[Comp.Sci.Dept, Utrecht] Note from archiver<at>cs.uu.nl: This page is part of a big collection of Usenet postings, archived here for your convenience. For matters concerning the content of this page, please contact its author(s); use the source, if all else fails. For matters concerning the archive as a whole, please refer to the archive description or contact the archiver.

Subject: Usenet Personals: Advice for Straights FAQ (2/3)

This article was archived around: 24 May 2006 04:22:24 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: personals/straightfaq
All FAQs posted in: alt.personals, alt.personals.ads, alt.personals.fat, alt.personals.misc, alt.vegas.personals, alt.nv.personals
Source: Usenet Version

Archive-name: personals/straightfaq/part2 Posting-Frequency: bi-weekly Version: 1.97
-=-=-=- THE STRAIGHT FAQ by Dean Esmay PART II OF III These days, most people have very cheap internet access. Avoid rambling, but remember, space is cheap, and the one way in which online personals are usually much better than newspapers is that YOU CAN TAKE AS MUCH SPACE AS YOU NEED. There is no better way to give an impression of who you are and what you're like than by taking your time and trying to write something that really tells who you are, what you want out of life, and what you're looking for. Your writing style will tell people a lot about you, too. I have had dozens of responses and a good number of positive face-to-face meetings, and I always take a lot of space to describe both myself and what I'm looking for. I've also found that long ads are a good way to sift out people of low intelligence or short attention spans. On the other hand (heheh!) you want to try not to be too long either. If you ramble too much, or make a huge shopping list of everything you want and don't want, you're going to bore people. It's a fine line to tread; if your ad is too short, it doesn't say enough and you're ignored; if it's too long, you bore people and are ignored. So, you have to do your best to avoid both extremes. If you want a general rule of thumb, shoot for a length of 2-5 screenfuls. But if you want the REAL rule, it's this: write just exactly as much as you think you need to say everything you need to say, but not one word more than you need. Q: OKAY, BROTHER, THAT'S ALL WELL AND GOOD. BUT HOW ABOUT SPECIFIC TIPS FOR MEN? A: Glad you asked. Okay men, we have a problem. We outnumber the women, and most of the ones out there don't like to post. So we have to overcome those odds. How? More than anything else, you need to write and post your own ad. Mind you, there's nothing WRONG with responding to a woman's ad. I've heard from two (yes, TWO!) men who answered just one ad each, and subsequently wound up getting engaged to the ladies they responded to. So obviously it can work. But if you answer a woman's ad, remember that responses which offer no information do not prompt anyone to write back. If a woman gets a response that says nothing but, "Hi I'm interested write me" she will most likely toss it out. Also, keep in mind that women who post ads are routinely inundated with responses, especially if they post anywhere in the alt.personals.* heirarchy. So, if you're going to answer someone's ad, go to the trouble to make yourself sound interesting enough to respond to. Even then, remember that she's probably had lots of responses, and you aren't the only one trying to get her attention. While I don't say you shouldn't answer a woman's ad, you need to remember all of the above, and realize that the odds are probably against you. What you also need to keep in mind is this: The most wonderful woman in the world may be out there scanning for ads looking for someone just like you, but because YOU never advertised, SHE will never find you. Most women don't post ads, and she may be one of them, so you need to put up an ad if you want her to find you! When you DO post an ad, try to keep the following in mind: 1) Follow all the advice I have given above. That's all very important. 2) Don't sound desperate. This actually goes for both sexes, but especially for men. The old rule is very true: the harder you look for a girlfriend, the harder one will be to find. Be patient, and avoid sounding pathetic, excessively horny, or desperate. IT WILL NOT HELP. 3) Be patient. One ad may net you no responses at all. If you're extremely lucky, you may get as many as a dozen responses. More likely, you will get from one to three. 4) Be prepared to post your ad again. Do NOT expect one ad to get you lots of responses. Instead, prepare yourself for a bit of a wait. Post your ad once, and see what happens. Wait a couple of weeks, and post it again. You may want to "tweak" or fine tune it each time you re-post it. If you aren't getting many responses, you may want to re-write it. But in any case, keep posting it until you get a response. The readership of personals ads, especially of the alt.personals.* hierarchy, changes on a regular basis. An enormous number of women read personal ads, but some only do it once in a while. Even those who read regularly might not notice an ad the first few times it appears. Some may be interested in your ad but not be able to work up the courage at first -- but if they see your ad enough times, maybe eventually they will work up the courage and respond. The thing to remember is that the audience is NOT static. There is a constant influx of new women, and there's a constant outflow, too. And a woman may need to see your ad more than once before she responds. So remember, you may not find anyone at first, but if you're patient and you keep at it, chances are good you'll eventually get some nibbles. 