Here’s a new article which I wrote as a special to Yahoo! And while I never write emails for others, the request makes perfect sense.

———————————————————— Of all the things that clients (especially men) ask me to help them with, the most common query involves assistance with writing introductory emails.

After all, most people’s profiles don’t exactly give you a ton of material to work with, do they? Ask yourself if what you’re writing sounds completely original.

But when it comes to acting on that statement, most of them don’t. In fact, I think I’m posting this on JDaters Anonymous.

I could be making a vast generalization, but to an extent, this doesn’t matter.

Back when I was a precocious, introverted youth who completely lacked charm, I tried online dating. Over the course of a couple years I, along with a team of friends, split tested multiple profiles, in multiple cities, on various sites, and gauged the opposite sex's responses to different messages, as well as what sequences of messages led to the best response.

Well, you can start by remembering these three basic rules: It’s not that “You’ve got a great smile, let’s go out sometime” is a bad opener. I read your profile and thought it was really amazing. So please look at my profile and if you like what I had to say, write back to me when you get a chance. If you’re too complimentary in that initial email, you can come off as desperate and needy. Still, the question remains: how do you say something original and flirty?

Yours, Evan Every line of this message can be thrown out. Because anyone whom you contact knows by virtue of you writing to them that a) you liked their profile, b) you liked their photo and c) you’d like a reply. That, my friends, is what separates the most successful online daters from the rest of the pack. In this case, I’ve written them for men replying to women, but the steps are applicable to everyone: Every word of it.

Remember, that’s why she wrote it – because she wants you to get to know her, not because she wants to be told for the umpteenth time that she’s hot. NOT the thing you like the most, NOT the thing you find most attractive, NOT the thing you have in common. It might be how she doesn’t know how to program her Ti Vo. Yes, you think it’s cool that she also likes Robert De Niro movies and skiing in Vail. The sillier and more over-the-top your email, the funnier it’ll be.

Men who treat women as unique and interesting individuals stand a much greater shot of receiving a response. The most interesting tidbit in her profile is the thing that sounds like it couldn’t have been written by anybody else in the world. Whatever it is, take her quirky tidbit and turn it into your pickup line. The most effective way to catch someone’s attention in an initial email is with fiction. Because the truth, as we’ve established, is boring. But does any of that sound like a good pickup line to you? A good joke doesn’t require an explanation – it’s obviously a joke.

The thing is, even if she’s interesting, she most likely wrote a whole bunch of clichés in her profile: “I’m nice, smart, kind, warm, funny, honest and family-oriented. I’m looking for my best friend, lover and partner in crime for a lifetime of love and laughter.” (Scary how easy it is to approximate the typical online dating profile, isn’t it? Even a specific response like “I noticed you enjoy biking. For example, if you’re writing to the foot model, you might say: Let’s drink to our fashion careers, Evan Sure, it’s a little goofy, but people actually respond to this stuff. Because it’s different, it’s audacious and, in a strange way, it’s kind of smart. It’s not an idle compliment or a generic, “Ooh, look what we have in common” line. Start your comment in the subject heading of the email, like this… Talk to you soon, Evan If these kinds of emails don’t work for you, no problem. Just keep in mind that the confidence it takes to write an email like that is compelling.

It’s a joke and, as we all know, people like people who make them laugh. I can fix your computer, landscape your backyard and probably even hotwire your car, but, for some reason, Ti Vo programming seems to elude me as well. Playing it safe is fine, but if an attractive person has dozens, if not hundreds, of options, you need to shake things up a little bit to break through the clutter. Interesting piece, which I’ll have to parse at length when I have the time…but it leads me to throw out a theory I’ve been kicking around.