guest column by Linsey!

1. general recommendations

2. constructing your profile

3. cliches you should probably avoid

4. the worst cliche of them all

5. logical blunders the polyamorous should avoid

6. HEADSHOTS (post one!)

7. be open to the "just friends" option

8. messaging / netiquette

9. what's next? when to meet her offline?

10. keeping yourself safe

11. potential pitfalls or "This confusing thing happened and . . . ???"s

12. Linsey gives some guest advice

Linsey is a friend of lesbotronic, and very funny and insightful.

mix and match and meet and fall in love or - at the very least - receive a message from a stranger

Hey Ladies! Are you looking for other ladies who are looking for ladies? You've come to the right place!

I'm here to give a little guidance on how to get the girl or, at the very least, try your very best to get a girl to send you a message after you're expertly matched up with one.

Super! Let's dive right in.

I suppose that, at the end of the day, the most important thing is to be honest about what you're looking for. Are you in the market for . . .

a hiking buddy?

a one night stand?

someone to love?

someone to dominate you one weekend every month?

something subversive?

Get to know yourself before you start; understand what it is that you really want or need.

If you're looking for someone who will pull your hair and paddle your naked ass, don't write in your profile that you're simply looking for someone who loves karaoke, knitting yarn animals and going antiquing, because it's pretty safe to say that the great people matcher in the series of tubes we call the Internet could set you up with an unsuspecting knitter who just wants a friend or partner to get drunk with them and and sing "Build Me Up Buttercup" in a room full of strangers.

At the same time, it's probably best not to be too specific.

Sure, if you're into certain things, you want to get that across, but I'm a firm believer in niceties. Before I met and gay-married my lady, I didn't start conversations with a laundry list of my sexual feats and preferences, I eased my way into it with discussions about neutral subjects like politics, religion, and the health benefits of my Juiceman juicer.

Maybe, first, just say hi and introduce yourself and let your prospective mate get to know a little bit about you. If you need some suggestions for conversation starters, try these:

Where did you grow up?

Do you like to travel?

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

What's the strangest food you've ever eaten?

If you won ten million dollars in the lottery, what would you do with the money?

What's your favorite type of donut? You don't like donuts? What's wrong with you?

This, of course, might not apply if you're not in the mood for knowing someone. If all you want is a quick and dirty get-together, then none of the above is really all that important. I guess you can just dive right into the detailed descriptions of what you want that special stranger in a dark alley to do to you/what you want to do to that special stranger in a dark alley.

I guess.

I don't know, really, because I'm not a fan of dark alleys or sex with strangers.

There was that one time but it was really physically and emotionally uncomfortable and she stole my Melissa Ferrick CD afterwards which I'd only bought, like, the week before and probably hadn't even had a chance to listen to all the way through.

Shit! It still makes me so mad!

transition from strangers to friends and meeting in a neutral place

Once you've "met" someone online and had a chance to ask them some important questions to get to know them, you can start working on getting together for a face-to-face meeting.

Try a few phone conversations first.

If you work out a mutually agreeable time to talk on the phone and go through all the particulars to set it up, don't back out of it unless there is an emergency. By emergency, I don't mean you suddenly have to go shopping or have sex with a woman you met last night at the local gay bar.

Don't make promises you can't, or won't, keep.

That's called being an asshole and you're not one of those, are you? Surely not.

Once you've mastered the art of phone conversation and made a new friend, it's time to meet in a neutral location.

These type of meetings are especially important because they will separate the liars who can't be honest because they don't yet know how to love themselves for who they are from those who love themselves, or at least like themselves enough to be honest about what they look like and who they are, here, inside.

I once met someone online and told her I'd been married and was recently divorced. I also told her a few other lies because, at first, I didn't think things would ever progress beyond that seedy little chat room and I wasn't happy enough with myself to be honest with her.

You don't want to do that here, because lesbotronic is for people who want to meet other people. It's not about people who want to lie about themselves and then feel too embarrassed to ever really meet other people.

If you're feeling like you're not pretty enough or skinny enough or tall enough or short enough or if you think you're too pretty, then you need to reevaluate what it is you're here for.

Open your heart and your mind and maybe you'll meet someone you never would otherwise have allowed yourself to meet.

Try to be honest about who you are because once you get to a point where you want to meet someone whom you've come to really know and enjoy, and they want to meet you, you don't want to be in the position to have to tell her that you're not really a 25-year-old divorcee living on her own for the first time when, in reality, you're a 20-year-old college dropout who just had to move back in with her parents.

Trust me on this.

When you arrange a meeting, make sure it is somewhere neutral and public. A restaurant, a park, a museum, the Starbucks on the corner of 4th and Main - but not the one of the left hand of the street - the one on the right, next to the Tully's.

This will ensure that other people are around in case your date is a little crazy in the brain.

Maybe bring her a little something to let her know you've been listening to what she's been saying during your phone conversations or in her emails.

Does she love a certain author who just published a new book?

Does she love tulips and they're in season?

Does she love kittens and you found one in your neighbor's house that you just know she'd love?

It doesn't have to be expensive - and for God's sake, don't steal your neighbor's cat for her, it was a joke - but get her a little something to say "Hi, I'm fond of you, and I found this little something-something that I thought you might like."

Unless you've had extensive conversations about music, it's probably too early for a mix of your favorite love songs, so avoid that for now.

Make it generic enough that it isn't creepy, but special enough that she'll know you're thinking about who she is as a person and not just about how hot her legs will look spread out on your bed.

