:: soulmate ferox ::'Black Books. Grouchy shut-in wants profound shaking' - It's time I advertised.

Love. Resolution #9 for this year was to apply the blunderbuss and broadsword approach to love. Get me a woman. A good woman.

'Are you ready to be heartbroken? Buck-toothed weasel can't afford Thai bride.' And #10 was to talk more about love than sex on here. But fortressed in cliche, love is the stuff we have to put in inverted commas or capitals. Meet People. But Not The Right People. Spoken For People. Flake and Rebound People. It's time the stops were pulled and I went hell for leather into the Love Thing. Make it stick. Stopped trusting in fate and became a pro-active, methodical lizard - slick, preening, stalking, squirting the pheromones about and putting all those lad's mags techniques into practice.

'120 Days Of Sodom. The Marquis seeks Justine. The pain bench awaits an exquisitely broken orchid'. Hmm. I feel it's best if I avoid anything but the thinnest sliver of humour and anyway my sense of it often ends up a little twisty. Anti-advertising. Anyway, scouring the competition as I go through cyberdates, the solo world seems bursting with third-rate japesters.

Do we actually need love any more? Even the seemingly shatterproof comes to an end as a matter of course and we increasingly admire those who don't 'depend on others for their happiness'. It's just a temporary thing, fun and possibilities - and both should be close to the top of everyone's philosophy. It's a consumer thing. Time I went shopping. Oxford Street is so last century, you don't know what you're getting. Never did enjoy the meet-markets. Love comes to stay-at-homes these days.

Amazon.com, the furthest gates of the Naked City. Where the baggage in the trunk of the car is the ghost of him, where no-one since has come remotely close to her. F seeks M - let's filter a bit. Narrow it to London, I guess. Age? Start five years either way. Any one of these adverts could be the work of a wonderful person who can't advertise themselves, or a slick witch who can. Or vice versa. The most appealing advert might be designed to be just that, the double-bluff. Admirable handicraft, but tells us nothing about the submitter. That said, everyone's buttons are different - so if an advert pushes them it would be mad to discount it on the basis of it's obviousness.

There's a temptation, looking at these adverts, to assume that people's current hopes in a lover come as a direct result of their previous bad luck or judgement. '-wants practical-' might read '-left him on his own hopeless dreamscape-'; '-seeks sparkling-' says '-went braindead staring at grunting muttonhead-'; '-wants out-going-' means '-couldn't drag his butt from his Buffy box set-'.

There seem to be a lot of single 'creative' people out there. Which might support the pursuasive argument that 'creativity', far from a benefit, is an aberration like colour-blindedness, and a friendly curse to be avoided if possible or for as long as possible. An argument which comes in handy should you fail to produce an art or English assignment. So do 'creatives' relationships not last more than most, does regularly sloping off to a parallel internal world neglect your un'creative' love or is this just a low-key but positive-thinking pitch? 'Creatives' best stick together - good money that should have gone on a three-piece suite goes on software, back-up, books, blocks, chisels, acrylics or instruments; sitting rooms will look like workshops or paper mills and none but the cursed will get it. Latter parts of the conversation might need repeating, minds starting to return to something on-going and in progress.

A thought strikes me - everyone single I know is somehow on a cusp of class. They're upper working or lower middle, and there is the hint of something class-related about the doubts that held them back from committing, either officially or with their whole hearts, to that Corrie-addled minx who 'didn't put anything in' or that Ice Queen dead posh ex. As if the niggle that it wasn't going to work kept it from working, and eventually killed it. Possibly, and thankfully, 'creative' can be a parallel class. Perhaps it's a by-word for that.

'Attractive' and 'slim' seems to come up a lot. So much so that if one were to leave them out completely an admission of retina-stretching hideousness or US 'fat camp' escapee status might be assumed. But in the absence of photos it all seems a bit pointless. Attractive to whom? Themselves? General consensus? What if I'm not the general consensus, missus? 'Beautiful white woman, lovely soft curves, stunning face.' says one. Who has this person been trained to please I can hardly imagine. If I was looking for casual sex and to leave some poor sod crying into their Ben and Jerrys, I'd phone an ad that sells me body.

Several more adverts rubbing jugs in my direction. 'Vixen' 'Firecracker' 'Wildcat'. Button-pushing as this might be, I can't get past the thought that these women imagine men to be elemental creatures capable only of reacting to one thing. They might be right much of the time, or maybe they genuinely want something sex-based, but if you are not advertising in the hope of finding all those aspects of a relationship that you can't drag back from the Gin Palace, why bother? It's a possibility, therefore, that sexy advertising might actually be the choice of a certain kind of 'shut-in', the dominant introvert. Quietly controlling. No terrible thing, I imagine these ladies taking comfort in the idea of lads as bootie-slaves. They want the uncomplicated beasties we might or might not be. Our complexities are what make us unique - and it's a very British thing to lay them out for the world to see - but until the hormones drain away men are, pretty much and often, bootie-slaves.

So many words we might or might not be. Wants solvent. Ambitious. Sorted. All relative words. Solvent, ambitious and sorted - relative to them, to him. Important words in life, not in love. The adverts we avoid.

