Shopping: N/S GSOH seeks busty blonde

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The Independent Online
A single friend (who shall remain nameless), distraught at the thought of turning 30 whilst still on the shelf, recently advertised herself in the personal pages. She wouldn't let me see her self-description, which I imagine was wildly inaccurate.

A gruelling couple of weeks then ensued, during which she met a succession of short, bald, fat, moustachioed, sweaty accountants, who had also been economical with the truth in their personal profiles.

After sharing Thai, Mongolian, Indian, tapas, French and chicken McNuggets with the short list of candidates, she naturally felt a little confused, and was suffering from wicked heartburn. In the end she plumped for the tapas option (you can have as little or as much as you fancy) and chose Jose, a 5ft 4in salsa instructor from Balham.

Jose was apparently energetic in every field, but just a bit too short (even in his Cuban heels), so once she had mastered a mambo merengue and knew what espinacas con garbonzos were, she bid him adios, and reran her ad.

Curious about whether she thought she was a slim N/S with a GSOH, I purchased a copy of the paper on the day her ad was due to appear, and then wasted a whole morning mesmerised by the contents of the personal pages. Lonelies who do this often are obviously au fait with the jargon, but, for the novice, personals patois is somewhat confusing. Take "Turkish businessman, 34, 6ft, black/blue" - is this man hideously bruised? Or: "Outgoing female, 5ft 4in, blonde-green" - a lonely Martian?

Women have three priorities when describing their ideal man: they want them "solvent", "professional", and "tall"; whereas men seek women who are "attractive", "intelligent" and into "long-lasting" relationships. Most women describe themselves as "attractive" and "blonde", but none describe themselves as either "solvent" or "honest". Men also see "attractive" when they look in the mirror and twice as many men as women describe themselves as "caring" or "adventurous". Where are all these unattached, caring hunks? In the Hebrides? The gorgeous, single blondes are, I imagine, off doing a spot of gold-digging in their spare time.

Snappy titles are supposed to tempt and attract: "Endless Possibilities" is a male who wants a woman of any age and any nationality, with a view to marriage; "Free Tickets!" is all that a "caring classical music journalist" has to offer, and "'Ello, 'Ello" is a "happy, adventurous policeman", who wants to feel more than just your collar. I don't think "Enfield Man" or "Of Course It Will Work" will have their diaries bulging next week. And I'd be wary of any man who seeks an "open-minded", "busty" or "uninhibited" woman "for good time".

After a long elimination process, I think I found my friend's ad: "Pretty female, 27, seeks, barrister for romance" - pretty is a matter of opinion, and 27 is a downright lie, but I know she's appearing in court for a speeding offence in two weeks' time, so her request is, I suppose, reasonably genuine.

Get that loving feeling (but make sure you get that full- length photo first):

`Private Eye', Eye Love - dictate your ad with your credit card on 0171- 439 1151, pounds 1.75 per word, plus pounds 8 for a box number.

`Evening Standard', Hot Tickets, Meeting Point (Thursdays) - place your ad free on 0800 200 202.

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