Flavour columnist Zowie Edwards went on ten dates to test the internet dating waters and report back to Flavour readers on London’s single male population (it was a tough job, but someone had to do it!). Fans of the column will know her antics saw her get drunk and walk into the side of a tube train, have issues with a revolving door in a swanky, shiny bar and nearly fall off the steps underneath the Eros statue in Piccadilli at the sight of her very own Prince Charming (with whom she is now happily coupled-up – We told you it was a tough job!). After all this ‘research’, she now brings her six top internet dating tips:

1. Beware the black-and-white photo!
Internet dating profiles are a bit like going perfume shopping. At first, each new scent dazzles you with its uniqueness, after a while they all start to smell the same and in the end you settle for the one that comes in the nicest bottle. When you consider that almost every profile will say something along the lines of ‘I’m a laid back guy with a good sense of humour who enjoys socialising’, going on raw animal magnetism isn’t a bad ploy. HOWEVER beware the black-and-white photo, especially if it’s a lone photo, unaccompanied by other, colour photos! Black-and-white hides a multitude of sins and you could find yourself, like me in Week Six, on a date with a guy who looks old enough to be your Granddad and you cannot look at without feeling the strong desire to iron.

2. Don’t drink too much
A couple of glasses of vino to calm your nerves and reduce your conversational inhibitions is fine. A couple of bottles of vino and you could find yourself walking into the side of a tube train (just to pluck an example out of thin air). In all seriousness, being drunk might affect your safety too (leaving aside the potential for hideous embarrassment) so just learn to say no!

3. Research the Venue
Wherever you end up meeting, make sure you are appropriately attired. That way you wont have to watch your unfeasibly attractive date been draped over by scantily clad, endless-legged, swishy haired harlots while you lament bowling up in the most casual of garb (because you wanted him to see how effortlessly sexy you are) and not only sticking out like the proverbial sore thumb, but feeling about as sexy as a damp dishcloth.

4. Don’t order spaghetti
If you are lucky enough to be taken out to eat, avoid spaghetti – It is impossible to eat in an alluring fashion and you’ll end up splashing pasta sauce on your top/chin.

5. Pre-plan feasible get-out excuses.
Most guys are familiar with the ‘oooh, my phone is ringing, who could this be? Oooh it’s my best mate. Better answer. What? You’re having an emergency best mate? You need me? I’m so sorry, I’m going to have to go’ ploy. In fact, they most probably have a similar plan in place for if you should turn out to be a spaghetti eating, inappropriately dressed, drunken nightmare. It’s usually best to limit the first date to a quick drink or coffee – You can always choose to stay longer if you’re getting on like a residence in dire need of the emergency services. That way, you don’t have to do what I did and feign an urgent need to go to Tesco before it closes to buy washing powder (lamest. Excuse. Ever).

6. Reduce Your Expectations
You know that dream bloke you have in your head? The one with the looks of an Adonis, the wealth of Alan Sugar, the charm of [*insert your fav celebrity heartthrob here*] and is the bad boy that only your particular brand of good looks and effortless charm can tame? Well, I’m sorry to have to break this to you, ladies, but he doesn’t exist outside the realms of your imagination. My foray into internet dating taught me something – I had zero expectations and therefore when the dates were hideous I laughed (and made a mental note to tell you lot all about it) and when they were good, well, I ended up with a boyfriend. A boyfriend I had no intention of ever finding. So, relax, stop analyzing each man for signs that he is your future husband and just enjoy yourself. Mr Right comes along when you least expect it.