No one ever said finding love through the personals was easy. Nor did anyone say writing a compelling, revealing and irresistible personal ad was a piece of interactive cake. But after hooking up thousands of online lovers, CasualSexMates has learned a thing or two about baiting and snagging the best fish out there.
Follow our ten little tips to learn how to make our Personals work for you.
Picture your prospective beau or belle sitting at the computer, scrolling through ad after indistinguishable ad, making instant, automatic mental cuts. Your first goal? Stand out from the crowd without looking like an ass.
Tip 1: Headline
The first thing your reader will see, it obviously better be snappy. Try not to use ominous “personals talk,” such as “ISO” or “SWF.” You’ll come off as overly experienced, and worse, unimaginative. On the other hand, writing “Can’t think of a clever headline” might seem unique, but trust us — it’s not. Instead, be poetic. If you don’t have a poet’s heart, go ahead and steal a lyric from your favorite band. We won’t tell.
Tip 2: Alias
Once they click on your headline, your readers will undoubtedly come across your alias — your anonymous, if frivolous, identity. The trick here is to err on the side of good taste. Nifty names like “ladydarkshyne” or “ziggy_stardust” aren’t that impressive, while “Fratboy2000″ is just plain embarrassing.
Tip 3: Vital Stats
Hair color, ethnicity, height, location: All these stats come into play when selecting a potential partner, no matter how open-minded or travel-hungry your reader is. Some people are shallower than others when it comes to preferences, but don’t lie; answer as creatively as possible. For instance, if “other” or a fill-in-the-blank is a possibility, give it your best shot.
Tip 4: Weight
If you’re nervous about your revealing current weight (and who isn’t), then you have a choice to make. You could leave it blank, but then readers might assume the worst. You put down your real weight, but who knows how that will be interpreted (especially by men, with their vast experience with Playboy centerfold statsheets)? Your best bet is to lie, lie, lie. Women, knock ten pounds or so off the truth. Your prospective partner won’t be able to tell the difference. Guys, do the same, unless you’re superskinny — in which case bulk up so your thighs will read as bigger than your lover’s.
If your reader hasn’t moved on (hooray!), then your ad has jumped its first flaming hoop. Now you have to hold his or her attention long enough to get to know the “real you”…whatever that means.
Tip 5: CDs, Movies & Books
Here’s where you show your cultural diversity or lack thereof. It’s where you first become vulnerable — which believe it or not is a good thing.
If you really like Celine Dion, then let everyone know. But if not, don’t risk turning off a potential mate because you happened to be going through a Titanic phase.
Avoid the urge to show off with your weirdest, most eclectic alterna-CDs, unless they truly are your favorites — in which case, go crazy.
Don’t be cute and say you have dust, or CDs or whatever in your CD player. It’s tired.
When putting down the last movies you saw, don’t specify rental and screen. We all get it.
Saying you don’t watch movies, on the other hand, is flat-out crazy. Let’s not even talk about that.
Try to include the author of the book unless it’s on the bestseller list (it makes you look smarter, too).
Get unique: Explain why you liked that particular book or movie.
On the whole, movies and books aren’t as important as CDs, unless you say you don’t read, in which case you’re on your own.
Tip 6: Sex Questions
We admit it, the sex questions (“Most unusual place,” “Excellent lover”, etc.) are meant to give you material for a joke or an icebreaker. Answering honestly might attract certain people, but it also might serve to make your potential future bedmates really jealous, even before you’ve met. If you aren’t feeling the humor, then tell them why they’ll have to wait. (Not in a “that’s for me to know / you to find out” way — here’s your chance to get descriptive, be a seducer.) Do the verbal equivalent of tossing your hair or looking through your lashes. That works, for obvious reasons.
You’re almost home, but some key issues are still on the table.
Tip 7: Just for Kicks
Crucial to solidifying your reader’s interest, this area is not only a window into your life, but a preview of what it might be like to date you. And there’s no advice here but to cover as many bases as possible. (Again, without lying. Well, without lying too much.) Open the choke on your love shotgun, because you never know what might grab someone’s attention. And if they think one of your choices is cheesy, better they find out now than when you rollerblade up to the altar in a Speedo.
Examples of kicks that make us CasualSexMates:
Spending rainy days under the covers with someone special
Enjoying the hell out of an enjoyable day or night
Laughing, loving, kissing, running my lips across soft skin and listening to the ensuing sighs
And kicks that don’t make us CasualSexMates at all:
Long romantic walks on the beach under a full moon
Going to museums, people-watching, seeing movies…
For kicks I like to use my right foot
Tip 8: What You’re Looking For
When detailing what you want, be careful of getting too specific. Liking blondes is fine, but is it really a requirement? The write-in part of this section is, like all the write-ins, a chance to be witty. But when you get into height, weight and other “vital stat” requirements, don’t limit yourself unless you know what you’re doing. For example, imagine a guy who’s smart, nice, handsome, but one inch shorter than your height preference. That dreamy guy might never write to you, simply because you made him feel like a shorty. Don’t you feel stupid for not making an exception to your rules? Likewise, guys have a tendency to put down ridiculous weight preferences, reinforcing their startling inability to judge such things in real life. Instead of looking like a buffoon, avoid searching for weight entirely. Finally, age is a tricky thing to specify, as you’d never judge someone in a bar by how old they are (vast differences aside). Expert Advice: When writing what you want in a potential date, be as open as you can. Unless you’re completely opposed, “No Preference” gives you the most flexibility in finding a match.
Whether you’ve sparked some interest now or not, these last couple of tips are for those who are serious about playing the game.
Tip 9: Updating Your Ad
This might be our most useful tip of all, and yet it’s the easiest one to follow. Every time you update your ad — which can simply mean changing a single character of text or updating the last movie you saw — you jump back to the top of the list, meaning readers have to sift through less ads to get to yours. (Experienced personals users who have been doing this for years: We apologize for spilling your secret.) So visit often.
Tip 10: Photos & HTML Tricks
Photos are a great idea, because let’s face it, you’re hoping to meet up some day and you want to make sure you find the other person attractive. Make sure to maintain your pictures, though. Many ads feature big, eye-catching “broken image” links, usually because a user has lost the account where the personals photos were located. Check back often to make sure you’re up and running. HTML tricks, such as flashing headlines or colored text, are rarely appealing, and more often mark you as a code geek than someone bursting with creativity. Include them at your own risk and/or skill level.
The Greatest Tip of All, Debunked
You might note something missing in this article, something that sounds a lot like your mom’s advice:
“Honey, just be yourself.”
In the long run, this is obviously the only way to win someone over. But you’ve only got a few minutes to make a great impression here, so avoid mundane copy and instead say something quirky, say something interesting — say whatever to make yourself stand out.
Get To It!
Now that you really know how to use the CasualSexMates Personals for whatever, or whomever, you’re looking for, go get posting and searching. Unless you’re trying to make a buddy, in which case we think you’re a tease. (Just kidding.)