Let's make a deal: An analysis of revelations and stipulations in lonely hearts advertisements
AbstractPerformed a content analysis on 800 lonely hearts advertisements that represented equally advertisers of both sexes and 40 yrs of life (ages 20–59). It was found that women were more likely than men to offer attractiveness, seek financial security, express concerns about the potential partner's motives, and seek someone who was older. In complementary fashion, men were more likely than women to seek attractiveness, offer financial security, profess an interest in marriage, and seek someone who was younger. Both offers of and demands for financial security varied systematically with age, but concerns about appearance and character did not. In support of the hypothesis that people tend to seek partners whose level of social desirability closely approximates their own, a low but significant correlation was found between the overall level of social desirability of the partner sought. In addition, good-looking advertisers of both sexes sought good-looking partners, and good-looking women sought well-to-do men. It is suggested that lonely hearts and other classified advertisements are a useful source of data for future research.