David Rose, head of personal advertising at the esteemed London Review of Books seems to have answered my request with Sexually, I’m More of a Switzerland, his second collection of sad, hilarious, maladroit, and beautifully ludicrous submissions from Britain’s romantically inclined, but incapable.
The ads reach the level of near-poetry. It’s as if Edward Lear, Philip Larkin and Gonzo the Muppet collaborated to try to get a date for Saturday night. Some are direct (“No Beards.”), while some are more cryptic (“Time is the serenest beauty of the camp, but only I have the reflexes of a fox. And a badger’s sense of smell.”); some are rather uncultured (“The song that most puts me in the mood for love is Rick Dees’ ‘Disco Duck’”), and some are downright learned (“The Schrödinger’s cat of personal ads. Box no. 3611”).
The pieces feel quintessentially British, with that distinct combination of leather-bound erudition, a keen sense of the absurd, ruthless self-deprecation, and Protestant sexual frustration that can only come from that island damp in weather but dry in wit. And it’s coming out just in time for Valentine’s Day, so you can get it for your significant other and show them that they could do much, much worse.
What do you think of this collection? Hilarious, like Monty Python? Or painfully bad?