Talking Personal Ads (5/11/02)

I have a confession.

I am fascinated by the Personal Ads on Yahoo.  Not to purchase, mind you, but simply to browse. There is something oddly voyeuristic about seeing another person bare their soul.

For those new to dating in these very strange days, a personal ad is an advertisement wherein the person placing the ad is looking for a date/mate/something else.  Years ago, the only place you would find a personal ad was in the back of the Fort Worth Star Telegram's weekend guide. Even those were great fun. A typical ad would read:
SDF, 26, 2 kids, HWP. Loves to dance,  romantic walks along the beach, and candlelight dinners. I love to laugh and so must you. Looking for someone stable and DDF. You should be romantic and caring. Live in the country is a plus. Please be 6' or taller.

Before I go much further, I suppose I should decode the acronyms.
SDF: Single, divorced female
HWP: Height and weight proportional  (as compared to the shocking BBW: Big, Beautiful woman.)
DDF: Drug and disease free.

The Internet changed the personal ads in one outstanding way:  we now get to see the photo of the person placing the ad. Some good. Some bad. But at least a potential responder knows what he is getting.

The Yahoo Personal ad page is located here. You'll soon note that the most fascinating aspect about it is the zip code feature. That's right, sports fans, you can find some of your local Wise County guys and gals advertising their wares on the personals.  (Some, by the way, are pretty cute).

Moreover, if you know exactly what your looking for, click on the "advanced search" feature. Looking for a Latino, age 24-26, who is slim/petite, brown eyes, has "some college", earns over $35,000 a year, doesn't smoke, drinks occasionally, is "very liberal" and "rarely" attends religious services AND lives within 15 miles of your home zip code? Heck, just check the appropriate boxes and Ms. Made-To-Order will be on your computer screen in a matter of seconds.

Oddly, the advanced search feature gives you no options regarding the personality of the person you seek.  I guess that's not important.

Now, I have a couple of pointers for you gals that decide to turn to the Yahoo Personals in order to find Mr. Right. If you use the phrase "I love to laugh" (and a whopping 50% of the ads seem to do so), delete it. Delete it now. Who doesn't love to laugh? The key is what you laugh at. Rolling on the floor while watching Gilligan's Island, for example,  is a heck of a lot different than laughing at Dennis Miller Live.  Trust me, the guy wants to know this in advance.

And what is up with these "walks on the beach" that you are all so fond of? We guys will keep that in mind if we decide to take you to Galveston on the first date.

I have several friends that are constantly looking at the ads, like me, for entertainment.  (Notice how I keep stressing it is for entertainment only). There was a very suggestive ad from a girl in Boyd a while back who specifically designated "truck drivers" as her date of choice. It was very odd. Nevertheless, there's nothing like running into a buddy of mine and saying "Did you see the new Bridgeport girl? Not bad."

Another by-product of the Yahoo Personals is the violent reaction some people (especially women) have to the concept in general. "I would never do that. I would never appear that desperate!"  I don't think that's fair. What might be desperation to some might be self-confidence to others. There are some ads of very attractive gals that are re-issued every couple of months. There is no question those type of girls are being bombarded with responses. But for some reason they haven't found what she is looking for - they have to be rejecting many a man. Desperate? Na. Maybe a little crazy? Yeah.

Although the service used to be free, Yahoo now charges a small price to those that wish to respond to one of the ads. (No, I do not have an account). It kind of reminds me of a story an old boss of mine told about his days as a young man in West Texas. "We used to go to this club every weekend," he told me. "One Saturday night we get there and discovered they were now charging a cover of five cents. Five cents! I looked at the guy guarding the entrance and asked him 'Why are you charging five cents?' His reply? 'We gotta do something to keep the riff raff out'."

Barry Green served as District Attorney for Wise and Jack Counties from 1993 through 2000. He is now a partner in the Decatur law firm of Smith & Green, P.C.

These web site pages are Copyright. Contents or HTML representation and Graphics are Copyright 2000, Wise County on the Web, and may not be copied or mirrored without prior written permission.