Thursday, June 23, 2005

Sex and Intimacy in Cyberia

Blogger Christopher, in a post dated today, recounts his impressions of an internet personals ad he saw somewhere:

"I recall one particular ad that featured this frowsy looking gal and the caption "No Jecks!" I thought wtf is a jeck?? As you can imagine, what she meant was "No Jerks!" but she couldn't be bothered to post a personals ad that was literate."

Reading Christopher's post reminded me of a venture of mine from several years ago, 1997 or so, when I tried to pitch a book I was writing called "Sex and Intimacy in Cyberia" to publishers. No, you couldn't have read it. It never got published. I dropped the writing of it when I couldn't drum up any real interest in the book and went on to something else instead. It was an educational exercise, though.

And it was fun too. Much of the research was done by my lurking in chat rooms and 'listening' to dialogue (if it can be called that) among the participants. If someone appeared who seemed to be somewhat literate (based on the quality of their typed 'chat,') I would approach him or her (usually her) and ask for an interview or a written contribution of their 'dating' experiences. Some people were reluctant to go on record, even anonymously, but others were quite open about their experiences with cyber-dating. I was amazed at what went on in the chat rooms. I was also amazed at how much personal ads on dating sites were utilized even then. The biggie site at the time was It was free. It was easy to use. It was very popular.

An acquaintance of mine around that time bemoaned the fact that he was getting older (he had just turned 30 or thereabouts,) and that quality dating prospects weren't to be found in his usual haunts. I mentioned to him that it seemed to me that he might be ready to settle down, get married, have some kids and stop his carousing anyway. He looked at me sheepishly and admitted that I was right.

Wanting isn't necessarily getting. So, how to get this guy some interesting dates, preferably potential wife material? Not being one to walk away from an interesting challenge, I offered to write a personal ad for him on Excite. I told him he would get a bunch of quality responses in short order and that he should prepare himself for the consequences.

Within a week or so, the guy had been on his first date. Within two or three weeks, he had found the girl of his dreams. Not too much later, they were married. They now live in another province, where his wife has a medical practice. They have three kids.

What was the secret to the successful ad?

I'll tell you. Christopher's post touches on the phoniness and lack of attention to detail and accuracy in many personal ads on the internet. Who wants to contact anyone who misrepresents themselves or who can't be bothered to use a spellchecker?

Here are some tips:
  • Be honest. Tell prospective dates your correct age, weight, and other physical details.
  • Use a picture if at all possible.
  • Get that chip off your shoulder. Don't bother telling prospects what you don't want. Tell them what you do want. If you have attitude, who will want to bother with you?
  • Be careful with grammar and spelling. That potential mate of yours wants you to be able to write a letter to the teacher of the children you will have together, or to the bank where you keep your retirement funds.
  • Be self-deprecating. If you come off as arrogant, no-one will be interested. If you seem funny and charming, you will have a better chance.
If you're successful in your quest for a mate because of my advice, please consider naming your first child after me. And it would be only fair that you name the second child 'Christopher' or 'Christine.'

Just kidding, of course.

Good luck in your quest.


  1. Many years ago when I first discovered Mickey Spillaine's highly successful skin-detective novel "I the Jury", like yourself, I wanted to write the great book about sex which would also make a great movie. It was titled "Passion Panties" about the adventures of an exquisite pair of ladies drawers which would eliminate fridgity in women who would wear them. I actually got through a few episodes and lost interest. Now, at my age I would like to have another go at the topic. But, of course, I'm just fantisizing.

  2. Go for it, Bill. Sounds like fun.

    For anyone who has yet to read one of Bill's novels, he has serialized "The Trees Hold Up The Sky on his own blog at: That novel and several others of Bill's works are also available for purchase at my company's site as e-books for Windows-based computers.

    I have read all of Bill's novels and recommend them all. My personal favourite is "The Trees Hold Up The Sky."

  3. Thanks for the post!

    There used to be a website called, in which a young woman related her internet dating experiences. I'm not sure of it's still around, but it was well-written and quite humourous


  4. Yer welcome... That is a hoot! I imagine I'll have a few bellylaughs whilst reading some of the responses she got to her ad.