To the Women of Craigslist Personals, some tips.
I've been browsing Craigslist's personals section for a few months now, not particularly because I've been searching for somebody, but because it gives me something to do and read in my spare time. I've noticed some things over this period of time, and I would like to share it with you. Perhaps my advice will help some of you ladies find matches, but maybe not. Either way, it couldn't hurt.
1. Proper English. Capitalizing the first word in your sentence, the letter I, using punctuation and so forth properly, etc. These are all very important. Spelling and grammar are important too. English is a standardized language with specific spellings of words for a reason. It makes communication between people easier if everybody's speaking (or, in Craigslist's case, typing) in the same language. Substituting numbers for letters (2 for "to" or "too", 4 for "for", etc), capitalizing entire sentences (KIND OF LIKE THIS), and so forth are not proper English. Starting sentences with the word "and" (among some others) is not proper English. If you don't know how to spell very well (and let's face it, some people just don't), that's not a problem, because most modern web browsers (though I can't speak for Internet Explorer, I know Firefox does) have spell-checking functions. Kind of like Microsoft Word or OpenOffice. The browser will underline misspelled words in red and you can then right-click them and select the word you meant to type. It's pretty nifty and it keeps you from looking like a fool when typing out your 'ad' as it were. Formatting is also important (though I will admit, not as much so), because reading an ad that is just a huge wall of text is often intimidating and prohibitive. When I open an ad and it's a huge chunk of text with no breaks in it, I often just click the 'back' button on my browser and read other ads instead.
2. Get us interested in your ad. Titles like "Looking for fun", while in the mind of most men can be interpreted in a provocative manner, are generally boring and generic. What's there to get us interested in you vs. the ten or twenty other ads for people that are "Looking for fun", hmm? Some titles do a good job of not being generic, such as one that I've just seen that reads "Hot coffee" or another that reads "My laundry list...". They give no insight to what the person might be like, but grab my attention against the sea of people "looking for someone". A good one that I've just seen reads "I am ridiculously silly, first off". That, right away, gives me a little bit of insight as to what that person might be like and also made me open their ad to find out where they are going with this topic. That leads us to our next point...
3. Give us an idea of your personality, but don't be long-winded about it. I would love to know what you like to do in your spare time, but if I open an ad and it's a ten page essay on your life, I'm going to click the 'back' button on my browser and read other ads instead. What you need to do is come up with a quick hook for the title and continue that thought for a line or two inside the ad, then give us a basic rundown on who you are. What are two or three of your hobbies, do you prefer going out and partying or curling up on a blanket on the couch, stuff like that. When I get done reading and ad and I go to send you an e-mail, I should already have a decent idea of what you're like. This helps me avoid saying something you might find stupid or crass and helps me determine what you're after. If you say you're more of a partying person, I am going to assume that you're outgoing and social, whereas if you say you like to read books and listen to classical music (pardon the stereotype, please), I am going to assume that you will greater appreciate more eloquent use of language and probably be more into intimacy. Intimacy not in the sense of sexual relations so much as one-on-one socializing vs. group socializing. Just to clear that up.
4. Please, do not say you like both one thing and it's complete opposite. Saying you like to both be at home and out partying gives us no insight to who you are and what you like. All that does is prove to us that you still obey the laws of physics and don't have control over quantum mechanics. While that's something that I find comforting about people (their lack of control over quantum mechanics, that is), it's also something I take for granted, so proving that in your post does me and everybody else no good. Now, if you actually DO have control of quantum mechanics and the laws of physics, this is something I'd like to know, so I can avoid angering you, and so I can write a scientific paper on it.
5. Saying you like one thing and it's complete opposite is acceptable, though. As long as you specify which one you like doing more. You can like two opposite things and it not be mutually exclusive. If you like doing both equally, feel free to state so. It just so happens, though, that the way most people word it is that they like doing both simultaneously, which is the reason for me having written out point #4.
6. Do what you say you will. A few times, admittedly, I have sent e-mail responses to ads that said something to the extent of "pic for pic". That means, for the uneducated, that essentially, the poster will send you a picture of themselves if you send them a picture of yourself. I've done this three times, if I recall correctly. Not once have I received a response. I can and will admit -- I'm not the most attractive guy on the earth, I'm kind of large, and so forth, but it's common decency (or so we thought it was common, anyways) to follow through with what you say you will do. Even if you send back an e-mail with a picture of yourself and the body reads something to the extent of "I am not interested", or hell, even just the latter sans picture, it's far more considerate than not replying at all.
7. On the note of pictures, post one of yourself if you're going to post any. Posting a funny image or whatnot as your "picture" is misleading. Posting stock photos of somebody holding hands or whatnot is lame. and posting a picture of you waaaaay off in the distance at a beach or something, facing away, is misleading. the little yellow text that says "pic" next to the ad usually leads us to believe that there is a good picture of you inside. Good doesn't so much refer to anything other than we can clearly see and make out your face and it's features, and we get a good idea of your body build and so forth. This isn't so important to some people, but if you're going to put in the effort, you may as well put in 100%.
8. Tell us about children/former marriages, etc in the posting. Some guys are okay with kids, some guys aren't, and some of us are indifferent. The fact of the matter is, if you get the kind that doesn't like kids and you tell him about it later, chances are he'll be pissed. We guys like to know these kinds of things up front.
9. Tell us your age. This is pretty damn important. You can probably figure out why.
10. Last, but not least, Don't say you're not picky... just after listing specifications for your man. Saying "I want a caucasian man between 5'7" and 6'1", between 175 and 220lbs, with brown hair... but I'm not picky" is counter-intuitive. The entire point of these posts is to be intuitive. Either you aren't picky or you are, but you can't be both. So pick one and roll with it.
If you younger ladies want examples of how it should be done, look at most of the 40+ year old ladies posts. They're generally short, informative, include a good picture of their face (and sometimes body too), are properly written in good English and you know what they are and what they want. You can, after reading one of their posts, make informed decisions when e-mailing them.
So there you have it. My guide/rant on how to be polite and get more guys interested in you, or at least ones that will be better for you. I'm willing to bet all this falls on deaf ears, though. I hope you enjoyed the read, even if you younger ladies don't change how you compose your posts after this.
- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests