JWR Schticks and groans

Jewish World Review Jan. 13, 2000/ 6 Shevat, 5760

Advertising for Love

By Rabbi Bob Alper

"G-D DOES NOT PUNISH the shadchan (matchmaker) for telling lies," the Yiddish proverb tells us, and so, I suppose, the writers of some personals ads might also be forgiven their slight exaggerations.

Just a few years ago, personals ads were considered the bastion of true losers, those folks with no social skills, unable to find love in the traditional ways. Nowadays, the classifieds of Jewish weeklies and other papers have become the "meet markets" of the millenium, festooned with cleverly worded messages. And the happy fact is, they often work.

Econophone I read these postings every chance I get. There's a little bit of shadchan in me, too; I'm always on the lookout for someone who'd be a perfect match for a few of my single friends. Plus, I'm fascinated by the ways people describe themselves and articulate their desires. Nearly everyone is either pretty or handsome, intelligent but with a great sense of humor, a homebody who enjoys all sports. And it's enlightening to realize that seven out of ten people apparently spend a good part of their waking moments "taking long walks on the beach."

I've been saving favorite personals ads for several years. Everyone's looking for a soulmate; a couple of older women got down to specifics: "Widow with perfect figure desires one-woman man in 60s who has concern for Israel's survival." "European widowed Jewish professional, attractive, bright, humorous, seeks tall male counterpart, under 65, with own hair and teeth..."

A "physically active, world-traveled semi-retired physician" was equally direct, stipulating that his heart would only be melted by an "attractive, natural, unburdened, minimal shopper." Minimal shopper?

Trakdata One of my favorites appeared in The Forward, obviously placed by a woman with a great comic sense: "Striking, sophisticated slender redhead, former model from the Midwest. Looking to meet charming, intelligent, fun loving, self-sufficient gentleman, 50-65, for mature relationship. Must have positive cash flow, a substantial amount of stocks and bonds, and have a terminal disease with no known heirs."

And years ago, this appeared in Boston's alternative paper, The Phoenix: "Single Jewish woman seeks single Jewish man with dead mother."

Recently, while checking the "People Connector" in The Baltimore Jewish Times, I discerned a peculiar theme running through many of the ads. "Attractive blonde with lovely figure, in 60s..." one notice read, and others were similarly descriptive. "Beautiful blonde, petite, warm, giving, 50..." "I'm blonde, fit, smart, funny, impulsive..." "Pretty, green-eyed blonde, professional..." "Ravishing blonde. Let's make dreams come true together."

I'm still wondering why all these Norwegian women are advertising in The Baltimore Jewish Times.

JWR contributor Rabbi Bob Alper, the world's only practicing clergyman doing stand-up comedy ... intentionally, is the author of Life Doesn't Get Any Better Than This : The Holiness of Little Daily Dramas and A rabbi confesses. To visit his web site, click here. To send your comments click here.


12/13/99: The Secret Messages of "Spell Check"
11/19/99: Name that Jew
12/31/98: Toward rabbinic survival
12/07/98: Naming names
11/23/98:The Wedding Announcement
11/10/98: What the mail-man brought

© 2000, Bob Alper