Up Close and Personal
I realize that reading the Personals is an odd recreational activity for an old married lady like me. But, hey, we all have our vices. It's akin to reading the Help Wanted ads when you already have a job. The pressure's off, and you can just relax and enjoy all of the quirky little details.
Some universal points I've noticed in my perusal of the Personals:
Most men think that they deserve younger women. In the "Men Seeking Women" ads in last Sunday's Examiner, about 20% of them specifically requested women 5 to 20 years younger -- no others need apply. I mean, what's up with that? A 56 year old man with no prospects can afford to be picky? Bottom line: a lot of aging Romeos out there are convinced that they're babe magnets.
Only good-looking, admirable, and appealing people advertise in the Personals. I don't recall ever seeing an ad like this: CAN I WEAR YOUR DRESSES? Homely, uncoordinated geek with outstanding collection of X-rated videos seeks brilliant supermodel for possible position as trophy wife. Must like Dukes of Hazzard re-runs and spending time with my Mom.
There are definite gender differences in the Personals: women compose better ads than men. They just do. Men treat their ads like job applications; women put their hearts into it. Compare the women's self-descriptions -- Daring Good Girl. . .Classy Russian. . .Redhead With a Lot of Sizzle. . . Leftist Writer/Activist -- to the men's Successful, Handsome DWPM. . . Retired Homeowner. . .or simply, Cool Guy. And compare these ads: SWEET ANGEL HEART. Pretty BF with long elegant legs, in living color, seeks honest, distinguished, secure gentleman and SUCCESSFUL SELF-EMPLOYED SWM seeks conscious female to grow in relationship. The former creates a visual image; the latter tends to render you, well, unconscious. Guys, take a clue. If you're placing an ad, have a woman write it for you.
Personal-ese English translation Handsome Hogs the bathroom mirror Attractive Has um a nice personality Youthful Can hold in his stomach for an hour Affectionate All over you like a cheap suit Fit Looks like The Mummy but plays tennis Versatile Changes jobs frequently Creative Talented liar Artistic Unemployed Erudite Owns a dictionary Witty There once was a girl from Nantucket Liberated No objection to letting you pay Sincere You're looking well today, Mrs. Cleaver Prefers no encumbrances Doesn't like kids Sensitive Inconsolable when the Niners lose Seeks Asian female Has geisha fantasies Seeks gentle woman Looking for a broad who won't talk back Likes to travel Wanted in 10 states Enjoys walks on the beach Doesn't cost anything, and women like it Financially secure Got lucky at the slots in Vegas Pierce Brosnan look-alike Visually impaired
If you're concerned about your safety when answering ads in the Personals, take the advice of author Garrison Keillor, who wrote the following in Woebegon Boy:
"How do I know you're not the sort of man who likes to tie women to a bed and drip hot candle wax on them?" she said.
I said that we Norwegians would never waste candles like that.
In other words, give the Personals in Oslo a try.
-- Laverne Mau Dicker © 1999
Laverne Dicker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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