The London Review of Books came up with the idea of a personals column as “a sort of 84 Charing Cross Road endeavor, with readers providing their own versions of Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft finding love among the bookshelves”.
Instead, they got the following:
Bald, short, fat and ugly male, 52, seeks short-sighted woman with tremendous sexual appetite. Box no. 9612.
Don’t let distance come between us. Or metal bars. Or restricted access. Or the magic sweeties that make the night terrors go away. Write now to bubbly (others say ‘Maximum Security’ but what do they know?) F, 34, before the clowns tell her to do things that clowns shouldn’t do. Box no. 7645.
Google-search this: ‘Inherited wealth real estate Bentley’ – that’s me, result 63 of 275. It’ll take 0.21 seconds to find me online, but an eternity of heartache in real life. Save time now by writing to box no. 4511, or by just giving up. Mother says you’ll never be good enough for me anyway. And you carry the odour of you class.
Dress up like a Viking and join me (M, 51) in my York farm-dwelling. Not only will we experience crazy Jorvik mud-love, but we’ll get Local Heritage Initiative grant funding. Have cake – eat it. All at box no. 2187.
They Call Me Naughty Lola, edited by David Rose, was published in 2006. But never fear! You can still find love (and a good laugh) in the back pages of current issues or online here.