It’s September and, apparently, the season in Great Britain for love-lorn book lovers to sharpen their pencils and post some of the wittiest, most imaginative personal ads yet seen in a single issue of the London Review of Books:
Without my grandfather’s contribution to agricultural reforms in 1912, this nation would currently have to import its turnips. While you think about that I shall remove my clothes. Man. 55.
I have a dream. And that dream is to try on every pair of shoes in the world. That’s where you come in: brusque, butch fem cobbler to 55 with expansive collection of animal skins and a strap-on. Man, 76.
I have no idea if my advert will attract a mate, but I’m very drunk and don’t especially care at this moment. Woman, 43. Aylesbury.
I cast a magic spell on you. And now you are reading this advert in a literary magazine that exists only in your mind. Soon you will fall in love with me. When we meet, the odour will not concern you. Mr Mesmer: amateur hypnotist, professional shrimp-farmer (M, 51). Also available for weddings and birthdays.
This advert is my biggest undertaking since breakfast. M, 36.
The sweet smell of apples in the orchard carried on the warm, gentle breeze. A hushed moan, the curtains swish softly. Slowly my breasts come into focus. The goat bleats. The shackles tighten. And then the chanting starts again. Scary woman, 52, looking for a very specific type of ‘perfect Sunday’.
LRB-reading women to 45! I flex my muscles and this advert results.
I rule the reader comments section on my blog with an iron fist. In the bedroom I allow my sensitive nature to come out. Between these two versions of the same reality, you will find perfection manifested in the form of a 46-year old gay male podiatrist and freelance juggler.
I dream of the day when I can make love to you all (red-haired women to 25) with reckless abandon. Man, 72.
Hit jump, punch, block, jump, forward, punch, kick to activate my flaming ninja fists of doom. Dork, 34 (M), really hoping to find a nice woman for whom ‘enjoying the latest Mark Greif piece in the LRB’ is a valid (and attractive) Street Fighter character ability. Failing that, any of you will do. Also looking for a flat to rent in Wimbledon.
According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I’m a perspective-altering sex-conundrum. Librarian (man, 48) WLTM similar.
Man, 56. Impervious to the effects of pepper spray, as discovered at a recent London Review Bookshop subscriber evening. In my own dimension, this is not unusual, but here it pretty much makes me a super hero. WLTM easily impressed, unarmed woman of any age and any camber.
I flow like a harpoon daily and nightly. What does that mean? If the readings on my ambulatory blood pressure monitor are correct – and I think they are – it means I’m currently not allowed solids but I am allowed cuddles. Tactile man and lecturer in cultural studies, 52, patiently waiting for the hearing to return in his right ear. So much love to go around.
One day I will start the first LRB-reading group on the moon. Its members will drink special coffee and listen to NPR. Until then I will continue to cover my fists with mayonnaise and lick it all off while wishing I’d been born a Reptilian Love King rather than having to take these stupid pills every damn day.
This advert is exactly what happens when you ignore the label’s warning and actually do ingest the Listerine. Idiot man, 38.
Your response to this ad should be sent in a standard envelope with first class postage. If you’re posting with my luck, imagination and via my mendacious postal wallah however, it is required that you stamp and post your response after first ensuring that it is properly wrapped in accordance with guidelines, weighs above 13oz but not more than 5lbs, gives a rendition of Pruit Igoe & Prophecies when lightly rattled but a baritone performance of Largo al factotum when vigorously shaken. The package must stem the glacial retreat in the Bhutan Himalaya, weigh 16lbs for expedited delivery but not surpass the dimensions of a book of matches. Your parcel will be filled with dark matter. It must ignite on command, fit through the eye of a needle on which no less than 14 angels dance upon the head of, kinetically agitate the other parcels, come via Basel, be stamped with the Seal of the Danish Court, generate long term growth following online initiatives in the fourth quarter, enjoy positive word-of-mouth, post updates every hour and be fully downloadable. Your parcel is a ship that will never dock and I am the lighthouse that never goes out. Slightly over wrought researcher and Alan Moore fan will buy you dinner once the check arrives in the post. Manhattan.
Slim, good looking, literary blonde, slightly higher maintenance (37) seeks affable and well educated man, 30 – 40, for irrelevant witty emails before possible meeting. Unless you miss an email that is. I like them twice daily, one at 9.30am and a second at 4pm. Both must make me laugh out loud for hours. Neither must compromise wit, depth, literary allusion or flattering remarks at any point, even if you’re involved in a complex task for a difficult job at a time of precarious employment during a terrifying recession.
This personal ad is the digitally re-mastered version of my 2001 appearance in this column. Featuring; improved soundtrack, fewer fuzzy marks round my outline, never before realised potential and the addition of a massive, ill tempered Bantha where previously my (now ex) wife starred. Marvel as our hero triumphs against the venal and ruthless imperial empire while the grumpy Bantha disparages his endearing forgiveness of Episode I’s crimes of exuberance. Gasp as the moody Bantha throws a huff and then applaud as she joins a herd of like minded Bantha’s and takes her goddamn Serenity Director’s Cut with her.
Note the person (they neglect to state their sex, age or anything else) from Manhattan trolling for mates in England. They recognize that sunsets on the beach, drives with the top down up the coast, fireplaces, wine & cheese, full, distinguished resume, and the desire to be politically correct may put our best foot forward for prospects but those prospects are likely to be as boring as the average writer of personal ads in the U.S.
Britannia may not rule the waves anymore but its citizens sure know how to write personal ads.
Of Related Interest:
Miss Lonelybooks, Revisited
"Have Books Destroyed Your Life, Too?"