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Man with Farm Seeks Woman with Tractor: The Best and Worst Personal Ads of All Timeby Laura J Schaefer
Synopses & Reviews
We've all been there, whether searching the personals for a romantic connection or posting an ad in hopes of luring in a new friend. A great source of entertainment, many people skim through the personals section for a quick laugh, never questioning its origin or its interesting history. Personal ads began popping up sporadically in the eighteenth century and became common by the end of the nineteenth. Whole publications devoted to romantic and marriage-minded classifieds flourished around the turn of the last century. In the last half of the twentieth century, personal ads exploded in myriad publications from coy gay ads of the 1950s to colorful ads in the alternative presses of the 1970s. Today, more and more people are paying for a chance at love. From the best and the worst, the hopeful and the hopeless, the bitter and the sweet, the romantic and the lustful—never before has a collection like this been assembled from so many decades past. By including hundreds of funny and surprising personal ads from historical newspapers as well as modern Web sites, Man with Farm will entertain and inform.
"A writer for Match.com offers what could have been a delightful diversion-after all, who doesn't like reading personals, even if they're happily attached? But this little collection doesn't offer what its subtitle promises. There are plenty of amusing and, yes, pathetic personal ads (several of the latter from patheticpersonals.com), but many of them seem to have been chosen primarily for their odd, outdated diction and mid-19th-century sensibility. And collected together, they get a little boring. Highlights: a man hoping for a woman with one leg shorter than the other, 'as only like and like can be enduringly happy'; the 42-year-old 'old maid' who, in 1892, writes that she wants 'some chap to love me'; the hippie doing time in San Quentin seeking 'chicks that aren't hung up on middle class Amer. type life' in 1971. But far too many are examples of educated, honorable 1850s gentlemen looking for pleasant, virtuous 1850s ladies. It's interesting to learn that the personal ad has been around for nearly three centuries, but the fact remains that most people read personal ads either because they're looking for a date or because they're curious what people around them-people they might even know!-are looking for at that very moment. And this collection doesn't offer readers either." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
From the best and the worst, the hopeful and the hopeless, the bitter and the sweet, the romantic and the lustful, never before has a collection like this been assembled from so many decades past.
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