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The Perfect Personal Ad

Aug 18, 2007
Approach your advert by first listing your 10 top positive traits. Think about the qualities you appreciate in a person. What is it you look for in others? What do you think is your most appealing feature (bear in mind that everybody says "eyes")? Do you consider yourself to be intelligent with some degree of intellectual acumen? Then don't be scared to show it. Be careful though.

If you find yourself well beyond 10, with the list running away with itself, then you've probably unearthed the cause of your single life right there. No one likes a smart-arse, much less one who doesn't know when to stop talking about how great they are. Get over yourself for just a minute and you may just get a girlfriend:

Without love, it doesn't matter if you have all the qualifications in the world. Which I have. Please write for full list. I also have all the money in the world and look like Jude Law. Yes, I can provide a photo. M, 33, Ottershaw. When named I am the man apart. Box no. 4343.

Most personals focus on making the advertiser look attractive. This is absolutely correct, but making yourself attractive in a personal ad isn't always as important as making yourself seen. There's every likelihood that you'll be appearing on a page with 100 others, with each advertiser claiming to be desperately good- looking or intelligent.

Try to be different, don't just focus on physical attributes. Stand out from the crowd. If the ads collected in They Call Me Naughty Lola are testimony to anything, it's that standing out gets you read. Bear in mind, though, that "attractive" and "different" don't have to be contradictory terms:

My animal passions would satisfy any woman, if only it weren't for the filibustering of this damned colon. And the chafing of these infernal hospital sheets. Write now to M, 83, for ward visiting hours and a list of approved solids. Box no. 2377.

That said, approaching a personal ad isn't the same as getting dressed up for a date. Yes, first impressions last, but just because you might wear a slimming black number for that first wine-bar meeting doesn't mean you have to suck your gut in with your personal ad. What's the point of being euphemistic about yourself in the hope of getting someone to respond when your aim is actually to meet them? If your ad is successful then, presumably, they're going to find out that "cuddly" or "more to love" actually means you have to bathe in bed with a sponge on the end of a stick:

Hoxton salad-dodger (42 - my age and my waist; M, my sex not my coat size, that's strictly XL). WLTM chub-ster with an interest in red meat and mustardy dressings. Free first Tuesday of every month, Slimmer's World every Wednesday. Box no. 1275.

Finally, and keep this firmly in mind, there are certain things that should never be touched upon in a personal ad. For example, it's vulgar to mention income or debt. Mentioning that you're divorced is fine, but going into the details of the break-up and subsequent acrimony is most certainly out.

Similarly, court appearances and medical histories are absolutely to be avoided. How you came to be in a personal column in the first place - be it in the London Review of Books or elsewhere - will not intrigue the casual reader in quite the way you hope it will. For now at least, let's keep some of those skeletons firmly in the closet.
About the Author
Rod hewitt is 27 years old and lives in Portland, Oregon, webprogrammer and web designer, owner of Paquera a brazilian dating site.
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