Fun_People Archive
16 Feb
Personal Ads - Another Valentine's Day Treat

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 99 15:37:15 -0800
To: Fun_People
Precedence: bulk
Subject: Personal Ads - Another Valentine's Day Treat

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649
[This is an interesting comparison, but flawed by the nearly complete gender
polarization of the examples... -psl]

Forwarded-by: <>
Forwarded-by: Anne Pugh <>
Forwarded-by: (Mary Pugh)


February 14, 1999

Personal Ads: Flatulent British Gnome, Toothless, Not Seeking Romantic Sunsets

    LONDON -- Everybody is looking for love on Valentine's Day -- even
literary types. Even smelly, unattractive, misanthropic British literary
types with no charm or lives to speak of.
    At least, that's the impression left by a perusal of recent personal ads
in the London Review of Books, which began accepting such ads in October.
    This development presents an unusual opportunity in cultural comparison:
How do the London Review's personal ads stack up against the personals of
its American literary counterpart, the New York Review of Books?
    Wow, big surprise: While the British ads embrace droll understatement
and deep self-deprecation (especially those placed by men), the ads in the
New York Review of Books tend toward typically American self-promotion and
sappy romanticism.
    David Rose, acting advertising manager at the London Review, concedes
that among those placing personal ads in the British publication, "there's
almost a competition to see who can sound the most pathetic." He notes,
though, that the ad writers may also be subtly poking fun at the Americans.
    "It may be that they are trying to mock them, to present an antithesis
to the American type of ads," he said, adding that "I don't believe for a
second that they're as pathetic as they say they are." Some selected odd
couplings follow.


+ London Review of Books:
Bald, short, fat and ugly male, 53, seeks short-sighted woman with
tremendous sexual appetite. (A man is allowed to dream, isn't he?)

+ New York Review of Books:
Loving, caring, devoted, highly successful woman, late 50s, seeks brilliant,
athletic, loving man for committed relationship.

+ London Review:
Shy, ugly man, fond of extended periods of self-pity, middle-aged, flatulent
and overweight, seeks the impossible.

+ New York Review:
Petite, pretty, blond professional seeks relationship built around laughter,
love and a view that life should continue to be an adventure.

+ London Review:
Illiterate old bastard with not a single book in sight seeks someone to read
poetry and wash away the interminable cynicism that comes with reading this
magazine. Must harbor profound hatred of Tuscany.

+ New York Review:
Vivacious bookworm in Orange County, Calif., seeks literate, brilliant man,
45-plus, who knows "Magic Mountain" is not just a roller-coaster park. We're
aliens in this cultural desert, seeking soulmates who enjoy Sunday in bed
reading NYT and more physical pleasures.

+ London Review:
Insensitive 47-year-old lounge lizard (male), seeks woman with energy to
suffer periods of self-indulgence.  Offers in return good sangria and
complete lack of interest in sport.

+ New York Review:
San Francisco screenwriter, mid-30's female, lucid, wry, kind, emotionally
generous and forthright, extremely fit and comely blue-eyed bicyclist;
desires self-aware, serene, sensual, supple, tall, expressive, loving man
for stormy coastlines, books, be-bop, swing dancing, caressing, confessing,
voluptuary highs and intimate friendship. Someone who loves to play and who
savors the details as we sit across the gothic wooden table laden with
sumptuous organic feasts, our well-loved friends coming for Sunday dinners,
stories and discourse infused with sovereign thought, self-possessed
rebellion, deep compassion and shameless discovery.

+ London Review:
Why, oh why, oh why? . . . 47-year-old male serving life sentence in
Scottish academia. Respondents must know absolutely nothing about Byron or
Shelley and loathe the thought of reading Wordsworth and Keats. Blake is a
concessionary "maybe" only.

+ New York Review:
Attractive, accomplished psychologist, charming, sweet, very intelligent,
fun-loving, worldly, bilingual DJF (divorced Jewish female), very youthful
mid-50s, petite, pretty, trim, blonde, green eyes, fit, adventurous, warm,
loyal, grown children, free. Looking to share adventures, travel, the arts,
love of books, music, the ocean, the mountains. I like irreverent,
independent thinkers who care about the world and have a sense of justice.

+ London Review:
Heaney, Walcott, Larkin, Blake. Poet of no repute (male, happy side of 40)
seeks female companion for midnight readings.

+ New York Review:
Very attractive therapist, Manhattan, 60, shapely, elegant, feminine, Smith
alumna, seeks accomplished, refined, highly intelligent single man for
cultural activities, stimulating conversation, humor, romance.  Details
essential. Photo appreciated.

+ London Review:
Sixty-seven-year-old disaffiliated flaneur picking my toothless way through
the urban sprawl, self-destructive, sliding towards pathos, jacked up on
Viagra and on the lookout for a contortionist. . . .

+ New York Review:
Charming, attractive, witty widow, well-read, -spoken, -traveled, punster,
puzzle solver, museum lover, aspiring writer, tennis player, seeks tall,
sophisticated man 70-75.

+ London Review:
A hopeful young student of Freud/Is looking for fun unalloyed/She's fresh,
free and flirty/And loves to talk dirty/About dreams she's especially

+ New York Review:
I want to have a child. For both good reasons and bad, I've never formed a
long-term relationship with a woman.  Nevertheless, I think I'd make a
loving, caring, supportive father. However, the baby-to-be needs a mother.
Any suggestions?

      Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company

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