Personal ads allow you to announce to a public audience that you would like to meet someone else for virtually any kind of companionship: friendship, love, romance or purely sexual relations. The anonymity of the personal advertisement allows you to reach a wide audience, while protecting yourself from direct harassment by cranks. The “personals” are a time-honored tradition in the United States. Personal ads have been a staple of our culture for generations. Even back in the 19th century, people would post personal ads in the newspapers and periodicals of the days for everything from maidservants to brides. Given the more limited state of communications in those days, personal advertisements were often the only way average people could reach out to unknown others.
Stories about personal ads dating back to frontier times have been turned into successful fiction books, such as “Sarah Plain and Tall”, a story of a widower who places a newspaper ad for a mail-order bride to come live with him in 19th century Kansas. Personal ads have been featured in pop songs, such as the 1979 “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes, about a couple who separately decide to place personal ads in the paper to help them cheat on one another, then end up answering each others’ ads and realizing they’re perfect for each other. There have also been cautionary tales about personal ads, such as the 1992 movie “Single White Female”, about a woman who places an ad in a New York City newspaper for a roommate, only to find the woman she chooses is an obsessive murderer. Luckily, such stories are pretty rare.
Today, with Yahoo! Personals, Craigs List and countless other personals websites, it’s easier and cheaper to place personal ads than ever before. And thanks to the wonders of the internet, your online personal ads can be seen by an exponentially largest number of people than one could have imagines just two decades ago. Place your personal ad and you have an audience of hundreds of millions of people. Craigs List, for example, is one of the most successful websites in the history of the worldwide web. Craigslist allows you to post free online classified ads. These classifieds cover a whole range of subjects, from jobs and resumes, housing, sale items, online discussion and personals. It’s the personals portion of Craigslist that we’re interested in.
Go to “Craigslist Homepage” and click on the link to the city nearest you. You’ll find over a hundred separate links on the local page, and one of the categories listed is “personals”. Under personals, you’ll see nine different sub-categories: “strictly platonic”, “women seek women”, “women seeking men”, “men seeking women”, “men seeking men”, “miscellaneous romance”, “casual encounters”, “missed connections” and “rants and raves”. As you can see, Craiglist personals cover just about every part of human dating and social interactions. You can find love on Craigslist or browse the local paid sex workers, so don’t be surprised or offended by what you might find on Craigs List.
Yahoo Personals, on the other hand, is a paid website that operates one of the largest online dating services. Like other dating services such as eHarmony, you pay a subscription for a certain amount of time and can meet people in your language. The big advantage is the large number of people who will be visiting the Yahoo! pages.
Personal Ads and Dating Services
The list of personal ad sites for dating seems to be endless. Among the most famous are eHarmony, Match (dot) Com, PlentyOfFish, FlowMingle, Chemistry (dot) Com, MyLOL, OKCupid, Compatible Partners and True (dot) Com. Each of these sites have advantages and disadvantages. Most have free and paid membership, with paid (often called “premium”) membership including more privileges. Some, like eHarmony and Match, offers tens of millions of member profiles to choose from. Others offer specific inducements, like True dot com, which is known to do background checks on new members to make certain they are neither felons or lying about their marriage status.
Believing Personal Ads
That’s one concern we’ll look at this week. People can’t always be trusted when placing their personals in papers and on websites, so we’ll look at the common scams and how you see through those personal ads scams. Personal ads are our feature this week, so stay tuned to read more about the personals. We’ve just scratched the surface on this subject.
Personal Ad Shorthand
Finally, you might find yourself confused by the abbreviations, slang and other shorthand used in certain personal ads. At the bottom of the following page is a long list of personal ads terms (click on link) that will help you get up-to-speed if you’re just getting into the