Saturday, April 30, 2005


Insurgents greet the formation of an Iraqi semi-government (is this one provisional or interim, I’ve forgotten) with the traditional 21-car-bomb salute. Imagine for a moment what it must have been like for those insurgents waiting for that government: they’ve worked themselves up into a proper jihadist state of mind, made out their wills, they’re all ready to blow themselves up for the greater glory of Allah and ascend to heaven etc etc... and then have to wait for more than three months of squabbling and back-room intrigue by pettifogging politicians. Must be frustrating. Must be darned frustrating.

Speaking of frustrated people, I’ve been reading the London Review of Books personals for as many issues as I’ve been able to find online. Over the last few years it’s become an odd little writing phenomenon. Some examples:
Ordinary woman seeks ordinary man for the usual. Box no. 01/01

LRB? Never read it... hoping for a better class of tottie. F, 35. Eric Morecambe, dogs, spring, crispy duck, good dialogue (written and oral), tea, slapstick, Thatcher’s death, vodka, cheek muscles.

Toilet duties. That’s where you come in – buxom, 22-year-old blonde stereotype not shy of adjusting the surgical stockings of 73-year-old misanthrope with poor bladder control. Failing that, just send care home brochures to Box no. 08/05

Woman, 43, would like to meet a man – any man – whose evolutionary path isn’t that of Homer Simpson. Suspecting that’s too difficult, I may go lesbian. Box no. 08/10

I’ve committed every decorating sin listed in the March edition of Elle Decoration and I’m proud. M., 41, with carpeted bathroom, artex ceilings and a wealth of porcelain shepherdesses seeks laminate-crazy woman to 45 for nights of painting the hallway magnolia. And after that, insane sex in front of my MDF mock-Victorian TV cabinet (I’ll polish the brass handles just for you). Box no. 07/05

Ploughing the loneliest furrow. 19 LRB personals and counting. Only one reply. It was my mother telling me not to forget the bread on my way home from B&Q. Man., 51. Box no. 07/06

This is as gay as I get. Man, 37. Box no. 07/07

There’s enough lithium in my medicine cabinet to power three electric cars across a sizeable desert. I’m more than aware that this isn’t actually a selling point, but nonetheless it’s my favourite statistic about me. Man, 33 – officially Three Cars Crazy. Box no. 07/10

Every woman I’ve ever met is painted with unnerving accuracy by the ads placed in this column. You’re all my mother, aren’t you? M., 37, Worcs. Box no. 07/11

... Can’t say I’m choosy. You’re a biker, or worse.

‘Guilty, your Honour.’ Don’t let these be my last words ever spoken to a UK resident female. Long distance offers of love (one letter per month, weight-restricted, and all contents vetted) to Box no. 21/13

Angry trollop, 37. Offers? Box no. 21/14

Man, 46. Appears quite normal, but probably best avoided. What do the doctors know? Box no. 21/15

Easily, but rarely, led forties M post-graduate gooseberry, London/SE, seeks beautiful twenty-year old snake for fun evenings/engagement/crushing disappointment.

My hobbies include crying and hating men. F., 29. Box no. 14/10

Like I’ve said so many times before here, ‘desperate’. Do I have to spell it out? D-E-S-P-E-R-A-T-E. Jeez, what does it take to catch a 20-year old athletic male in this magazine? F., 67. Box no. 14/08

It only takes a minute girl. Not to fall in love, but to realise how futile it is to expect a normal relationship from these ads. With that in mind I’m after a juggling, trombone blowing F. in the finest gold lame this side of Elvis (you’re not a day older than 97). Box no. 22/05

Baste me in butter and call me Slappy. No, really. M. 35. Box no. 20/09

I’m a Pisces – which makes you and I a bad match, but how about your good-looking friend? Non-committal, easily-distracted, fly-by-night F (35). Sorry, I think I just heard my phone ring. Box no. 0222

Meet the new me. Like the old me only less nice after three ads without any sexual intercourse. 42-year old fruitcake (F.). Box no. 17/06

I’ve thought long and hard about all the things I look for in a woman and I’ve condensed their essence into a single word: clankerstanchion. If you are a London-based F with clankerstanchion to spare, please contact man with lashings of wumpflapsy. You will not be disappointed. Often scared, yes. Disappointed, never. Box no. 23/09

[More of my LRB favorites here.]

No comments: