Beth Cook is a dating coach and wing-woman who throws private dating events for San Francisco’s most awesome and unattached. She also writes and draws about her own dating experiences and would love to hear from you. Want advice? Have advice? Send her an email.

If you're a male between the ages of 30 and 40, living in San Francisco, and on OkCupid, I know who you are.

Online dating isn't very anonymous in smallish urban cities like SF, Austin, and Portland—and I'm sure it's even less so in tiny places like Cincinnati and Little Rock. Can you imagine being a single college professor in Springfield, IL? No wonder they always end up dating their students!

I constantly see people I recognize on the street, in coffee shops, on the bus…and it only takes a few minutes of running through brain files to conclude that I've peeped their profile on OkCupid.

All of the sudden, I feel like an undercover cop. I know that this guy on the bus is 32 years old, heading downtown to work at his marketing job, likes spicy food and is cuter in person than he looked on his trip to Egypt.

These OkC run-ins are priceless. If there is one reason to join an online dating site, it's this: you will be able to spot who is single and looking IRL (in real life; it's what the kids are saying).

Half the battle is finding out whether some handsome stranger is an option, right? By stalking eligible bachelors and bachelorettes online, you'll have a leg up on the rest of the city's regular daters! (Tip: Join the most popular sites in your area. Ask your peers what they use.)

Not only will you know which men and women are available, you'll be able to look at them and assess whether you feel pings of attraction. If no, pointless date avoided! If yes, scoot right on over there and strike up a convo! I've done it. You can too.

Photo by mislav-m