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'Naughty Lola': London's Lonely Hearts Seek Love

In the current issue of the venerable London Review of Books, you could wade through a 5,000-word article on the "new Shanghai."

Or you could go straight to the personal ads, where you would find one that reads, in its entirety:

Your Christmas bookings now taken! Pathetic man, 37.

"Pathetic man" is not alone. The personals -- or lonely hearts ads -- of the London Review of Books are a teeming collection of the pathetic, the downtrodden and the ever hopeful:

Shy, ugly man, fond of extended periods of self-pity, middle aged, flatulent and overweight, seeks the impossible.

Eager-to-please woman, 36, seeks domineering man to take advantage of her flagging confidence. Tell me I'm pretty, then watch me cling.

These ads and many more have been compiled in a book called They Call Me Naughty Lola. The title is taken from an ad that reads:

They call me Naughty Lola. Run of the mill beardy physicist -- male, 46.

David Rose, the advertising director of the London Review of Books, started the personal ads section in 1998 and edited the new book.

Rose says he had an altruistic, naive idea that the personal ads would bring together people with similar literary tastes, "Jane Austen or Thomas Hardy."

"But no, they were instantly very, very silly," he says.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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