of Use, Privacy
Schaefer, in her book "Man with Farm
Seeks Woman with Tractor: The Best and Worst Personal Ads of All
Time" [Thunder's Mouth Press, April 2005] presents a collection of
personal ads from the past 300 years. Some excerpts:
MAN, MODERATE circumstances and who has glass eye, would like to
form the acquaintance of young girl who has a glass eye or some
other deformity not more severe; object, matrimony.
— The Coshocton Daily Age Ohio, August 17, 1903
"Eliza, you can return to the house. The boil on my nose is gone." --
Godey's Lady's Book April, 1873
"A lady, young, pretty, bright and poor, desires to make the acquaintance of a man with the opposite qualities, with a view to a happy marriage."
with permission. © 2005 by Laura Schaefer.
Laura's Book at Amazon.com
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"A Practical Guide to Successful Online Dating"
Example mistakes and Profile writing tips
Following are some 1)
common mistakes (call
them potential profile killers...)
in online dating profiles, and 2) profile writing tips-
ideas on the kind of things one can write about in their dating profile.
best way to write a profile is to imagine yourself meeting someone
new for the first time in a casual setting- a bar, a coffee shop,
or at a friend's party. Think about the kind of things you would
tell about yourself to this person- your dating profile is the
same idea extended over the Internet.
or click here if you want to see the profile writing tips first)
...."I am an honest,
imaginative (..other personal adjectives) person..."
Very few people think
they are not, this is very subjective! Avoid using
personal adjectives in your ad. Define yourself
concretely-better to say "I am a guitar player
in a band, I write novels,
or I am a cardiologist" rather than "I am creative
..."I am sexy,
flirtatious,... I like kisses on my back, full body massages from my boyfriend/girlfriend..."
sexual innuendos out of your profile. You
will have plenty of time to exchange raunchy emails if you are
addicted to writing sexual stuff... but in the first impression, keep them
out. Would you say this to a guy or a girl in a
bar who you met for the first time? If not, then don't say it in your ad
am a funny, witty person with a great sense of humor...."
Funny and witty people
never write that directly. Instead of saying this, add a touch of
humor to your profile. The correct answers
to the questions "Are you a funny person?" or "Do you have a good
sense of humor" is always a "No!"
ex-husband/ex-wife used to spend too much time at work, with her
friends, not leaving enough time for us..." or "my ex-girlfriend
was so beautiful, you have to be very pretty too..."
Avoid talking about previous relationships in your
profile. Take the new person as they are; no one likes being compared
to previous lovers and partners.
...."I like taking
walks by the ocean, or watching TV, or going camping with my
Most people like these things, and these are hardly good criteria for
finding a partner (it is unlikely you won't like going out with
someone just because they don't like walking the beach or watching TV
with you). Your hobbies is where you put these things, and more
specifically-e.g. snow-boarding, or playing basketball.
...."I am looking
for a REAL man/woman, with all the letters of REAL..."
Sounds like you have
had some bad experiences in relationships, but that's over now. Come
with a positive attitude to online dating, ready to meet new and
...."I like blonde
women, but if you are dark-haired and very beautiful, write me anyway,
maybe you can change my mind...."
Turn-off to both blonde
women and dark-haired women. Don't play both sides of the coin,
generally backfires. Better not to say anything if you are not sure.
...."I am not
interested in guys who are bitter and boring..."
No one is. Use the Ad
mostly to tell what you like, not what you don't like. Just as in real
life introductions, agreeability is a must have in dating profiles.
"I hate talking/writing
about myself here..."
Displays a non-serious attitude towards online
dating. You must talk about yourself in an online dating profile,
that's what it's for, even if you don't like it. Imagine a basketball
player who comes to a game and says "I don't like playing
basketball"...won't it put a bad taste in the viewers' mouths?
but casual approach
to writing your
personal ad. You want
to let the people get
to know you, but at
the same time, your
come across as a boring
it with some humor,
exclamation marks; make it fun and interesting.
A good profile has 300-350 words, with 250-300 words for
yourself, and 50-100 words describing the kind of person you are
Profiles which are shorter and say something like
"if you want to know more, just ask me" are skipped over by
serious online daters., they would rather contact someone who
already has the information on their dating profile. Everyone is
trying to optimize their time, and with hundreds of profiles to
choose from, any and all reasons, right or wrong, are used to
narrow the pool of potential dates quickly.
your career history and plans. What kind of jobs you have
held, what your future career aspirations are, etc. These are
generally looked at as positive. Think of it as the first conversation
you are having with someone, don't we usually talk about we do?
Excellent stuff to write about in a profile. Be brief, of course- you
don’t want to go on and on about selling shoes, delivering the mail,
or designing and fabricating cars, for that matter.
you have children, tell a little about them. This is an important
part of your life, and interests the people interested in dating you.
Mention their ages, and if they live with you. Don't describe them too much-but giving their ages for example, makes you
come across as a normal parent.
you have moved around a bit in your life, mention the places where
you have lived. It gets more people interested in you and wanting
to write to you. For example, if you are presently living in Los Angeles but have lived in
Dallas, someone who has a Texas connection is more likely to write to
you. If you have lived internationally, all the better-people are
always interested in life in other places and cultures.
you have just moved to where you are living now, mention that. People
love playing tourist guides. They are eager to know new faces from
other parts of the country or the world. They can also help you settle
down in the town more easily-so even if nothing happens romance-wise,
you can always make some good friends.
you speak a foreign language, mention that. It attracts attention.
Along the same lines, mention a little of your family genealogy, as
people may find a connection there as well (e.g. I have a Scottish or
about how you entertain yourself. This is where you can be funny and
witty, so exercise your imagination. Mention about your social
circle. Are you a social person? Do you have many friends? Do you
go out with them a lot? What activities do you do with them? If you
have a good relationship with your siblings, your parents, and your
family, mention it. Mention if they live close to you, and how often
you see them.
if you like pets, and have any of your own.
you are talking about the person you are looking for, be clear in your
requirements, but make sure you don’t limit yourself unnecessarily.
So if you don't want to date men who have kids, say so. Or if you
don't want to go out with smokers, say it clearly in your ad. But again, be
careful-you are restricting potential mates here, so put things only
if you are very sure what your potential partner absolutely must or
must not have.
if you are looking for a stable relationship or if you are just
looking to make friends and will see how things go from there
("looking for nice and interesting people to hang out