Knife Man

How not to write a personal ad

No Jerks.

I always seem to date losers.

No men who have issues with their mother.

You must bathe regularly.

You must not be afraid to hold the door open for a woman.

You must not be a sexist pig who insists upon holding the door open for a woman.

You ever see those in personal ads? You ever read most of those in a one personal ad? This isn't a personal ad. This is my blog so I'm going to go ahead and rant a bit about all of the stupid shit I'm seeing in personal ads which pretty much guarantees that I ain't gonna answer it. And the number one thing which guarantees that a lot of decent guys (an exclusive club of which I am probably not a member) is seeing a list of very negative things which tells me this:

You're going to be picking apart every negative thing about me you can find.

Then I'm going to be the next loser in your next ad.

Can anyone give me any reason whatsoever why someone who's looking for love and happiness is going to jump for joy about a woman who's screaming "all men are losers and by the way, I'm looking for Mr. Right"? A seething, bitter ad apparently written about 5 minutes after finding her boyfriend screwing the family dog is a not exactly a love sonnet.

And the same goes for anyone who writes "the usual nons". How the fuck am I supposed to know what your "usual nons" are? I guarantee they're not the same as my usual nons. Hell, I've seen several ads stating "you must have good teeth". Is bad teeth one of the "usual nons"? Who knows? I'm not a god-damned mind reader.

I like long romantic walks on the beach.

Right. When was the last time you took one? You're probably one of those idiots who buys a 4-wheel drive vehicle and never goes off road. And even if you do take those walks on the beach, can you at least try to be original?

No penis pics.

OK, I'll let that one slide. I'm embarrassed for my gender that this even needs to be said, but apparently it does. (Curiously, I've never written "no crotch shots" in my ad(s) yet women have been sensitive enough to intuit this. Damn.)

So what makes a good ad? Here's one I just read (and edited slightly):
I enjoy all the usuals, movies, dining, friends, outdoors, indoors, etc. Have a great group of friends, but looking for something more, good communication, honesty, laughter, great chemistry, I want it all. I know I am asking a lot, but I figure if I'm normal and looking, maybe some guy is the same.

I am in the average range of attractiveness...I am comfortable in my own skin. I'm a little on the chubby side, but again...I'm cool with it.

Write me back and tell me about yourself, how much time you have available and something interesting about yourself.
Now that's a good ad. It's not great because she's not terribly specific, but it's still a good ad.

Ads should project what you want, not what you don't want. Maybe you have dated a bunch of losers. Guess what? I don't want to hear about it (at least, not in the ad). I want to read about how you like to stomp in mud puddles. I want to know that you spoil your cats. I want to know what to really expect. If you sound like an adrenalin-hyped harpy, I guess I do know what to expect. And you know who answers the harpy ads? Those guys who are looking for anyone. They wind up being the next body on the pile of losers and they probably deserve to be there.
  • Current Mood: dorky dorky
What if the writer is desperate, frustrated, off of Prozac, and doesn't know any better? What if that person really is looking for nothing more than a non-loser? And what if that person defines 'the usual Nons' as romain showers and scat? Damn. How the hell should I know. I like your ad, though! Almost tried to reply to it until I saw who it's from. Just kidding. I'll go back to FL in January and see how that goes. No ads needed, only the usual Nons. Haha.
This is what I'd write:
I'm reasonably attractive and feel comfortable in my skin and so will you.
Well, maybe not. I should never, ever compose a personal ad. Never ever.
When someone likes to spout such utter nonsense as "I always seem to pick losers", I'm reminded of a simple statement:

The one thing all your failed, dysfunctional relationships have had in common... is you.
Actually...
Two of my failed, dysfunctional relationships also had another guy in common! Playing the same "other man" role twice, the fiend.

Not to throw off the truism curve, though. It's a good expression.
Re: Actually...
This guy have something against you or something?

Some sort of sexual vendetta? Cuz that's messed up.
No penis pics.