5) Don't post your ad too often. This may seem a contradiction, but it's not. If people see ad after ad from you, you may look desperate or stupid. At the very least, you'll be annoying people. Also, it can take as long as two weeks for a message to be completely distributed to all Usenet sites, so don't post much more often than that. TO SUM IT ALL UP: write a good, creative, intelligent, and thoughtful ad that's specific about what you do and don't want. Take all the space you need to get it right, but no more; remember that too long is as bad as too short. Post it every couple of weeks, tweaking it now and then, and trying various experiments to see what works and doesn't. Be patient and the ladies will be along sooner or later to talk to you. Q. SHE WROTE ME SHE WROTE ME SHE WROTE ME!! OMIGOD WHAT DO I DO? A. Simmer down. All the lady did was decide your ad was interesting and send you some e-mail. She's not ready to jump into your arms and have your baby. She's just given you a nibble. It's up to you to make it work from here. And remember, if this doesn't work out, there WILL be others, if you have a good ad and are just patient! Here are some important things to keep in mind: Don't question it: She IS interested in you, or she wouldn't have answered your ad. So, get over your insecurities. She's a woman looking for a man, and you sound interesting to her. Now you just have to see whether you're interested in her, and whether there's enough of what she wants in you to sustain her interest. But here's the important thing: BE PATIENT. Yeah, once you get a response, you have to be patient AGAIN. DON'T push to get her phone number. DON'T push for a face-to-face meeting. DON'T whine to her about your personal problems with women. DON'T talk about sex or anything of that nature. Instead, be friendly, and be polite. Ask her about herself, and tell a bit more about yourself. Ask her questions. Encourage her to ask you about anything she might be curious about. Find out about her without being nosy -- don't ask for her address, or where she works (but asking what town she lives in is probably okay). DON'T pester her with lots of e-mail. Let her explore who you are at her own pace. If she takes a couple of days to respond to one of your letters, sit on your fingers and WAIT. If it's been more than three or four days, you might try ONE letter to the effect of "hey, where'd you go?" but that's IT. If you don't hear anything more, either she doesn't want to talk to you, or she's not reading her e-mail anymore, or she's just busy. Keep this in mind: it's scary for a woman to go away for a few days and to come back and find a dozen plaintive, "Oh, where oh where did you go?" letters. It just makes you look desperate and weird. All in all, the most important thing to remember in this situation is that it is EASY TO SCARE A WOMAN AWAY. If she thinks you're a weirdo, or a psychotic, or a pathetic, lonely loser, she's going to walk away. (And by the way, if you ARE a pathetic, lonely loser, STOP IT. Find something else to do with your time and realize that the only way you're going to get a woman is if you stop assuming you'll never get one.) Now, besides all this, you need to remember something even more important: you BOTH need time for a relationship to develop, so you actually have something to talk about when finally you do meet. Rushing to meet someone and suddenly finding you have nothing to talk about can be very uncomfortable. If you are an impatient man, you might as well not bother advertising. You'll get nowhere. Q: I POSTED MY AD OVER AND OVER AGAIN AND NEVER GOT MUCH RESPONSE. WHAT GIVES? A: There are several things to look at. First off, your ad may not be very good. Consider re-writing it. Ask friends, or others in alt.personals, if they have any criticisms or can help you improve it. On the other hand, if you live somewhere that isn't in or near a large population center, you may have real trouble. On the gripping hand, you're no worse off in alt.personals than anywhere; if you live somewhere without a lot of people, then you're going to have trouble anyway. Just be patient and do your best. Q: ANYTHING I SHOULD LOOK OUT FOR? A: As with anybody, male or female, you do have to be cautious. Answering an ad might get you a psychotic, or someone who's dishonest with you. The single biggest hazard is probably those strange creatures out there who post messages pretending to be what they aren't. There are people (women AND men!) who post messages pretending to be gorgeous, provocative women when they're nothing of the sort. Much rarer, but still existing, are those who pretend to be attractive men. It's also possible you'll wind up corresponding with someone criminal or dangerous somehow. Don't be paranoid, but do be cautious! All in all, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don't get your heart crushed by a liar; use caution, and don't buy too much of anything until you actually meet the person face-to-face, or at least a phone call. Watch for the warning signs of someone yanking your chain, or wrapped up in their own fantasies and not really paying attention to who you are. Don't fall in love or get your heart ripped out by someone who may just be a fantasy-woman (or man). Don't be paranoid, but make sure you don't expect too much until you actually meet the other person face-to-face. Q: OKAY, STUD-BOY. ALL THAT'S CUTE, BUT I'M A WOMAN. WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO TELL ME? A: Well, not being a woman, I can't say near as much, but here are a few things you should know: First off, MOST of the advice above that I give to men applies to you as well. In addition to that, remember that there are a ton of men out there, and men are used to pursuing women. This means that if you post an ad, it will be very easy for you