Nothing Personal
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Despite state-of-the-art computer technology and online dating services, newspapers still print personal ads.

For women seeking men, youíll find: GIRL NEXT DOOR. LADY IN WAITNG. WHERE IS MY PRINCE?

Men, on the other hand, prefer the more assertive, in-your-face approach: TAKE A CHANCE. MAN OF YOUR DREAMS. HUNKA BURNINí LOVE.

And then there are the acronyms: the secret language of the personal ads. SWF (Single White Female) looking for LTR (Long Term Relationship) with SWM (Single White Male), NS (Non-Smoker), OOL (Owner of Lexus), JCPMD (Java Caramel Peppermint Mocha Drinker), MTMF (Mary Tyler Moore Fan) and eater of BLTs.

When looking through the personals for a mate, one should recognize the red flags in certain ads. Ladies, itís probably not a good idea to respond to an ad that states:

"Unemployed SM, 42-58, looking for SF who likes to play video games and eat Spam out of the can. Must be willing to watch Lord of the Rings trilogy every weekend. Should enjoy Metallica and making beer runs at 1:00 am. Must have car."

Men should also be wary of ads from women who only want "one thing":

"Beautiful, smart, attractive female seeking LTR with a trusting man who has no qualms about giving me his credit card for shopping excursions, trips to Europe, and other necessities. No kissing because it smudges my lipstick. No hand-holding because I might break a nail, and no hugging because it will wrinkle my dress."

And letís not forget to mention the subtle hints that things are not what they seem. Observe the "true meaning" of the following phrases:

"Young at heart" (on Social Security).

"Enjoys fishing, camping and hiking" (likes to watch Survivor).

"Likes romantic walks on the beach" (never mind that she lives in Kansas).

"Easy-going and laid back" (glued to the TV during football season).

"A real sweet lady" (addicted to chocolate).

"Great personality" (appearance favors Uncle Fester).

In summation, while you may be tempted to contact someone who has placed a personal ad, you are taking a huge risk. Perhaps modern society should adopt the method used by ancient cultures in choosing a mate: Let your parents decide.

On second thought, if your mother thinks the sexiest man alive is Henry Kissinger, it might not be a good idea after all.

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