Online dating
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Should you mention your snoring, your dexterity with the flute, your knobby knees? Lesley Dormen tells us how she got the guy.
Twelve years ago, I took a chance and wrote a personal ad. Meet men without leaving the house! What could be bad? I wrote my ad thoughtfully. I considered every word. My finished product reflected my attitude at the time—a combination of "you have to play to win" and "hey, why not?" I ended up meeting my husband. Did I get lucky? Sure. But I had prepared the way.

Here's what I've learned about writing a good ad:

1. Before you start writing, put on lipsick. Or a cowboy hat. Or your coolest T-shirt and stilettos. Play your favorite CD. Props that make you feel soulful, frisky, and fascinating help you make those claims for yourself in your ad.

2. It might sound obvious, but be sure to post a terrific photo of yourself. If he likes the photo, he'll read the ad.

3. If you're not comfortable putting your picture up online, avoid overselling your appearance with dubious claims like "Sharon Stone look-alike." I started my magazine personal with: "Curvy, almond-eyed writer, fit (good shoulders)...." My husband says he was attracted to the soft sell of the description and the quirky confidence of the assertion. More to the point: I wanted to attract a man who appreciated subtlety.

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