The first meeting is the most difficult hurdle in this online dating business. It's when all your expectations and all her expectations come together for mutual disappointment coupled with wild excitement. No one is ever going to look like you expect them to and no one will ever act quite like they did when they had anonymity on their side. Give yourselves some time to settle in and get comfortable before judging one another.

If you've managed to get this far, it is probably because you found something you liked in this stranger across from you and sure, maybe she has smaller boobs, a weird haircut, or a crooked smile . . . but she's still the same person who made you laugh on the phone the night before.

It is entirely possible that there isn't going to be a spark when you first meet, and even a possibility that there is not going to be a spark a week or month from then, too. Maybe this relationship that's developed online, over the phone and now, in person, is only ever going to be platonic.

It's possible, let's be honest about that, but what's the harm in that? Not only have you met someone new that you've come to like, but you've opened yourself up to a new experience.

You can't write it off because you didn't end up falling in love.

Of course, if you've found yourself meeting someone who has completely and utterly deceived you in every way, you just need to know that this person is probably lonely and running on empty when it comes to self-esteem. This doesn't excuse the lies, but it can explain it.

Be gentle and be honest. That's all you can really do.

Now, if things have gone well up to this point, you'll continue meeting and progressing in your relationship as if it were any other relationship cultivated in the real world, outside of messages and matchmaking.

This is where things can bloom, if you let them.

This is also where things can fall flat.

The real world is where you'll really get to know someone - you'll meet their friends and family, see how they live and otherwise start to unravel the mystery of your potential match made in heaven. This is just regular-ass dating - where you'll get to know someone on an intimate level and have an opportunity to see behind the proverbial curtain, where they're hiding their secrets.

Behind my curtain, my lady found some anal-retentive tendencies coupled with a 12-year old boy's sense of humor.

Behind hers, I found a propensity for letting dirty dishes pile up in the sink and toenails that, even when trimmed to the nubs, are sharp and pointy.

Welcome to the wonderful world of dating!

oh, NO! don't do THAT! how to make love the uncouth heathen way!

I'm pretty sure you're well acquainted with the female form but, just in case you aren't or you're rusty on the subject or, you know, you want some pointers - I'm here for you. Here are some tips for when things progress and you find yourself with a naked lady in your bed, or her bed, or in the shower, or on the kitchen table or, that one time, in the Gap dressing room.

The best part of a woman is that she's soft. Her lips are soft and, in my mind, they taste like bubble gum. You'll want to spend some time here, enjoying your lady's lips. Kiss them, lick them a little, bite them softly. Don't be afraid to make out for a while. In my experience, the stingier a lady is with her kisses, the more selfish she is in bed. Just sayin'.

LISTEN. Listen to the words coming out of your partner's mouth.

Is she saying "Stop?" It's a safe bet that if she is, she means STOP DOING THAT.

Listen for the subtle noises she is making - is she grimacing or groaning with delight?

Peek at her face - is she in ecstasy or in pain?

Pay attention to her body - is she recoiling or is she relaxing?

These are, perhaps, the most important means of understanding if what you're doing is producing the intended response. If you're getting the opposite reaction to what you were hoping for, try something different.

The best source of information when it comes to what a lady likes in bed is - AHA - the lady in the bed. Ask her what she wants.

If she doesn't know, ask her to tell you if she enjoys what you're doing or if she wants to try something she saw on the L Word or in a book or on some website she was reading.

If neither of you have any ideas, read a few books together and see what interests you or just experiment.

Every woman is different. Some like it rougher than others, some can't stand it when you pinch or pull hair. Be willing to try new things, but also be open to suggestion from your partner who you're trying to please.

I'm a firm believer that in any relationship, no matter how experienced either partner is, it's best to start with the basics. Put the toys in the drawer and work with what you've got - your lips, hands, hips, legs, fingers and tongue.

Experiment with pressure, with sucking, with nibbles, with touching and exploring the person in front of you. Does she like it when you tickle her back?

When you bite her neck? When you playfully slap her behind?

If you can please a woman with nothing but your own body, then you're in good shape, and I'd like to invite you over to my house.

I'm just kidding about that last part.

(Don't tell my wife I just said that.)

my last bits of advice are these:

Have fun.

Don't send nude/semi-nude or otherwise provocative pictures of yourself to prospective partners unless:

1. they ask for it and

2. you can trust that they will keep those pictures confidential for all eternity and not disseminate them with your name and address on Craigslist either right away or ten years in the future when you're breaking up and fighting over who gets to keep the season tickets for your favorite WNBA team

(In general, it's probably best to keep your lady berries to yourself until you're comfortable showing them to someone in person.)

Don't pressure yourself or someone else into an intimate moment that will later be a regret.

When someone says, "No, put that salami back in the refrigerator!" just do it. Don't argue.

If you have a medical complication that could be harmful to your partner, be honest. No one wants a surprise case of crabs.

Don't end up in bed on the first date. Try to give yourselves a chance to get to know one another before putting your fist in her hoo-ha.

NEVER, EVER, EVER, and I mean NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER fly to a foreign country to meet someone you don't know with the expectation that it will result in something other than complete and total disappointment the moment you land or, if you're lucky, three months later when you get home and she writes you a break-up email telling you she is sleeping with a married, pregnant woman who just wants to "experiment a little." THERE IS NO OTHER, HAPPIER ENDING IN THIS SCENARIO.

It takes longer than four days to fall in love with someone.


Wait at least a month before giving your heart away.

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