It has been pointed out (by a male reader who lives with me) that yesterday’s piece on playing the personals contained nary a word of advice for men.
Although it often seems to women getting a bit long in the tooth that there are absolutely no available aging men, that appears to be wrong. It seems there are lonely and mostly unattached men in an appropriate age bracket who sometimes wonder if answering an ad might be the way to go.
I say “mostly” unattached, because avowed cheaters also play. (And the unavowed? Well, as Fats Waller used to say — one never knows, do one?) As to what is an “appropriate” age bracket, I leave that to the ladies. Do you really want a toy boy? How much are you willing to pay? I also hope I have already made it perfectly clear in my last post on this subject that I have absolutely no advice for the young. As if they’d take it if I had it.
With those caveats out of the way, let us try to level the playing field by proceeding as far as we can. Which is not very far. However, I do know some things:
- Men don’t really know what they want. Besides hot sex. Which they can’t ask for in a respectable publication, the only kind we will be considering today. And which they might not be able to maintain in a long-term relationship. (Hereinafter “LTR.” If there is a “‘hereinafter” to the first date. Often there isn’t.) Come on, guys. Get real. How much Viagra can you afford?
- Men of any age get many more responses to their ads than women do. It therefore makes more sense, for both LTR-seekers and the other kind, that a man place an ad than answer one. On the other hand, placement has its costs, how large depending on how many words you need to make yourself appealing. Whereas answering is free! No matter how many you answer! So you decide.
- Men may not care about spelling, but most women do. They also care about punctuation, and paragraphing, and vocabulary. Answering an ad by e-mail is like sending in your CV for a job. Women may be eager to give you a chance, but usually not if what you write looks as if you need to repeat third grade. Unless you’re the reincarnation of Marlon Brando in Streetcar, and still have the torn white T-shirt, take care what you write. Or use spell-check. Or only answer ads where you can telephone.
- Men should not ever send out an e-mail like one of the following. These were among the responses to an ad much like the one which ended my “Playing the Personals” post, but in which I described myself as possessing, among other desirable qualities, “warmth” and “a kind heart.” Big mistake. (As you will see). But did I really deserve what came back to me? I have changed all the names, e-addresses and geographical locations, so that no public embarrassment or shame should ensue. Private embarrassment is between the authors and their maker. I have not changed anything else. I kid you not.
1. From: “devbanerjee” <email@example.com>
Although your message was for a 60+ man, I thought I might be apologized if I tried to reach you out with something that has to do with the basics of the values you carry, especially warmth and kindness. Based on my own progression through life, I do hope that the experiences you have had in line with maturity and love will make you accept my offer of friendship based on understanding , honesty, integrity, understanding and mutuality.
I am a male, 26, currently a MBA student here in Washington, from Pakistan. I value a friendship with someone on a higher scale of maturity and wisdom and am envisioning of our friendship building up to a height exceeding that of Mt. Everest and of our breathing in the beauty and spirituality around the unsurpassed grandeur of the natural beauty in the “hanging” valleys, “flowing” meadows, and “static” rivers and waterfalls there.
I recognize your hectic professional life; yet, something in the depth of my mind and values guide me to the waiting point until you show up at least briefly with your message. I will more than appreciate that and will tell a lot more of myself soon afterward.
Sincerely, Dev Banerjee
At first I thought all that about Mt. Everest and the natural beauty of valleys and rivers and waterfalls — “hanging” and “flowing” and “static” — was code. (I know, I have a dirty mind.) But then I decided he was just lonely and got carried away. After all, he was only 26, younger than my younger child. Or maybe that’s the way they begin courtships in Pakistan.
2. From: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Boston. A strange thing happened to me today I was reading The NY Review I saw your note and thought how perfect, is it possible what are the odds no way? maybe so. I had to respond so hear I am what next? I must be the person you are looking for because you are exactly the type person I am looking for. It is like I wrote the same add for someone like you. It is crazy does any one really find someone like this. I am an eternal opponents, so hear goes. I am a 48 yr. Old Ret. Major from the US Army. I am working for a PUBLICATION as investigate reporter and travel all over. But here is my secrete my true passion is writing, I think I may have a book or two in me. When I am not on the rode, my base is in Houston. I also like the good life and I am looking for A kind WARM leading Lady in my life to share it with. If there is a interest drop me a note. I am looking forward to hearing from you. Best Regards, George
You may be surprised to learn I told myself not to be a snob and answered George. (It’s true about the kind heart. Not a good thing to mention in an ad, though.) George never wrote back. Maybe his work as investigate reporter for a PUBLICATION kept him too busy. But I think it was my spelling and punctuation and paragraphing that put him off.
3. From: <Migueldr00@hotmail.com
A long “HELLO!” Great-looking, kind-hearted Bostonian, Is your meaning of a “long hurrah” an exclamation of deep joy or a hint at commotion? Is it the second tender movement of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth or the turbulent first of Mahler’s Sixth? What a pleasant exciting surprise to find you! I have to close my eyes…and believe…from what you write…that you are not only charming but smart, clever, playful and…passionate (in a controlled, witty way). The good, passionate kind, the one with the smooth layer of chocolate mousse covering the volcanic rush of fantasy. I want to steal your attention with inquiring looks and searching words. Knowing a woman, for the first time, is to pin the eyes on her face and savor the honey of her smile, as she averts her face in a feminine gesture of divine shyness. Hurrah to you, my kind-hearted darling…a long Hurrah that is a cry of joy, longer than a sigh, deeper than a tear, prettier than a kiss, as when a man meets a woman and feels the flesh quiver with the anticipated thrill of dreaming he is touching her tenderly…on her lips.
With friendly tenderness…and all the comparable qualities…and more. Miguel in Delaware
See? Hot sex.
4. From: Calvin P. Kimberly <CPK4445556@isd.net
Dear Nina, my name is Cal Kimberly, I live on Gardiner’s Island and have a son in Boston named Dirk who has a son of his own. I’m 82, though friends tell me I can pass for someone of 60. I am married to Dirk’s mother, Penny. She is totally quadriplegic after surviving a car crash eight years ago. An excellent practical nurse and i provide care for her. Her condition can only be described as “complete invalidism.” To be honest, I have written to several females who placed “personals” in TNYROB and sounded kind-hearted enough to listen to my angst. Most were in New York, but if you know Long Island you will realize that I could easily take the ferry to Greenport on the North Fork, and then another ferry to Connecticut and come to Boston to see you. I might also put my wife in a constant care facility and then locate in Providence which is cheaper than where you live but still only a quick journey to the larger city to the north. I will see if I can arrange a visit to my son for some time later this month, which will give us a chance to meet and see how our chemistries mix at that point. Cheers, Cal
Men, think twice before clicking “send.”
Ladies, remember it’s a long long road. Yes, there might be a Bill at the other end of it.
But I do have something to confess. He didn’t write. He telephoned. And he had such a nice voice. I only found out later he can’t spell for beans.