Rejected Personal Ads from the New York Review of Books ~ a parody by Mike McGowan

Too explicit

ROBUST, ENERGETIC, VIGOROUS single gentleman (Princeton ’60), seeks sleek female Chaucer scholar for naughty Canterbury Tales re-enactments. Are you ready for “any lord to leggen in his bedde?” I’m up for it! Box 48729.

Too depressing

DEEP THINKER WITH NO REGRETS, yet something tells me all is illusion in this too-short life. Divorced female poet (think Sylvia Plath, had she lived) wants a sensitive man, 63-89, to talk to (with), on cold, dark, endless winter nights. Box 30747.

Too specific

INTELLIGENT MAN OF THE WORLD knows exactly what he wants: Jennifer B. – I know you read the NYRB. Hear me out. I’m the older, distinguished clerk at that used book shop on 23rd Street (you come in every Thursday, lunchtime), and I’ve been learning you for weeks. Got your name off your credit card, but I am not stalking you – you always come to me! I’m 67, atheist, well-read (duh), and I know you have a thing for Emily Dickinson. “My river waits reply.” Box 50831.

Too strange

SEEKING VOLUNTEER, sexy and undaunted (under 50), to trip with me on a new synthetic hallucinogen I’ve perfected, using perfectly legal herbs and household gels and powders (all organic and mostly pine-scented!). Thanks to a small tear in the space/time continuum in my kitchen pantry, my compound will take us in tandem beyond the deep-field universe to an inner realm where nothing is real but our consciousness, and, oddly, a 1939 gas station in Waco, Texas. Oh, me? Former Dow chemist, 73, with a flair for trying new things. You game? Box 24473.

Too frank

VIVACIOUS AND SLIM widow, 84, with rent-controlled 2-BR on the UWS, is here to tell you that she has needs and is willing to pay for them. How’s free room & board grab ya? You will live in and cook, clean, and service on a regular basis, providing that you pass the audition. What can I say? I’m particular about certain things. You must be 50 – 70 (i.e., a younger man), handsome(ish), educated, single, circumcised, and funny. Oh, and if you play your cards right, you can have the apartment when I’m gone. Hurry! Box 30851.

Too likely a fraud

WELL-KNOWN ACTOR you know and love is tired of dating famous women. Not currently on Broadway (though I have been), I’m looking for a Charlize Theron with the charm of an Emma Stone and the je ne sais quoi of a Jennifer Lawrence. And yes, though I’m 61, I’m cutting this off at 30 for the successful respondent. Many fringe benefits, including dining at fine restaurants, seeing plenty of shows, and traveling with me when I’m on location in Europe. Again – You: not famous but somewhat like Charlize Theron; Me: rich, famous guy with the most sparkling white teeth you ever did see. Come on, it’ll be fun. Box 48852.


Mike McGowan hails from the tri-state area, reads the NYRB religiously, but has not, as yet, been tempted to answer one of its personals. Nor place one.

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