Personal Ads Worth Reading, If Not Worth Answering


I'm able to share this thanks to Juti, who gave me this link to the London Review of Books personal ads. A sample:

Last Valentine’s Day I sponsored a truck load of mitten crabs on behalf on my girlfriend. She left me not long afterwards, but the mitten crabs are thriving. I learned an important lesson as a result of all this, but I’m really not sure what it was. That’s where you come in, F to 35 with profound love of mitten crabs for evenings spent drinking home-made iron brew and plotting the migratory pattern of mitten crabs with amateur mitten crab enthusiast (M, 35, mercifully low sperm count). Box no. 04/05

I don't know about you, but if I knew or cared what mitten crabs are, was under 35, lived in England and felt like dating, I'd be really tempted to respond.


Just out of curiosity, why did you file this under "sick and twisted"? It makes a nice line with the previous posts, but this guy strikes me as decidedly romantic.

If you read the rest of the ads, you'd know.

I can imagine what the other ads were like. I just appreciated the creativity of the mitten crabs fellow. He made me think of a passage in Graham Swift's Waterland, where the narrator tells the story of the history of the efforts to discover the mating habits of eels. He traces it back to the origins of Western philosophy right through the nineteenth century and the transformation of "natural philosophy" into modern evolutionary biology. It's a heroic tale, but kind of in the bad sense: these men -- heroic men whose efforts seem unhampered by the needs of everyday existence -- individually create ideas, argue, research, confront adverse circumstances (including that other manly pursuit, war) and finally figure out how the eel reproduces. The story plays a different role in the novel, but I found myself thinking about the mitten crab guy because he is searching for someone to share his passion. It's lovely; like you, if everything were different I'd be tempted to respond as well. If not for the internet, I might even be tempted just to find out what a mitten crab is, and whether they are as tasty as their cousins...

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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on February 28, 2006 7:58 PM.

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