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Attention All Daters! How to Write a Fabulous Personal Ad 
by Rita Templeton August 31, 2005

Psst … hey you! Yeah, you, the one staring at the blank document on your computer screen. Wanna know how to write a personal ad so attention-grabbing that it’s like you’ve reached out and poked someone? Read on.

Though it’s one of the newest and most wildly popular ways to meet that special someone, Internet dating is still a big risk. After all, your first impression of a person comes from what they tell you about themselves – and depending on how honest they are, those personal ads can be misleading. For all you know, the guy who described himself as “a modern-day Adonis” could have written his ad while slumped in front of his computer with a 40-oz. Schlitz, wearing a Cheetos-and-sweat-stained undershirt, smelling more like armpits than Armani.

Okay, so that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration, but it makes my point: if you’re going to be successful in the oh-so-tricky world of online dating, you’re going to have to be honest when writing your profile or personal ad. But it doesn’t stop there. You also have to be engaging, witty, and concise. You have to catch – and hold – the attention of a total stranger by arranging 26 little letters into meaningful words. It’s a tall order all right, but writing a great (and genuine, and funny, and memorable) personal ad is your crucial first foray into the world of www-wooing.

Picture Yourself in the Present

A good friend of mine tried his hand at Internet dating, and thought he had met the perfect girl – until he went to meet her and realized that her photo was taken ten years and a hundred pounds ago. Needless to say, the relationship came to a crash-landing before it even really got off the ground. Not that the two of them couldn’t have had potential, but my friend felt very deceived; he’d grown attracted to one mental image of this person, yet was greeted by quite another. And, he reasoned, she had been dishonest about her looks, so what else might she be lying about – or just conveniently neglecting to mention?

If you’re going to include a photo of yourself in your ad, make sure it’s current. It should be representative of how you usually look, not a glamour shot or a picture of you at Halloween or your head Photoshopped onto someone else’s body. It doesn’t have to be posed and professional; some of the best pictures are candid shots taken when a person least expects it. Choose a picture that you think best represents you. If you don’t have one that you’re proud to post, buy a roll of film and enlist a friend to use it exclusively for pictures of you: you being silly, you being serious, you being yourself. Out of an entire roll, there will most likely be at least one that you like enough to include with your ad. Think of it as an investment in a potential romantic future – and a testament to your honesty.



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