November 20, 2006

What Difference Does It Make?

Victoria Coren, a columnist on the Observer newspaper, handled the subject of lonely heart columns in newspapers and their contemporary offshoot online and she compares their respective efficacity and style. She concluded that the online versions are far too specific in allowing people to put their "demands" and "wishes" in their potential soulmate. This leaves nothing to be discovered or explored once that soulmate is snared and can only lead to disappointment when all that is left to be found out is difference.
"New popularity or not, I remain stubborn in my suspicion that detailed classified ads are an excellent way to buy a car, and a terrible way to find a lover."
I think she's on to something here. In a general publication you have to be lyrical, concise and somewhat intriguing to elicit a response (she quotes several excellent and often hilarious examples) while online the proliferation of sexually specialist websites allows you to narrow down the criteria by which you will judge a potential partner, there may be simply no-one, at least no-one within traveling distance to make this more than a cyber-relationship, in the world that qualifies.

I put an ad once in a London gay newspaper, Capital Gay, some decades ago and it read:
"This charming man looking for sweet and tender hooligan to oscillate wildly."
I got several replies but only one stood out, written on a postcard:
"How soon is now?"
Pity there were no contact details.

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