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Let's Get Personal

by Stephen Lautens


November 14, 2003

I was going through the personal ads in the back of the local community newspaper the other day. There’s no need to send me the names of your favourite divorce lawyers - my marriage is intact and chugging along just fine, although that’s just my opinion. I’m just fascinated by the fact that there can be so many people out there looking for that special someone through the power of the personal ads.

Looking through the pages and pages of personal ads, what struck me was the complex language people use in their personal ads to describe themselves and covey their very specific needs. The last time I looked things hadn’t become much more complicated than using codes like "DWM" for "divorced white man" or SBW for "single black woman".

The typical personal used to look something like this: Recently divorced man, fifty-ish, seeks woman for companionship, walks along the beach and perhaps more. Are you my special someone? Reply to Box 51. I’ll be waiting.

Now the entire personals page looks like something designed to keep sensitive information out of the hands of foreign spies. The letter codes they use to describe their dream dates need an Enigma machine to crack them. Let me translate a few of the more obscure ones for you.

POCP (Petite older circus performer) seeks WWLM (woman with luxurious moustache) for personal HWA (high wire act). Age not important, but must have own bait shop. Send picture of bait shop.

MWM (Married white man) seeks CNJFR (clean, non-judgmental female redhead) with LLSH&NVBM (long legs, small hands and no visible birthmarks) for casual afternoons of SL&MS (sorting laundry and matching socks). Can you help me? It’s starting to pile up.

ADYD (Angry divorced younger dad) seeks OMOWWK (open-minded older woman without kids). Must be turned on by BMIPC (bitter males into picketing courthouses). RS (Restraining orders) a turn on.

GHLQ (Green-haired leather queen) into NSD (nude sky diving), GPW (greased pig wrestling) and BTUATTBBIMEBOWMF (being tied up and trying to bake brownies in my Easy Bake oven with my feet) seeks same. No freaks, please.

CMA (Curious magician’s assistant) ready to come out of the box. Tired of the games. Want a man with NUHS (nothing up his sleeve). Looking forward to long evenings in front of the fireplace sawing each other in half. YOTAP (Your own tiger a plus).

SO&NBWH (Self-obsessed and narcissistic bisexual white hermaphrodite) really doesn’t seek anyone. I’ve got everything I need already. I’m just bragging.

MWMSHLLTS (Man whose mother says he looks like Tom Selleck) wants to party with WWTSLLH (woman who thinks she looks like Higgins). Prefers someone into RR (re-runs) and RLTE (reliving the Eighties). Let’s act badly together.

SCFRMP (Socially conservative, fiscally responsible member of parliament) going through confusing identity issues. Help me explore my IRN (inner red neck) and my SPUB (soft pink underbelly). I’ve been the bridesmaid too often. Hoping to get down the aisle this time, either through the perfect alliance, or even just a union of convenience. Don’t break my heart again.

I’m just amazed anyone can be that specific and still get a response. I suppose there really is someone for everyone, if you look in the right place.

© Stephen Lautens 2003

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