The personal ads at the back of the London Review of Books
There are only three. Do they place a limit, or are LRB readers lucky in love, or are there not that many LRB readers?
The first is for a willowly French girl of 43, written in the third person. How smashing. Except at the end of the add it says "(agency)". How much estate agent speak may we infer? Does "leggy" mean Twiggy or knobbly like a horse? Does "totally captivating" mean doesn't shut up? Does "full of fun" mean hyperactive? Probably not, she's probably lovely but one moment my imagination held an intimate picture of wacky third person Frenchy fun and the next it's a shiny-faced man with a massively knotted tie and a contract.
The second "hankers after firm-minded and -bodied F" like a combed-over CEO who thinks he's worth it. How many calls from the enlightened female readers of the LRB do you think this M (56) will get?
The third was totally fine. Just a guy. But he'll only date other LRB readers. So if you're a lovely woman who's just curiously picked up a copy in your friend's bog then I'm afraid while you technically count, you don't really count. But how is he to filter those who can read from those who Read? Perhaps he could formulate a LRB-leaning quiz involving questions about the dialectical challenges of being open-minded and also massively snobbish.
I said there are three. There's another, a pop-out add with the heading 'INFIDELITIES'. David, fully discrete, will help you start a 'surreptitious relationship or an illiit liason'. No mention of the LRB. Perhaps David just spams as many publications as possible on the premise that all readers of words no matter how abstruse their interests want to fuck someone they're not married to.
These are all hilarious. I'm going to start reading the personals first and then later, when I don't understand something in an article or review or just start to find it kind of boring, I'll just remember the willowly lady who likes jazz but only modern jazz. It says she likes classical music too. Kind of broad, right? What a peasant, I'm not calling her.