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"If this had started at the same time Tinder was coming on the scene it would’ve been lost in the shuffle."Personals have a history in the back pages of newspapers and alt-weeklies that goes back decades.For years, lonely hearts would take out tiny squares of space in local rags to detail who they were, and who they were looking for, in hopes of finding someone.The post, titled "Tender Queer Butch4Butch," took Juniper two weeks to craft, but the care paid off: the ad ultimately garnered well over 1,000 likes—and more than 200 messages."I was so used to the Tinder culture of nobody wanting to text back," Juniper says.
"They were like, ' It's PG.' It's totally not PG,'" Rakowski says now, sitting at a cafe in Brooklyn and laughing.While Rakowski can see what happens in the comments on each individual post, she has no idea what happens when people slide into each other's DMs—but what feedback she does get is positive."I hear stories through people I know that someone was at a dinner party and their date was someone they met on Personals," she says.The truncated vernacular of the ads—ISO ("in search of"), LTR ("long-term relationship"), FWB ("friends with benefits")—endured thanks to online dating sites, but the infinite space of the internet coupled with the "send pics" attitude of hookup culture has made the personal ad something of a lost art.