefully) tanned and relaxed College students,

First off, I’d like to apologize for the fact that I wasn’t there for you all summer. Surely you came across tons of relationship issues in your hometown – avoiding the ex, meeting new people at parties or bars or possibly traveling into new, uncharted sexual territory.

And to those who somehow balanced internships, jobs, annoying parents, friends from home and a healthy sex life – kudos, it’s not easy. And to those of you whose sexual encounters and romances were limited to “Skinemax” and “Laguna Beach” DVDs, have no fear! Fall is a great time for new beginnings and new relationships (and don’t forget to check out the freshmen and new transfers).

Since I have yet to receive any questions or pleas from you folks, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to talk about something that is often on my mind, even in these stressful summer months. After receiving my fifth “poke” on this summer from a random sketchball, I got to thinking a lot about the online sphere of romance.

There is certainly a loose set of rules that are understood by most about everything from cybersex to online dating to – but nobody’s ever written them down! So before you IM a new classmate to find out what he’s wearing or poke every single cute boy on your floor, take note of the things I’ve learned the hard way.

 Always know a person you want to meet through a reliable friend so you can confirm facts and keep safe.

 Beware of people who needlessly talk themselves up with comments like, “Did I mention I was Homecoming Queen/King?” or “I can tie a Twizzler in a knot with my tongue.” They’re embellishing to compensate for something.

 Complete honesty is important when talking about things like occupation and height, but avoid questions concerning penis size and your “number.”

 Don’t reveal too much online to a person you’re interested in dating. If there are no mysteries when you hang out in the real world, you’ve missed a lot of the fun of first dates.

 E-mails can be cute and safer than chatting on AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). It’ll be harder for your E-beau to get fresh with you, and you’ll have more response time if caught off guard.

 Feelings can develop really quickly in the cyber world – even more quickly than in person because there is less awkward silence and more honesty. Be careful – the online chemistry may be in-person fizzle, so don’t invest too much love or hope.

 Getting freaky with a classmate or friend online es muy dangeroso. The roommate, an ex or your professor (you never know) may be watching and it could be as awkward the next day as the morning after real sex.

 Hotness or beautiful features may be exaggerated in online pictures. We’ve come a long way since Microsoft Paint.

 Illicit behavior in the online world can get you in real trouble in the real world. Stalking, harassment or unwanted advances are just as illegal when typed as when spoken. A little copy and paste can get you a restraining order or kicked out of school. Be nice and be smart.

 Just-for-fun flirting or a little Facebook poking never hurt anyone. But if you plan on actually hanging out with the person, think about it long and hard. People tend to live in a fantasy world when talking online, but those relationships can turn just as ugly and complicated as your real-world ones.

 Kinky remarks or behavior in conversations could be really embarrassing when you meet. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to someone face-to-face.

 Lol, LMAO, ROFL, J/K . annoying!

 Maybe they’re really five feet two inches tall with a lisp and a low IQ. Just keep that in mind.

 Never ever meet someone alone, or at a house or secluded place. In fact, like I said, if the person is not a friend of a friend or acquaintance, it could be especially dangerous. Bring the mutual friend along. Remember to be cautious even if you think you know the person.

 Oddly enough, some online couples do make it. Don’t be embarrassed if you’re caught surfing on In fact, that’s probably safer than meeting a stranger from MySpace, which is definitely a bad idea. Stick to sites where people are identified by their real names.

 Parents just won’t understand. Explain that it’s just like a more sophisticated version of the classifieds in the Sunday paper.

 Questioning a person’s intentions (hook-up, friendly hangout, wild-monkey sex, etc.) is OK. But don’t start naming your future kids – that’s just weird.

 Really planning every detail of your future hangout – “I’m going to take your hand and kiss it while looking in your eyes” (direct quote, don’t ask) – is Creepy with a capital ‘C,’ not cute, and makes for major awkwardness.

 Stop drunk booty-IMing people – for the love of God! Waking up to several IMs to the effect of “We’re over, leave me alone” or “Be there in a few .” is just plain painful.

 Teasing is a big part of flirting – but proceed with caution. You don’t know this person’s history, personality or soft spots.

 Ugly and obnoxious people have computers, too.

 Virtual dating can be fun, but consider turning off your computer and taking a walk down the hall, or hanging out with a friend in the student center. It’s more likely you’ll find your true love in person.

 Why not reserve cybersex as a type of foreplay with someone you’re already intimate with rather than an icebreaker with someone you hardly know?

 X/Y/Z . Follow your gut, and if you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe, peace out.

Hope this helped you some . please send me questions. I live for this stuff! Be safe and let’s get it on.