They Call Me Naughty Lola: Personal Ads from the London Review of Books

They Call Me Naughty Lola: Personal Ads from the London Review of Books

by David Rose

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I've divorced better men than you. And worn more expensive shoes than these. So don't think placing this ad is the biggest comedown I've ever had to make. Sensitive F, 34.

Employed in publishing? Me too. Stay the hell away. Man on the inside seeks woman on the outside who likes milling around hospitals guessing the illnesses of out-patients. 30…  See more details below


I've divorced better men than you. And worn more expensive shoes than these. So don't think placing this ad is the biggest comedown I've ever had to make. Sensitive F, 34.

Employed in publishing? Me too. Stay the hell away. Man on the inside seeks woman on the outside who likes milling around hospitals guessing the illnesses of out-patients. 30-35. Leeds.

They Call Me Naughty Lola is a testament to the creativity and humor that can still be found among men and women longing for love and allergic to the concepts of Internet and speed dating. Here is an irresistible collection of the most brilliant and often absurd personal ads from the world's funniest -- and most erudite -- lonely-hearts column. The ads have been called "surreal haikus of the heart," and in an age of false advertising, the men and women who write them are hindered neither by high expectations nor by positivism of any kind. And yet, while hopes of finding a suitable mate remain low, the column has produced a handful of marriages, many friendships, and at least one divorce.

Here are the young, old, fat, bald, healthy, ill, rich, and poor hoping that they can find true love, or at the very least, someone to call them Naughty Lola.

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Editorial Reviews

Monty Python meets in this collection of howlingly funny personals from the lonely hearts section of the London Review of Books. Conceived by LRB advertising director David Rose as a legitimate forum for literate, lovelorn Brits, the column has morphed over the years into an entertaining and conspicuously bizarre bulletin board for the romantically dysfunctional. In this compilation of Rose's personal favorites, would-be suitors of a peculiarly English stripe bare their pathetic, hopeful, dyspeptic, and downright deviant souls. Infused with a distinctive blend of wit, eccentricity, and daunting erudition, They Call Me Naughty Lola is a sublime treat for Yanks.

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Love is strange -- wait 'til you see my feet

This ad may not be the best lonely heart in the world, nor its author the best-smelling. That's all I have to say. Man, 37. Box no. 7654.

My finger on the pulse of culture, my ear to the ground of philosophy, my hip in the medical waste bin of Glasgow Royal Infirmary. 14% plastic and counting -- geriatric brainiac and compulsive NHS malingering fool (M, 81), looking for richer, older sex-starved woman on the brink of death to exploit and ruin every replacement operation I've had since 1974. Box no. 7648 (quickly, the clock's ticking, and so is this pacemaker).

7 million is good for me. Most days though I plateau at around 3 million. Any advances? Man with low sperm count (35 -- that's my age) seeks woman in no hurry to see the zygotes divide. Box no. 8385.

Dinner's on me. Gap-toothed F, 32. WLTM man to 35 with permanent supply of Wet Ones. Box no. 7364.

Remember when all this was open fields, and you could go out and leave your door unlocked? Woman, 24. Inherited her mother's unreasonable and utterly unfounded nostalgia (and her father's hirsute back). WLTM barber with fondness for Sherbet Dib-Dabs and Parma Violets. Box no. 8486.

Virtually complete male, 63, seeks woman with spares and shed. Box no. 7923.

Sinister-looking man with a face that only a mother would love: think of an ageing Portillo with a beard and you have my better-looking twin. Sweetie at heart, though. Nice conversation, great for dimly-lit romantic meals. Better in those Welsh villages where the electricity supply can't be guaranteed. Charitable women to 50 appreciated. Box no. 0364.

Bald, short, fat and ugly male, 53, seeks short-sighted woman with tremendous sexual appetite. Box no. 9612.

You think I like dressing this way? Lanolin-sensitive Cumbrian chick: outside all calico, inside pure wool. WLTM man to 40 who knows when to turn the lights down and the heat up. First-aid skills a bonus. Box no. 3280.

I'm just a girl who can't say 'no' (or 'anaesthetist'). Lisping Rodgers and Hammerstein fan, female lecturer in politics (37) WLTM man to 40 for thome enthanted eveningth. Box no. 2498.

My other car is a bike. Eco-friendly bio-diverse M (29). Smells a bit like soil and eats too much soup, but otherwise friendly (you're not seriously going to put that burger in your mouth, are you?). Box no. 8563.

Love is strange -- wait 'til you see my feet. F, 34, wide-fitting Scholl's. Box no. 5973.

