We all (or at least most of us) know what it’s like to be single and wonder if we’re ever going to find someone we can be happy with. We also know from our own and our friends’ dating experiences – both humorous and otherwise – that everyone has their little quirks, habits and oddities. Though these days sex is hardly a taboo in western society, it still isn’t a topic we discuss as openly and easily as the weather. As such, many of us are curious about what other people’s experiences and interests are, and don’t have much opportunity to find out. Personal ads, due to their context and anonymity, are one of the few places where you can have a good old voyeuristic nose around other people’s private lives guilt-free. And the results are always interesting, sometimes odd, and occasionally very funny.
Rose’s book is a collection of the best ads printed in the London Review of Books. According to Rose’s introduction, what makes these ads stand apart from the personals that can be found in any print publication or on any dating website is that they are not cookie-cutter. They don’t present the same image, they aren’t coached by the editor and they aren’t essentially the same ad over and over again. They are individual and honest. They are written by people who spend time figuring out a few words to describe who they are, either humorously or seriously, and as such they represent a treasure-trove of personality.
Because the ads are from the London Review of Books, they are often written with dry, sarcastic British humour and feature references to typically British cultural knowledge. Rose makes sure that none of this will be lost on any audience by providing interesting and thorough footnotes. At first, the irreverent and sometimes plain raunchy humour expressed in many of the ads comes as a surprise, but after the first ten pages it becomes wonderfully engaging and ends up feeling like a poignant representation of humanity.
This is the second book of compiled personal ads David Rose has compiled, the first being They Call Me Naughty Lola. I’ve always liked books that allow you to dip in for some well-needed humour without committing overly large amounts of time. I’ve enjoyed picking this up, reading a page or two, having a giggle, and then going on about my day. It’s an excellent book to leave lying about on a coffee table for guests who may have a minute or two to spare.