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Joe Thousand-aire

June 2, 2003 - 12:26 a.m.

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Last Five Entries:
The Party's Over
July 11, 2004
The Next Day
My Nervous Breakdown
True Confessions: My Life as a Female Impersonator
March 15, 2004
Bite Me
February 29, 2004



So here's my personal ad update. In a way, the personal ads have taken the place of writing an online diary. I put a lot of time writing in response to ads, and I only have so much writing in me in a day.

No one has responded to my ad. I expected that- generally, women do not reply to men's ads, men do all of the replying to women's ads. (Since women tend to like being responded to, rather than responding, I wonder if a "woman seeking woman" ad has ever received a response in the history of personal ads.) My ad exists only because, when I respond to ads, I can link back to my ad.

I have responded to three ads over the past week. My search is very open- I search through ads with photos only (yes, I succumb to lookism), persons in a fifty mile radius me, and has been active in the personal ads within the last week. I exclude married women (and separated as well- as far as I'm concerned, you're married until that divorce decree is entered and the appeal time has passed), I exclude women with children at home full-time (I'm not ready for an instant family), and I exclude smokers. I've done a search of ads every day, and typically 160-170 match my search criteria (very little turnover from day to day, though).

That's not as much reading as you might think, since the typical "about me" text section is usually a hundred words or less. (The field will accept a maximum of 1900 characters- approximately 270 words more or less. I had a hell of a time editing down my new ad to fit in the field.) I skip over ads with lots of spelling or grammar problems, and I skip over ads that use d00d-speak (r u kewl, d00d?). To me, proofreading your ad for grammar and spelling is the online equivalent of showering and wearing clean clothes for a first date.

There are also buzz-phrases that identify an ad to which I should not reply. Anyone looking for a knight in shining armor, or chivarly, does not get a reply. Being opposed to rigid gender roles as I am, the chivalry language suggests that the author expects a particular fulfillment of gender roles with which I would not be comfortable. It is also a bad sign that any woman feels that she is in need of rescuing. I've done the "rescuing" thing before, and it's not fun.

I'm also wary of the common "I don't want to play games." For one thing, I don't know what these "games" are. They have something to do with manipulation or indirect discourse, I think. But I just get a bad vibe from that line. It sounds defensive.

If I finish reading the ad, and I don't think I've learned something unique about the person, then I don't reply.

There's another section in the ad in which the person describes what she wants in a match. If I don't meet all of the criteria, in both the multiple-choice section and the text section, I don't reply. I'm just wasting my time and hers trying to convince her that she doesn't know what she really wants, but I do.

In the multiple-choice section of the ad that describes what the person wants, there is a place to check the income range that you want from your potential mate. I like this section for a lot of reasons. Even though Joe Millionaire was a "reality" television show, I don't think that many wealthy men find that they have to resort to personal ads to find a date. Second, it gives me an idea of where the woman's priorities lie. I understand that she wants a man who supports himself financially- no one wants to hook up with a leech. Many of the answer, though, indicate a desire for luxury rather than merely avoiding leeches. But finally, it's a good warning for me. I don't want anyone bugging me about how I could make more money if I went back to practing law. High income requirements help me skip past a lot of ads.

After all of that, 160+ ads were whittled down to three.

I replied to three, and two of those people wrote back. The third didn't write back and has been active in the past week. I think that after I take the time to reply, because I do spend a not-insignificant amount of time replying, I could at least get back "thanks but I'm not interested." But oh well.

I seem to have a lot in common with the first person who wrote back to me. We have progressed past using the personals mail system to using actual e-mail (and that is progress in a relationship that starts online). My quandry now is suggesting the first meeting. Do I suggest talking on the phone first? (And you, my avid reader, know my phone phobia.) I want to avoid the phone thing, but phone conversation might make her more comfortable. Do I merely inquire about meeting yet, or suggest something specific (would you like to meet at x place on y day)? My last e-mail asked the question about how the personal ads have been working out for her, which may give me a clue as to how she is accustomed to proceeding.

The other person who wrote back to me made me laugh, which is a big plus. A witty person. I'm not entirely sure yet what she and I might have in common, I'm still a little bit vague about what she does outside of work. Maybe that's because she has no social life. Which would mean that she and I have a great deal in common. However, she has already admitted that the first meeting is something she stresses over, and she prefers a long online exchange followed by many telephone conversations before she will go on that first date. This is potentially vexing to me. I hate the telephone, but I can endure a few phone calls. I don't mind e-mail exchanges, but I spend a long time writing those e-mails, and so I'm making a major time commitment simply to obtain a first date that may never happen. My experience is that I do well over the impersonal media (e-mail and phone), but that it doesn't translate at all to doing well in person. Therefore, I'd like to get to in-person sooner rather than later, so if it isn't meant to be, I can move on as soon as possible. I am thus mulling my response to her last mail.

She also admitted shyness in person, which could be a bad mix between us, because I am shy too. There are two kinds of shy people. One is the person who remains silent because she's shy. I am the worse kind of shy, the one who fills up silences with aimless chatter. So I can see this happening: an awkward silence, which I am compelled to fill with an endless discourse on politics, to which she nods her head while she thinks about how boring I am.

Fortunately, I'm an optimist.

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