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10 DATING DOS AND DON’TS FOR A NEW ECONOMY

DO - Be picky about the right things. Debt level, willingness to work hard: acceptable. Amount of hair, favorite TV show, preferred political blogs: not so much.

DON'T - Trust the guys with the best online-dating profiles. Says Sharyn Bires, who’s distilled her dating experiences and advice in an email that’s gone viral, the men who look like the best financial prospects “are ALWAYS douche bags. ALWAYS.”

DO - Expect to pick up the tab if you ask someone out. But if you’re the askee, be prepared to split the bill anyway; between the economy and gender politics, the whole “who pays” issue is so confusing that hardly anyone gets it right.

DON'T - Go out for dinner on the first or second date unless you can pay. (Even then, it may be too much pressure.) Coffee or a happy hour drink creates much less stress. Save the coupon deals for after a few dates (and the all-important money conversation).

DO - Keep online chitchat to a minimum. Time is money, chemistry is everything, and (sad but true) long funny/ flirty exchanges just set you up for disappointment. If you like someone’s profile, says matchmaker Beth Cook, “get out and meet him or her in person immediately.”

DON'T - Post photos that call attention to how much money you have (or don’t). Also scary: sexy, glamorous, and/or workout shots. Much more appealing: you enjoying the simple things (but please, no photos of you eating). Friends are good, too—as long as they’re not wearing bridesmaid’s dresses or looking too drunk. “If you have a dog,” Bires adds, “use it.”

DO - Make sure your bath mat is clean. Because when you’re living with a bunch of roommates while trying to date, lack of grossness is really important.

DON'T - Introduce your new squeeze to your family over oatmeal. And if you’re bringing your boy/girlfriends to your folks’ house overnight, never allow either of you to leave your room unless you’re fully dressed and your hair is combed.

DO - Feel free to invite someone you like/date/used to date to join your LinkedIn network. Because you need all the business contacts you can get.

DON'T - Facebook-friend anyone you’re crushing/dating until it gets mutually serious, or there will be cyberstalking. And even if you are serious, do you really want to know?

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