But it’s not the one you’re thinking of (if you’re a man):
Personal ads are a potentially rich source of information on relationships, particularly mating strategies. Most research on personal ads has been limited to content analyses of naturally occurring ads. In this study, four “female seeking male” ads were placed on two large internet bulletin boards specializing in such ads.
The four ads, differing primarily in a few key words representing the manipulated independent variable, garnered over 500 e-mail responses in 6 weeks. Contrary to prior research and to our prediction, the most popular was one in which the woman described herself as “financially independent … successful [and] ambitious” producing over 50% more responses than the next popular ad, one in which the woman described herself as “lovely … very attractive and slim.” A content analysis of responses to the ads revealed that information provided varied as a function of the ad they were answering.
Strassburg and Holty discuss their findings in light of the evolutionary psychological prediction, stated by a good number of authors, that men should prefer the sexually attractive woman.
From Strassburg, Donald S. and Stephen Holty June, 2003 An experimental study of women’s internet personal ads. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 32:253-260. via the Evolutionary Psychology list.