Abigail Wright's pre-date ritual of selecting the dress and the shoes has an additional component these days: point, click, and investigate.
"Just going online and checking to make sure that your date isn't a sex offender or something like that," Wright said.
Wright learned the ins and outs of background-checking her prospective paramours in a class designed to help you do just that.
"InvestiDate" is the brainchild of 35-year-old Maria Coder, a PR manager who has turned her own dating disappointments into must-do's and don'ts for others.
In a rented Midtown space, she teaches techniques that help mostly women, but sometimes me, figure out if their dates are who they say they are in online profiles, whether they're married, or worse.
"They're going to tell you only the flattering things. No one says, hi I'm an axe murderer let's go out on a date. So you have to do your due diligence," Coder said.
For decoding online profiles and potential liars, Coder suggests using "Gender Genie" which determines if the profile is written by a man or a woman.
For more serious vetting, there's criminalcheck.com.
Abigail Wright says some online detective work kept a bad date from becoming a bigger problem.
"I wasn't sure to take a second date with him or not and I did a little research and found out he actually had a criminal history. I decided not to give him a second chance," Wright said.
Among the other tips: how dual, online profiles can help you weed out the worthless, and how to verify whether he, or she, really is, say, a doctor or investment banker.
"I would say interesting is the right word for it because there were pointers that I didn't think about," said A.J., an InvestiDate student.
"With this class, you can sort of pick and choose what information you want to know about the people," Wright said.
Coder says that really is the point: to give you the power to make an informed dating decision.
"If you want to date an alcoholic gambler that's going to swindle away all his money and possibly yours, that's fine. Just know that that's what you have on your hands," Coder said.
For more information please visit: http://www.investidateyourdate.com/