I read the W4M postings, mostly for entertainment value. I think how a person "advertises" him- or herself is very telling, and might reveal a bit more than the poster had intended.
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All right, I'll leave now.
No picture in your posting probably means few responses.
It's been noted time and time again that men are visual creatures, and that's true. People who post pictures of sunsets, clouds or other such things in place of a decent photo of themselves might get a few extra viewers with the pic notation, but won't get any more emails. Same goes for the extreme close-up picture of just one eye. Who am I, your optometrist?
- "I'm so bored!" or any equivalent phrase, especially in the posting title.
Boy, nothing gets my interest up quite like a 24 year old Ritalin addict with the entire Internet at her disposal, yet who is still bored. This sends up all kinds of warning flags with me.
- Not looking for sex...
No, of course not. Guys look for sex. Women look for companionship, snuggling, and spider killing. WRONG! Yes, you are looking for sex...or, at least a relationship where hopefully there will eventually be some sexual element. That's why you've posted on W4M. All the rest goes under "Strictly Platonic" or "Casual Encounters."
- Pictures of you with animals, or mention of your pet by name in your posting.
I'll be heavily flamed for this, but I'd be willing to bet that most guys don't want to start up a relationship with someone who has "boundary issues" with a pet. This includes: animals that sleep in the bed with you, animals who must accompany you everywhere (No, they don't "get lonely" - YOU DO!), or animals with medical conditions that require your presence at least every 8 hours. If you have them, cool. Don't make them a part of your posting though; it's bad salesmanship.
- Bad photos
This could probably be under #1 above, but I think it stands on its own.
Ladies, every one of you has a picture somewhere that your friends think is the best picture of you ever taken. Guaranteed. The Bay Area is (for now, anyway), the high tech capital of the entire planet. Somewhere there is someone willing to scan this picture into a digital format, cleanly block out the faces of any other folks in the picture, crop it and play with the contrast and brightness to make it a great photo. Get your geeky friend to help you.
Group photos of more than 3 or 4 people ("I'm the one in the pink") get so darn small when you upload them to CL that it's like playing "Where's Waldo" while looking at ads. Plus, having only you in the photo eliminates the boorish "Hey, I saw your ad. Is the blonde in your picture seeing anyone?" emails. (Seriously, it happened to a friend of mine. Some guys can be real dicks.)
- Laundry lists of what your ideal match would have.
This is fine, but when you present your "wish list" as a "demand list", well...'bye! I can understand having and expressing preferences, but to present them as absolutes is very limiting. A friend of mine has been happily married for almost 18 years to someone who wasn't anything like his "ideal girl". It could happen to you.
- No dick pics!
Hey, no argument from me. I've always figured that if a lady wanted to see a guy's package, all she has to do is ask. What do these guys who post pictures of their junk do at bars, I wonder? Then again, maybe I shouldn't wonder.
- Creative spelling
OK, I'll admit it. I'm a bit of a old fogey when it comes to spelling and grammar. I'm still shallow enough to think that the way you present yourself in this medium is a reflection on you. Would you go out on a first date in your old ratty sweats? If you're unsure, have your geeky friend who did your picture show you how to use a spellcheck program. For bonus points, have him or her show you where the "Shift" key is and how to use it. Trust me, good writing is sexy! (Or so I hope).