Once upon a time, before the internet, there were limited opportunities for meeting people for dating and relationships.  Single or divorced folks  (I was one or the other enough times) might use the personal classified advertisement system,  if they –

  • didn’t belong to a church – ay, dios mio…
  • weren’t attending college,  of course, these folks knew everything there was to know already and besides that, they were too old for that shit.
  • got cold testicles from hanging (!!)  around the frozen food section at the grocery, waiting for a likely victim, only to ask if the 6″ fish sticks are better than the friggin’ cheese ravioli. I’m voting for the fish sticks, hands down, way down.  I like the word “stick” and I gladly tell him where he can stick those brown-coated fish flakes.
  • resisted going to the local bar for “Singles Night,” which included a spartan, perfunctory buffet, and most anyone would drink their ass off out of pure and natural squeamishness, during the obvious mental undressing of everyone in the club, by everyone else in the club, and having to dance with the one freak with green smiling teeth just to have someone to hide behind, while we contemplated coming in naked, right at the get-go, armed with toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and buffalo wings for such emergencies.
  • knew someone who could “fix you up” with someone who would be perfect for you, such as their neighbor, whose wife threw his lazy, drunken ass and everything attached to it, out front into the weed patch,  after he’d sat so long on the couch, he’d made his own custom ass groove in it. Hey thanks, I’ll pass, though – I only have one chair, and I’m not sharing it. Beat it, loser.
  • didn’t have the funds to go to a matchmaking service, which was a bucket of crap anyway. After a couple of arranged dates with grandma or grandpa, or if we got really lucky –  a match with Poindexter the Pervert, Nelly the Nympho or Last Minute Lucy, suddenly our memories jogged, and so did we – the half mile to the corner newsstand for a paper seemed like three steps. You couldn’t run fast enough! Bye now!
  •  went to a Toastmaster’s meeting.  I went, but was shocked to note immediately that I was the only brunette – everyone else there had visited the hair care aisle in the beauty supply shop or had cut a piece of their carpet in the shape of their skull,  or was as gray as desert sand. Catch you later!  Well, maybe not…

Once, I went to a MENSA gathering, after qualifying by mail, with my I.Q.  I lasted about eight minutes. A Coney Island Sideshow never looked this good.  And since Misfit was my middle name, I figured I better get the hell out of there before I catch something or had a science attack.

Parents without Partners held monthly events, which had to be the worst idea ever. Parents without Partners connections were doomed to failure.  Attempts to blend two unrelated, already fucked up sets of kids into one household in a hurry, because you’re  desperate, lonely, broke or horny is asking for a nightmare.  Close your eyes and imagine this and POP!  there’s the nightmare, as clear as my well water. Meeting your next date or partner this way begs the question – did you say your prayers?  You better, and you better be praying hard, long and fast, that you wake up as Mike and Carol Brady.

For the personal ad, we’d submit just a bit of information about ourselves – a couple of sentences and be watching our mailboxes for forwarded responses.  Conversely, we had the option of reading and responding to someone who seemed “interesting.” Most of us couldn’t advertise much because we paid for the ad by the letter. B Y T H E L E T T E R .

People became so skilled at using acronyms that I had to consult a key to figure out what half of the shit meant! I hate acronyms.  And besides,  how the hell can anyone sum themselves up, the essence of what they are REALLY, their likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams and desires, in a couple of acronym-laden sentences? Hey you, DSWF, spit it out,  and you’ve only got 40 letters to explain yourself. I was broke.

Quite frequently, men would say, “I like walks on the beach.”  Nice line, knucklehead.  Walks on the beach?  When was the last time you took a walk on the beach?  When you were six and Grandpa took you fishing? Walks on the beach, my ass…

Here’s a classic –  “I like to cuddle, watch TV.”  Hey Bozo, cuddle this…  And since when did watching TV become an activity?  It got ugly. “No fatties.”  “No kids.”  In my ad, I wanted to say, “No assholes.”  What was the point of writing an ad anyway, since everyone had an hourglass figure or were well built, beautiful or handsome, childless assholes who walked on the beach in their imaginations? Get real… Who the hell  are you, anyway? Do you even know??

I had exactly one date with one of the perfect individuals I met through a personal ad.  I saw him and wanted to run away.  I didn’t have the heart to.  It was THAT BAD .  What damage can one dinner do?  This is a human being, at least he kind of resembles one.

So, we had dinner together. Actually, it  looked like we were together because we sat at the same table and across from each other.  I occasionally looked around to see if anyone was curious as to how the odd looking man landed a date with a pretty, freckle-faced, blue-eyed doll. If anyone was curious, they weren’t making it clear to me. Perhaps the other diners were as uncomfortable as I was.

I focused on his normal voice and his one patch of good skin and hair near his ear that didn’t look like Dr. Frankenstein put together that afternoon, and listened patiently to his excuses for being a troll and a liar.  His build was human, but from the neck up, he was disfigured or something was wrong and it was so wrong, that I found my mind wandering to places inside my head, where I might figure out what disease or disorder he had.  I said little and answered quietly, though, using the best evasive maneuver I could use –  looking PAST his right ear and shoulder as I answered.  I felt deeply sorry for the man.

I never used the personal classifieds again. My dog does, though.  🙂