You're: a single, fun-loving professional who enjoys good
wine and walks on the beach. We're: here to tell you nobody gives a rip. Least
of all, the legions of singles combing and placing personal ads with
Avoid following the dating service's canned approach to
Be honest. The jig will be up sooner or later.
Be specific about what you're looking for from life, rather
than from a partner. You'll attract people who want the same things you do
without sounding overly negative.
Avoid putting your resume in the ad.
Use humor if you're genuinely funny. If you're not, forget
|Online dating do's and don'ts.|
|When online dating leads to more.|
Life in the technological age moves ever faster, but if
you're over 30 and single, the dating scene can creep along like Internet
access without DSL. You've given up on meeting anyone in a bar. Your friends
are getting married, having babies and throwing fewer and less exciting parties.
You dated a coworker once, but never again. So now what?
Registering with an online dating service begins to sound
less crazy—maybe even like a good idea.
And it might be. Plenty of people, normal people,
have met on the net. In fact, so many singles have started thinking online
might lead to in-love that 22 percent of the 98 million single Americans (age
15 or older) use an online dating service, according to American
The good news is 20 million singles are surfing for
relationships. The bad news is half of them are your competition. How does one
lovelorn pup stand out from the pack?
If you want to hear "you've got mail" let alone
"let's move in together," you've got to start by writing an ad that
We talked to four single folks, two men and two women,
experienced in looking for love and averting disaster with online personal ads.
Here's what they had to say.
What Women Want
"What helps is to read the profiles of your same
sex," admits Neil Brecher, a 30something from Philadelphia. "Most
online dating services will let you browse without a membership. You get a feel
of what to say and what not to say—'I like to have fun. My friends would
say I'm attractive'—yawn."
But creative writers beware. David Strauss*, a 40something
bicoastal bachelor who lives in Pittsburgh, Penn. and San Francisco tried so
hard to steer clear of boring, he ran straight into stranger-than-fiction.
"I wanted to sound like a DJ, a little Midnight in
Memphis," says Strauss, explaining his first Match.com ad, which included
song lyrics like, "I stepped out of Mississippi when I was 10 years old,
with a suit cut sharp as a razor" and "no pretty chick is gonna make
Nary a B.B. King fan bit.
With zero responses and counting, Strauss decided it was
time to get the advice of a woman. He showed the ad to his sister.
"Nobody's going to e-mail you," she said. "They'll think you're
Strauss has a new ad now. It talks about his realization
that there's more to life than a great job, which incidentally he has.
"I'd like to focus on a family and playing music. I'd like to get a big
piece of land to roam around on and lots of dogs," he writes.
He got 12 e-mails right away and women he had written to
previously began to respond.
"You have to be explicit," says the newly educated
bachelor. His current ad tells women he wants kids, a place in the country and
that he's less interested in work than he used to be.
"Mention something specific that's going to appeal to
the opposite sex," advises Brecher. "A guy might say, 'I enjoy the
theater and wandering around antique shows.' " But don't lie, he warns.
Eventually you'll meet in person and the jig will be up.
What specifics have worked for Brecher? "I describe
myself as a renaissance man. I sing. I woodwork." What woman isn't
intrigued by the image of a man with a hammer in his hands, a nail between his
teeth and music in his heart? "I got a lot of responses from women
who said they liked that I said I made things with wood."
Their advice to women: Avoid being overly negative. Guys
want a woman's baggage to fit in the overhead compartment (or better yet—the
glove compartment). "Some women rant and rave about what they're looking
for," observes Strauss. "They dump onto the page every bad thing a
guy has ever done to them. Maybe it's useful, but it's not much of an
The Need for Speed...Dating
Let's Just Be Friends
Find A Great Relationship
Bring Back Flirtation!
Giving Up on Mr. Right
Sparking Old Flames