Readers’ humor

May 6, 2023 • 8:15 am

Today’s contribution, by Athayde Tonhasca Júnior, is a temporary change of theme. For one thing, I’m running out of wildlife photos (send them in, please) and must ration what I have. But I also need a bit of humor today (the doc tells me that my virus-induced cough will probably last another week, and it’s debilitating. But it’s NOT covid!)

But I digress. Athayde’s contribution is indented:

WEIT’s Lonely Heart Section

There isn’t one. But some single readers may be willing to meet a kindred spirit or a soulmate among intelligent, educated, discerning and non-woke comrades. The legendary but sadly defunct London Review of Book’s personal ads section could be an inspiration; The N.Y. Times vouched for them.

The following are real ads, excerpted from They Call Me Naughty Lola: Personal Ads from the London Review of Books (2006) and Sexually, I’m More of a Switzerland: More Personal Ads from the London Review of Books (2010), edited by David Rose.


Shy, ugly man, fond of extended periods of self-pity, middle-aged, flatulent and overweight, seeks the impossible. Box no. 8623.

Eager-to-please woman, 36, seeks domineering man to take advantage of her flagging confidence. Tell me I’m pretty, then watch me cling. Box no. 6453.

Reply to this advert, then together we can face the harsh realities of my second mortgage. M, 38, would like to meet woman to 70 with active credit cards. Box no. 8624.

I smoke, I drink, I talk waaaay too much and think even more than that, I swear like a longshoreman, I’m usually covered in dog hair, I do not order salad as a full meal, I always want to Talk About It, I might be funnier than you, I want to be taken care of but hate feeling weak, I’m completely disorganized, I will keep cuddling until you pry me off you (and so will my dogs), I say “awesome” a lot, I don’t lie even if it’s easier, I tell my girlfriends everything, I expect to come, and I’ve been told repeatedly that I scare the crap out of men. If that sounds like your kind of girl, awesome. Box no. 0364.

They call me Naughty Lola. Run-of-the-mill beardy physicist (M, 46). Box 4023.

This is a terrifying world. I am the only worthy edifice in it. You are probably a tree. You know what I’m saying. Man, 35. Box no. 7213.

Tall, handsome, well-built, articulate, intelligent, sensitive, yet often grossly inaccurate man, 21. Cynics (and some cheap psychiatrists) may say ‘pathological liar’, but I like to use ‘creative with reality’. Join me in my 36-bedroomed mansion on my Gloucestershire estate, set in 400 acres of wild-stag populated woodland. Box no. 0364.

I’m just a girl who can’t say ‘no’ (or ‘anaesthetist’). Lisping Rodgers and Hammerstein fan, female lecturer in politics (37) WLTM, would like to meet man, to age 40, for thome enthanted eveningth. Box no. 5312.

If intense, post-fight sex scares you, I’m not the woman for you (amateur big-boned cage wrestler, 62).

I’ve divorced better men than you. And worn more expensive shoes than these. So don’t think placing this ad is the biggest comedown I’ve ever had to make. Sensitive F, 34. Box no. 6322.

List your ten favourite albums. I don’t want to compare notes, I just want to know if there’s anything worth keeping when we finally break up. Practical, forward-thinking man, 35. Box no. 3221.

Mid-fifties man. Recently discovered guilt. Can’t wait to try it out. Box no. 7297.

I like my women the way I like my kebab. Found by surprise after a drunken night out and covered in too much tahini. Before long I’ll have discarded you on the pavement of life, but until then you’re the perfect complement to a perfect evening. Man, 32. Rarely produces winning metaphors.

Blah, blah, whatever. Indifferent woman. Go ahead and write. Box no. 3253. Like I care.

Your buying me dinner doesn’t mean I’ll have sex with you. I probably will have sex with you though. Box no 7297.