You're a brunette, 6', long legs, 25-30, intelligent, articulate and drop-dead gorgeous. I, on the other hand, am 4'10", have the looks of Hervé Villechaize and carry an odour of wheat. No returns and no refunds at box no. 3321.

This personal column has been poorer without me, so here I am again -- hairy-backed Wiltshire troll with definite Stig of the Dump influences (M, 56, jam-jar windows, a fridge made of bike parts, and a sensitive grunt during only the most intimate moments), still searching for that special lady with no sense of touch or smell, and a capacity for overwhelming compromise in certain lifestyle choices. Box no. 3732.

Tonight, female LRB readers to 90, I am the hunter and you are my quarry. 117-year-old male Norfolk Viagra bootlegger finally in the mood for a bit of young totty. Which realistically could be any one of you with working hip joints and a minimum 20% lung capacity. Hopeful right through the Complan and Horlicks main course at box no. 3112.

You were reading the BBC in-house magazine on the Jubilee Line (12 November), I was coughing hot tea through my nostrils. Surely you can't have forgotten? Write now to smitten, weak-kneed, severely burned, bumbling F (32, but normally I look younger). I'll be quite a catch when my top lip has healed. And this brace isn't for ever. Box no. 7432.

If we share a bath together I have to insist on wearing verruca socks. Woman, 36, still reeling from a school swimming incident in 1975 (six months of padded plasters isn't easy to get over). Box no. 3186.

I'll see you at the LRB singles night. I'll be the one breathing heavily and stroking my thighs by the 'art' books. Asthmatic, varicosed F (93) seeks M to 30 with enough puff in him to push me uphill to the post office. This is not a euphemism. Box no. 4632.

Mature gentleman (62), aged well, noble grey looks, fit and active, sound mind and unfazed by the fickle demands of modern society seeks . . . damn it, I have to pee again. Box no. 4143.

These ads try too hard to be funny. Not me, I'm a natural. Juggling, monkey-faced idiot (M, 36). Box no. 5312.

Toilet duties. That's where you come in -- buxom, 22-year-old, blonde stereotype not shy of adjusting the surgical stockings of 73-year-old misanthrope with poor bladder control. Failing that, just send care-home brochures to box no. 0278.

Join me for sit-ups in Dairy-Free week! M, 42, big-boned. Box no. 6421.

Hoxton salad-dodger (42 -- my age and my waist; M -- my sex not my coat size, that's strictly XL) WLTM LRB chubster with an interest in red meat and mustardy dressings. Free first Tuesday of every month, Slimmer's World every Wednesday. Box no. 1275.

My animal passions would satisfy any woman, if only it weren't for the filibustering of this damned colon. And the chafing of these infernal hospital sheets. Write now to M, 83, for ward visiting hours and a list of approved solids. Box no. 2377.

I am the literary event of 2007, or at the very least the most entertaining drunk on my ward. Please visit (Mon-Thurs, 5-7 p.m., bring chocolate, and gin). F, 41. Box no. 4365.

I wonder if Clive James reads these. And if he does, would he find me attractive enough to write to? Hope not, I'm after an early-twenties stud-muffin capable of obscene bedroom gymnastics. Woman, 74, living in perpetual hope (and a care home in Pendle), WLTM nearest thing in an Easy-Up-Chair-equipped bungalow. Box no. 4321.

Every Christmas, without fail, the LRB produces the biggest turkey. This year it's me -- monocled, plaid-festooned gadabout, out of place in any relationship, or century, that fails to recognise the comfort of a secure knickerbocker. Please help me. Man, possibly your embarrassing uncle, 51. Box no. 0563.

If dreams were eagles, I would fly, but they ain't, and that's the reason why. Spend New Year singing into your hairbrush with the Goombay Dance Band and me, bitter publishing marketing exec. (F, 33), too drunk at the office party to keep all my slobber behind my teeth. Golden star that leads to paradise. Like a river's running to the ocean I'll come back to you four thousand miles. Box no. 6308.

Most vegetarians complain about missing the taste of bacon. Not me, I complain about my liver disease. And rural postal services. Man, 40. Box no. 3143.

Either I'm desperately unattractive, or you are all lesbians. Bald, pasty man (61) with nervous tick and unclassifiable skin complaint believes it to be the latter but holds out hope for dominant (yet straight) fems at box no. 1075.

You'll regret replying to this ad -- its owner smells of peas. But if you too live in a care home where the quality of the shower water is poor and access to the bath hoist is determined by an inadequate monthly rotation schedule, then write to flaky 72-year-old man with no recollection of where any of these stains have come from, box no. 4220.

Copyright © 2006 by the London Review of Books

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