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.
5. Seriously avoid personal-ad speak. Don't "like fine dining" when you can be passionate about Memphis barbecue, don't "enjoy movies" when you can declare your enthusiasm for Mel Brooks.
6. Include the basics: your age and occupation, whether or not you have children, whether you're looking for a date or a life partner.
8. Unless you know for sure that you only want to meet, say, a nonsmoking Portuguese-speaking dentist, go easy on the list of qualities he must have. My ad requested a man "financially stable, kinda handsome, who can slow dance, make me laugh, read between the lines." Cast a wide net and edit out the responses. You never know.
9. It's love, not brain surgery. You can do it over. You can do it again.
Dr. Laura Berman answers your sex questions