Really Wacky Personals

Men partial to hairy legs; women seeking fainthearted millionaires; geriatric Tarzans looking for their ”fat, old” Jane counterparts. In the glossy lingo of the personal ads, where so many seem to enjoy long walks and have a great sense of humor, such straight-talking, Rules-breaking specimens are rare. But Denver genealogist Kathy Hinckley, 48, who began browsing the personals after her 26-year marriage ended, appreciated the occasional candid offering she found. ”I didn’t qualify to answer most of the men’s ads,” she says. After months of clipping favorite oddities to share with friends, she realized she was actually accumulating material for a humor book.

Hence Plain Fat Chick Seeks Guy Who Likes Broccoli (Gibbs Smith, $6.95) — a title that, like each of the volume’s 200-plus examples, is copied practically verbatim from an actual ad (yup, the now energetically dating author has the documentation to prove it). To ensure a representative sampling, Hinckley combed thousands of newspapers from coast to coast. Inexplicably, she reports, the most bizarre ads came from Boston. The Internet — where she herself once placed an ad for an ”imperfect” man that drew over a hundred responses — was also fruitful. (And Hinckley milked two long-term relationships out of an ad she placed seeking a man with ”big heart, big hands, big feet.”)

But have any of the largely unconsulted contributors to the book objected to being quoted, even anonymously? ”I’m still waiting for someone to come forward,” admits Hinckley with some trepidation. She probably needn’t worry. After all, most people who put themselves on this particular auction block aren’t too outspoken about it. Then again, most wouldn’t describe themselves as a ”cellulite lover” or as ”39, looks older and fatter … hates long walks.” Nor would they admit to ”driving around with my two cats on the freeway. I make them wear little hats so that I can use the carpool lane.”

Who says you’re nobody till somebody loves you?