Anyone who has responded to a personals ad knows the odd allure of mystery they allow. In this era of "TheFacingBook" and "MySpaceNotYours" and "TwitterMeThis," the notion of a small bit of text in an old fashioned paper newspaper is perhaps too retro-exotic.
David Rose's second go-round with editing a selection of personal ads from the London Review of Books displays love-lornity expressed with wit, panache, and seriously self-conscious delight. It is a highly amusing read. (Thanks to A in Portland for the gift!)
The book's title is an immediate clue to the off-kilter world awaiting you: Sexually, I'm More of a Switzerland (NY: Scribner, 2010; ISBN: 9781439125649). Here are a few samples of ads:
Although this is an advert that screams excitement, the man who placed it (historian, 54, enjoys model airplaines) is strangely subdued. Box no. 7735.
You like walking barefoot on cold beaches in the winter, movies that make you cry and baking cookies that you have no intention of eating. I like defending my home against the government forces that are trying to destroy me and knitting carpet samples from fibre remnants found in the back of the dryers at my local lauderette. Are we fools to think it could ever work? Moron and amateur carpet sample enthusiast (M, 35). Box no. 5331.
One day this advert will have its own entry on Wikipedia for gaining the most responses ever received. Reply now to get me to the head of the queue. Hay fever-suffering gymnast (M, 52). Box no. 3960.
The last time I wrote a lonely heart advert my dog ate it and subsequently choken to death. I'm hoping for better results with this one. Woman, 38. Box no. 5435.