to get a lot of responses. One very important thing: BE VERY SPECIFIC ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT AND DON'T WANT. This is even more important for a woman than a man, because some guys out there will answer damn near anything, and there are A WHOLE LOT of guys online. If you post just say you're a woman who'd like to meet a man... well, Honey, you are going to be BURIED with e-mail, and from around the world, too. Be specific! Be very specific! And furthermore, a lot of guys are dumb or desperate, so you have to hit them over the head with a two-by-four and be more specific! Example: "I'd like a man who lives near Los Angeles who is near my own age and would eventually like to get married." This is pretty good; at least you made it clear. But for some, that won't be good enough, so I'd suggest that you go ahead and write that, then at the end of your ad, drive the point home even more clearly: "DON'T write me if you don't live near L.A., DON'T write me if you're more than a couple years older or younger, DON'T write me if you're not serious about long-term committment, and DON'T write me if you're just looking for sex." It may seem crass and crude, and it won't always work, but it should at least help you cut down on unwanted e-mail (you'll still get some, but you should get less this way). You ladies are in the very lucky position of knowing that if you post, you are almost certainly going to get responses. But that's a two-edged sword, because if you're not careful, you will get buried in far more responses than you can reasonably handle. You may even miss out on the man of your dreams because he's buried in a ton of letters from guys you don't give a damn about. BE VERY SPECIFIC ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT, AND DRIVE THE POINT HOME CLEARLY AND DISTINCTLY. It saves everyone time and aggravation. Beyond all that, most of the advice for men counts for you, too. Watch out for weirdos and criminals, watch out for liars, try not to sound desperate, and do your best to be honest about yourself -- both your positive AND your negative traits. Q: I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH WEIGHT. WHAT DO I DO ABOUT THIS? A: Men especially need to be aware one thing regarding weight: it is an unfortunate fact that the majority of women (in the U.S. and Canada at least) believe they are overweight. Weight is a very touchy subject for both sexes, but for women it is especially bad. For men: don't ever say you want a slim woman unless you're positive you want a stick woman, and are willing to exclude about 95% of the female population. The simple fact is that MOST WOMEN BELIEVE THEY ARE OVERWEIGHT. If you want to avoid obese women, say something like you're looking for someone "Not obese" or "physically fit" or "weight proportional to height." For women: The above advice also goes for you, but men are a bit less touchy on this subject, so you're more likely to be able to get away with demanding thinness. For everyone: if you ARE obese, male or female, JUST SAY SO IN YOUR AD. Don't be afraid of this. You're preparing yourself AND whoever you meet for a letdown if you're not blunt on this subject. If you're fat, just say, "Hey, I'm queen sized" or "I'm John Goodman sized" or something "I'm a rubenesque woman" or something like that. Or just say "I'm fat." The point is, BE HONEST! We live in a culture that values thinness, but there are a lot, and I mean A WHOLE LOT, of people out there who genuinely DO NOT care about weight. There are even a good number of people out there who LIKE fatness and find it very attractive. Don't be timid about it. If you're overweight, be forthright and don't weasel around the subject, unless you look forward to the prospect of being embarassed, disappointed, and hurt. Lots and lots of people will love you if you're fat, and you're not giving them a chance if you don't TELL them you're fat right up front. Say it over and over again: Honesty, honesty, honesty! Q: WE'VE TRADED MAIL AND TALKED ON THE PHONE AND THINGS ARE GOING REALLY WELL!! WHAT DO I DO WHEN WE MEET?? A: First off, calm yourself down. I've been through this and talked to others who've been through it, and the first, most important thing to remember is, DON'T GO BUILDING UP BIG HOPES AND DREAMS UNTIL YOU MEET! Until you actually meet someone, it's very easy to build up big fantasies in your head about how the person looks, stands, walks, etc. You can't help doing just a little of this, but try not to, and keep in mind that what you do visualize will probably be very different from reality. It's also very easy to think you've fallen hard for someone you haven't even met. Don't do this! Meet first! Don't go thinking that just because you've exchanged a lot of email and talked on the phone that you've found your dream love. Most especially don't go throwing your heart in and confessing True Love until you've actually met. Many online relationships happen very quickly and very fast, and it's easy to sucker the other person, OR YOURSELF, into believing you have something there that you don't. Take your time and realize that when you do meet, it may not be there for you, or it may not be there for the other person. Or that it might take time for something more than friendship to develop. On the other hand, if you meet and things DON'T go well, I also advise not immediately giving up. Sometimes it takes time to adjust to meeting this person "in real life" that you've gotten to know so well in email. Remember, that person you got to know online IS still in there, but may not be visible at first. So again, what's the thing to have, everyone? That's it, you've got it: PATIENCE! Q: OKAY, HOW DO WE PLAN A FIRST MEETING? ...[continued in Part III]