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

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David Rose, editor of 'Naughty Lola' i

David Rose is the editor of They Call Me Naughty Lola, a collection of personal ads from the London Review of Books. Scroll down to read excerpts from the book. Scribner hide caption

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David Rose, editor of 'Naughty Lola'

David Rose is the editor of They Call Me Naughty Lola, a collection of personal ads from the London Review of Books. Scroll down to read excerpts from the book.


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.

More Ads from 'They Call Me Naughty Lola'

'They Call Me Naughty Lola' Cover i
'They Call Me Naughty Lola' Cover

Ads placed by men:

Bald, fat, short, and ugly male, 53, seeks short-sighted woman with tremendous sexual appetite.

Mature gentleman, 62, aged well, noble grey looks, fit and active, sound mind and unfazed by the fickle demands of modern society … Damn it, I have to pee again.

Unashamed triumphalist male for the past 46 years. Will I bore you? Probably. Do I care? Probably not.

Bastard. Complete and utter. Whatever you do, don't reply — you'll only regret it.

I like my women the way I like my kebab. Found by surprise after a drunken night out, and covered in too much tahini. Before long I'll have discarded you on the pavement of life, but until then you're the perfect complement to a perfect evening. Man, 32. Rarely produces winning metaphors.

Romance is dead. So is my mother. Man, 42, inherited wealth.

Save it. Anything you've got to say can be said to my lawyer. But if you're not my ex-wife, why not write to box no. 5377? I enjoy vodka, canasta, evenings in, and cold, cold revenge.

To some, I am a world of temptation. To others, I'm just another cross-dressing pharmacist. Male, 41.

This ad may not be the best lonely heart in the world, nor its author the best-smelling. That's all I have to say. Man, 37.

My finger on the pulse of culture, my ear to the ground of philosophy, my hip in the medical waste bin of Glasgow Royal Infirmary. 14% plastic and counting — geriatric brainiac and compulsive NHS malingering fool (M, 81), looking for richer, older sex-starved woman on the brink of death to exploit and ruin every replacement operation I've had since 1974. Box no. 7648 (quickly, the clock's ticking, and so is this pacemaker).

7 million is good for me. Most days though I plateau at around 3 million. Any advances? Man with low sperm count (35 — that's my age) seeks woman in no hurry to see the zygotes divide.

Sinister-looking man with a face that only a mother would love: think of an ageing Portillo with a beard and you have my better-looking twin. Sweetie at heart, though. Nice conversation, great for dimly-lit romantic meals. Better in those Welsh villages where the electricity supply can't be guaranteed. Charitable women to 50 appreciated. Box no. 0364.

My other car is a bike. Eco-friendly bio-diverse M (29). Smells a bit like soil and eats too much soup, but otherwise friendly (you're not seriously going to put that burger in your mouth, are you?).

You're a brunette, 6', long legs, 25-30, intelligent, articulate and drop-dead gorgeous. I, on the other hand, am 4'10", have the looks of Herve Villechaize and carry an odour of wheat. No returns and no refunds at box no. 3321.

Ads Placed by Women:

Blah blah, whatever. Indifferent woman. Go ahead and write. Box no. 3253. Like I care.

Your stars for today: A pretty Cancerian, 35, will cook you a lovely meal, caress your hair softly, then squeeze every damn penny from your adulterous bank account before slashing the tyres of your Beamer. Let that serve as a warning. Now then, risotto?

Attention male London Review of Books readers: 'Greetings, earthling — I have come to infest your puny body with legions of my spawn' is no way to begin a reply. Female, 36 — suspicious of any men declaring themselves to be in possession of a 'great sense of humor.'

I'm just a girl who can't say 'no' (or 'anaesthetist'). Lisping Rodgers and Hammerstein fan, female lecturer in politics (37) WLTM man to 40 for thome enthanted eveningth.

Love is strange — wait 'til you see my feet. F, 34, wide-fitting Scholl's.

Excerpted from They Call Me Naughty Lola by David Rose. Copyright c 2006 by the London Review of Books. Reprinted by permission from Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Books Featured In This Story

They Call Me Naughty Lola

Personal Ads from the London Review of Books

by David Rose

Hardcover, 165 pages |


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Personal Ads from the London Review of Books
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