Love 101: All About Personal Ads

It’s that magical time of year when, disgusted by the post-holiday bloat effect, we make all kinds of unrealistic promises to ourselves (A.K.A. “resolutions”): We’ll stop eating Skittles every day at 4 p.m., totally start exercising again, nix the Marlboros and get our hair looking really awesome once and for all. And of course, the single and looking folks out there feel a twinge of hopeful new optimism that maybe this year, “I’ll meet The One,”—or at least find a temporary substitute in the form of a f**k buddy or two—and go about procuring the goods. One thing that is way easier to change than say, the cellulite you inherited from Aunt Geena, is the ad you post on Myspaz or Nerve or whatever illustrious forum you choose to advertise your flesh wares in. Much like the cover letters so many unemployed folks will be writing in ’09, it’s hard to be succinct yet effective when you have so very little space to express who you really are. And searching for a prospective mate is kind of like job hunting. It takes time to scour all the “opportunities” out there. But like misspelling a word on a resume, you can easily make a mistake. Here are the three top ways people eff up their ads, and how you can avoid them.

Oversharers and TMI-ers

A recent study on the self-obsessed was conducted—where else?—on Facebook. According to Science Daily, University of Georgia researchers found that the “narcissistic use Facebook in a self-promoting way that can be identified by others,” and are easily spotted by others via the shameless use of “glamorous, self-promoting pictures for their main profile photos.” SO. (You don’t have to possess a personality disorder either; sometimes people just get carried away, but point is, it makes a bad impression.) Personally, I also think NARCI-ALERT when I see overly long descriptions of interests and about me’s, ridiculously exhaustive catalogues of favorite films/music/books, and long-winded what-I’m-looking for’s so specific that no one on Earth will ever fit the bill. While you should absolutely give enough information to reel ‘em in, you don’t have to spill everything. Save it for the third date, sheesh.

“Look at me, I’m like, a total slut!” Syndrome

Those wacky shots of you and your girlfriends doing body shots in Cabo or whatever may portray you in a sexy, desirable light, but they also make you look like a desperate sorority girl who’ll hand out cheap BJs faster than you can say “Girls Gone Wild.” Not passing judgment here, just sayin’. Go for class, not mass(es of cleavage). Obviously, you don’t want to come across looking like a schoolmarm—though, do consider that Palin’s sultry librarian look sure seems to work for her—but a fresh-faced, non-topless photo will go far. Also, substituting your profile photo for an adorable candid of your cat is probably a crappy idea for attracting-a-human-mate purposes.

Excessive Self-Deprecation

Sure, occasionally dogging yourself is funny and demonstrates a healthy sense of humor and self. But some people take it too far and just start to come across as downright well, depressing. The recession is a freaking damper enough as it is, no? People are looking to feel good these days, so instead of listing “I don’t really like to do anything but sit on the couch and watch TV cause I’m fat,” under your interests, write something a little more dynamic, could ya just? However, on that note, please avoid saying you’re like, “really into yoga” just because one time your best friend dragged you to Bikram and you never, ever went again since it was way too freaking hot in there and what are these people crazy? (Also, please stop saying, “I like long walks on the beach,” even if you’re trying to be all ironic. The joke is stale people.)

So just to wrap things up here, the key is tasteful photos (they can be fun just not drunk-passed-out-on-the-street level of fun), avoid TMI, and be honest. Because you know, honesty is still the best policy and stuff, even in the new year of 2009.