The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Friday, January 02, 2004  

Ouch, That Hurts. That Really Hurts.

The other day a friend was reading personal ads out loud, all, I assure you, for his edification and not mine as I am what once was known in polite circles as “a confirmed bachelor,” a characterization that, even updated for modern days (see no. 70), still holds true.

As no doubt many a pop-culture scholar already has propounded at length, personal ads can offer incredible insights into the tenor of our times. And whether classified as non-fiction or fiction, they’re often clever, sweet, and poignant, but sometimes cloying and even sad.

At other times they’re just mean, like the one my friend read to me, starting his elocution without having scanned the advertisement to the end.

The ad began with the usual “I’m this, I’m that . . . I like this and that,” and ended with: “No unemployeds [sic], please.”

Gosh, that hurts. Rejected by the voice behind a personal ad I wasn’t even reading, a person of whose existence I never would have known otherwise, someone who barely captured my attention with his vain attempts at smart witticisms, and a man blissfully unaware of the most basic nuances of the English language.

You see? I can throw out all of those insults, and it still hurts. A little, anyway.

Maybe I should answer the ad. I can pretend I’m the chairman and chief executive of my own company, and, upon learning of his profession, or mere employment (assuming I could do that, as this is Philadelphia), abruptly call an end to the evening, expressing contempt for my valuable time having been wasted by such a peon.

No. I’m too nice a guy to do something like that.

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