Yep, it's necessary. You wouldn't believe the number of men who think that emailing a woman a closeup shot of him stroking his cock is attractive. And even then, they'll STILL send it as their first picture, or their first message is "Want to see my cock?"

I have some things listed in my personal ad that I see as non-negotiable; they could be seen as negative. Things like "No kids", "No married men" (yep, you have to specify that one too), and "No addictions to gambling/drinking/drugs", but I think those are reasonable requests, personally :) If something is an absolute dealbreaker, I'd prefer to know about it up-front rather than be disappointed later. For example, if someone says they must have an open relationship, I know they're not for me.

What really pisses me off about dating sites is the number of messages you get from men strictly trolling for sex. Now, it's fine if someone wants that, but I personally don't, which is always listed in my profile. It's a big part of why I'm no longer on any dating sites.
...number of messages you get from men strictly trolling for sex.

It seems particularly stupid, now that there's sites that are specifically for that sort of thing. Why clutter up regular sites, and offend countless women, when you can go right to the girls and/or who just want to get laid?
Heh. The site I was on had three sections: Friendship, Relationships, "Intimate Encounters". Lots of women in the first two sections, lots of horny men in the Intimate Encounters section. They couldn't find what they wanted there, so they'd troll the other two sections.

Pure desperation is my guess.
What's with that door thing? Maybe he holds the door open for everybody. (I know I do...)
"long romantic walks on the beach" -- Right. When was the last time you took one? You're probably one of those idiots who buys a 4-wheel drive vehicle and never goes off road.

hahaha! Classic.

You're going to be picking apart every negative thing about me you can find.

Then I'm going to be the next loser in your next ad.


I've never thought about it, but this rings very true. Being negative when you are trying to attract someone seems profoundly counterproductive.

Another thing that occurred to me reading your rant: a lot of the "nons" that people complain about in their personals ads might well be artifacts -- things that annoyed them in a previous relationship, but which *were not what was really annoying them.* For example, they might have found their last boyfriend to have a condescending and sexist attitude sometimes. If that boyfriend held open the door for them at times, they might have seen the door-holding-open as a symptom of the attitude, so now they've fixated on that behavior as negative. And by putting it in their personals ad, they are basically ruling out all men (perhaps including Mr. Right) who have ever done that out of kindness and respect. Brilliant move! Way to be open-minded.
Oops! I forgot to mention, there's a paper bag with some of your stuff here: a metal bowl, plastic bin, spices. Now we have to meet up again.
counterproductive ad copy
I've never thought about it, but this rings very true. Being negative when you are trying to attract someone seems profoundly counterproductive.
It *is* profoundly counterproductive. I ignore such ads.
a lot of the "nons" that people complain about in their personals ads might well be artifacts -- things that annoyed them in a previous relationship..
Yes, and I agree with you that these are artifacts. Most of us have a couple of artifacts, but when a person's wishlist is built almost entirely on artifacts, it's a red flag. Sign up to grant wishes, and you'll find yourself in a non-con relationship with their ex(s), too. You'll also be on the next "non" list they generate.

Lists built of artifacts and negative statements show and tell me that the writer is 1) confused 2)negatively focused on anything associated with the ex, and 3) polarized and/or simplistic in their thinking, and 4) probably unavailable to appreciate or freely encounter anyone else in the present.

What they are asking for, in code, is an anti-ex.

This might sound judgmental, but I ignore those ads, too.

Fairie G
Here's another one for your list: "No guys named Mike." There's a good story behind that one, I'm sure.

I'm with papertygre on the symptoms thing - the people with long lists like that don't know what the [Sam Hill] they want anyway.
mmm I've been sent unwanted naked pics of women on myspace
It's annoying. Never got to the point where I needed to add in something saying not to send them though.
It definitally dosn't make me at all interested in a person who is that desperate though.

The internet has caused me to see far more pictures of penises though than I'd ever wanted to see