In my youth, my older sister and I had a lot of sport looking over the Village Voice‘s personals section, an invaluable supplement of print journalism now dying a slow death thanks to Craigslist, AdultFriendFinder and other quick-lay websites. I still remember some of the best headlines: "Japanese Son Seeks Hairy Dad," "Lady in Red Causes Balls in Blue," and — the rather undiscriminating — "PANTIES."
The only real preserve these days for good, painfully candid personals that one can be sure are not the work of a college student paying down loans by drafting spam solicitations is at the back of the London Review of Books. "Tariq Ali seeks pleather-clad Gurkha into the group thing." "’Your exchange value to be determined by correct usage of Gleichschaltung.‘ P. Anderson, 71, Berkeley CA." You know the routine.
There was even a slender volume (They Call Me Naughty Lola) put out not long ago cataloging the best manic-depressive yawps for love, pity and sex ("Romance is dead. So is my mother. Man, 42, inherited wealth;" "Love is strange — wait ’til you see my feet. F, 34, wide-fitting Scholl’s.")
Well, what with these dark economic and political times, the ads of late have grown more dire and misanthropic. Also more outer-directed (hat tip: Meghan Buskey, a Facebook friend):
* I hate you all. I hate London. I hate books. I hate critics. I hate this magazine, I hate this column and I hate all the goons who appear in it. But if you have large breasts, are younger than 30 and don’t want to talk about the novel you’re ‘writing’ I’ll put all that aside for approximately two hours one Saturday afternoon in January. Man, 33. box no. 31/04 * * Everyone. My life is a mind-numbing cesspit of despair and self-loathing. Just fuck off. Or else write back and we’ll make love. Gentleman, 37. box no. 31/05 * * Literary agents! You are all useless cunts. F, 54. box no. 31/10 * * Yesterday I was a disgusting spectacle in end-stage alcoholism with a gambling problem and not a hope in the world. Today I am the author of this magnificent life-altering statement of yearning and desire. You are a woman to 55 with plenty of cash and very little self-respect. When you reply to this advert your life will never be the same again. My name is Bernard. Never call me Bernie. box no. 31/01* * Dear LRB, I have no money. Please run my advert for free. I want a woman who is 38. Let her know I’m really clever and good-looking. Thanks. box no. 31/03 *
This got me thinking (never a good sign) that Jewcy should canvas its readership for witty, existentially void pleas for attention. Consider this an open invitation. Leave yours below. If a date or bastard child results, please let us know.