Best Personal Ad Ever

by Sylvia Krakauer

“So what do you do”, I said to the computer screen, “if you really do like walking on the beach and you really don’t play games?” I guess things get to be clichés for a reason.

But I didn’t want someone who thought I was just like everyone else. So maybe I should go for unique.

“Remember the poster showing three cute feet with the caption: ‘I like you — you’re different!’? Well, if you are a fan of the offbeat, maybe even like things which are an acquired taste, maybe I’m the girl for you.”

And then I’ll get all the guys who are looking to extreme date and will be disappointed that I don’t really have three feet or a plate in my head.

“If you liked long walks on the beach and candlelit dinners before it was trendy…”

Ugh that sounds like I’m too pretentious to want to be considered trendy. And old. I don’t want to sound old. On the other hand, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m younger or looking to date someone younger. I want someone who’s comfortable being our age.

“It is not necessary that you be old enough to remember when Kennedy was shot, but if you just read that and immediately Google’d ‘Lisa Kennedy Montgomery and shot?’ you are too young for me.”
Do people still Google or is that so outdated that I’ll make myself sound like a relic looking to relive the glory days of the Summer of Love?

Or maybe that’s who I am and I should listen to myself trying to appeal to someone I might find appealing and go with that.

“If you are worried because your kids are almost 30 so you’ll have to stop trusting them soon, you might be just the Liberal granola head I’m looking for.”
I don’t worry that that would not appeal to the aging hippies without a sense of humor because I don’t care to date men who can’t laugh at themselves but I do think I might end up with too many guys with radical views and untrustworthy children. UGH, children. Now there’s another whole can of worms.

I don’t want to sound like I hate children, and a widowed Dad with a well mannered brood might have the perfect combination of fidelity, maturity and patience to make an excellent second husband but there is no polite way to avoid the divorced Dads, broken and battered from the failure of their marriages, who think they want to date but really want to just have endless discussions about how their children will always come first and any woman who does not accept that will have to hit the road. I don’t think I have it in me to hear a man whose favorite color I do not yet know pontificate about how if the ship were going down and there were only three seats in the lifeboat, they would go to his son and his daughter and his daughter’s imaginary friend and he and I could swim alongside the boat as long as the splashing didn’t annoy his offspring. I think I might be forced to drown him myself before it came to that.

“Open to meeting a guy with kids. I fully understand that the kids come first, I’d just like to limit the amount of time we spend queuing up!”

That sounds like I have no self esteem.

How do you say that you don’t play games without sounding like you think that’s unusual? Like the guys who give parades for themselves because they are supporting their children or the women who think that setting fire to their undergarments frees them from anything but the bonds of good taste. Is there a cute way to deride bra burning and the million man march without sounding racist and chauvinistic? Or is cute not the way to go about this at all?
“Looking for a guy with intelligence and manners, who considers it more important to be well read than well dressed.”

Does that make me sound too bookish? Or like I prefer someone who looks like he got dressed in the dark (and not in a sexy way)? And that begs the bigger question of how to find a man who is smart and nice. After all, almost everyone thinks that he is smart and nice. In fact, almost everyone considers himself smarter than everyone else. In the case of some people who claim to be above average, I have to wonder what Special Olympics arena they think is being used to define average. And men in particular who complain that women do not appreciate nice guys are usually not looking for nice women and not eager to be nice to the stunning women they are chasing. So how do you find something you are looking for but cannot ask for by name?

“If you love the song ‘American Pie’ but never understood why Vladmir was reading about Groucho, maybe we can figure it out together.”

I like that idea but want to keep it consistent by having “Marx” misspelled as well and I can’t think of a “Marks” with an easily enough recognized first name so I’m going to save this one for later.

I sometimes think that this is all so much ‘whistling in the dark’ to avoid actually posting something cute or cutesy, whatever the case, and attaching a picture. I remember laboring over a couple of photos and descriptions, balancing honesty with tact when in doubt, erring on the side of the former. I’d received short e-mails and instant messages (before I figured out how to disable that particular entry into the dark side) rife with misspellings and acronyms more suited to a pre-pubescent boy than a middle aged man.

“Wut do u do 4 fun?” and “Do you really way 145 pounds, you dont look that fat in you’re pix” were disappointing comments on my carefully crafted phrases and assiduously chosen photographs.

“Sense of style optional. Sense of direction desirable. Sense of humor essential. Rudimentary knowledge of English a non-negotiable. You don’t have to laugh at my jokes, but it is important that you recognize them as such.”

I’m getting way too confrontational and strident. This is, after all, supposed to be fun. And after reading several articles about people who’d successfully hooked up via online dating services, it appeared that what they have in common is their willingness to think outside their own boxes. You have to be open to finding something you didn’t realize you were looking for.
“If I keep doing what I’ve always done, I’ll keep getting what I’ve always gotten. If you want to get something altogether new (and improved) let’s try something different.”

I don’t know if it bothered me more that almost everyone who responded thought that I was looking for something new sexually or that their suggestions were not new at all.

Perhaps I should address head on rather than continuing to avoid, the elephant present in every coffee shop and bar where first dates take place. Now that I was dating middle-aged men, I had to confront that most formidable of enemies: THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY. Perhaps I’d try to knock her out with my first punch since I knew from experience that she had an unbeatable long game.
“I know that we each had one who got away. I won’t show you mine if you don’t show me yours. And if you promise never to refer to her as ‘the one’ I promise to never get away.”And while I liked the simplicity and candor of this, it attracted way too many men who used my acknowledgment of the other girl as a conversational gambit to discuss nothing BUT the girl they really wanted to be sharing a latte with. It seemed I’d out-thunk myself once again.

So it was time to be more direct.

“Unacceptable subjects on a first date:
–the break up of your last relationship, or mine for that matter
–definitive statements about wanting or not wanting to get married and/or have children
–all the other dates you have been on this week, especially if they did not go well. No scratch that, the ones that went well are just as unacceptable.”

Now I was drifting solidly into “no game players need apply” territory and telling people way more about my failures than was prudent. I scrapped that one and went with something that said the same thing but in a more positive way.

“Looking for someone who’s looking for someone. Lower case “s” because I know that you are not looking for me any more than I am looking for you. But if we are both open to finding someone, we might have a beginning.”

And it turns out, the fifteenth time was the charm.

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