Thursday, 4 September 2008

Mrs. Malaprop ahoy!

Here I go again, picking people up on their inability to choose the right words.

I've just heard Jeni Barnett on LBC, ranting about the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate for the US presidency. Ms Barnett pointed out that someone running for high office should have "the whole spectre" of experience for the job.

Incidentally, what is it about people with names like Jacqueline or Jennifer, who feel the need to spell their names as "Jeni" or "Jakki"? Or "Linzi" instead of Lindsey? Do they think it makes them sound kooky (there's a word you don't often hear now), zany or arty? Be suspicious of anyone calling themselves "Dee" (or the more archaic "DeeDee"); they are more than likely a Debbie (Debi?) or Doreen.

I'm equally confused by people that describe themselves as "bubbly", "dizzy", or "eccentric". Anyone who does so is unlikely to be so. I'm sure neither Boris Johnson nor Patric Moore would ever describe themselves as "eccentric" or "off the wall".

Personal descriptors like "bubbly" often appear in lonely hearts ads. The best lonely hearts ad I ever saw was in the underground International Times mag in the sixties. It simply read, "One legged guy seeks one legged chick. Object - continental motoring holidays." But that's beside the point. I'd like to share with you some of the more common descriptors that appear in these ads, together with their true meaning. Some I have cleaned up and altered slightly for the UK market, but I take no credit for the information itself.

Women seeking men

30 something = 41 years old
Wild = Gets drunk easily
Beautiful face = Face like a robber’s dog
Seeks knight in shining armour = Husband has run off with a younger model
New Age = Hairy and smelly
Headstrong = Argumentative
Enjoys pubbing & clubbing = Alcoholic
Curvy = Fat
Cuddly = Fat
Voluptuous/Rubenesque = Very fat
Likes eating out = Lazy and fat
Emotionally Secure = On medication
Fun = Annoying
Gentle = Comatose
Outgoing = Loud and Embarrassing
Passionate = Sloppy drunk
Romantic = Looks better by candle light
Social = Has been passed around like an hors d'oeuvres tray
Young at heart = Old bat

Men seeking women

40-ish = 52 and looking for 25-yr-old
Athletic = Watches a lot of sport on TV
Average looking = Unusual hair growth on ears, nose, & back
Educated = Will patronize the hell out of you
Free Spirit = Will sleep with your sister
Good looking = Arrogant
Very good looking = Thick and arrogant
Honest = Pathological Liar
Huggable = Overweight, more body hair than Chewbacca
Likes to cuddle = Insecure mummy's boy
Mature = Older than your father
Sensitive = Cries at chick flicks
Very sensitive = Gay
Spiritual = Involved in a cult
Stable = Arrested for stalking, but not convicted
Thoughtful = Says "Excuse me" when he breaks wind
Wants a soulmate = Stalker

I'm sure there are more lurking out there somewhere.

1 comment:

Stevyn Colgan said...


My favourite lonely hearts ad of all time was from The Nairobi Star newspaper, Kenya:

'Nanyuki farmer seeks woman with tractor. Send picture of tractor.'

Fran Beauman is working on a book (out next year) on the history of lonely hearts ads. The earliest UK one she can find dates from 1695. But her favourite is this one from 1770:

'Man seeks wife. Must have shapely ankle and good cow management skills.'

There's nothing new under the sun.