The adverts we like. Here's a very simple one I like, why do I like it? 'Optimistic Intelligent F28 into music, film, books. Seeks M with pulse and marbles, for awkward first date. Ldn.' Optimistic - far from being dead-enders, people placing adverts with dating services are going through stages of optimism. This woman might be describing how she is feeling at the moment she was coming up with the advert, and possibly lives too much in the right here and now, the Tomb Raider glaze. No-one is actually optimistic, or pessimistic, full-time. Music, film, books - very neutral. Why not specify? Books too clever, not clever enough? Films a bit weird or weepy. On a cusp, just words to say 'internal'? Pulse and marbles - not too much to ask for is it? Even I can do that. Self-depreciating or true love should be written simple? Smart I'd say, casting the widest net at the 80 character max stage. Awkward first date - let's be honest about this thing, ya? Ultimately I like this because it's underplayed, advertises very little, leaves me intrigued.

I can put intrigue on the wish-list, then. Not of the histrionic, coaxing-Betty Blue-out-of-the-bathroom (cos I need in) variety. 'Seeks Ewan McGregor', 'Travis and Stereophonics', 'WLTM hippy-ish M', 'Truly Madly Deeply' - advertising filters down quite quickly.

'Brown-eyed Girl Writer 30, warm, funny, thoughtful, likes reading, laughing, crap telly. Seeks bright, witty, committed M.' Another non-flashy advert to consider. Wordy birds, chicks with dictionaries. Stick that on the wish-list.

Optimistic F: A quiet voice. South Eastern but outside London. There are spaces between Annabel's sentences. Sometimes she sounds like she's reading what she's saying, or has rehearsed it. She works in a woman's advice centre, likes going out to see bands she hasn't heard of. Definately shy, an internal person. Galleries, getting recommendations on books, she likes playing pool but she's not very good. She likes 'enjoying life' and is 'optimistic'. Sometimes her voice trails away and I wonder how true these statements are. Oh, lambkin. On a date I'd feel: strangler with victim, Lector-esque.

Chicks With Dictionaries: A posh (and not just poshened up neither) voice suddenly informs me "This is very odd. I'll keep it quick." Susie is a journalist from North West London and she doesn't half keep it quick. She wants to meet someone humourous but "not heavily into religion or anything." Then hangs up. Initial thoughts - although she doesn't sound comfortable talking to the void, to the whomever, she seems filled with the confidence of a good background. I would have thought that the voice message would be the best place to begin showing off a bit of one's personality and although she described herself as warm she couldn't quite do it. Warm was optimistic on this occasion. Whatever, it's just a phone message and Susie sounds like she's left a million. Getting back to PR departments, chasing up that cheque. On a date I'd feel: straw-chomping yokel, offering nothing but incompatible anecdotes that get cut short by her ring-tone (Simply Red - Stars) secretly glad that she's stopped talking about her friends as if I knew them already.

A optimistic sponge and a warm stone. Advertising. I consider leaving a message with Clarice Starling. Susie sounded blind to how others might perceive her, bad ballsy. Good ballsy is the wit to know only too well and ultimately not care. Good luck to both of them, if I left a voice message it would plunge neatly from the heights of over-rehearsed over-confidence only to skid about through who-am-I-kidding coughs, vere up a cul-de-sac of self-consciousness and total-right-off against a wall of complete nnn--nn-n-nn-nn-nnnn.

Time I got advertising. 80 character max. Notes then - no joking, but light in tone. Neutral but honest. 'Coffee and TV. Grouchy..' I'll leave Annabel and Susie, I won't have missed my chances - there'll be other Annabels and Susies.

Which is, of course, the main problem with advertising. Looks matter, both ways, and if you find someone foxy you'll forgive them anything. But that's not the main problem. The all of a human being can't be reduced to words, snippets of syntax designed to be streamed into meaning. Meaning somehow seeks the universal. Even the heights of poetry words are rarely as unique as we are. Advertising is everyman meaning and the opposite of unique. Lovely as they can be, no-one goes to the ends of the earth for words. We've all had history-in-the-making heart-aflutter school disco moments but there'll always be another advert along in a minute.

I have read the diaries of people who appear to fuse on the internet, send one another gigabytes of e-mails and, when the soulmate frenzy can take no more, fly across the world only to be disappointed with each other in the interface we call 'the flesh'. Not always so, but it does suggest that there's no science to reading someone's advert, writing an advert and that the chances of clicking once having met are still as random as meeting any stranger. So as a terre-a-terre tete-a-tete remains the best thing we have to open the chemistry set immediately and in a non-Platonic/idealist way, it's Oxford Street and something funky in the sales.

Time I got me a good woman. 'Mike Leigh's Even Naked-er. Caustic scoffer wltm not-quite-tuned-in sociopath for inevitable Prozac-fuelled downward spiral through booze and pills and cynicism and clinging to one another for dear life and the wild-eyed threatening of Londis staff with an old butter knife whilst grabbing more booze and a box of Walnut Whips which get munched between boughts of desperate sex on a half-clad mattress in a ...'

Stop that.