Lucy Vickery

3136: Love me don’t

In Competition No. 3136 you were invited to submit a lonely hearts ad guaranteed to send those looking for love running in the opposite direction.

This assignment was a nod to the charmingly idiosyncratic personal ads that have appeared over the years in the London Review of Books — ‘They call me Naughty Lola. Run-of-the-mill beardy physicist (M, 46)’; ‘I like my women the way I like my kebab. Found by surprise after a drunken night out and covered in too much tahini’ — which proved such a hit that they’ve been collected in two volumes.

In an entry where the flatulent rubbed dandruff-sprinkled shoulders with the gout-ridden and the unashamedly unwoke, lowlights included Liam Hogan’s ‘Prepper seeks female for propagation of the human race’; Barry Baldwin’s: ‘Looks unimportant apart from filling sweaters nicely; as they say, “You don’t look at the mantelpiece when you’re stoking the fire”’; and, very much in the LRB spirit, Gail White’s ‘Marquise looking for her Valmont… Call me and we’ll go on a pub crawl and then go to the dump and shoot rats’.

Honourable mentions go to Nick Syrett, Dorothy Pope, Mike Cheevers, Fiona Jones and Sandra Potter. The pleasingly varied bunch of charmers below earn £25 apiece.

Realist WLTM another realist. You’ll be no looker because why would you? I’m not. You’ll prefer cagoules to tuxedos, overcast Wednesdays on Wolverhampton industrial estates to moonlit beach assignations, sharing a head cold to feverish infatuation. If you like the films of Ken Loach, the novels of Stan Barstow and don’t mind bleeding the radiators regularly, we’ll likely grind out our days together without incident. No promises, mind. I’ve plenty to recommend me: own house, own money, own teeth, up to last year. I’ll not remember birthdays, anniversaries or the names and ages of children from former relationships (yours or mine) and I am not a bloody mind reader, so don’t imagine giving me the silent treatment likely to produce a new Dyson: ask and we’ll consider the purchase on merit.

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