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.

When I was in my 20s, I thought that dating someone who was cute and liked the same music as me would lead to something special.

I went to all the punk, garage, and psych rock shows I could, and I cruised all over Friendster (the old Facebook) looking at music profiles of dudes. I flirted my buns off, got tons of dates, and was disappointed (to say the least) when all I had at the end of the day was a handful of acquaintances, a few short-lived lovers, and plenty of why-didn't-things-work-out questions to ponder.

Once I realized that rock music aficionados were not panning out, I tried artists and writers—this time on OkCupid. He better have a well-written profile and a great list of literary works! Perhaps gallery_lover should be my lover? My thinking was that if we both appreciated visual or literary expression, we'd appreciate each other, right? Wrong.

I began to realize (not that long ago) that dating someone who likes the same things as you doesn't mean you're going to have a romantic connection. In fact, based on my odds, it means you certainly won't!

Plus, it's awfully boring dating yourself. But this is what we try to do when we go online looking for dates. We "advance search" for very specific people: 28 years old, 5'4" to 5'6", Pisces or Cancer, income 60-70,000, likes cats, Kosher diet, 4+ star average attractiveness… It's absurd.

Newsflash: The person who is good for you is not going to be exactly like you. They are going to have different interests (which you will learn from). They are going to challenge you (which will aid in your personal development). They will make you laugh and inspire you with crazy ideas (that an opposite sex version of you couldn't think up). And they might be a bit out of your ideal age or height range.

I'm telling you this because I want you to find love. Get less picky and widen those online searches (and please remember to be human and look for dates in the real world).

When you fall for the guy or gal who defies all of your expectations, you're gonna look back and think how silly it was to be searching for someone so particular. Trust me. I’m doing exactly that right now.

Photo by BotheredByBees