You’ll write. I’ll probably enjoy your message and write back. After corresponding a few times, several phone calls, we’ll arrange to meet. We’ll meet again and become more intimate, eventually dating regularly. We’ll form a relationship, start leaving things at each other’s apartments. We’ll spend weekends together. Sometimes whole weeks. We’ll have lazy Sundays lying naked in bed together, reading the supplements and not leaving the house. Sometimes we’ll disagree. The disagreements will become rows. We’ll see each other less in the week. You’ll come round one evening to ‘collect some things’ – we both know what it means. You’ll go back to your place and cry like you used to do on cold wintry evenings. I’ll drink more … We’ll regret six lost months – possibly a year – wasted on yet another emotional cul de sac. Let’s save us both the pain – just send me a Christmas card and a nice gift (cash preferred, donations of £20 and above) and we’ll call the whole thing quits now. M, 43. Box no. 6453.

Romance is dead. So is my mother. Man, 42, inherited wealth. Box no. 5377.

Mature gentleman, 62, aged well, noble grey looks, fit and active, sound mind and unfazed by the fickle demands of modern society … Damn it, I have to pee again.

Bastard. Complete and utter. Whatever you do, don’t reply — you’ll only regret it.

Save it. Anything you’ve got to say can be said to my lawyer. But if you’re not my ex-wife, why not write? I enjoy vodka, canasta, evenings in, and cold, cold revenge.

To some, I am a world of temptation. To others, I’m just another cross-dressing pharmacist. Male, 41.

This ad may not be the best lonely heart in the world, nor its author the best-smelling. That’s all I have to say. Man, 3

7 million is good for me. Most days though I plateau at around 3 million. Any advances? Man with low sperm count (35 — that’s my age) seeks woman in no hurry to see the zygotes divide

My other car is a bike. Eco-friendly bio-diverse M (29). Smells a bit like soil and eats too much soup, but otherwise friendly (you’re not seriously going to put that burger in your mouth, are you?).

Your stars for today: A pretty Cancerian, 35, will cook you a lovely meal, caress your hair softly, then squeeze every damn penny from your adulterous bank account before slashing the tyres of your Beamer. Let that serve as a warning. Now then, risotto?

This advert is about as close as I come to meaningful interaction with other adults. Woman, 51. Not good at parties but tremendous breasts.

The complete list of my sexual conquests: 1994-1995—Anna; 1996—Julia, Alison; 1997—Italian girl at Karl’s party, Claire (Clare?), Jessica (fingered); 1998—Anna again (big mistake), receptionist at my second temp job (possibly called Helena), Becky (I was in love but she went back to her boyfriend); 1999—Jeremy’s girlfriend; 2000-01—Karolina (deported); 2002—woman at nightclub, woman at nightclub, woman at nightclub, woman at Stewart’s barbecue, Stewart (accidental coming together of groins, the three of us were naked and very, very drunk), woman at nightclub; 2003-2006—Evil Satanic Bitch Whore; 2007—the Internet. Don’t pretend your relationships have been any less incongruous and unsatisfying. Write to probably the most normal guy you’ll ever see in a lonely heart advert and maybe we’ll end up friends or lovers or despising each other and wincing every time we remember our awful one-night stand or maybe we’ll get married and have children. Writing’s a good start though. Man, 31. Box no. 1084.

Beneath this hostile museum curator’s exterior lies a hostile museum curator’s interior. F, 38.

If you think I’m going to love you—you’re right. Clingy, over-emotional and socially draining woman, 36. Once you’ve got me, you can never ever leave me. Not ever. Prone to maniacal bursts of crying, usually followed by excitable and uncontrollable laughter. Life is a roller coaster; you’ve just got to ride it, as Ronan Keating once said.

Just as chugging on a bottle of White Lightning on a park bench will make you nauseous and diminish the respect of your peers, yet taking just a glass of cold cider on a barmy summer evening will quench your thirst and take you back to heady days frolicking in West Country apple orchards, so it is with this ad. Man, 37. Refreshing in small sips where the delicate nuances of Somerset burst through full and flavoursome, but anything bigger and you’ll end up puking over your own shoes and smelling of wee.

Woman, 38. WLTM man to 45 who doesn’t name his genitals after German chancellors. You know who you are and, no, I don’t want to meet either Bismarck, Bethmann Hollweg, or Prince Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, however admirable the independence he gave to secretaries of state may have been.

Virtually complete male, 63, seeks woman with spares and shed. Box no. 1075.

My finger on the pulse of culture, my ear to the ground of philosophy, my hip in the medical waste bin of Glasgow Royal Infirmary. 14% plastic and counting — geriatric brainiac and compulsive malingering fool (M, 81), looking for richer, older sex-starved woman on the brink of death to exploit and ruin every replacement operation I’ve had since 1974 (quickly, the clock’s ticking, and so is this pacemaker).

An ancient Czech legend says that any usurper who places the Crown of Saint Wenceslas on his head is doomed to die within a year. During World War II, Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi governor of the puppet Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, secretly wore the crown believing himself to be a great king. He was assassinated less than a year later by the Czech resistance. I have many more stories like this one. I will tell you them all and we will make love. Man, 47.

Employed in publishing? Me too. Stay the hell away. Man on the inside, seeks woman on the outside, who like milling around hospitals guessing the illnesses of outpatients. 30-35.

Toilet duties. That’s where you come in – buxom, 22-year-old, blonde stereotype not shy of adjusting the surgical stockings of 73-year-old misanthrope with poor bladder control. Failing that, just send care-home brochures.

Hoxton salad-dodger (42 – my age and my waist; M – my sex not my coat size, that’s strictly XL) WLTM with an interest in red meat and mustardy dressings. Free first Tuesday of every month, Slimmer’s World every Wednesday.

If dreams were eagles, I would fly, but they ain’t, and that’s the reason why. Spend New Year singing into your hairbrush with the Goombay Dance Band and me, bitter publishing marketing exec. (F, 33), too drunk at the office party to keep all my slobber behind my teeth. Golden star that leads to paradise. Like a river’s running to the ocean I’ll come back to you four thousand miles.

When you do that voodoo that you do so well, I invoke 16th-century witchcraft laws and have you burned at the stake. No shenanigans with Quaker M, 39.

Grave disappointment all round would like to meet serious mistake in a nightie. Box no. 6453.

Fig: The Royal Cornwall Gazette, Falmouth Packet and Plymouth Journal, 1828. Wikimedia Commons:

16 thoughts on “Readers’ humor

  1. A great list.

    From a New Zealand lonely hearts column: “I’ll marry you if you send me your ticket to the All Blacks game. Please send photo (of ticket).”

  2. The Btitish wit in full force. Thanks for the laugh on a cold rainy morning here in Northern California.

  3. I saw this in The Austin Chronicle sometime around the year 2000 and still have it on my bulletin board:

    large, submissive populace for mutually
    beneficial arrangement.

  4. The weird thing is that I can imagine writing something like this, just for the fun of it, more than I can imagine responding to one of them. I wonder what that means.

  5. I used to subscribe to the LRB in the late 90s and early 2000s, and I used to love the personals.

  6. Wishing you a speedy recovery! A week really isn’t all that long, but when you’re sick, time feels like it moves slower.

    All of these were funny, but these two had me ACTUALLY laughing out loud:

    “…Just send me a Christmas card and a nice gift (cash preferred, donations of £20 and above) and we’ll call the whole thing quits now. ”

    “…You know who you are and, no, I don’t want to meet either Bismarck, Bethmann Hollweg, or Prince Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, however admirable the independence he gave to secretaries of state may have been.”

  7. This day is turning out well. First, I got up at 6am to watch the Coronation, which I hope will be the only one in my lifetime. Then I bought a new battery for my 1991 Miata and got her started for the first time in two years and took her out for a spin in the sunshine with the top down.
    And now this glorious post, one of the funniest ever on this non-blog.

    I hope your cough improves quickly, O PCC(E). Should your doc suggest an inhaler to make it go away faster, do not turn it down. They really help.

  8. Very funny and entertaining! Thanks so much, as ever, Athayde.

    I take PCC(E)’s initial comment as, in part, inviting us to cheer him by suggesting our own jokes. There’s always the one about the insomniac dyslexic agnostic, who lies awake all night wondering if there really is a dog.

    1. This reminds me of the time I told a friend I’d taken my wife to visit a holy city in Saudi Arabia.

      He quickly responded with: “Mecca?”

      To which I replied: “Of course not, she wanted to go!”

  9. These were very funny indeed. My favorite was “When you do that voodoo that you do so well, I invoke 16th-century witchcraft laws and have you burned at the stake.” A parable of regressive progressism in the 21st century? Just kidding.

  10. These were great. A welcome change, and I’d like to read more! Some very funny people living in the UK.

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