Dating ads in newspapers
For seven years the LRB personals column has been producing surreal haikus of the heart like this.It began with "67-year-old disaffiliated flaneur, jacked-up on Viagra and looking for a contortionist trumpeter" and has never looked back.
Newspapers outsource their dating columns to agencies and take a share of the premium-rate calls to the adverts.One company, Telecom Express, manages The Guardian's Soulmates, The Daily Telegraph's Kindred Spirits and The Times's Encounters pages, among many others. Awful pianist." and "Fairly innocuous male, 57." Other classics of truth-in-advertising have included "Tap-dancing Classics lecturer. " and "Shy, ugly man, fond of extended periods of self-pity, middle-aged, flatulent and overweight, seeks the impossible"."It's very hard to write a 20-word personal ad that adequately sums you up," says David Rose, LRB's classified ad manager.Some dating companies even give advice to people on how to word their ad to attract a mate. Some minimalists ads have included: "Angry trollop, 37. "A lot of people get their friends to do it because they don't know how to describe themselves.By October 1996, the website already had By today’s standards that might not seem like much, for the ‘90s, that was staggering.Match created big, angry waves, as the Internet was still in its formative years and online dating was a big, scary beast to many people, especially of older generations.Another method of replying to Lonely Hearts adverts is via telephone; this took off with the introduction of premium-rate telephone numbers, providing an additional way for the publisher to generate money.
The usual business model is for the advertiser to be enticed to place an advert free of charge (using an 0800 number or equivalent); those replying (and also the advertiser, when they want to check for any replies) must use a premium-rate line.
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It has fans from Australia to the US; there are bloggers devoted to it and now an anthology of some of the best ads is planned for later this year.
The personals industry, online and in print, has come a long way since The Times first allowed matchmakers to advertise lonely spinsters in 1886.
The ad says, "I look just like my picture except now I have gray hair."Traits for the women range from "flexible" to rigid.